Service Environmental Engineering Inc.
Michigan environmental consultants and regulatory compliance company.
Veteran Owned and Operated
The Cost of Global Warming to 2050
The United States has suffered billions of dollars of damage losses related to the rise in temperature that have exacerbated heat waves, wildfires, droughts, torrential rainfall, floods, sea level rise and possibly has affected the polar vortex (remember Texas this past winter).
The cost to the world economy by 2050 has been recently estimated to be 23 trillion dollars if the average temperature rises 30 percent above two degrees Celcius. The two degree level is the goal that countries agreed to with the 2015 Paris Accord.
Swiss Re, one of the world's largest insurance companies, has made this projection if we do ot make the neccessary reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. This is one of their conservative estimates. A worst case scenario suggests a 60 percent temperature increase.
The economy of wealthy nations would suffer a 6 t0 10 percent reduction in economic output. At the other end of the spectrum many Southeast Asia countries would have approximately 30 percent less wealth at the less projected increase in average temperatures for not implementing reduction in greenhouse gases.
Update (April 2021) on PFAs and PFOA Investigations and Regulations by Rosa Gwinn, representative AECOM, at a Regenesis Seminar.
Ms. Gwinn, representing a large construction company, discussed the status of World regulations, US regulations and what may happen in the future. She reminded us of the many uses of PFAs and PFOA including Teflon, defense and consumer products, forming foam and related fire-fighting products. The EU evidently has been regulating these substances since the 198Os and they are somewhat restrictive. There are hot spots everywhere in the world but there has not been sufficient testing to determine the full extent of the problem. US remediation costs have estimated to be $80 billion excluding litigation and health issues. Australia and Nordic countries are moving more rapidly and while there has been and ebb and flow on regulations in the U.S. Some states has no regulations on these contaminates. Michigan is drafting regulations. The EPA advisory is 0.07 ppb. The CDC government exposure report shows PFAs in blood serum overall has dropped considerably. The speaker wrote that the standards are fairly consistent but it does not look like they are being implemented evenly from my point of few. There will be additional drinking water limits. MCls for PFAS and PFOA are expected within 18 months. Watch for alternate short chains and toxicology of 75 PFAs. Italy and parts of Germany are looking at 14 different compounds while Norway is looking at one compound. Michigan is looking at seven. Typical action is restricting use, inventory and assessment and develop action plans etc. There is an increase in the presence of short chain PFAs. There is an increase attention to destructive technologies and off-site disposal options.
The audio of this update is available with Regenesis.
The Pandemic and some of the Environmental Effects - Positive and Negative
Besides all of the terrible health and economic effects because of the pandemic there have been a range of general environmental trends that have resulted, some positive and many negative.
Greenhouse gas emissions have dropped several billion tons or seven percent of the total last year because of less economic activity and less transportation etc. Yet this is a drop in the bucket as compared to what is necessary to negate climate change probabilities over the long run (Emissions trap heat). But the associated reduction on industrial air particles that reflect sunlight back into space allows for more heating of the earth’s surface. (Conversely the lower amount of particles in our air has reduced breathing problems for millions of people.) The pandemic has allowed several species of turtles lay their eggs on beaches that often over run with tourists. Dunongs, marine mammals, are seen more often and whales can apparently hear each other with the reduced noise from lower boat traffic, cruise ships and helicopters flying over.
Unfortunately because of worsening of conditions, as the global economy has contracted in the range of 3 to 4 percent but more in some parts of the world, there has been increased poaching, illegal fishing and logging with the significance varying from region to region. There has been a surge in trafficking of leopards, tigers, rhinoceros horns and falcons and the capturing monkeys, antelopes other animals for meat. Further there has been 12 percent increase in burning of primary forests for farming and other reasons. These trends are likely to continue especially in undeveloped countries for an uncertain period of time because of the inadequate health care and economic strife.
Source: NY Times and the World Resources Institute
Enbridge Line 5: Time is Short
Time is running out for Enbridge Line 5, but the Canadian company says it will not comply with Governor Whitmer's order to shut down operations. Enbridge has until May 1st to stop using the underwater pipeline, which carries 23 million gallons of oil and natural gas daily.
In dispute is the 4 mile section of Enbridges' Lakehead Pipeline, which runs under the Straits of Mackinac. Enbridge was granted an easement in 1953, to facilitate oil delivery from Western Canada to Ontario and the US, principly areas in Michigan and the surrounding states of Ohio, Wisconsin, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Up to 65% of the upper Pennisula's energy needs are met by Enbridge, including home heating and other propane usage.
In November, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel file a lawsuit on behalf of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, against Enbridge. This is in addition to the lawsuit filed in 2019, seeking to shut down the pipline. Whitmer and many environmental groups hold that Enbridge has violated the terms of agreement by not maintaining a sufficient safety protocol, which was to include maintaining a multilayered coating on the dual pipes to prevent corrosion, and physical supports every 75 feet. Under the heavy shipping line, which connects Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, the pipes are in danger of damage from boat anchors. An accident with a 6 ton anchor occured in April of 2018, denting the pipeline, and ripping apart electrical cables.
Enbridge defends the safety of the pipline, which was reviewed by the Pipeline and Hazardous Safety Administration (PHMSA), and found to be fit for service. A project is currently underway to replace Line 5 with new pipe buried in the bedrock under the waterway. This may take several years to compete, and in the meantime, Enbridge has expressed their committment to providing for the energy of much of the Midwest region.
Frederick E. Simms Ph.D has these additional thoughts to add. There are many pros and cons with regards to this pipeline that are discussed in several assessment reports. In a Dec. 4 letter to Whitmer, Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the shutdown of Line 5 "would threaten over 1,000 unionized jobs in Michigan and Ohio and result in a shortfall in regional fuel supply."
Yet one wonders about this as Enbridge has other alternatives including pipelines that go around the margins of the Great Lakes and do not cross them. Enbridge has completed a study of the alternatives but it is not clear that they included using a pipeline around the southern shores of the Great Lakes.
Parkinson's Disease and the Exposure to Toxic Volatile Chemicals
We humans affect our environment and our environment affects us through various pathways. Examples of pathway exposures to our bodies are through drinking water, direct contact (dermal), and indoor and outdoor air inhalation.
We inhale approxiamtely 400 cubic feet of air a day so our exposure to what is in the air can easily affect us and somewhere between 19 and 25 million of our citizens suffer from asthma related to natural and human causes. And related to this significant pathway, the Department of Environment Great Lake and Energy (EGLE) of Michigan is empahasizing that closure of sites with significant environtal conditions must include the air pathway evaluation and the have updated directives and recommendations several times in recent years.
There is significant evidence that increases ub Parkinson's is related to the increases in exposure to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as tricholoroethylene. Studies on twins indicate that environmental factors are more significant than genetic factors. These compounds and others are used in a variety of ways in the work environment and males who more often work with these substances often have a forty percent greater chance of developing Parkinson's than women. My thesis advisor developed the disease in his early sixties. He had used volatile chemicals in his research. Luckily, I was not exposed to many of those chemicals. Also these chemicals are found beyond the workplace. They are not uncommon in drinking water and because they evaporate quickly they can enter homes through the air and are not always easily detected.
The signifigance of the problem is described in a recent book entitled "Ending Parkinson's Disease" by several neurologists, including Doctors Ray Dorsey, Michael S Okun and Basiaan R. Bloem. "Over the past 25 years", the authors wrote, " the prevalence rates of Parkinson's, adjusted for age, increased 22 percent for the world, by 30 percent in India and by 116 percent for China."
In 25 years through 2015 the people affected has grown from 2.6 million to 6.3 million humans and is expected to grow to 12.9 million individuals by 2040.
So it is important that the State of Michigan through their various departments such as EGLE continue to monitor and make recommendations to minimize exposure of VOCs to our citizens.
There were six pilot-scale studies for the in-situ treatment of PFAS in ground water by Rick McGregor published in Remediation 2020;30:39-50. Six different PFAS contaminates were in the ground water in signifigant amounts. They were injection treated for 18 months with sodium persulfate, peroxide, powdered activated carbon, colloidal activated carbon, ion-exchanged resin and biochar each in differnet trials. The four later substances cleaned up the ground water to below detectable limits. The colloidal activated carbon was better distributed. Possibly the persulfate and peroxide did not work because the PFAS compounds are resistant to chemical decomposition.
How Clean is Your Drinking Water?
Here in Michigan, known as the Great Lake State, surrounded by freshwater lakes, we can sometimes take for granted that we will always have plenty of clean drinking water available. Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area, with lakes Huron and Michigan coming in fourth and fifth.
But as the citizens of many local communities are learning, being surrounded by inland waters does not guarantee access to potable water. The problem of lead in residential tap water was big news when it was discovered in Flint, Michigan more than 5 years ago. Since then, thousands of other cities across the country are finding unacceptable levels of contaminents in their drinking water.
Stricter state requirements enacted this previous summer have raised concerns about lead levels in several Michigan areas. The Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, has set the maximum acceptable level for lead in drinking water at 15 micrograms per liter. Accurate testing is key, and since much of the contamination can be picked up after leaving the water treatment facility, testing needs to be done at the tap, particularly in older homes which may have lead pipes. The EPA has put together a fact sheet, "Is There Lead in My Drinking Water?".
Having your water tested is the best way to ensure your drinking water is safe. Check with your county health department or click here for a list of licensed labs. When preparing for the testing, be sure to follow all directions carefully, as failure to do so may result in inaccurate results.
Although no amount of lead is concidered completely safe, there are steps you can take to minimize your family's exposure.
- 1. Always use COLD water for cooking and drinking. Hot water picks up more lead.
- 2. Run the water till you have cleared what has been sitting in your pipes. You can usually do this by waiting until you feel a drop in temperature in the running water.
- 3. Check and clean or replace your faucet screen on a regular basis.
- 4. Obtain a water filtration unit to use with all water for drinking and cooking. Some communities are providing these free of charge. If you do have to purchase your own, make sure it is certified by the NSF International to remove lead.
The Sensitive Air Inhalation Pathway to Our Bodies
For our heart to get enough oxygen, we take in approximately 20,000 gallons of air a day that goes into our lungs that require a surface area that is about the size of a tennis court. As such, our body easily absorbs anything in that air beyond the normal components and there are many volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can be absorbed via the air in the suburban and urban environment.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lake and Energy (EGLE) has identified at least thirty-one (31) chemicals that are in the ground or ground water near a wide variety of buildings that should be evaluated if there is a reason to do so. The first step includes determining the levels of contaminates by measuring the amount of the constituents occurring below the floor of buildings and comparing them to the Media-Specific Volatilization to Indoor Air Interim Action Screening Levels. Other actions may then be necessary.
Here is a recent example of why this is exceedingly critical. Trichloroethylene (TCE) is used by as many as 80% of the nations drycleaners as well as thousands of factories and other facilities. Nearly 178,000 workers are potentially exposed to this volatile chemical. In Franklin, Indiana, decades ago TCE was used at a factory that discharged wastewater into a municipal sewer. After finding the volatile chemical in some nearby homes, the outdoor air tests showed levels of TCE at 250 times the State safety levels. The EPA then found a ground water plume of the chemical beyond the site toward nearby homes. In Jennifer Clark’s house, tests showed TCE at more than 18 times federal limits below the basement floor. Her daughter, Chelsea, had acute lymphobastic leukemia when she was twelve years old, but fortunately she has recovered. Additionally, two other girls in the same apartment building about a mile away from the toxic site developed cancer and related problems, one of which has since passed away. Another young swimmer in the area also passed away from brain cancer in 2014 (one note: there has been little research linking childhood cancers to TCE, according to one expert)and research needs to be performed.
Vapors can find their way through several routes, such as TCE and other similar solvents traveling long distances in ground water.
Source for the example is the New York Times 1/3/2019
River Raisin PFAS and the most PFAS sites in the United States occur in Michigan
According to Scott Dean, an EGLE spokesperson, the state is retesting drinking water in several Southeast Michigan communities this week. That's after a recent test in the River Raisin watershed found extremely high levels of PFAS. This was at the intake area at the Deerfield water filtration plant. This could affect several small towns along the River Raisin.
As of June 2019, Michigan has 192 sites where there is contamination with Perfluoroalkyls (PFAS). High levels of certain PFAS may increase cholesterol levels, decrease how well the body responds to vaccines, increase the risk of thyroid disease, decrease fertility in women, increase the risk of serious conditions such as high blood pressure or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women and lower birth weights and other possible effects.
PFAS have been used in a wide variety of products for several decades. They were used in a variety of household products such as nonstick products, polishes, waxes, paints cleaning products, cosmetics, shoes, carpet, fabric and as coating for paper and cardboard packaging. They occur in some fire-fighting foams. In manufacturing they are use in chrome plating, electronics products and oil recovery. The two most common PFAS chemicals used in the U.S. were perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS). Most companies, at least in the U.S., have stopped producing these two chemicals.
PFAS can be found in air, soil and water. Exposure to PFAS can happen usually from eating food such as fish or drinking water from private water wells that has some of these chemicals. There can also be exposure in the air or indoor dust and in some home products. As these chemicals can occur breast milk infants can be exposed.
A note – PFAS cannot be boiled out of your water but you can treat and filter your water to lower the PFAS concentration.
Maps of locations of many sites of contamination can be on several websites including www.ewg.org.
The Environmental Protection Agency has set the acceptable levels of PFOA and PFOs at 70 parts per trillion. You can learn more at https://www.epa.gov/ground-water-and drinking-water/drinking-water-health-advisories-pfoa-and-pfos. You can call CDC-INFO at 1-800-232-4636.
A Recent SEE Assessment - An Environmental Transaction Screen for a Professsional Office Building
Recently Service Enviromental performed an Environmental Transaction Screen of a four-story office building located in the Southeast Michigan urban area. (See the photograph of the building.) A bank required this assessment for a property transaction. This Environmental Transaction Screen was prepared to provide an indenpendent, professional opinion of the possible presence of Potential Environmental Concerns (PECS) or other possible concerns associated with the site property. This type of report is not recommended to be the only source of due diligence performed by the bank of the site property. In this particular case there had been a previous environmental assessment a few years ago that showed that there was no environmental concerns. Additionally, the usage of the building as a medical office condo had not significantly changed since the last report and the usage of the surrounding properties in the area consists of medical buildings, a bank, and light commercial businesses. The assessment was performed in two weeks and the bank was satisfied with the report.
Federal Environmental Rules Changed or in the Process of Change during 2017-2018
The completed or possible changes in Federal rules cover 21 rollbacks in air pollution and emissions, 16 rollbacks in drilling and extraction activities, 12 rollbacks in infrastructure and planning activities, 9 rollbacks with regards to animals, 6 rollbacks for toxic substances and safety, 6 rollbacks for water pollution and 8 roll backs for miscellaneous topics.
The air pollution and emission issues completed include reporting oil and gas methane emissions, methane emissions on public lands, limiting toxic emissions, use of hydrofluorocarbons, tracking tail pipe emissions, how refineries monitor pollution, calculation the social cost of carbon, greenhouse gas emissions in environmental reviews and power plant pollution permitting programs.
The air pollution and emission issues in process and being reviewed include fuel economy standards, the Paris Climate Agreement, the Clean Power Plan, new coal power plants to capture carbon, mercury emissions from power plants, carbon dioxide emissions from new, modified, and reconstructed power plants, emission rules for power plant start-ups, shutdowns and malfunctions, methane leaks at oil and gas facilities, methane emissions from landfills, air pollution in national parks and wilderness areas, state plans for reducing air pollution in national parks, leak repair, maintenance and reporting requirements for large refrigeration and air-condition systems.
The drilling and extraction rules that have been completed include new coal leases on public land, royalties for oil, gas and coal leases on federal lands, the borders of two national monuments, ocean, coastal and the Great Lakes, fracking on Federal and Indian Lands, no rule that mines prove they could pay to clean up future pollution, no rule that Gulf oil rig owners prove they could cover the costs, Dakota Access pipeline, environmental reviews of pipelines, seismic air guns for gas and oil exploration in the Atlantic Ocean.
The drilling and extraction rules and revisions that are in process are those related to offshore oil and gas drilling include drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, oil and gas drilling in national parks, oil well control and blowout prevention systems, shrinking three marine protected areas and offshore oil and gas exploration by floating vessels in the Arctic.
The infrastructure and planning rules changes that have been completed include flood standards for federal infrastructure projects, the environmental review process for federal infrastructure projects, impacts on water, wildlife, land and other natural resources, “climate resilience” in the northern Bering Sea, the federal government’s greenhouse gases emissions, public land use planning process, climate change in managing natural resources in national parks, restrict Interior Department studies, climate change and conservation polices, harm from oil and gas activity on sensitive landscapes and environmental review processes for small wireless infrastructure projects.
The infrastructure and planning rule in process relates to the environmental review process for forest restoration projects.
The rules rollbacks with regards to animals are the use of lead ammunition and fishing tackle, hunting of predators in Alaskan wildlife refuges, using bait with grizzly bears, endangered marine mammals and sea turtles caught by fishing nets, fishing regulations, protecting migratory birds, using parts of migratory birds in handicrafts.
In process are rules related to animals concerning the Endangered Species Act and habitat protection for sage grouse.
Toxic substances and safety regulations have been completed concerning assessments for potentially toxic substances, breaking system upgrades for “high hazard” trains and copper filter cake removed from the hazardous waste list.
A federal court ordered the EPA to ban Chloropyrifos, a potentially neurotoxic pesticide, and the EPA has appealed the ruling. The EPA proposed to eliminate a program designed to limit exposure to lead. A review is continuing concerning a rule concerning coal dust in mines.
Water pollution rollbacks that have been completed concerning allowing dumping mining debris into local streams, pollutants including air pollution at sewage plants, regulating coal ash waste from power plants and ground water protections for uranium mines.
In process are regulations concerning protections for certain tributaries and wetlands and limits on toxic discharge.
Miscellaneous completed rules include stopping the funding of environmental and community development projects and payments to the Green Climate Fund and allowing the sale of plastic water bottles in national parks.
In the works are proposals to limit studies used by the EPA for rule making, changes in the cost-benefit analysis, delayed federal building efficiency standards, withdrawing efficiency standards for residential furnaces and commercial water heaters, changes in available owner information about fuel-efficient replacement tires.
On the other hand, rules and approvals were reinstated after lawsuits and other challenges concerning safety at facilities that use hazardous chemicals, blocking the Keystone XL Pipeline, emission standards for glider trucks, national ozone pollution standards and the restrictions on mining in Bristol Bay, Alaska. An announcement was made of the intent to regulate paint removers containing methylene chloride. A rule was deemed in affect concerning certification and training of pesticide applicators. Efficiency standards for household appliances were published. A rule was reissued limiting discharge of mercury into municipal sewers. A rule was reposted concerning a proposed rule limiting greenhouse gas emissions from aircraft and the Yellowstone grizzly bear listing as an endangered species was reinstated.
Researchers at Harvard estimated that the rollbacks could cause 80,000 extra deaths per decade and cause respiratory problems for more than one million people.
Excerpted from a New York Times Article (12/27/2018) by Nadja Popovich, Kendra Pierre-Louis and Livia Albeck-Ripka
The Importance of Air Quality
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality has been emphasizing the importance of the quality of the air that Michiganders breath. This is for good reason as indicated by a study several years ago by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology using the EPA National Emission Inventory for 2005. People die about a decade earlier than they might have from air pollution and so there are 200,000 early deaths each year in the United States from this cause.
On the worldwide scale the costs of air pollution are enormous. Air pollution deaths cost $225 Billion in lost labor income in 2013 according to the World Bank and the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. That year an estimated 5.5 million lives were lost from diseases associated with outdoor and household pollution causing reduced economic development in addition to human suffering. The aggregate costs of premature deaths were determined to be $5 Trillion worldwide in 2013.
Tis the Season
Tis the Season ... for fire. Home, heating, fireplace use, cozy candles, and more indoor cooking can all increase the risk of dangerous fires during the winter months. And while prevention is the best way to protect your home and business, knowing what to do in the event of a fire occurring can save unimaginable heartbreak in terms of time and money lost, and more importantly, could save lives.
It only takes a second for a spark to ignite and become a flame. Within minutes that flame can become a life threatening blaze, which, if not gotten under control immediatly, can quickly destroy your home or business. Unfortunatly, just as not all fires are created equal, neither are all fire extinguisher. And using the wrong type of extinguishers can result in more damage. So make sure you grab the right tool for the job.
Fires are generally considered to fall into one of five categories, combustibles, flammable liquids and gases, flammable metals, electrical, and cooking oils. Below is a description of the classes of fire, and the appropriate way to stop them.
Class A fires contain simple combusitble materials, such as wood, paper, and garbage. These fires respond well to most types of suppression techniques, including water and smothering, and Type A extinguishers.
The Class B fire may comprise either flammable liquids or flammable gases. Adding water to these types of fire can cause the fire to excelerate and possibly spread to other nearby sources of fuel. There are several types of extinguishers rated for this type of fire, including Foam, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), and ABC Powder. Each of these is able to smother the fire, while reducing the risk of spreading.
Class C fires are electrical in nature and should only be treated with a dry chemical or carbon dioxide based agent. While many multi-purpose extinguishers are availble, make sure yours is rated for C Class fires before using. If the electricity can be safely turned off, the remaining fire may be treated with a wet method.
Class D is a unique category, made up of flammable metals. Magnesium, lithium, zirconium and many other metals are a potential hazard, particularly when found as shavings or metal sawdust. These fires are most ofetn found in factories. They can react violently to most forms of suppression and should only be attacked with special Type D extinguishers, containing a dry powder.
Class K fires, similar to Class B, contain flammable liquids, but these are usually oils used for cooking. These fires must be suprressed without the use of water and Class K extinguishers accomplish this with the use of an aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF). All commercial kitchens are required to have these installed.
No extinguisher exists to handle all fire types, but knowing your risk can help you to choose the correct extinguisher to have on hand. And having the correct one when you need it, can prevent tragedy.
Energy Independence and Economic Growth
President Trump's Executive Order promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth (March, 2017) makes a number of changes that we have all heard about. We though it would be worthwhile to emphasize what we think are important parts of the Order:
"By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows:
Section 1 Policy (a) It is in the national interest to promote clean and safe development of our Nation's vast energy resources, while at the same time avoiding regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy production, constrain economic growth, and prevent job creation. Moreover, the prudent development of these natural resources is essential to ensuring the nation's geopolitical security.
(b) It is further in the national interest to ensure that the Nation's electricity is affordable, reliable, safe, secure, and clean, and that it can be produced from coal, natural gas, nuclear material, flowing water, and other domestic sources, including renewable sources.
(c) Accordingly, it is the policy of the United States that executive departments and agencies immediately review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest otherwise comply with the law.
It is further the policy of the United States that, to the extent permitted by law, all agencies should take appropriate actions to promote clean air and clean water for the American people, while also respecting the proper roles of the Congress and the States concerning these matters in our constitutional republic."
Vapor Intrusion in Residences, Commercial and Industrial Properties
Service Environmental Engineering attended the Michigan Association of Environmental Professionals on March 27, 2017. Presentations were made by Matthew Williams, Vapor Intrusion Specialist, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and AbbyHendershott, Assistant District Supervisor, MDEQ. They presented tables of new Action Levels for various common hazardous volatile substances. To give you an example, if the groundwater within 100 feet of a building contains more than 1.5 ug/L of Vinyl Chloride - The building may have to be evacuated! However, it is true that the vapor intrusion can vary excessively over time and it may be necessary to sample the air over time to get a true picture of the potential human exposure levels.
It was stated that 30 or more buildings have been closed down because of vapor inhalation problems. It was also stated that there have been many lawsuits with a variety of companies involved. Additionally, the MDEQ is now sharing their data with the Michigan Health Department, who can come into your site.
The new MDEQ rules are not yet promulgated.
Beware - You Get What You Pay For!!! Substandard ASTM Phase Is and Phase IIs
Service Environmental Engineering recently reviewed a Phase I and a Phase II property assessments that purportedly followed the ASTM E1527-13 Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process and the ASTM E1903-11 Phase 11 Environmental Site Assessment Process that were performed by a Michigan environmental consulting firm.
Both of the assessment reports showed many deficiencies and we will not enumerate all of them here. The Phase I report was four pages in length - one page covered definitions from the ASTM standard. The Phase1 did not did not describe the geology, topography or condition of outside surfaces. It did not indicate if there were any water wells in the area. It did not describe the uses of surrounding property even though there was a BEA on the property next door. There were no interviews with neighbouring individuals. It claimed that the offsite BEA was a REC. This is not true according to the ASTM standard.
The Phase II did not enumerate in detail the constituents that were analyzed in soil and ground water. Laboratory analytical results were not included. Mercury was a waste from the facility but it was not indicated that Mercury was analyzed. They did not describe how they collected the ground water samples. Ground water occurred but no potentiometric map was developed and the ground water direction was not determined. This is very important in relation to the BEA property next door. Maybe there is impact on that property that eventually may affect the subject property. I could go on and on. This is not an isolated case.
Service Environmental Engineering recommends that you check out the reputation of the environmental company that you are considering using for your assessment. How long have they been in business? Ask to see some of their reports. Request the resumes of the environmental professionals that will perform the job. And finally, if the price that they quote is substantially below that of other environmental companies it may be too good to be true!
A year End 2016 Update for Solar Power Systems on Old Landfills
After four years of preparation, the solar energy project on a landfill of the City of South Burlington, Vermont will break ground in Q1 or Q2 of 2017. This will save the city of South Burlington as estimated $2.9 million over the life of the project (News release by Coralee Holm, 10/18/2016).
There was a dedication of a new 15 megawatt solar system over a closed landfill at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. It is estimated that the solar system will save $ one million per year in energy costs. (Solar Energy Industries Association News for 2016)
In Cuyahoga County, Ohio, there are over 100 waste disposal sites that have the potential to be used for solar power systems. Presently, the county is considering four of these sites for the production of solar power. (Cleveland Plain Dealer)
Solar Earth leased the former town dump of the City of Dudly, Massachusetts for $64,000 per year for 25 years. They intend to place a 27 Megawatt solar system on the old landfill.
April showers may bring flowers, but they can also bring headaches for those without an appropriate Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). Storm water run-off can pick-up many kinds of pollutants, including grease, oil, sediments, nitrogen, phosphorus, and any number of other chemicals. These can then be carried directly to our local water without first receiving necessary treatment.
The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) require many industries to develop and comply with an individualized SWPPP. Service Environmental Engineering, Inc. has storm water certified operators to help you every step of the way, from determining whether your business is required to have an SWPPP to helping you file your annual report. We work with many companies through-out Michigan to protect our precious waterways.
Our pollution prevention team will prepare a site map, locating all buildings and driveways, impervious surfaces, storage areas for potentially hazardous fluids, parts, metals, vehicles, or other materials which may impact our environment, as well as drainage areas and patterns, and established control measures. This is an important first step in preparing your StormWater Pollution Prevention Plan.
Following our site evaluation, we will prepare a site specific SWPPP detailing necessary measures and controls for storm water management. This may include plans for proper management of run-off, sediment and erosion control, proper handling of sediment treatment chemicals (polymers, flocculates, etc.), measures for storage, handling and disposal of hazardous material, solid wastes and other materials. The plan will outline steps for proper future inspection, maintenance, and record keeping.
So don't be caught with out an umbrella, call Service Environmental Engineering to get your Storm Water Pollution Protection Plan today. And enjoy the Spring!
Storm Water Compliance
Service Environmental Engineering, Inc. has on staff several Certified Storm Water Operators for Industrial Sites. These Storm Water Operators work with dozens of industrial facilities in South-eastern Michigan by preparing permits, writing, reviewing and updating storm water plans, performing quarterly and annual inspections and sampling storm water as well as being an intermediary between the industrial company and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
A Cool Summer Job
At Service Environmental Engineering, Inc., we work year round monitoring and testing. This can be hot work in the summer. But a recent job in Kalamazoo provided us with a cool respite from the summer heat. While testing at four of the local Dairy Queens, we took the opportunity to sample more than just possible contamination sources, we sampled all the flavors.
And while we can't say exactly what our results found we can tell you ....There is nothing better to beat the heat, than a quick trip to DQ, even on a workday.
Recently, Service Environmental Engineering, Inc. (SEE) consulted with the purchaser of a large industrial building in Ferndale, Michigan. The purchaser needed a Small Business Administration Loan for the purchase of the building and the property. The SBA required written approval of the Documentation of Due Care Compliance (DDCC) plan by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality prior to approving the financing.
SEE performed a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) and Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment in 2014. Then, as directed by the current property owner, they wanted any impact found on the property, regardless of the source, remediated for the purchaser. Trimethylbenzene was found in the soil below the floor. For many decades the building had been used for the processing of rolls of various metals. The floor of the processing area had deep pits for bending steel.
Service Environmental Engineering, Inc. remediated the soil under the building at designated locations and prepared a Baseline Environmental Assessment and a DDCC for the purchaser of the property and the loan was quickly approved.
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