Progress Edition

Freestone Environmental Services: Business grows from Hanford experience to the world

Janine Carter, a geologist on Freestone Environmental Services’ sensor technology team, works on a hexavalent chromium sensor.
Janine Carter, a geologist on Freestone Environmental Services’ sensor technology team, works on a hexavalent chromium sensor. Courtesy Freestone Environmental Services

The Tri-Cities is well situated to serve businesses operating on a global scale. The Columbia River flows through the heart of our community, connecting us to the Northwest, the ocean and distant shores.

Likewise, our natural resources, energy, food and commerce share this vital connection to the regional and global community.

For Freestone Environmental Services, Inc., having a base in the Tri-Cities and a role in Hanford cleanup has positioned us well for national, even global, opportunities and business growth.

We are an environmental consulting firm that provides services and solutions for cleaning up, protecting and managing the environment that sustains us all. We began by supporting Hanford and other clients nearby. Over time, we expanded our reach to clients in a broader region. Now, in our 19th year of operations, Freestone is embarking on international projects, helping clients address environmental challenges in other parts of the world.

Our services include regulatory planning and compliance, site investigation and remediation, waste management, natural resources management and technology development. We employ about 50 technical and support specialists. Our staff includes scientists and engineers in ecology, geology, chemistry, marine biology, environmental engineering and geostatistics.

Our staff includes scientists and engineers in ecology, geology, chemistry, marine biology, environmental engineering and geostatistics.

Our major clients include DOE Hanford contractors and federal agencies. For example, through a contract with the Army Corps of Engineers, we perform environmental assessments and invasive species surveys along the Snake River basin and Columbia River. Under a prime contract with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), we provide technical and consulting support for threats to coastal environments and the Great Lakes.

We perform this work in Seattle; Honolulu; Madison, Wis.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Oak Harbor, Ohio; Gloucester, Mass.; Silver Spring, Md.; and St. Petersburg, Fla.

Through another NOAA contract we provide management, conservation and protection of living marine resources in the Greater Pacific Region. Initial work is in Guam and American Samoa. Future locales might include Pago Pago, Saipan, the Northern Mariana Islands, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste.

Our Hanford experience has inspired us to develop an innovative sensor capable of real-time measurement and monitoring of hexavalent chromium while submerged in groundwater. Hexavalent chromium is present in Hanford groundwater and is a toxic and carcinogenic threat to drinking water supplies elsewhere in the U.S. and rapidly industrializing world.

Our Hanford experience has inspired us to develop an innovative sensor capable of real-time measurement and monitoring of hexavalent chromium while submerged in groundwater.

Through our own investment and prior support from a DOE Small Business Innovation Research grant, we are developing a sensor that can operate remotely and can instantaneously send data to sophisticated visualization software, providing actionable information to treatment system operators and environmental managers.

We have been able to grow our business and extend our geographic reach by leveraging our Hanford experience and the resources, business support, and workforce available in the Tri-Cities. We often team with other local technical service providers in pursuing contracts. We buy supplies and services locally. We especially appreciate the Tri-Cities businesses that specialize in serving science- and technology-based firms like Freestone.

In recruiting, we frequently find the experienced people we need right here in our community, which is distinguished by a workforce of professionals that can support complex environmental projects. We also hire recent graduates from universities around the country who are embarking upon their professional careers. They are attracted by the opportunity to help us solve the extraordinary technical challenges of Hanford cleanup.

Just as we benefit by all the Tri-Cities has to offer, we are doing our part to strengthen, diversify and grow the region’s economy. In the months ahead, we will seek a greater role in future DOE contract acquisitions at Hanford and beyond. We will work to expand our local and regional clientele. We will continue development of the next generation of scientists and engineers to complete Hanford’s cleanup. Finally, we will pursue contract opportunities through which we can export the services and expertise we have honed locally to tackle global environmental issues.

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