Background Check: The Importance of Background Concentrations in Site Remediation with Peter Zawislanski. Peter Zawislanski is Principal Hydrogeologist and Vice President at Terraphase Engineering in Oakland, California. He has over 30 years of experience in site characterization and remediation, and technical expertise in hydrogeology, environmental geochemistry, and soil science. Prior to his career in environmental consulting, he directed a research group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, focusing on metals geochemistry. He holds a BS in Geological Sciences from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and an MS in Geology from the University of California, Berkeley.
The remediation of contaminated sites is a complex, multidisciplinary process. A fundamental requirement is the establishment of cleanup goals, which are typically developed from risk-based concentrations, intended to be protective of human and ecological receptors. However, site cleanup goals cannot be more stringent than background levels of contaminants. Background includes naturally occurring chemicals and industrial legacy contamination. Approaches for developing background concentrations, including data collection and statistical analysis, will be discussed. Several remediation case studies involving the development of background concentrations will be presented.