Thomas E Imbrigiotta

Thomas E. Imbrigiotta is a Scientist Emeritus Hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.  He has worked for the USGS since 1977 in the Indiana and New Jersey Water Science Centers primarily on projects involving investigation of groundwater contamination and evaluation of groundwater sampling devices. 


Thomas E. Imbrigiotta's research interests have included examining the geochemical effects of bioaugmentation on groundwater along flow paths in fractured rock, measuring chemical diffusion rates from fractured rock matrices into boreholes in the field, sampling and extracting rock core to determine VOC contaminant horizons in fractured rock aquifers, developing and validating a regenerated-cellulose dialysis membrane passive diffusion sampler for use in sampling for VOCs, inorganics, perchlorate, and explosive compounds in groundwater wells, evaluating and comparing groundwater sampling devices for recovery of organic compounds, and quantifying natural attenuation and enhanced bioremediation processes in contaminant plumes.  He has served the NJWSC as a Water Quality Specialist, a Supervisory Hydrologist, and a Research Hydrologist. Tom earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, in 1975 and master’s in water chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin in 1982. 



M.S.    Water Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, 1982

B.S.     Chemistry, with Concentration in Environmental Studies, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan, 1975


Professional Experience:

2016-2019      Research Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, New Jersey Water Science Center

2014-2016      Water Quality Specialist, U.S. Geological Survey, New Jersey Water Science Center

2009-2014      Supervisory Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, New Jersey Water Science Center

1984-2009      Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, New Jersey Water Science Center

1977-1984      Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey, Indiana Water Science Center

1975-1977      Research Assistant, University of Wisconsin, Water Chemistry Program


Professional Activities:

Interstate Technology and Research Council, PFAS Team 2017-2019

Interstate Technology and Research Council, Passive Sampler Team 2002-2010

National Ground Water Association 1986-present

Association of Ground Water Scientists and Engineers 1986-present

American Chemical Society 1974-1990 1999-2008

American Geophysical Union 1990-2008

American Society for Testing and Materials 1986-1988

Indiana Water Resources Association 1980-1984,

            Secretary of organization 1982-1984


Professional Awards and Honors:

USGS Award for submitting a patent application for the RCDM diffusion sampler - 2005 

Letter of Commendation from Assistant Chief Hydrologist for work in developing a course on ground-water sampling for organics - 1987.

Award from Regional Hydrologist for work in developing, organizing, and giving four presentations of a course on ground-water sampling for organics - 1990

Outstanding performance award - 1992

Excellent performance award - 1986-1991, 1993-95


Professional Experience:

2016 to 2019: Research hydrologist and project chief of the NAWC Navy project at the former Naval Air Warfare Center in West Trenton, NJ. Conducted research for the Toxics Substances Hydrology Program and a SERDP project at the former NAWC fractured rock research site. Helped develop and test a downhole packer tool and uphole closed-loop sampling device to measure diffusion rates from the contaminated rock matrix and biodegradation rates in the borehole. Wrote the USGS Techniques and Methods Report for the use of Passive Samplers in Groundwater Wells.

2014 to 2016: Water Quality Specialist for the NJWSC. Reviewed surface water and groundwater quality data collected for network stations across NJ. Advised projects on water-quality technical issues. Organized semi-annual project reviews.

2009 to 2014: Supervisory Hydrologist of the Hydrologic Research Program section in the NJWSC.  Section included projects ranging from state-funded surface-water flow reconstruction to determine safe yields, an extension of StreamStats to low flow data, the creation of flood innundation maps for selected areas of NJ, programming to create new tools for the NJDEP water use database, investigations of both the toxicity of chemicals in the bottom sediments and the nutrient flux from the bottom sediments of Barnegat Bay, the development of a screening tool to determine the cleanup priority of landfills in the Pinelands Naitonal Reserve, the development of the nationally-funded WaterSmart water census database, the national update of SWUDS and AWUDS water use databases, a study of the fate and transport of pesticides and fungicides in the unsaturated zone and shallow groundwater funded by the Toxics Substances Hydrology Progam, and a SERDP-funded investigation of the use of bioaugmentation in a fractured rock aquifer contaminated with chlorinated solvents.    

2005 to 2019: Research hydrologist on an interdisciplinary study of the fate and transport of chlorinated solvents in a fractured-rock aquifer. The work is being conducted at the Naval Air Warfare Center in West Trenton, NJ, the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program’s national research site for chlorinated solvents in fractured rock.  Personal areas of research have included: (1) evaluating the vertical differences in the geochemistry of groundwater using a multi-level packer system, (2) determining groundwater flow paths and travel times between well pairs using bromide tracer tests, (3) evaluating the contaminant chemistry of the primary porosity of rock aquifer to determine its importance as a continuing source of chlorinated VOCs to the aquifer system, (4) evaluating the geochemical changes caused by a bioaugmentation injection along a flow path in the fractured rock aquifer, (5) comparing the effectiveness of pump-and-treat, natural attenuation, and bioaugmentation as remediation techniques in fractured rock aquifers, (6) calculating the diffusion rates for VOCs from the primary porosity of the rock.

2003 to 2008: Project chief of an ESTCP-funded study developing a regenerated cellulose dialysis membrane (RCDM) diffusion sampler for use in sampling groundwater in wells. Demonstration and validation of the RCDM sampler has been done through laboratory equilibration studies and field comparisons to low-flow purging, high-flow purging, and polyethylene diffusion bag samplers at a number of sites with different geologic and chemical conditions. Graphical methods and non-parametric statistics were used to determine if significant differences in recovered concentrations were found between sampling methods. The RCDM samplers have been shown to work for a wide range of chemical constituents including, VOCs, major cations and anions, trace metals, DOC, sulfide, methane, perchlorate, and explosive compounds.

1997 to 2005: Senior hydrologist on several projects studying natural attenuation mechanisms in groundwater systems contaminated with VOCs. (1) Conducted an assessment of groundwater quality and natural attenuation potential for the bedrock aquifer underlying the Naval Air Warfare Center, West Trenton, NJ. Determined the areal and vertical extent of trichloroethylene (TCE) contamination, its breakdown products, and the dominant terminal electron accepting processes occurring at the site. Defined areas where natural biodegradation of TCE was occurring at a sufficient rate to be potentially useful as a remediation process. (2) Conducted an assessment of groundwater quality and natural attenuation potential for the coastal plain aquifer underlying the BOMARC missile facility, McGuire AFB, Wrightstown, NJ. Determined the areal and vertical extent of TCE contamination, its breakdown products, and the dominant terminal electron accepting processes occurring at the site. Determined the mass of TCE discharging to the stream from the TCE plume. 

1988 to 1997: Project chief and coordinator of an interdisciplinary research study of the fate and transport of chlorinated solvents in an unconfined sand-and-gravel aquifer. The work was conducted at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, which was the USGS Toxic Substances Hydrology Program's national research site for chlorinated solvent contamination research in unconsolidated aquifers. Research topics included (1) determination of anaerobic biodegradation rates of TCE and its breakdown products in the aquifer, (2) determination of advective and diffusive fluxes of TCE from the groundwater into the unsaturated-zone soil gas, (3) determination of the desorption rates of TCE from contaminated aquifer sediments, and (4) development of a modified solute-transport model to simulate the simultaneous transport of multiple chemical species and reaction between these species. Personal area of research involved evaluating the geochemistry of the aquifer sediments to determine the importance of sorption/desorption on the transport and fate of TCE in the system.  

1984 to 1988: Project chief of a project evaluating methods for sampling organics in ground water. Compared commercially available groundwater sampling devices to determine which were best to use to obtain representative samples for VOCs from wells. Analysis of variance statistical techniques were used to determine the significance of differences between sampling techniques. Studied the factors affecting well purging to obtain a representative groundwater sample. Evaluated several experimental downhole sampling devices to determine if they provided a significant advantage over conventional well sampling devices in sampling for VOCs.

1977 to 1984: Project chief of various projects in Indiana evaluating groundwater quality. Conducted a regional groundwater study that evaluated groundwater flow and water-quality of northwest Elkhart County and determined the extent of groundwater contamination around a landfill and an industrial park. Conducted a regional assessment of the water-quality of the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in northwest Indianaand investigated the groundwater chemistry of a wetlands area within the national lakeshore. Conducted a regional assessment of groundwater quality of the outwash aquifer surrounding the White River in Johnson and Morgan Counties, Indiana.