Richard F. Carbonaro, Ph.D.

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Senior Environmental Engineer

Experience Summary

Dr. Richard F. Carbonaro has worked as an environmental engineer for over fifteen years, specializing in the fate and transport of contaminants in soil, groundwater and sediments.  Rich consults on a wide range of environmental engineering topics, including remediation of heavy metals, water quality, contaminant fate and transport, groundwater geochemistry, hazardous waste remediation, and environmental forensics.

Dr. Carbonaro has a Ph.D. from the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, where he studied the sources, sinks, and speciation of chromium in heterogeneous media. He has developed numerical models for modeling chromium fate and transport in groundwater during in-situ remediation, and has worked on numerous chromium contaminated sites (see specific project experience below).  He has published several peer-reviewed papers on transformations of chromium and other trace metals in aquatic systems and has been a presenter or co-author on over 60 presentations at technical conferences.

Prior to joining Mutch Associates, Dr. Carbonaro was a member of the full time faculty of Manhattan College for 9 years.  While at Manhattan College, Dr. Carbonaro managed several federally-funded research projects related to water quality monitoring of urban pollutants, transport modeling of metals in sediments, modeling of metals in lakes for toxicity assessments, and partitioning of metals onto organic carbon.  He has taught courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in water chemistry, drinking water treatment, fate and transport modeling of environmental contaminants, and environmental statistics.  He currently holds the position of part-time Research Associate Professor at Manhattan College.

Professional History

Consulting Engineering

Mutch Associates, LLC
Senior Environmental Engineer
2009 to present

HydroQual, Inc.
Environmental Engineer
2006 – 2009


Manhattan College,
Research Associate Professor
2012 to present

Associate Professor
2010 to 2012

Assistant Professor
2004 – 2010

Honors and Awards

  • Outstanding Teacher Award –
    in Environmental Engineering, Manhattan College, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012, 2013
  • Gordon Research Conferences, Environmental Sciences: Water –
    Best Poster Award, 2002
  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency –
    Science to Achieve Results (STAR) Fellowship, 2000
  • Vincent P. Olivieri Environmental Engineering Fellowship –
    the Johns Hopkins University, 1999
  • Wesley Eckenfelder Graduate Award in Environmental Engineering –
    Manhattan College, 1999

Specific Project Experience

Reactive Transport Modeling:
Evaluation of Remedial Alternatives for a Hexavalent Chromium Plume Using Custom Reactive Transport Modeling

Custom reactive transport FORTRAN code was developed for modeling chromium transformations within RT3D (Reactive Multispecies Transport in 3-Dimensional Groundwater Systems). The model was used to perform simulations to evaluate the effectiveness of various alternatives for in-situ additions of chemical reductants including calcium polysulfide. In addition, the RT3D model was used to model the results of bench-scale column testing of reductant addition and to evaluate the performance of in situ chemical reduction of hexavalent chromium “push-pull” and permeable reactive barrier technologies.

Reactive Transport Modeling of Degradation of Chlorinated Solvents using Catalyzed Hydrogen Peroxide (CHP)

Custom reactive transport FORTRAN code was developed for modeling the interaction of CHP with a PCE/TCE dissolved plume. Modeling was performed using RT3D (Reactive Multispecies Transport in 3-Dimensional Groundwater Systems). The model was used to perform simulations to evaluate the effectiveness of treatment and clean-up times for the site.

Development of a “Unit World” Lake Model for Modeling Metals Fate and Transport

This work involved development of numerical algorithms and software package for the TICKET-UWM platform for modeling metals fate and transport in the environment. The publicly available model ( is being used to support metals classifications under REACH in the European Union.

Sediment Remediation and Assessment of Contamination:
Assessment and Allocation of Sediment Contamination from a PRP located on Berry’s Creek (NJ) Superfund Site

An assessment of metals and VOC contamination was performed for a PRP involved in the Berry’s Creek Superfund site. Historical loadings of metals from the PRP discharge were compared to total metals present in surficial sediments at Berry’s Creek. This information was used to assess the appropriateness of the PRP’s cost allocation for the remedial investigation of the site.

Geochemical Analysis of Sediment from the Gowanus Canal (NY) Superfund Site for use in Source Identification

A review of sediment geochemical data was performed for the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site. The purpose of the review was to determine the suitability of sediment geochemical data for use in source identification of PAHs and other COCs at the site. The review revealed that the geochemical and statistical data analysis techniques performed by the opposition’s consultant were not appropriate and fundamentally flawed. The client used this information to argue that the opposition’s claims based on the use of this data were without scientific merit.

Remediation of Contaminated Soil and Groundwater:
Groundwater Sparging with CO2 of a Plume of Caustic Brine to Achieve Reduction in pH in Brunswick, GA

This site was characterized with a subsurface plume of high pH and high total dissolved solids from historical operations of a mercury cell facility. The resulting plume contained high pH (approximately 12), high total dissolved solids and dissolved metals such as mercury, arsenic and chromium. As part of this work, a “proof of concept” test was performed to evaluate the effectiveness of sparging the plume with carbon dioxide to lower pH and metals concentrations. The test was successful, resulting in implementation of this technology for the entire 13 acre site.

Remediation of Hexavalent Chromium in Soils in Jersey City, NJ

Treatability studies were designed for soils collected from this site using a variation of the ASTM dynamic column leaching test protocols. Soils were leached for up to 3 months using clean groundwater from the site. Column effluents were monitored for hexavalent chromium and other key water quality parameters to determine time-scales for flushing. Additional leach testing was performed using groundwater dosed with a chemical reductant to determine its effectiveness for in-situ remediation. This information was vital for the selection and design of remedial alternatives for the site.

Remediation of Arsenic in Gypsum and Fly-Ash Waste Beds at a Chemical-Processing Facility in Amhurstburg, Ontario, CA

Design of a monitoring program to assess speciation of arsenic in groundwater and solid waste material. This work involved the development of source code in VBA for modeling chemical diffusion through porous fractured rock matrices. The resulting matrix diffusion model was used to model arsenic diffusion through fractured rock at this site.

Bench Scale Leaching and Treatability Studies:
Column Leaching Study for Soil Collected from a Hexavalent Chromium Containing Site

The purpose of this study was to determine (i) the leaching characteristics of Cr(VI) from contaminated soil samples using kinetic leaching tests and (ii) elucidate possible Cr(VI) mineral and/or chemical mechanisms that may be responsible for Cr(VI) retention in the soil. The tests utilized a modification of the ASTM Test Method D 4874 (Standard Test Method for Leaching Solid Material in a Column Apparatus).

Batch Study Investigating Chromium Transformations During pH Adjustment of Raffinate Waste Stream

This study examine chromium speciation and redox transformations during adjustment of a raffinate waste stream (pH ~ 0) to near-neutral pH. Caustic soda and hydrated lime were used separately and in small increments to raise the pH. Redox and pH were monitored through the titration and chromium speciation was assessed prior to and after the titrations were complete. These results were used successfully to satisfy the regulatory agencies concern over hexavalent chromium formation during pH adjustment.

Environmental Forensics:
Chemical Fingerprinting of Chemical Contaminants in Groundwater Originating from Landfill Leachate at the Pennsauken NJ MSW landfill

This project utilized new methods for determining whether chemical contaminants present in groundwater originate from landfill, septic systems or other sources. These methods rely upon the measurement of bromide and iodide which are usually minor constituents in groundwater. Their abundance relative to major ions such as sodium and chloride can be diagnostic of different origins of groundwater.

Chemical Fingerprinting and Intermedia Transport Modeling, Industrial Plant, Illinois

Conducted a forensics analysis of a plume containing vinyl chloride, 1,1-DCE, and other constituents using stable isotopes of H, O, and N; and major and minor ions to demonstrate that the plume could not have impacted residential wells in a nearby village. Use of air emission diffusion models to estimate volatilization losses of vinyl chloride from groundwater through the vadose zone.

Fate, Transport and Speciation of Arsenic in Contaminated Soils at the Auburn Rd. Landfill, NH

This project utilized chemical fingerprinting tools and geochemical measurements to identify sources of arsenic contamination downgradient of the Auburn Rd. Landfill.