(Certified Best Practice by BMPCOE)
United Defense, L.P., Ground Systems Division - Santa Clara, CA
Since 1985, internal research and development investments at GSD have focused on improving the communication between analyst and client in environmental clean-ups.
In the past, much of this analysis was done using tabular data and then visualized on typical two-dimensional plots and overhead slides. Regulators often applied default clean-up levels which were often overly conservative and costly. The regulators did not have the time and expertise to absorb the tremendous amount of information from computer modeling and risk assessment for site-specific proposals.
Building on its experience using computer modeling and
three-dimensional visualization for vehicle analysis, GSD has developed an
interactive three-dimensional color graphics software called VIS3D, to
integrate analysis with the environmental clean-up cycle (Figure 4-6).
The VIS3D software allows GSD to display and animate field data and/or modeling results in three dimensions. Realistic three-dimensional models of buildings, wells, roadways, and aquifers can be displayed to orient the analyst within the site. Animations of pollutant flows (plumes) can predict the spread of pollutants over long periods of time. Simulation models clearly illustrate the spread of pollutants over time taking into consideration rainfall and movements of underlying aquifers. This information can be viewed interactively on a computer terminal or be videotaped for viewing by GSD staff, government regulators, or court jurors. It gives the audience a three-dimensional visual understanding of what is happening at a given site. VIS3D can interactively cut, slice, and rotate the site for a better understanding of particular areas of a site. It can also calculate impacted soil volumes and perform threshold analyses to determine concentrations of contaminants through the site. Such information is valuable as input data to cost prediction statistical models.
GSD's VIS3D package has been used to provide analytical services for many environmental clean-up clients.
These tools and services serve to: guide site investigations by improving pollution characterization and minimizing boreholes guide remedial design through the development of more realistic remediations tailored to the site negotiation of clean-up specifics with agencies and the public through understandable models which clarify ambiguities and alleviate regulator and public concerns and use in litigation in place of charts to illustrate the nature of the pollution and clean-up problems to non-technical personnel.
GSD is continuing to develop this modeling technology through strategic alliances and Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with two western national laboratories.