James Jacobs P.G., C.H.G., C.P.G., C.Pet.G., ToR QSP/QSD, ToR QISP has 35 years of experience as a field operations and remediation scientist solving geologic, environmental exposure and forensic problems.  He received his undergraduate degree in geology and English from Franklin & Marshall College (1978) and his MA in geology (1981) from the University of Texas at Austin. He worked on the North Slope of Alaska on exploration wells and onshore in California evaluating oil and gas prospects for two oil companies.  He returned to California to focus on environmental science and hydrogeology in 1989, and co-founded an environmental consulting company a year later.  He has supervised a team of earth scientists and engineers on a variety of environmental and geological projects. Since 1990, he has also developed methods and worked extensively on and written widely about the assessment and remediation of soil and groundwater impacted by petroleum hydrocarbons, chlorinated solvents such as PCE, and metals.  During this time, he co-wrote four technical books.  In 2003, he received the first of four Fulbright Senior Scholar awards to teach soil and groundwater assessment and remediation methods, and risk-based environmental decision making.  He has been working on sewer-related issues since 2002.  His current research connects his remediation expertise and sewer experience in evaluating potential for vapor migration of methane and other volatile compounds into sewer systems and possible exposure pathways into homes and offices.


He has been called as an expert witness on hundreds of cases.  He has performed various other technical projects related to remediation feasibility testing and peer review evaluation. He is the qualifying individual for the California contractor license (#799370) in general engineering, drilling, building, hazardous waste removal, and asbestos removal.  He has supervised dozens of underground storage tank removal projects. He strongly believes in student mentoring, and since 2011, has been the AIPG California Section Sponsor for the University of California at Davis AIPG Student Section and enjoys teaching undergraduate and graduate students as well as professionals.   



He has developed and edited/co-authored four books on environmental subjects: MTBE (2000; CRC Press), Chromium(VI) (2005; CRC Press) and most recently, Acid Mine Drainage, Rock Drainage and Acid Sulfate Soils (2014; Wiley and Sons), and Oil Spills and Gas Leaks (2014; McGraw-Hill).  He has co-authored over 100 technical articles on water treatment and environmental issues and has given over 50 technical presentations with abstracts.   


Fulbright Scholar  

He won four Fulbright Senior Specialist awards in environmental engineering and science teaching post-graduate workshops in risk-based subsurface environmental management and sustainable remediation methods, including field sampling methods, laboratory analysis, data evaluation and reporting.  The Fulbright grants were for University of West Indies (Mona Campus), Jamaica (2003 and 2004); Afeka Engineering College, Israel (2008), and SRTM University, India (2012).  


Sewer Collection Agency Director and Wastewater
Plant Commissioner:  As a public policy specialist and an elected public official, Mr. Jacobs has also been
involved with storm-water and wastewater issues and treatment at two local sewer plants. Since 2002, he has served on the Board of Directors of the Tamalpais Community Services District (, the local sewer, refuse and recycling agency serving 2,500 homes. He has been an elected Commissioner of the Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin (SASM) since 2002, and was president (2009-2011) of the wastewater agency that operates the treatment facility in Mill Valley, California. He has promoted and supported sustainable environmental practices within the TCSD, a certified green business which now offers residents recycling of electronic waste, fluorescent bulbs, medicines, batteries, paper and cardboard. By 2009, 1 million less pounds of waste were processed by TCSD, than in 2006.  In 2013, TCSD won the Marin County Green Business of the Year award due to the successful recycling efforts and reduction in wastes shipped to the local landfills.


Education: Degrees

M.A. Geology, University of Texas, Austin, Texas, August 1981 

B.A.Geology, English, Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania, June 1978 


Selected Post Graduate Classes

Fundamentals of Groundwater Hydrology, University of California, Berkeley Extension, 1985

Environmental Law, Rice University Extension, Houston, Texas; 1989 ​

Groundwater and Soil Remediation, University of California, Berkeley Extension, 1993 
Intro, Contaminant Transport in Groundwater, University of California, Berkeley Extension, 1994 
Ecological Risk Assessment for a Sustainable Environment, University of Massachusetts, 2010 
Assessment Design/Professional Experience Panel, University of California, Berkeley Extension, 2010 

Academic Awards

1981: R.K. DeFord Field Scholarship Award; University of Texas at Austin 

2003: Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Univ. of West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica; February – March; 

2004: Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Univ. of West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica; March – April; 

2008: Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, Afeka Engineering College, Tel Aviv, Israel; March – April; 

2007–2011: Selected and Served on Fulbright Peer Review Committee; CIES

2012: Fulbright Senior Scholar Award, SRTM University, Nanded, India; January – February

 2016: Virtual Fellow, U.S. Department of State, Cabo Verde’s Road Map to 100 Percent Renewable Energy

Professional Awards

1999–2004: Elected to the Board of Directors, Groundwater Resources Association of California
1996–1998; 2009–2010: Elected President of San Francisco Branch, Groundwater Resources Association
1998: Groundwater Resources Association; President's Tribute Certificate
2000: Elected National Advisory Board, American Institute of Professional Geologists
2001: American Institute of Professional Geologists, National Presidential Certificate of Merit
2004: California Council of Geosciences (CCGO) “Gold Award”
2005–2016: Selected for Advisory Board, Association for Environmental Health and Sciences (AEHS)

2010: American Institute of Professional Geologists, Presidential Certificate of Merit 

2011: American Institute of Professional Geologists: Honorary Membership Award
2013: American Institute of Professional Geologists: Elected AIPG National Vice President
2015: American Institute of Professional Geologists: Martin Van Couvering Memorial Award

2016: National Groundwater Association: Fellow

Public Service as a Publicly Elected Official

2002–2017: Director; Tamalpais Community Svcs. District; President or Vice President (2004-2012)

2002–2017: Director; Sewerage Agency of Southern Marin; President or Vice Pres. (2008-2011)

2002-2009:  Representative; Sausalito-Marin City Sanitation District; TCSD Representative


Selected Classes and Workshops Taught    

Jacobs designed and taught the Sustainable Remediation Methods for Soils and Water (X-451) for the University of California, Berkeley Extension program for Spring 2011 and Fall 2011.  He also taught a risk-based environmental decision making workshop at the Technical University of Munich, Germany in 2011.  Jacobs has taught other environmental workshops and graduate classes focused on sustainable environmental practices, recycling, and practical remediation efforts as part of the Fulbright grant program. He has also taught workshops at national meetings, including: 


Two Phase Extraction Methods, Application for Groundwater and Soil Remediation. A four hour Workshop presentation given by Mehmet Pehlivan, James Jacobs and others presented at the American Institute of Professional Geologists, 2009 National Meeting, Grand Junction, Colorado; Association for the Environment, Health and Sciences, 2008, National Meeting, San Diego, California; Association for the Environment, Health and Sciences, 2010, National Mtg., San Diego, California; and Battelle Chlorinated Solvent Conference, 2008, Monterey, California.


Registrations / Licenses / Certifications
Registered/Licensed Professional Geologist: California #4815; Alaska #A227, Arizona #39066, Idaho #693, Oregon #G-1147, Pennsylvania: # 1152G, Texas #Geo11552, Wyoming: #PG-2328, Washington #1815 

Certified Hydrogeologist: California #0088, Washington #1815  

Certified Professional Geologist, American Institute of Professional Geologists, # 7760  

Certified Petroleum Geologist, American Association of Petroleum Geologists, #6231 

Registered Asbestos Inspector: AHERA Accredited; OLA Registration # 0000450  

Responsible Managing Officer: License #624461: General Engineering Contractor,  Certified for Asbestos Abatement, Hazardous Materials Removal, C-57 Well Drilling.  

California Commercial Driver License: C with Hazmat Endorsement  

California Qualified Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) Developer (QSD) and Preparer (QSP); Certificate #21430; Trainer of Record (ToR)

California Qualified Industrial Stormwater Practitioner (QISP); Certificate #00617


Peer Review

Jacobs has served as a peer reviewer for several organizations and one agency.  He served from 2007 to 2011 on the Fulbright Peer Review Committee, screening potential Fulbright scholars in the environmental sciences field.  From 2005 to 2010, he served on the National Screening Committee for the American Institute of Professional Geologists for candidates applying for the Certified Professional Geologist designation.  In October 2011, Jacobs performed a peer review requested by the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board for the University of California Regents of the 2007 Pacific Gas aend Electric (PG&E) Hinkley Site California Chromium Background Study Report. The Cr(VI) contamination at the Hinkley site was at the center of the Erin Brockovich movie.


Professional History

1990-present; Principal Hydrogeologist; Clearwater Group and Environmental Bio-Systems, Inc.  Supervised up to two dozen employees on over a thousand soil vapor, soil, and groundwater assessment and remediation projects.  Projects have been located in California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Montana, Texas, Colorado, Pennsylvania.


1989-1990 Project Geologist, Harding & Lawson Associates (now AMEC), Novato, California.  Environmental projects in California and Arizona.


1986-1989 Senior Oil Geologist, Petrofina Delaware (now Total S.A.), Houston, Texas.  Review oil prospects and farm-in opportunities in California.


1981-1985 Exploration Geologist, SOHIO Petroleum, San Francisco, California and Anchorage, Alaska.  Perform well site operations and generate prospects on the North Slope of Alaska.


1979-1981 Consulting Hydrogeologist, Institute of Applied Sciences, North Texas State University, Denton, Texas.  Developed successful (80% success rate) for an archeological site exploratory model based on geomorphology.


Professional Affiliations/Societies

·  Groundwater Resources Association of California: Member, 1994-2016; Director 8 years, President of San Francisco Branch for 5 years

·  American Institute of Professional Geologists: Certified Professional Geologist (CPG #7760); Member: 1989-2017, National Advisory Board 2000, National Vice President 2013, President/Officer, California Section 1994-2014, University of California at Davis AIPG Student Section Sponsor/Mentor 2010-2014

·  National Water Well Association: Member 1989-2017

·  American Assoc. of Petroleum Geologists: Member 1979-2017, Certified Petroleum Geologist #6231

·  Association for the Environment, Health and Sciences (AEHS): Member, Scientific Advisory Board: 2005-2017

·  ASTM International: Member; Rock, Soil and Water Sampling Standards Group; 2014-2017

·  Forensic Expert Witness Association; Certified Member 2014-2017

·  CORE Environmental Foundation; Co-founder; 2009-2011

·  California Council of Geoscience Organizations; since 1998. President 2001-2002, 2009-2010, 2012-2017

·  ECON Magazine - Editorial Advisory Board, 1994 to 1996  

Selected Projects
​Oil and Gas Field Environmental Projects– Performed Phase I Environmental Assessments at oil and gas production facilities.  The environmental work was associated with site restoration, property transfer back to the land owners, bank refinancing and environmental regulatory responses to site conditions.  Site remediation occurred on several sites.  Cost estimates were prepared for settlement purposes.  Assessment and remediation of hydrocarbons at hundreds of sites was designed and implemented over the past twenty years.   

Site Remediation and Closure – Project Manager of dozens of underground tank removal projects. After the initial assessment, dozens of soil and groundwater remediation projects in California were performed for properties impacted with petroleum hydrocarbons or chlorinated solvents. Many of these projects were closed using in-situ remediation methods. Some of these projects used risked based corrective action (RBCA) models or risk assessment data showing limited exposures. From this approach, dozens of sites were closed.  

Bioremediation of Contaminated Soils-Project manager for bioremediation of approximately 800 cubic yards of hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. Original diesel contamination exceeded 8,000 parts per million. After two months the levels of diesel in the soil were below 350 parts per million. On-site treatment lowered the disposal costs by allowing for Class III landfill disposal rates instead of Class II rates.  

Bioremediation of Diesel and Gasoline Contaminated Aquifer – Developed above ground treatment equipment and supervised the installation of treatment equipment for a aerobic bioremediation treatment system for a rental car agency at the San Francisco International Airport. The treatment was part of a regulatory driven requirement on the site. Treatment of the groundwater was performed so that the treated effluent was disposed directly into the sanitary sewer. 

​In-Situ Chemical Oxidation of Diesel Free-Product – Directed the contracting portion of the project to inject hydrogen peroxide and acetic acid at high concentrations to remove diesel free-product near a well in Oakland, California. After the treatment event, the free product was reduced from 5 cm to 0 cm.  Phase II Subsurface Investigations-Program director and project manager responsible for dozens of Phase II subsurface investigations of commercial, agricultural, industrial and residential properties. The projects involve preparing work plans, supervising the drilling of borings and installation of Geoprobe® borings and monitoring wells, well development and sampling and report preparation.  

Soil Remediation-San Francisco, California-Directed removal of underground storage tanks beneath the sidewalk and undercutting a major street in the city. Subsequent remediation was required by the regulators and was designed and performed using a three-foot diameter bucket auger rig to drill out the contaminated areas adjacent to the street and over a BART tunnel. The bucket auger holes were filled immediately after being drilled with a light neat cement grout. Supervised all field activities. The client was a contractor.

Underground Storage Tank Removal and Soil Remediation-Permitted and supervised two 2,000 gallon underground storage tanks containing diesel and gasoline. After the tanks were removed, 20,000 gallons of highly contaminated water containing free product was removed from the former tank area. Soil remediation was performed by over-excavation of approximately 500 cubic yards. Reports were submitted and site closure is pending. The project from start to completion was less than two weeks. The client was a major bank.  

Water Procurement - As a publicly elected official and President of the local services district board, Jacobs oversaw the purchase of irrigation water for local park facilities.  Water rates at various use tiers were examined and Jacobs led the board discussion to select a favorable long-term rate schedule for irrigating the landscaping at area parks.  

Water Treatment Planning – Working with the board, and the two sewer plants, Mr. Jacobs participated on the board evaluation and discussion in the negotiation of a long-term (10 year) contract with one of the treatment plants at favorable rates. Part of the agreement included a successful financing of the required improvements.  
Pipeline Improvement Projects and Financing – As the president of the board of directors of the Tamalpais Community Service District, Jacobs worked with the general manager and board to prioritize the sewer repair projects on the 28-mile sewer transportation network in the district. The district and the nearby treatment plants include several pump stations and other aging facilities. Mr. Jacobs reviewed several financing options for the projects, and led the board to approve the rate hikes. Later, a $3,000,000 loan at 4.5 % interest was obtained to pay for the project, allowing for a more gradual increase in the sewer rates for ratepayers. 

Regulatory Guidelines for Water Treatment – As a Fulbright award winner, Mr. Jacobs taught at the University of the West Indies in Kingston, teaching a graduate class in Environmental Engineering. In addition, he taught workshops related to establishing water treatment goals in Jamaica. Participants included regulatory officials, environmental consultants, students, petroleum company employees and others. Mr. Jacobs also organized for others to participate in the teaching of the materials. Continued  training is proposed for upcoming workshops in Jamaica. 

In-Situ Chemical Geofixation of Chromium (VI) – Directed and performed the contracting portion of the project to inject calcium polysulfide for chromium (VI) at a former wood treating plant in northern California. The chromated copper arsenic (CCA) chemicals found on-site included the arsenic (V) oxide, chromium (VI) oxide and copper (II) oxide used in the wood treating process. The CCA wood was used in the construction of cooling towers. Calcium polysulfide was used as the reducing agent, which successfully lowered the chromium (VI) concentration at the site over a period of 18 months.  

In-Situ Perchlorate Study – Developed with the client, a field pilot study program for a rocket fuel burn test site in Hollister, California. The project was designed to inject water into the shallow vadose zone at high pressure to solubilize the perchlorate and to pump it out. The lithology at the site was clay. Groundwater was shallow (10-15 feet below ground surface). The water was injected using a high-pressure pump system connected to specialized rods driven into the ground by direct push rigs. Results indicated that although the approach was reasonable, at this site, the clays were too tight to allow for significant desorption of the perchlorate from the clay matrix.  

Wetlands Sampling Project-Developed sampling plan for a wetlands sampling project and designed tooling and applications for a limited access, continuous core drilling program in a tidal wetlands. The samples included 5 soil samples to a maximum of 18 feet below ground surface and into peats and the Bay Mud to evaluate the presence of metal in the contaminated soils. 

Aquifer Mapping and Potentially Responsible Party Study-Task manager for Preferred Pathways study over a two square mile industrial area at a Federal Superfund Site in Santa Clara, California.  Designed the aquifer mapping study using thousands of groundwater monitoring wells and soil boring reports to define underground channel systems. The information was used to facilitate installation of remedial measures. In conjunction with the Preferred Pathways Study, a Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) study was designed and performed in the area. After evaluating over 400 businesses, a ranking system was developed. The results from the project allowed the client to try to recover some of the costs of remediation.  

Environmental Impact Report-Designed and wrote the geology and hydrogeology sections of an environmental impact report for a proposed hazardous waste incineration facility in the San Francisco Bay Area. The client was a municipality.  

Geological Feasibility Study - King City, California-Performed a geological feasibility study and a natural hazard assessment for an 800-acre university site. Project included compilation of historic aerial photographs, geologic and historic maps, soil surveys and previous engineering and architectural studies. The client was a private university.  

​Subsurface Drilling Programs - Supervised subsurface exploration drilling programs including interpretation and evaluation of data for vertical and lateral extent of contamination for hydrocarbons, volatile organic compounds and metals contamination at various sites. Designed and supervised the use of proprietary drilling tools for limited access drilling activities under canopies, in buildings, and in salt marshes. The clients include numerous consultants in the San Francisco Bay Area.  ​​ 

More Information

Additional information can be obtained by calling James A. Jacobs at 510-590-1098 or email to  

About: James A. Jacobs


Resource Geologist/Environmental Scientist

RESOURCE Geologist / Environmental SCIENTIST

James A. Jacobs, P.G., C.H.G.

James A. Jacobs, P.G., C.H.G.


cell: 510-590-1098

Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved

James A. Jacobs, P.G., C.H.G.


cell: 510-590-1098

Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved