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Forensic Geochemical Age Dating and Environmental Litigation

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Course Code: EL0404CA19

Environmental Forensics Petroleum Contamination

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Date & Time

July 26, 2018
8:30am - 4:30pm (Check in time: 8:00am)


This one-day course offers a thorough examination of the science behind environmental forensics age dating of petroleum hydrocarbon contamination, as well as the legal applications of this science.

Petroleum Contamination Age Dating: Scientific Context

The morning session will review and summarize the geochemical work that forms the basis of petroleum product age dating. Students will learn about various approaches to the age dating of gasoline range and distillate range petroleum products, including how to evaluate the following factors for evidence of contamination:

  • Site History
  • Hydrology
  • Dendroecology
  • Isotopes
  • Presence of Selected Index Chemicals
  • Weathering Indices

The advantages and disadvantages of each approach will be discussed and evaluated, including issues of data reliability for various indicator chemicals in use today.

Petroleum Contamination Age Dating: In the Courtroom

In the afternoon session, an experienced environmental forensics trial attorney will discuss hydrocarbon age dating in the legal context, including:

  • The use and application of hydrocarbon age dating in environmental lawsuits
  • Legal roadblocks to the use of petroleum age-dating techniques
  • Serving as an expert in today's legal setting

At the end of the day, students will participate in a mock trial that will link the scientific information taught during the morning session with the legal processes covered in the afternoon. Students will be broken into two groups and asked to prepare testimony for an age dating assignment. One student from each side will serve as testifying witnesses. Through mock direct testimony and cross examination, students will learn how to structure an investigation to stand up in court.


Dr. Michael J. Wade is Principal Scientist of Wade Research, Inc.TM, a small business that provides geochemical forensic services to a variety of government agencies, industrial clients, and law firms. Dr. Wade is an internationally recognized organic geochemist with 40 years of post-doctoral experience and over 49 post-baccalaureate years of strong technical and project management experience in a variety of research programs with special emphasis on study of petroleum pollution in the environment. He regularly provides expert forensic services both through deposition process as well as court testimony in the areas of environmental contamination, including assessment of sources of contamination, identification of petroleum product types and age-dating of petroleum product releases.

Urs Broderick Furrer, Esq. is a Managing Partner at Harriton & Furrer, LLP. His practice focuses on the defense of claims for property damage and the recovery of cleanup costs associated with petroleum spills at service stations, terminals and pipelines, as well as counseling clients to assist them in reducing their environmental liability. It also focuses on the representation and counseling of corporate clients in franchisee disputes under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act and in all other aspects of the petroleum industry. He also counsels clients on reducing the environmental exposure associated with the operation of retail service stations and assists clients on various commercial matters. He has been a guest lecturer at several Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers Association of America (SIGMA) meetings and recently published an article in The New York Environmental Lawyer entitled Pre-Emptive Measures to Reduce Environmental Exposure.

Continuing Education Credits

In addition to 0.65 Rutgers CEUs, this environmental forensics training course has been approved for the following credits:

NJ Health Officers & Registered Environmental Health Specialists: Rutgers University, NJAES, Office of Continuing Professional Education has been approved by the New Jersey Department of Health as a provider of NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs). Participants who complete this education program will be awarded 6.0 NJ Public Health Continuing Education Contact Hours (CEs).

NJ LSRP CECs: 6 Technical

NJ Professional Engineers: 6 Continuing Professional Competency (CPC) credits

NJ Continuing Legal Education: 7.2 CLEs (Course No. 166)

PA/NY Continuing Legal Education: Pending

CT Licensed Environmental Professionals (LEPs): 6.0 CECs – Course No. CTLEP-465

MA Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professionals: 5.0 Technical (non-DEP) Credits – Course No. 1636 (Pick up a MA Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professionals Certification Form and complete on your own.)

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LSRPA Member Registration Fee


Special discount offered to LSRPA members only

Cancellation Fee



Substitutions are permitted. View cancellation policy.


Continental breakfast and deli buffet lunch will be provided to you at no additional cost.

NOTE: If you have any dietary restrictions or food allergies, please alert us at least one (1) week in advance of the course start date so that we can make reasonable accommodations. We cannot guarantee accommodations for special requests made after that time.


We strongly recommend that you use the directions we provide.

The Atrium, Sequoia - Room 120
300 Atrium Drive, Somerset, NJ 08873

Note: Pre-registration is required. We're sorry, but we cannot guarantee a seat, materials or meals for walk-in registrants. Location is subject to change; registrants will be notified in the event of a change.


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Program Questions? Contact Us!

Program Coordinator: Pamela Springard-Mayer, 848-932-7463

Attention U.S. Veterans

All of the courses offered by the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education are approved by the New Jersey State Approving Agency for Veterans Training for educational benefits through the GI Bill. For more information about the GI Bill, click here.