My personal philosophy is that the work I do should result in environmental sustainability, social sustainability and my client’s business sustainability. Without all three, continuing environmental improvement can’t be accomplished.
Over the decade of the 2010’s, I taught many thousands of regulators, consultants, owners and other stakeholders about science-based petroleum hydrocarbon LNAPL assessment and remediation guidance that I helped write and revise as part of teams organized by the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC).
I help our Oil & Gas clients by providing strategic direction for their contaminated soil and groundwater sites, advocating for that strategic direction by engaging regulators and other stakeholders in a science based dialog, and backing up the strategic direction with practical knowledge of how to evaluate and demonstrate remedial effectiveness.
My most rewarding Oil & Gas project was remediation of an 18-acre fuel release and the associated mile-and-a-half long MTBE plume that was cleaned up to MCLs in an expedited timeframe to meet regulatory orders and other stakeholder interests. Because of the high bar set for this project, remedy design, implementation, and performance were all carefully and thoroughly evaluated by a team of national and international experts. As a result, I gained in-depth knowledge, perspective and insight that has allowed me to both teach and bring to many other projects a clear-eyed, science-based approach to petroleum hydrocarbon remediation.
The thing I enjoy most about my job is providing the science-driven solution to client’s environmental challenges that balances reducing the business risk of environmental liabilities with clearly achievable remedial goals. At every site, the balance between the liability owner’s business drivers, regulatory framework, cleanup levels, and cleanup timeframe, as well as contaminant hydrogeology, is a unique combination of commonly used and innovative approaches.
My most important professional accomplishment is working on the ITRC LNAPL team to change how US States, and other countries, regulate cleanup of Oil & Gas sites so that they promote better results.
Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council
National Ground Water Association
Ahlers, R. Application of LNAPL Mass Flux and Natural Source Zone Depletion to Demonstrate LNAPL Body Stability. Fourth International Symposium on Bioremediation and Sustainable Environmental Technologies. Battelle. May 22-25, 2017.
Ahlers, R., M. Garbiero, B. Stanphill, and S. Martin. Cleanup of a 1.7-Acre Gasoline LNAPL Zone to California Drinking Water Standards in Three Years. Tenth International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds. Battelle. May 22–26, 2016.
Ahlers, R., S. Beadle, & S. Martin. TBA Persistence and Removal at a Large Oxygenate Plume: Conceptual Models and Practical Experience. Tenth International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds. Battelle. May 22–26, 2016.
Ahlers. R. Incorporating NSZD into the NAPL Management Strategy. The 26rd Annual International Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air, presented by the Association of Environmental Health & Sciences Foundation. March 18-21, 2016.
Ahlers, R., A. Etringer, N. Beresky. New Paradigms for NAPL Seeps and Sheens. EPRI 2015 Fall Environment Program Advisory and Sector Council Meetings. Baltimore, MD. October 5-8, 2015.
Ahlers, R., M. Garbiero, B. Stanphill, and S. Martin. Significance of Enhanced Aerobic Biodegradation for Accomplishing Aggressive BTEX, MTBE, and TBA Endpoints in a Large Gasoline Source Zone. Third International Symposium on Bioremediation and Sustainable Environmental Technologies. Battelle. May 18-21, 2015.
Ahlers, R. Is Ten Feet of Product a Problem? 23rd Annual International Conference on Soil, Water, Energy, and Air. AEHS Foundation. March 18-21, 2013.
I am an avid cyclist and enjoy riding everything from narrow trails to fire and gravel roads to smooth ribbons of asphalt.