At Haley & Aldrich, we recognize that our society’s environmental issues are always changing and therefore, we need to develop new tools and methods to address emerging issues. Through our Applied Research program, we’re proactively addressing future challenges by testing new ideas and solutions. Our research is resulting in new technologies and processes co-developed with our academic partners and technology suppliers that benefit our clients and industry, and most importantly, our environment. We are deploying these new technologies and processes in the field with our clients so they can ultimately achieve their goals more efficiently and effectively.
By collaborating with government agencies such as the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SERDP) and the (ESTCP) as well as university research centers including the Center for Bio-mediated and Bio-inspired Geotechnics (CBBG), our Applied Research experts solve problems, take risks, and generate creative solutions that minimize costs and shorten our clients’ project timelines. Industry and academia also benefit from the resulting innovation, which advances the state of the practice overall.
Learn more about our Applied Research program in the project descriptions and links below.
Recent project highlights
Aerobic cometabolic biodegradation of 1,4-dioxane
This ESTCP-funded project aims to demonstrate that recirculation-based aerobic cometabolic biodegradation (ACB) can be cost-effective for treating deep, large, dilute plumes, which are among the greatest challenges remaining for remediating Department of Defense (DoD) and associated industrial and manufacturing client sites contaminated by chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) and 1,4-dioxane. The small-footprint treatment technology will enable installation and save costs on sites with limited access, thereby minimizing the impact of groundwater cleanup on the community while restoring groundwater resources. Senior Associate, Environmental Engineer Min-Ying Jacob Chu, Ph.D., P.E., leads this project. Read more in the Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation article by Chu and Principal Consultant Peter Bennett.
Destruction of PFAS in concentrated waste streams
The overall objective of this project, funded by ESTCP, is to demonstrate a cost-effective and sustainable chemical reductive technology for the on-site destructive treatment of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in a concentrated waste stream. The technology can also degrade co-occurring chemicals such as chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs). The technology is primarily based on hydrated electrons generated in an ultraviolet (UV)/sulfite system. The project team includes Chu, John Xiong, Ph.D., P.E., Sarah Mass, MS, EIT, Darrin Costantini, and researchers at the University of California, Riverside. Read more about this project in our news release. This technology will be available to our clients who are or will potentially be facing PFAS remediation challenges and aims to destroy “forever chemicals,” thereby avoiding energy-intensive and costly incineration options, as well as long-term storage options like deep injection.
Dye-enhanced laser induced fluorescence probe for mapping DNAPL
Prior to this research funded by ESTCP, laser induced fluorescence (LIF) was not able to detect chlorinated solvent dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPL). Adrian Fure Ph.D., P.E., and Contaminated Site Management Service Leader Murray Einarson, P.G., C.E.G., C.H.G., developed a new dye-enhanced laser induced fluorescence (DyeLIF) tool in collaboration with Dakota Technologies that is now commercially available, providing for rapid, high-resolution subsurface mapping of chlorinated solvent DNAPL. Its use allows for the development of more effective and expedited removal of groundwater-contaminant sources, thereby shortening the time frame for aquifer restoration. Read more in Einarson’s Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation article.
Enhanced bioremediation with microbial chain elongation
CBBG and a Haley & Aldrich client are funding an on-site pilot study to treat groundwater impacted by trichloroethylene (TCE) using a process called microbial chain elongation (MCE). Through careful stepwise addition of food-grade substrates such as acetate and ethanol to the zone of impacted groundwater, the MCE process utilizes naturally occurring subsurface microbes to create larger organic compounds while also releasing hydrogen gas. A different group of naturally occurring microbes then uses the larger compounds and hydrogen gas to reduce TCE in the subsurface to environmentally benign end products. Laboratory studies on site soil and groundwater indicate MCE may also divert hydrogen away from unwanted microbial processes such as methane production. Chu and Bennett are the principal investigators for this project.
Improved control of substrate delivery with microbial inhibitors
Chu serves as the principal investigator for this CBBG-funded project, the overall objective of which is to demonstrate a novel method for controlling microbial processes in space and time for more effective and sustainable aquifer restoration with in-situ methods. We are currently conducting lab studies to see if inhibitors temporarily deter microbial growth and activity near a substrate injection point. This will allow for more uniform in situ treatment of contaminant plumes to expedite restoration of groundwater resources.
Optimized numerical models using environmental sequence stratigraphy
This project will develop and publish a practical guide for Department of Defense (DoD) contractors to evaluate and incorporate advanced geologic models into more efficient, accurate numerical models of groundwater flow and contaminant fate and transport, scaled appropriately for the purpose of the models. With a better understanding of subsurface conditions, remediation systems can be more effectively designed and implemented for more rapid restoration of groundwater resources. The project team includes Haley & Aldrich’s Einarson; Chu; J.P. Brandenburg, Ph.D.; several environmental software developers; and researchers from Clemson University.
Treatment of Cr VI using zero valent iron
Haley & Aldrich is partnering with Dr. Lambis Papelis’ New Mexico State University team, who are using iron-modified zeolites to develop an adsorption medium to treat groundwater contaminated by oxyanions of selenium and arsenic. The team’s batch and column sorption experiments have evaluated the efficiency of hexavalent chromium (Cr VI) removal under site groundwater conditions. Our principal investigators for this project are Chu and Mass. Since the bench-scale testing was successful, Haley & Aldrich is planning to implement a pilot test at a client site.