CAMBRIDGE, MASS. — CDM Smith announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent for a unique bioremediation process that treats subsurface contaminants with gas. The creators are Patrick J. Evans, Ph.D., CDM Smith vice president, and fellow inventor Karl Hopfensperger. The patented process was developed with funding from the Department of Defense Environmental Security Technology Certification Program.

U.S. Patent No. 8,550,750 B2 was awarded for the use of innovative gas mixtures that are injected into soil to degrade soil contaminants, such as perchlorate and nitrate, before they reach groundwater. The process provides more efficient penetration of deep and fine-grained soils than typically used water-based injection technologies, and it offers a less invasive alternative to excavation techniques.

“I’m proud of this patent and excited to contribute another tool to help people clean up the environment and protect drinking water supplies in a sustainable and economic way,” said Evans, who has 25 years of experience in environmental process engineering, chemistry and microbiology. “This accomplishment demonstrates the technical excellence of our company, our innovation and our commitment to developing new technologies that address pressing needs.”

With a high solubility in water, perchlorate — used to produce rocket fuel and present in some fertilizers — can travel long distances in groundwater and is expensive to treat in drinking water. Exposure to perchlorate is thought to have adverse health effects, specifically to the thyroid, which has led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulation it under the Safe Drinking Water Act. This new patented method benefits public health by preventing groundwater contamination earlier at the source, resulting in faster cleanup and decreased costs.