Property Inspections and Abatement

In conjunction with Phase I ESAs and environmental due diligence services, our clients frequently request other technical support services in order to obtain a clearer picture of the overall environmental conditions of a site and its potential liabilities. SCS Engineers offers the following support services, among others:Inspections-Abatement

  • Asbestos Surveys
  • Lead Paint and Lead in Drinking Water Assessments
  • Crystalline Silica Controls
  • Radon Testing and Mitigation
  • Indoor Air Quality Assessments
  • Vapor Intrusion Studies

Asbestos Surveys

Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) have been used in a wide range of building components since the early 1900s. Federal, state, and local regulations typically require asbestos inspections prior to demolition or renovation of existing buildings. In addition, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires building owners to notify tenants, employees, and contractors of the presence, location, and quantity of ACM or presumed ACM in their buildings.

Our services begin with an inspection and sampling of suspect ACM; this is commonly conducted in conjunction with a Phase I ESA. If ACM is identified by laboratory analysis, SCS Engineers makes recommendations regarding appropriate management and/or abatement measures. SCS personnel providing these services are AHERA accredited and retain the appropriate state licenses.

Lead Paint and Lead in Drinking Water Assessments

Lead-containing materials can be found in buildings in the form of paints and plumbing components. Lead paint surveys may include the collection of discrete paint chip samples or the use of portable X-ray Diffraction (XRD) meters to measure lead concentrations in the field. Upon receipt of the analytical data, SCS makes recommendations regarding appropriate management and/or abatement measures.

Lead-impacted drinking water is most often an issue in buildings that are either older or very new. Lead leaches from the plumbing components through corrosion, which can be caused by low pH (acidic water), high dissolved oxygen, or low mineral content in the water. Assessments of lead in drinking water typically include sampling programs designed to assess the lead contributions from both the municipal water supply system and the facility’s water distribution system.

Crystalline Silica Controls

Crystalline silica is a common mineral found in the earth’s crust, common construction operations and cutting or crushing stone could result in unsafe conditions for workers. Industrial grade sand used in certain foundry work and hydraulic fracturing (fracking) is also a source of exposure.

OSHA’s standard (29 CFR 1926.1153) requires employers to protect workers from overexposure to respirable crystalline silica during construction, demolition, blasting, and tunneling activities. SCS Engineers Health and Safety (H&S) practice offers services and training to protect your workers and the public from exposure, therefore reducing your business risk.

SCS helps businesses fully implement control methods as the OSHA standard dictates, and we can measure and assess workers’ exposure to silica to determine which controls work best. Our services are comprehensive and include accredited laboratory analysis and any necessary regulatory reporting. We also offer various types of safety training for workers to implement your company’s exposure control plan.

Radon Testing and Mitigation

Indoor radon concentrations vary from region to region and are dependent upon the geologic conditions of a given area. While the USEPA warns there is no safe level of radon, it recommends that actions be taken to reduce radon concentrations to less than 4 PicoCuries per liter (pCi/l) in a house or building. SCS has performed numerous building surveys to assess levels of indoor radon gas.

Typically, measuring devices (e.g., charcoal canister, alpha track, ion chamber) are placed indoors for short term studies, usually two days to two weeks. If analysis indicates elevated radon concentrations, a longer-term study may be recommended to confirm the results, or remedial actions may be needed.  SCS can provide engineering services to reduce radon concentrations. Examples of remedial actions include simple measures, such as sealing foundation cracks and openings, to more advanced abatement measures, such as reversing the flow of radon entry by pressurizing the building or by sub-slab-depressurization.

Indoor Air Quality Assessments

SCS Engineers helps building owners, facility engineers, property managers, and building tenants investigate and assess the causal factors contributing to poor building indoor air quality (IAQ). Many of our IAQ projects have diffused threatened lawsuits and minimized toxic tort risks to building owners. We also assist in mitigating the factors leading to poor building IAQ. Remedies include developing engineering solutions, overseeing cleanup and re-constructive efforts, specifying low-VOC emitting materials, and implementing building bake-off to accelerate volatile chemical off-gassing. Moreover, we are sensitive to the costs associated with expensive analytical testing and only advocate such investigative tools when warranted or specifically requested.

SCS’s services include:

  • Supporting building owners and property managers/engineers responding to complaints of bad air, smells, or people getting sick, in order to minimize risk, lawsuits, and toxic tort claims.
  • Supporting building owners and property managers/engineers during reconstruction efforts and tenant improvement projects to ensure minimal IAQ impact to the building.
  • Supporting building owners and property managers with tenant meetings to diffuse issues, communicate facts, and enhance damage control.
  • Supporting insurance companies with claims associated with poor building air quality, lack of productivity, and/or personal injury/exposure damages.
  • Supporting lessees by conducting pre-lease audits of new or existing facilities, and reacting when IAQ complaints to building owners or property managers go unresolved and/or unrecognized.

Vapor Intrusion Studies

The presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and combustible gas in the subsurface may lead to vapor intrusion concerns in site structures.  SCS Engineers helps building owners, tenants, and prospective purchasers evaluate subsurface vapors and mitigate vapor intrusion through engineering controls.  Our services include:

  • Vapor condition assessments through soil-gas studies, indoor screening, and indoor air sampling.
  • Human health risk assessments and vapor intrusion modeling (2D analytical and 3D).
  • Design, installation, construction quality assurance, and operations and maintenance of remedial systems, including vapor barriers, passive venting systems, and active vapor migration control systems.
  • Interface with regulatory agencies on remedial actions and end-points.