A Practical Guide for Applying Environmental Sequence
Stratigraphy to Improve Conceptual Site Models
Burns & McDonnell, Concord, California
Rick Cramer, PG
Burns & McDonnell, Brea, California
Burns & McDonnell, Grand Rapids, Michigan
US EPA Region 9
This EPA Technical Issue Paper is a practical guide on the application of the geologic principles of sequence stratigraphy and facies models to the characterization of stratigraphic heterogeneity at hazardous waste sites. This technology is applicable to sites underlain by clastic aquifers (intermixed gravels/sands/silts/clays). The scientific principles and methods presented in this document will help to bring clarity to the challenges posed by stratigraphic heterogeneity at complex contaminated sites thereby facilitating site management strategies. These methods can be applied to both new site investigations as well as reviewing existing site data and updating the Conceptual Site Model (CSM). High resolution site characterization (HRSC) is EPA’s preferred approach for characterizing sites and developing a detailed CSM. The application of Environmental Sequence Stratigraphy (ESS) allows the practitioner to place high resolution data and other environmental subsurface data in a geologic and hydrogeologic context. This advanced geologic approach evaluates subsurface site information in the context of the site’s geologic depositional and erosional history.
Application of ESS benefits groundwater remediation projects by improving the ability to:
- Define groundwater flow paths and preferential contaminant migration pathways
- Map and predict contaminant mass transport and storage zones
- Identify data gaps to conduct high resolution site characterization
- Determine appropriate locations for monitoring and remediation wells
- Determine appropriate well construction design (e.g., screened intervals)
- Improve efficiency of remediating and monitoring contaminated groundwater
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Senior Geologist and Stratigrapher with Burns & McDonnell in Concord, California. His education and career have focused on understanding subsurface geologic conditions and prediction of fluid flow. He has over ten years of experience as a reservoir geologist with Chevron Corporation and Occidental Petroleum Corporation, and over five years applying petroleum industry best practices of facies models and sequence stratigraphy to groundwater remediation. Dr. Shultz holds a BS in Geology from Purdue University and a PhD in Geology from Stanford University.
California licensed Professional Geologist (PG) with over 30 years of environmental experience, serves as the ESS Practice lead with Burns & McDonnell, Brea, CA. He holds a MS degree in geology from University of California, Davis and a BS degree in geology from University of the Pacific. He began his professional career in the petroleum industry, and pioneered the application of sequence stratigraphy to groundwater projects.
Senior Stratigrapher and Geomorphologist with Burns & McDonnell in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mr. Plank’s education and career have focused on a process based understanding of sedimentary systems, their morphology, and their stratigraphic preservation. In 15 years of consulting experience he has sought to relate his interpretations of the geologic sequences preserved in glacial, marine, terrestrial, and freshwater depositional environments to contaminant flow pathways and storage zones. Mr. Plank holds an MSc. in geology from the University of South Carolina and a BS degree in geology from Grand Valley State University, Michigan.
US EPA Region 9
John Lambie PE, PG, CWRE is a principal hydrogeologist with E-PUR, LLC, a water resource consultancy. John conducts water supply planning with an emphasis on groundwater and conjunctive water use options. He regularly applies his expertise in hydrogeologic modeling, wellfield exploration and design, and many other forms of quantitative analysis. John has experience in evaluating managed aquifer recharge options using surface waters to ensure water-supplies against quantity and quality risks.