Airport Environmental Remediation Technical Services

Location: San Francisco

Client: San Francisco International Airport Tenant Group

Burns & McDonnell was selected by the tenant group at San Francisco International Airport to develop remedial goals for contaminants in soil and groundwater at the airport. The tenant group included major airlines, oil and pipeline companies, and rental car companies.

The airport underwent a $2.5 billion expansion project that significantly increased terminal space and passenger handling capacity. Environmental investigation and restoration were key elements of the construction planning and implementation process. Clear, objective and practical cleanup standards were needed to efficiently proceed with construction. The cleanup standards had to be protective of humans at and near the airport as well as sensitive ecological areas, including the adjacent San Francisco Bay.

Burns & McDonnell developed comprehensive remedial goals for all reported chemicals present at the airport. The goals were established through evaluation of multiple potential current and future exposure pathways by which human and environmental receptors might be affected.

Burns & McDonnell used a variety of unique and comprehensive modeling approaches to predict contaminant fate, transport and future concentration in environmental media. The Burns & McDonnell recommended goals were adopted by the California Regional Water Quality Control Board and promulgated as standards incorporated into an administrative order.

Our conceived and implemented holistic approach has been recognized throughout California as a model. This collective, cooperative approach was a first for California, a bellwether state for environmental regulation. The project saved a minimum of $100 million over traditional approaches to environmental cleanups. The airport expansion was not delayed by environmental concerns and litigation, because the cleanup standards developed by Burns & McDonnell and promulgated by the regulators were uncontested by the parties involved — a scenario virtually unheard of in the profession.