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Case Study

Strategic Remedial Investigation in a Tidal Embayment

By Todd Martin, P.E., Principal, Engineering


Situated within the Hackensack River estuary, the Berry’s Creek Study Area (BCSA) has a long urban and industry history and associated legacy of contamination.  As a tidal embayment, the BCSA is a dynamic system consisting of approximately 800 acres of tidal creeks and marsh that provide habitat for a range of aquatic, avian, and terrestrial species.  Remediation in this setting is challenging due to the scale of the site and the dynamic characteristics of a tidal embayment and is complicated by the desire to preserve the habitat and storm-protective functions of the tidal marshes.


As part of a multidisciplinary team, Integral led a remedial investigation centered on understanding the processes influencing contaminant fate and transport, exposure, and bioaccumulation in the food web.  Our investigations developed multiple lines of evidence to validate key findings and included development of innovative techniques and tools tailored to the unique setting of the BCSA to study questions not readily addressed through conventional means.


Integral developed a detailed conceptual site model (CSM) which has served as the cornerstone for the feasibility study and remedy design. This work provided stakeholders with the confidence to select an adaptive management-based remedy that focuses on source control and maximizes the potential use of monitored natural recovery.  This approach provides the best opportunity to minimize the disturbance of the tidal marshes and has the potential to save hundreds of millions of dollars in remediation costs.  The CSM remains central to ongoing site activities, serving as the foundation for the remedial design and associated monitoring plan.

Key Contact

Mr. Todd Martin is a professional engineer and a hydrogeochemist.  He has 26 years of experience in the environmental field,... Full bio

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