First Environment was retained by Sive Paget & Reisel to conduct a mass balance to determine the fate of a hazardous chemical in a food process that was more than 100 years old and used by the predecessor of a major food company to make baking powder. The lines of evidence developed from the mass balance helped demonstrate that the wastes produced from the baking powder process were not hazardous enabling the food company to demonstrate that it had a zero allocation for costs associated with the remediation of the Gowanus Canal site. For this project, First Environment reviewed and analyzed analytical and formulation documents detailing the chemical process used to make baking powder. By demonstrating that sulfuric acid was used up in the baking powder reaction, the waste from the reaction did not contain the acid and therefore was not hazardous and no remedial costs were needed to clean up the waste.
To develop the mass balance, First Environment independently researched chemical and food processing archives to determine the raw materials and reactions that were necessary to produce baking powder. We then produced a step by step accounting of the materials used in the reaction noting that sulfuric acid was a key reactant in the process and not just an acidifier as previously thought. First Environment found that the sulfuric acid disassociated itself in the reaction and was consumed by other reactants leaving none in the final product or waste. This enabled counsel to take an allocation position that its client was responsible for 0% of the cleanup costs.