After incorporating custom computer coding from David Winchell, WSP senior engineer, Ricker, Goist and Winchell received two additional patents in 2019 for algorithms that Winchell helped develop.
Ricker and Goist had already received a patent for one of the tools in 2016. And since WSP acquired EarthCon, the trio have focused on marketing the Groundwater Plume Analytics® tools externally and within WSP.
“At WSP, we’re meeting with teams all over the world—Canada, the U.S., Brazil, Australia, several European countries—and they’re bringing it to their clients,” Ricker said.
While the tools haven’t yet been applied to groundwater contaminated with polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), Ricker and his colleagues anticipate deploying it soon.
“We think WSP is well positioned to apply the tools to PFAS,” Goist said. “When we receive PFAS data sets and run them through our analytics, we’re going to learn things that are probably unknown currently.”
Accelerating remediation is the ultimate goal. For the Canadian community, Ricker and his team in WSP’s Memphis office will update their analysis routinely and refine their conceptual site model to assess whether the remediation is meeting the environmental regulator’s timeline.
“One of the gratifying parts of using these tools is helping clients and regulators better allocate money spent on remediation,” Goist said. “We have seen many sites with energy-intensive remedial approaches that, while cleaning groundwater, they are doing it using energy-intensive methods to do so.”
“With our tools, we have found that many of these sites can actually clean up quicker under natural conditions,” Ricker added. “I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but the tools demonstrate that reality. This allows stakeholders to then apply those dollars saved to other sites that are experiencing much more robust problems.”
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