EXPERTISE

  • Sediment Remedial Investigation
  • Long-term Monitoring
  • Mercury and PCB-contaminated Aquatic Systems
  • Ecological Risk Assessment/Toxicology
  • Natural Resource Damage
  • Mercury Analytical and Speciation Techniques

  • Full Profile

    JR is an environmental toxicologist and mercury biogeochemist with 18 years of experience providing technical leadership for clients with an emphasis on mercury- and PCB-contaminated aquatic systems. JR has led work in the US, EU, Middle East, and Asia for clients in the chemical and mining industries. JR’s work experience includes the completion of baseline ecological risk assessments, design of statistically-based monitoring programs to monitor the effect of remediation and implementing technical/legal strategies at high profile sediment and upland sites under state, federal, and non-governmental oversight. He has lead work on a number of large high profile impacted waterways, including the South River, Columbia River, Anacostia River, Mohawk River and various sites within the Newark Bay complex. On upland sites, JR has used his understanding of mercury analytical and speciation techniques to focus areas of investigation and reduce remedial footprints. He presents in peer-reviewed journals and at national conferences and served as editor for peer-reviewed journals (ES&T, Environmental Pollution).

    EDUCATION

    • M.S., Environmental Toxicology, University of California – 2004
    • B.S., Wildlife Biology (Aquatic option), University of Montana – 1996

    PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

    • Society for Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC)
    • South River Science Team
    • Sediment Management Working Group (SMWG)

    CERTIFICATION & TRAINING

    • 40 Hour OSHA HAZWOPER
    • Certified Project Manager

    KEY EXPERIENCE

    Remedial Investigation – Sediment

    River-Wide Remedial Investigation, Washington D.C.

    Technical Lead

    Serving in strategic ecological risk and sediment expert role for parties identified in the District of Columbia’s Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study for the Anacostia River Sediment Project. Providing technical review and comment on District work products and representing client at meetings to discuss ecological risk assessment methods and findings. Developing alternative remedial strategies that incorporate monitored natural recovery and adaptive management.

    Former Pigment Manufacturing Facility, New York

    Project Manager/Technical Lead

    Led the remedial investigation of potential off-site migration of mercury and other COCs from a specialty chemicals facility into a tidal river in the Newark Bay Complex. Sample collection included collection of 40 sediment cores until refusal in a tidal system with numerous submerged hazards. Sampling timeframe was compressed due to litigation and RI report submitted on time to avoid direct agency oversight.

    Active Metal Smelter, British Columbia/Washington State

    Field Lead

    Led the field investigation of metals, organic compounds (pesticides, low-level PCB fingerprinting, PBDEs) and rare-earth elements in surface water, sediment and pore water over a 150-mile reach of the upper Columbia River in eastern Washington State and British Columbia, Canada to support a baseline human health and ecological risk assessment.

    Former Textile Manufacturing Facility, Virginia

    Technical Lead

    Completed a six-year comprehensive baseline monitoring of surface water, sediment, pore water, soil and biological tissue, including experiments to quantify exposure and effects to invertebrates, fish and piscivorous wildlife. Led the baseline ecological risk assessment of a 30-mile mercury-impacted segment of the South River and South Fork Shenandoah River in Virginia. Data were used to support the RI/FS and NRD processes.

    Former Metal Recycling Facility, New York

    Technical Lead

    Developed a CSM for a former metal recycling facility and wetland/river complex that illustrated that the downstream areas were receiving PCBs from other sources and that the PCB fingerprint of the river was not changing based on the position relative to the facility. Used Principal Components Analysis (PCA) to create PCB fingerprints for pure Aroclors, surface water, soil and sediment. The PCA loadings showed that PCB congeners from wastewater and upstream sources, and not site soils, were driving spatial differences. Results of the analysis prompted agency to amend consent order to exclude off-site aquatic habitat.

    Marine Terminal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

    Project Manager/Technical Lead

    Designed the remedial investigation of Yanbu Port Harbor, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Investigation used bulk sediment sampling and mineralogical analysis to identify sources of ore impacting sediment quality. Client was able to modify loading procedures and avoid remediation based on the results of sampling and demonstrations of spatially limited impact and lack of transport of mining materials.

    Former Explosives Manufacturing Facility, New Jersey

    Technical Lead

    Supported a baseline ecological risk assessment of a mercury- and metal-impacted 196-acre lake in New Jersey. Leading the design and implementation of the sediment, surface water and biological investigations within the project and reference areas. Past efforts on the site included chemical and biological evaluations to support the design of a 25-acre dredging project.

    Explosives Manufacturing Facility, New York

    Technical Lead

    Supported an ecological risk assessment for mercury- and metal-impacted soils, sediments, and surface water at an active explosives manufacturing facility. Used the sediment quality triad approach to evaluate potential impacts to benthic invertebrates; result of the SQT were used to set PRGs.

    Former Explosives Manufacturing Facility, New Jersey

    Technical Lead

    Supported a multi-phase ecological investigation of the Wanaque River in New Jersey. Project includes the design and implementation of investigations to assess potential impacts of mercury and other metals on aquatic ecological receptors.

    Inactive Mercury Mine Complex, Lake County, California

    Project Manager/Technical Lead

    Designed and implemented surface water and sediment investigation plan for wetland and creek system downstream of a mercury-mining complex in Northern California.

    Former Turbine Manufacturing and Testing Facility, Sweden

    Project Manager/Technical Lead

    Designed an investigation of potential impacts of mercury from a former turbine manufacturing facility to surface water, sediment and aquatic ecological receptors in a tributary to Lake Vänern, the largest lake in Sweden. Managed the design of a Remedial Action Plan to isolate and remove mercury, PAH and lead impacted soils and groundwater from the floodplain.

    Inactive Mercury Mine Complex, San Jose, California

    Project Manager/Technical Lead

    Project manager and technical lead on several tasks responding to a mercury TMDL in Cache Creek, CA. Designed a surface water sampling plan to measure mercury loading from the Guadalupe River in Northern CA. Sampling plan used depth-integrated surface water sampling during full storm hydrographs. Designed a categorization and ranking system for mercury-containing wastes on New Almaden Quicksilver State Park, a former mercury mine in the South San Francisco Bay Area. Ranking system used GIS data and imagery combined with field evaluation and analytical data to rank sources.

    Remedial Framework Design, Flanders (Belgium)

    Technical Lead

    Designed a risk-based framework for assessment of sediment contamination for the Public Waste Agency of Flanders (OVAM). Framework used tiered decision levels and multiple lines of evidence with relevant and proven lines of evidence given more weight.

    Former Chemical Manufacturing Facility, San Francisco Bay

    Technical Lead

    Designed invertebrate toxicology assessment of a lead- and organolead-containing sediment in an impoundment on a 380-acre former manufacturing facility along the San Francisco Bay Estuary.

    Applied Geochemistry

    Explosives Manufacturing Facility, New York

    Technical Lead

    Used site-specific chemical extraction data, geochemical principles and salient literature to support the selection of an industrial soil screening value based on inorganic mercury rather than elemental mercury on an explosives manufacturing site in Port Ewen, NY. The rationale was then cited by the regulatory agency to support their decision and reduced the potential area of soil excavation by a factor of four.

    Chemical Manufacturing Facility, New York

    Technical Lead

    Used chemical speciation data to isolate areas of elemental mercury to achieve an appropriate cleanup value and reduce the area of excavation on a former acetaldehyde manufacturing facility in Buffalo, NY.

    Former Chlor-Alkali Facility, Wales, UK

    Technical Lead

    Provided a geochemical review of groundwater modeling to develop safe soil levels for groundwater and downstream estuary protection at a former chlor-alkali facility in Cardiff, Wales UK.

    Former Chlor-Alkali Facility, California

    Technical Lead

    Provided an analysis of the effect of chloride and salinity gradients on mercury mobility in a groundwater plume at a former chlor-alkali facility to demonstrate that surface water targets would be met.

    Long Term Monitoring

    Former Textile Manufacturing Facility, Virginia

    Technical Lead

    Designed long-term monitoring plan for 90 miles of mercury-impacted river. Endpoints included human and ecological exposure to mercury in potential food items (fish and turtles), ecological endpoints (aquatic and terrestrial invertebrates) and a multi-component monitoring array of surface water, young of year fish and sediment sampling to measure system responses to remediation of point sources and non-point sources (soil and sediment).

    Former Explosives Manufacturing Facility, New Jersey

    Technical Lead

    Designed a tiered monitoring plan designed to measure system responses to mercury-impacted sediment removal from a lake. Goal of the LTM program is to cost-effectively conduct annual monitoring and a five-year review of data. Tiers of additional data are implemented following hypothesis testing and statistical analysis.

    Total Maximum Daily Load

    St. Louis River and Estuary

    Project Manager/Technical Lead

    Developed a bioaccumulation model to support the development of a TMDL for mercury and PCBs in the St. Louis River and estuary for the USEPA.

    Publications

    R. Flanders, G. Long, B. Reese, N. Grosso, W. Clements, and R. Stahl Jr. 2019. Assessment of Potential Mercury Toxicity to Native Invertebrates in a High-Gradient Stream. Integrated environmental assessment and management. Accepted for Publication.

    Yu, R. Flanders, J., Mack, EE, Turner, RR, Bilal Mirza, M., and T. Barkay. 2011. Contribution of Coexisting Sulfate and Iron Reducing Bacteria to Methylmercury Production in Freshwater River Sediments. Environ. Sci. Technol. 46(5): 2684–2691.

    Flanders JR, Turner RR, Morrison T, Jensen R, Pizzuto J, Skalak K, Stahl R. 2010. Distribution, behavior, and transport of inorganic and methylmercury in a high gradient stream. Applied Geochemistry 25: 1756–1769.

    Suchanek, TH, CA Eagles-Smith, D.G. Slotton, J Harner, AE Colwell, NL Anderson, LH Mullen, JR Flanders, DP Adam, and KJ Mcelroy.  2008.  Spatiotemporal Trends in Fish Mercury from a Mine-Dominated Ecosystem: Clear Lake, California.  Ecological Applications 80(s18): A177 – A195.

    Topping, BR, JS Kuwabara, MC Marvin-DiPasquale, JL Agee, LH Kieu, JR Flanders, F Parchaso, SW Hager, CB Lopez, and DP Krabbenhoft.  2004.  Sediment remobilization of mercury in south San Francisco Bay, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5196.

    Flanders, JR and FY Yildiz. 2004.  Biofilms as a Reservoir of Disease.  In Microbial Biofilms, Ghannoum and O’toole (eds.). ASM Press, Washington, D.C.

    Conaway, CH, E Watson, JR Flanders, and AR Flegal 2004. Assessing Historic Mercury Concentrations in Sediments, San Francisco Bay Estuary.  Marine Chemistry 90 (1-4): 175-184.

    Suchanek, TH, PJ Richerson, JR Flanders, DC Nelson and LH Mullen.  2000.  Monitoring Inter-Annual Variability Reveals Sources of Hg Contamination in Clear Lake, CA. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 64 (1): 299-310.