Pinnacle Engineering has assisted clients in several high-profile incidents where hazardous material cargo was released along or within surface water or wetland environments. Many of these incidents occurred along the Mississippi River, within designated refuge areas managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, resulting in use of Incident Command Systems (ICS) and significant involvement and oversight by multiple regulatory authorities.
Through these efforts, Pinnacle has developed a substantial depth of experience in designing and implementing sampling programs to monitor for specific constituents and general water quality parameters. This work has been performed in all types of weather and seasons, with samples collected and measurements taken in both open water and through cores in ice. These programs typically include:
- Negotiation with regulators to establish plan scope (frequency, arial coverage, and specific field and laboratory analytical parameters).
- Staffing and leading of field teams, using a variety of mobilization equipment (including all terrain equipment, small field boats, and GPS-enabled air boats with work platforms).
- Calibration and use standardization of field monitoring equipment to collect physical parameters (including water flow velocity and channel depth) and chemical parameters (including temperature, dissolved oxygen, oxygen/reduction potential, conductivity, and pH).
- Identification of site locations using handheld or boat-sourced GPS equipment.
- Coordination of daily lab pickup of samples, and performance of quality assurance/quality control review of both laboratory and field data.
- Updating of data tables and site figures with previous day’s data, and providing maps to client and regulators for daily site briefings.
The sampling programs have ranged from the collection of a few samples near an incident site to as many as 15 multipoint river transects as far as 85 miles downstream of the incident. Pinnacle’s comprehensive approach and technical knowledge have provided valuable, nearly real-time results to clients and regulators alike, providing critical information to the ICS process for decision making.