Field Sampling Program at Urban Superfund Waterway
Newtown Creek is a four-mile tributary of the East River, intersecting the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. Its water and sediments are impacted by decades of heavy urban industrial use. As a Superfund Site, a consortium of potentially responsible parties (Newtown Creek Group) is conducting a multi-phase remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) under a US EPA administrative consent order.
GES was contracted by the project consultant to collect comprehensive field data via sediment, surface water, point source and in-river stormwater, groundwater, and biological tissue sampling along the Creek. Point source and surface water sampling activities were triggered by qualifying precipitation events. GES was required to mobilize teams of trained field technicians – up to 30 technicians per call-out – within 36 hours’ notice. Because the sampling was weather-dependent, mobilization callouts were frequently tentative at 12 or even three hours prior to an event. Sampling events were scheduled for early mornings and on weekends to avoid traffic issues in this congested urban setting.
A GES project coordinator worked with the Superfund project consultant to respond to event notices and effect the mobilization of GES environmental sampling professionals from across the region. As sampling needs changed with weather forecasts, extensive coordination was required to get the right crews and equipment to specific locations. The coordinator also managed reporting tasks and tracked critical health and safety factors in compliance with US EPA requirements.
The efficiencies of this approach proved beneficial to the project consultant, who identified GES as the primary project supplier of field staff after the initial sampling events. The comprehensive data set established by these sampling events is currently being analyzed to better understand toxicity and the effectiveness of potential remedial options.