Best Practices for Environmental Site Management: A Practical Guide for Applying Environmental Sequence Stratigraphy to Improve Conceptual Side Models

Tuesday, December 4, 2018: 2:50 p.m.
N109 (Las Vegas Convention Center)
Rick Cramer, PG , Burns & McDonnell, Brea, CA

The purpose of this issue paper is to provide 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. Application of the principles and methods presented in this
issue paper will improve Conceptual Site Models (CSM) and provide a basis for understanding stratigraphic flux and associated contaminant transport. This is fundamental to designing monitoring programs as well as selecting and implementing remedies at contaminated groundwater sites. EPA recommends re-evaluating the CSM while completing the site characterization and whenever new data are collected. Updating the CSM can be a critical component of a 5 year review or a remedy optimization effort.

These methods are applicable to sites underlain by clastic sedimentary aquifers (e.g., intermixed gravels/sands/silts/clays). The scientific principles and methods presented in this document bring clarity to the challenges posed by lithologic heterogeneity thereby facilitating successful site management strategies. Lithologic heterogeneities can be characterized by the use of high resolution site characterization (HRSC) techniques ( The application of sequence stratigraphy can be applied to new site investigations as well as existing site data to update the Conceptual Site Model (CSM). These methods allow the practitioner to place environmental subsurface data in a geologic and hydrogeologic context, and predict the geology where subsurface data are absent.

Rick Cramer, PG, Burns & McDonnell, Brea, CA
Mr. Cramer is the Environmental Technologies Manager at Burns & McDonnell in their Brea, CA office. He has more than 30 years experience in the environmental field with a focus on developing geology-based groundwater Conceptual Site Models (CSMs) for complex sites to successfully design and implement remediation strategies. He began his career in the petroleum industry and pioneered the application of sequence stratigraphy to groundwater remediation projects in the early 1990s. He later developed the practice of Environmental Sequence Stratigraphy (or ESS), a geology-based groundwater remediation method that is now the standard for the Air Force Civil Engineer Center (AFCEC) for developing CSMs and is considered an emerging best practice by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). Mr. Cramer is a California licensed Professional Geologist (PG) and holds a MS degree in geology from University of California, Davis and a BS degree in geology from University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA.