Growing consumer demand for environmentally responsible companies that offer new carbon-neutral products and services creates competitive positioning and market value for “green” organizations. In the environmental business, we call this Sustainability.
In addition to complying with regulations and mitigating economic risks, many organizations are concerned about environmental stewardship and corporate responsibility. Our clients provide important services to society; we are pleased to assist them while also helping to minimize adverse environmental and economic impacts.
In this blog, we’d like to introduce you to Erin Quinn. Mr. Quinn has two decades of experience in environmental consulting, specializing in air quality, environmental assessments, and greenhouse gas (GHG) consulting, reporting, and verification. He has participated in over 550 GHG verification projects throughout the United States.
As a specialist in air permitting and reporting, we asked him to step us through the verification process to provide us with time and cost-saving tips while making the verification process smoother.
Check your firm’s qualifications. Seek a firm with a successful record of GHG emissions inventories, estimating GHG reductions, and a thorough knowledge of navigating the Cap and Trade Program. If you are experiencing a gap between your plan and your actual results, they could help identify how to close the gaps depending on their certifications and background.
Go local. For example, on the west coast, look for experience with CARB and ODEQ projects from various industries such as natural gas, coal, biogas and biomass, solar electricity generation, food processing, oil and gas production, electricity and transportation fuels transactions, and paper mills.
Preparation and understanding of a reporter’s GHG emission sources, CARB designation of the facility, or EPE as described in §95101 of the regulations, and any issues the reporting entity may have had while developing its GHG emissions report will facilitate report completion. This takes experience in combination with industry and specific agency requirements.
Investigate that your third-party verification is transparent. Third-Party Verification of GHG emission inventories and reduction credits under state agencies requires an efficient, transparent, and direct methodology for verifying GHG emissions reports.
Steps in the GHG Verification Process
SCS submits a conflict of interest (COI) and notice of verification services (NOVS) to CARB for their approval as soon as an agreement for verification services has been reached. A simple thing, but one that allows us to begin verification service as soon as the reporting entity submits its verification report to the agency, thus streamlining the process.
Next, we set up a kickoff meeting with the reporting entity and a consultant if you’re using one. At the meeting, we discuss the data that will or may, be required for a transparent verification process and documentation. The meeting helps clients understand all the data used in calculating and reporting their emissions, making the data review process seamless. Immediately following, we provide a formal initial data request.
Now we get to work. We begin by reviewing the provided data to develop a verification plan, a sampling plan, and an issues log. We share this with our client and provide any further explanation within the regulatory framework. During this phase, we often communicate with our client as a part of our quality management methodology.
After reviewing and addressing any issues, SCS completes the verification report and has a final meeting with our client within days of receipt so that SCS can submit it to the agency. The end result is a cost-effective, timely, and defendable verification that meets client and agency expectations and all requirements.
GHG Services at SCS Engineers
Our diligence has helped SCS develop excellent working relations with clients, various regulatory agencies, and voluntary registry. Our long experience enables us to understand your needs and how a regulatory agency or registry will interpret an unusual situation.
The firm has delivered verifications for over a decade and has 52 years of environmental compliance expertise for municipalities and industries. Our GHG verification team has completed hundreds of validation and verification projects, from mandatory GHG reporting in California and Oregon; LCFS validation and verification and offset verifications throughout the U.S.
SCS Engineers is a sponsor of the 2023 Food and Beverage Environmental Conference taking place March 26-29, 2023, at the Hyatt Regency Incline Village in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
FBEC is the premier and most comprehensive environmental event for the food and beverage industry in the United States. It brings together industry, academia, non-government organizations, and suppliers in a casual atmosphere that allows for the free flow of information and ideas. The conference includes a single program of sessions, information exchange, poster sessions, and socializing and networking events, all of which uncover the latest trends and innovations affecting water reuse, supply chain challenges, air quality and many more.
The 2023 Conference will explore the following topics and more!
Participants and attendees include craft breweries and distilleries, pet food makers, grocery stores, nutritionists, farmers, and food and beverage processors, as well as those involved in transportation, distribution, preparation, supply chain management, EHS, sustainability and wastewater solutions.
Agricultural growing and harvesting operations are typically exempt from air planning, permitting and odor nuisance regulations. However, cannabis operations may require approval from the local Planning Commission. They may also require air permits from the local air regulatory agency for manufacturing operations (e.g., for solvents and associated combustion equipment such as boilers). Air permit applications for cannabis manufacturing operations may include the following based on project-specific conditions:
In addition to these permitting services, and to avoid costly nuisance complaints, cannabis growers may also need odor-related services such as:
While these may seem like imposing lists for air planning they are not for engineers who work in the industry.
Developing effective plans to mitigate odors is vital in gaining Planning Commission approvals which often depend upon resolving concerns raised by the public. Comprehensive OAPs and OMPs include odor control Best Management Practices (BMPs) and adaptive management strategies for responding to odor complaints when cannabis operations are near residences and schools.
Odor Control – Odor Nuisance Mitigation Case Study
Cannabis greenhouses in the Carpinteria, California region were causing off-site odor nuisances at nearby residences. The inherent smell needed addressing, as odor-neutralizing vapors along cannabis greenhouse perimeters and ridgelines were not providing adequate odor control.
Working with Cannabis Association for Responsible Producers (CARP) Growers, Pacific Stone, Groundswell, and Envinity Group, SCS Engineers utilized its air quality and odor expertise to collect continuous measurements using our SCSent-i-PED (Pollutant and Environmental Data). SCSent-i-PED is a state-of-the-art method for measuring TRS compounds to the parts per billion (ppb) level. The system can assess concentrations in real time, and a single machine can assess multiple locations and sources within a facility. This method successfully assessed relative odor levels and spatial/temporal fluctuations in odor-causing emissions.
Data collection is vital and useful to:
SCS, through its years of experience in air quality and odors, provides cost-effective, sustainable solutions that enable greenhouses and facilities to coexist in urban and suburban environments. Our clients not only get solutions, but they also have the data and science to understand better how odors behave and vary within a cannabis greenhouse.
To learn more, watch a video about air planning and managing greenhouse odors at https://www.scsengineers.com/services/clean-air-act-services/odor-monitoring-and-control/
About the Author: Paul Schafer is a Vice President and Project Director at SCS Engineers and the firm’s National Expert on Ambient Air Monitoring. During his technical career, Paul has assumed key roles in several nationally significant monitoring efforts. He has in-depth experience interfacing with regulatory agencies regarding the performance of monitoring systems, source emission tests, and continuous process monitors, which SCS operates for our clientele. He has had direct working experience with multiple local, state, and federal agencies regarding monitoring programs and air quality impact assessments. As with all solutions at SCS, cost control management and defensible technical performance are primary goals integral to all sustainable monitoring programs.
This article discusses global air quality and how the collaboration between policy-makers and the scientific community can have a continued positive impact on air quality in the U.S. This collaboration has been the primary cause for the improvements observed in air quality over the past few decades.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs, such as the New Source Performance Standards (NSPS), New Source Review, and Maximum Achievable Control Technology standards, have all had a significant impact on improving air quality by lowering the ambient concentrations of NOX, VOC, CO, SOX, and PM.
Some areas, such as southern California, have committed to working toward electrifying the transportation network, implementing more stringent standards on diesel fuel sulfur content, and encouraging heavier utilization of public transportation.
Author: SCS Engineers’ Ryan Christman, M.S., is an air quality engineer and environmental management information systems specialist with experience in the oil and gas industry and the solid waste industry. He is just one of SCS’s outstanding Young Professionals.