Using Conceptual Site Models (CSMs) to Add Even More Value to Remedial Investigations

Jan 13, 2014

CSM Sample Image

Conceptual Site Models (CSMs) are rapidly emerging as the preferred method for communicating complex site conditions, integrating large volumes of technical information, and identifying the risks and future needs of any contaminated site. Currently, CSMs are only required under Part 213 for Leaking Underground Storage Tank (UST) sites; however, Envirologic has recognized the added value of developing CSMs for nearly all of our remedial investigations.

Elements of a Conceptual Site Model
The basis for a CSM is outlined in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard Guide for Developing Conceptual Site Models for Contaminated Sites. Typically, the main component of a CSM is a generalized cross-section of the site that visually depicts the source(s) of contamination, contaminant transport mechanisms, and potential receptors.

Site conditions such as existing structures, property boundaries, source(s) of contamination, geologic materials, depth to groundwater, and the extent of contaminated media are among the most critical features identified on the idealized site figure. Additionally, the main risks associated with a contaminated site are communicated by identifying contaminant transport mechanisms and pathways by which contamination may reach current or future receptors.

Information that is difficult to visually display may be included in a written site narrative, which accompanies the site figure to provide additional explanation. Information such as the historical uses of the property, contaminants of concern, or potential future uses of the property may be included in the site narrative. Every CSM will be unique to the specific conditions of each release and site.

Facilitating Communication
The main goal of a Conceptual Site Models is to ensure that all parties involved in the cleanup or redevelopment process share a mutual understanding of site conditions and the risks posed by those site conditions. In particular, CSMs provide additional benefit for clients whose specialized knowledge is focused in other industries.

Conceptual Site Models are 'living documents' that continually evolve as we integrate new information into the scope of a project. For each stage of investigation, a CSM assembles large volumes of technical information in order to facilitate effective communication between clients and regulatory agencies. Whether meeting with a client, regulatory agency, or both, Conceptual Site Models serve as an outline for discussing the progress, risks, and future plans of any contaminated site.

Dean HazleMeet the Author Dean Hazle serves as a project geologist/scientist at Envirologic Technologies, Inc. In his role, Dean is responsible for field data collection, remedial feasibility testing, aquifer testing, and groundwater modeling. He also supervises drilling, analyzes data, prepares technical reports, and interacts with regulatory agencies and clients. Hazle graduated from Hope College in Holland, Michigan with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology with a minor in Environmental Science. He completed his Geology Field Camp study at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Connect with Dean on Linkedin!

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csm  conceptual site modeling  conceptual site models  site conditions  contaminated sites  remedial investigations

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