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Title: Innovative Visualization, Modeling and Optimization Tools for Improving Remediation Efficiency

Date:  September 10, 2017
Time: 1 to 5 pm
Location: Melbourne, Australia (Cleanup 2017)

Dr. Grant Carey (Porewater Solutions)

Dr. Larry Deschaine (HydroGeoLogic)

Click here to download brochure.

Objective: Provide case study examples to demonstrate the use of innovative tools which may be employed to support site characterization, and to design or improve the performance of NAPL and groundwater remediation (including Monitored Natural Attenuation). This course is intended for practitioners and regulators involved with site remediation.  A modeling background is not required for this course. 

Overview: Remediation of NAPL source zones requires an integrated approach that also considers downgradient plume response, and potential limitations in remediation benefit due to back-diffusion from silt and clay layers.  It is important to balance source treatment costs with anticipated benefits in risk reduction and mass discharge in the downgradient plume.  This course provides an overview of innovative new tools which support site characterization, feasibility analysis, design, and optimization of site remediation.


  • Background: NAPL architecture and dissolution; solute transport processes including biological and abiotic attenuation mechanisms for organic compounds and metals such as chromium; evaluating the influence of back-diffusion on remedial goals and timeframes; estimating attainable goals for enhanced mass discharge reduction; and transitioning from active to passive source treatment.
  • Introduction to Visual Bio:  Evaluating the efficacy of Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) and enhanced biodegradation often requires spatial and temporal analysis of dozens of chemicals, including contaminants, redox indicators, and various geochemical species.  Attempting to communicate the results of such technical analyses may pose barriers to regulatory and community acceptance of a site remedy.  Visual Bio is a freely available radial diagram software tool which employs unique methods that make it easier for reviewers to visualize where biodegradation is occurring in groundwater.  This helps regulators and concerned citizens to more easily see the effects of naturally-occurring or enhanced biodegradation.
  • Introduction to the NAPL Depletion Model (NDM): Case studies involving the prediction of natural and enhanced LNAPL and DNAPL depletion timeframes. 
  • Introduction to In-Situ Remediation (ISR-MT3DMS): Examples demonstrating the influence of various site characteristics on the effectiveness of MNA, enhanced in-situ bioremediation, and in-situ chemical oxidation alternatives. An example of how to use contact time as a metric for optimizing remedial performance is discussed. The sensitivity of back-diffusion timeframes to various site properties is presented.  Unique visualization tools included with the ISR-MT3DMS model are demonstrated, including redox zone distribution, radial diagrams for calibrating sophisticated multispecies models, and the contact time distribution for injected reagents within a source zone. Various case studies will be presented, including calibration of the redox zone distribution downgradient of a municipal landfill; the natural attenuation of BTEX and chlorinated solvents at Plattsburgh Air Force Base, with enhanced biodegradation of TCE due to methanotrophic cometabolism in the fringes of the downgradient aerobic zone; and an evaluation of remediation timeframes associated with back-diffusion at a Florida site.
  • Introduction to Physics-Based Management Optimization (PBMOTM): The complexity of properly simulating the complex processes discussed above are precisely the issues needing solution for the environmental remediation challenges that remain to this day as persistent. A common set of questions are often asked when developing designs for remediation of subsurface environmental contamination (ITRC:Ch. 9, 2007):
  • How long will the remediation activities be needed to remediate the site?
  • What will it cost in total, and per year?
  • When, where (and will) remediation be partially or fully complete (i.e., meet MCLs) everywhere?
  • If only partial source (i.e. DNAPL) mass removal is achieved, what will be the benefits?
  • What is the best approach for removing X% of the mass?
  • What will the DNAPL and dissolved plumes look like over time for various approaches?
  • What are the best design and operations parameters (extraction and injection well locations, best biostimulation materials to add, microbes to add if any, rates, concentrations, frequency of injections, etc.)?

These questions are well framed using simulation models as described above, but developing optimal exit strategies remain elusive when using only a heuristic trial and error approach. Computational optimization tools provide this optimal exit strategy capability development and implementation. This segment describes the motivation, technology, and speed improvements gained by using optimisation tools. Optimal remedial design   and documented site closure examples are provided. This optimisation technology was recently recognized as the Grand Prize Award winner for Research in the 2017 American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists competition.

Free versions of Visual Bio and the NAPL Depletion Model will be made available to participants at the course.  ISR-MT3DMS is scheduled for release to the public domain in 2018.  Laptops are not required for this course.


To register for this course, please proceed to the Cleanup 2017 conference web site.

About the Instructors

Dr. Grant Carey, P.Eng., is President of Porewater Solutions, and is expert in mathematical modeling, NAPL characterization, and environmental forensics, with a focus on both litigation and regulatory projects.  Grant has a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Guelph, and has developed industry-leading modeling and visualization software including In-Situ Remediation MT3DMS (ISR-MT3DMS) for optimizing remediation and modeling diffusion-dominated transport, as well as Visual Bio, the NAPL Depletion Model, Vapor-2D, BioRedox-MT3DMS, and the Remediation ToolKit which includes SEQUENCE, BioTrends, and BioTracker.  Grant is also an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, where he is collaborating on research related to back-diffusion and long-term strategies for remediating complex sites.  Grant has published or delivered more than 90 technical papers and short courses, and was previously a trainer for ITRC web seminars on Mass Flux/Mass Discharge, and Remediation of Contaminated Sediments. 

Deacon Larry M. Deschaine, PhD PE, is a Complex Adaptive Systems and Optimization expert with over 30 years’ commercial experience. A curious life-long learner, he began his formal academic career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1980 and now has four degrees in three fields (engineering, science and theology). Dr. Deschaine earned Grand Prize distinction the 2017 American Academy of Environmental Engineers and Scientists competition in the Research Category. He attained a US Vice-Presidential Hammer Award from 2007 Nobel Laureate Albert A. Gore Jr. for business process optimization, and set five national records in sports. His award-winning PhD research produced a self-adaptive universal modeling algorithm which formally integrates human expertise, real world observations, physics, engineering and social models then automatically writes a descriptive equation of the system. The process delivers high fidelity models for use in "what-if" scenario planning and systematic optimization of complex environmental challenges.

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