Olin C. Braids, Ph.D.

Expertise: Hazardous Waste and Remediation Chemist

Professional Profile

Dr. Braids holds a Doctorate in soil chemistry and joined the ranks of environmental scientists over thirty years ago, just as soil chemistry was becoming recognized. As an environmental scientist, he has led a challenging career by taking a closer look at the impact of human activity and its effect on soil and groundwater. To do this he uses analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, soil chemistry, and microbiology for investigations, protocol development for sampling, sample preservation, and analytical result validation. He has collaborated with USEPA, state regulatory agencies, and municipal agencies in moving protocols toward uniformity and reproducibility.

Dr. Braids began his professional life as a post-doctoral fellow and Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign. There he conducted research on the distribution of amino sugars in deep soil profiles. Dr. Braids also investigated agricultural utilization of biosolids from municipal wastewater treatment plants. (The contributions of nutrient and trace-metal elements to soil and plants from the biosolids were measured to determine application rates that would avoid toxicity.) He also participated in a multi-disciplinary study of the behavior and of lead in the environment and has also taught graduate seminars and instrumental analysis courses.

In 1975, Dr. Braids joined Geraghty & Miller, Inc, as soil and groundwater resources were first being scrutinized in regards to potential contamination from anthropogenic activities. Chemical technology was starting to develop methods for sensitive detection of organic compounds that showed up in groundwater. At Geraghty & Miller, he helped design groundwater-monitoring programs for newly detectable chemicals. This also entailed the development of sampling and preservation protocols that could provide the closest representative sample as possible.

Representative Experience

Litigation Experience
Having established a reputation in the field of geochemistry in the early 1980's, Dr. Braids was called on for expert testimony in environmental litigation. Contamination damage to property and property values prompted litigation under toxic-tort law. The newly passed RCRA and CERCLA statutes resulted in litigation over compliance, cost recovery, and cost allocation. Dr. Braids has provided depositions and trial testimony in dozens of other cases dealing with toxic torts, RCRA, and CERCLA issues, including compliance with the National Contingency Plan and cost recovery allocation and apportionment.

Kingston Steel Drum/Ottati end Gross

         Retained by a PRP group in the first Superfund case that went to trial.                                

         Testimony concerned the fate and behavior of organic chemical contaminants in the groundwater on site.                                                                                                                                         

         The Issue was whether groundwater contaminant plumes on site were independent or commingled.

Anne Anderson el al. vs. W.R. Grace, Inc., at al.

         Retained by Beatrice Foods, Inc. regarding the environmental behavior of volatile organic contaminants in soil and groundwater.                                                                  

         Length of exposure and migration pathway of chemical contaminants detected on the Beatrice property were at issue.                                                                                                                

         The jury found Beatrice not liable.

Suffolk County New York vs. Mt. Hope Asphalt Co.

         Criminal environmental trial.

         Mt. Hope Asphalt Co., and its officers were accused of mishandling petroleum-contaminated soil, for which they had a burning permit.

         Dr. Braids testified that the contaminant concentrations in the soil, allegedly misplaced, were lower than any standards, and that the alleged threat to groundwater was negligible.

         All counts were dismissed


Co-editor: Biogeochemistry of Environmentally Important Trace Elements, Yong Cai and Olin C. Braids, Eds., ACS Symposium Series 835, American Chemical Society/Oxford University Press, 2003. The book focuses on As, Hg, and metalloids, Se, Pb, Sn.

Dr. Braids has authored or co-authored 23 refereed publications in the form of research.




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