brownfields

2021 Florida Redevelopment Association Annual Conference, Fort Myers, Florida

October 27, 2021

SAVE THE DATE!  Be a part of the 2021 Florida Redevelopment Association Annual Conference at the brand new Luminary Hotel & Co. in Fort Myers, FL, October 27-29, 2021 (Exhibit dates October 27 & 28).

Network with some 300 redevelopment professionals, elected officials, and appointed officials who oversee redevelopment (economic development) programs in Florida cities and counties, and community redevelopment agencies/CRAs. The Conference addresses:

  • Economic Development and Redevelopment
  • Fiscal/Financial Consulting
  • Engineering: Environmental, Planning and Others
  • Feasibility Studies
  • General Government Consulting
  • Government Communications
  • Infrastructure Financing and Construction
  • Management Studies/Organizational Structure Analysis
  • Parks & Recreation: Including After-School Activities
  • Sustainability

The conference is co-sponsored by the Florida Redevelopment Association Annual Conference and the Florida League of Cities.

The schedule is taking shape now.  Click for Sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities and conference details and registration

 

 

 

Posted by Laura Dorn at 12:00 am

2021 FES | ACEC-FL Annual Conference

August 4, 2021

The Florida Engineering Society (FES) and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida (ACEC-FL) promote professional engineers in Florida. FES and ACEC support engineering education, advocate licensure, promote the ethical and competent practice of engineering, and further the public’s knowledge and understanding of the profession’s importance.

These firms create innovative solutions while upholding their responsibility to the public’s health, safety, and wellbeing.

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 8:00 am

VSB Environmental Law Section Welcomes Mike McLaughlin to the Board of Governors

July 14, 2021

Mike McLaughlin pictured at left, having fun with his colleagues at SCS Engineers.

 

Michael W. (Mike) McLaughlin has been elected to the Virginia State Bar Environmental Law Section Board of Governors. His four-year term began on July 1. Mike began his career with SCS as a summer intern as a rising sophomore at Virginia Tech. After receiving his civil (environmental) engineering degree, he received his J.D. from Washington & Lee University School of law. He has been with SCS ever since, applying his combination of law, science, and engineering expertise to environmental matters. His knowledge helps businesses and communities protect air, water, and land resources while serving the needs of their clients or constituents.

McLaughlin recalls his early career choices: “It was exciting to work on some of the earliest research projects sponsored by the then-new Environmental Protection Agency. I chose W&L Law because it had Professor Andrew (Uncas) McThenia on its faculty. Uncas was a Virginia State Water Control Board member and taught one of the few environmental law classes in the country. When I told him he was the reason I came to W&L, Uncas apologized and said he would not teach environmental law anymore—the field had too much politics involved. That was an early and important lesson for me.

“Not to worry,” says Mike. “Turner Smith of the Hunton & Williams law firm taught the environmental law class; he was one of the country’s most well-known Clean Air Act attorneys. His knowledge of the subject matter and teaching ability inspired several of us to seek careers in the field.”

Redevelopment of closed landfills is an area of special interest for Mike.

Mike is SCS Engineers’ Senior Vice President of Environmental Services. He advises developers, contractors, lenders, and land development professionals on the technical and regulatory requirements for construction on brownfield sites nationwide. Landfill redevelopment is an area of special interest. His combined engineering and legal background provides an unusual perspective on land development where hazardous wastes or other environmental challenges are present.

In addition to his extensive brownfield redevelopment experience in North America, Mike has worked at more than three dozen Superfund National Priorities List sites in 17 states and on scores of regulatory compliance, voluntary cleanup, and remediation projects for commercial, industrial, municipal, and military clients. His work for electric utilities began in 1980 with research on upgrading solid waste management and has evolved to support greenhouse gas mitigation measures and support the transition to renewable energy.

Mike’s new role with the VSB builds on his decades of experience with the American Bar Association Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources, where he is completing a two-year term as Budget Officer and a member of the Executive Committee.

Our congratulations and best wishes to Mike and the VSB!

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

EPA Announces $50 Million to Fund Environmental Justice Initiatives

June 30, 2021

brownfields remediation
Brownfields remediation helps all communities across the nation.

 

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021. It provides funds to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID–19 pandemic. To learn more about the ARP, read the House Bill.

EPA is assisting under-resourced communities by quickly getting out ARP funding to leverage important programs that improve air quality, drinking water, revitalization of brownfields, diesel emissions from buses in low-income communities and communities of color. In addition, the agency is awarding its first competitive grants focusing directly on the unequal impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations.

Projects include training, developing citizen-science tools, pollution monitoring, and educational campaigns to enable EJ advocates such as SCS Engineers, scientists, and decision-makers to address pollution and create thriving communities.

Funding currently being distributed totals approximately $2.8 million for 14 EJ-focused projects, with more to be announced soon throughout the country. In addition to the Baltimore City grant, today’s announcement includes funding for the following projects in underserved communities:

  • City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin – for outreach and education through a Healthy People, Homes, and Neighborhood campaign.
  • City of Fort Collins, Colorado – for a housing intervention program targeting indoor air quality.
  • South Coast Air Quality Management District, California – to establish an Air Quality Academy to provide resources and training to improve environmental literacy and air quality data.
  • Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, California – for a community health worker pilot program on asthma awareness.
  • Public Health-Seattle & King County, Washington – for community health worker training on healthy homes and home assessments.
  • Tohono O’odham Tribal Nation, Arizona – for developing local plans to address air quality issues.
  • Virginia Department of Environmental Quality – for developing and implementing an EJ training academy and EJ map-based tool.
  • Alabama Department of Environmental Management – for public education on air pollution and disinfectants.
  • City of Houston, Texas – to launch the Houston Inspires/Houston Inspira public education campaign to engage with communities about clean air and COVID-19 creatively.
  • City of Madison, WI – to implement Intervene Against COVID-19, a public education, training, and emergency planning program.
  • City of Hartford Department of Health and Human Services, Connecticut – to implement a new strategy to increase outreach on asthma and environmental hazards.
  • City of San Pablo, CA – to deploy an afterschool internship program for disadvantaged high school students to raise awareness and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19.
  • Massachusetts Department of Health – to support the Asthma Prevention and Control Program, which seeks to improve asthma outcomes in multiple underserved communities.

 

EPA also announced for the first time how the agency would distribute the $50 million in ARP funds.

A breakdown is provided below:

  • $16,650,000 will be used to fund EJ grants. This includes State EJ Cooperative Agreement awards (SEJCA), EJ collaborative problem-solving (EJCPS), and EJ small grants (EJSG). Tribes and territories are eligible for each of these programs, and the application requests have closed for this fiscal year. This funding also helps with capacity building, training and assessments, the Puerto Rico drinking water systems capacity assessment, and a new Appalachia Initiative for Revitalization. It will provide technical assistance and environmental youth STEM training in overburdened communities.
  • $7,000,000 will fund a tailored use of the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) rebate program to address priority EJ issues for reducing diesel pollution. This DERA rebate program will fund electric school buses using screening criteria with the goal of reaching fleets in underserved communities with multiple air quality and health challenges.
  • $5,130,000 will be used to expand civil and criminal enforcement to include monitoring near low-income communities and drinking water sources for pollution, including air toxics and hazardous metals. It also supports EJ analyses related to oil and gas production and refining and support for environmental crime victim outreach.
  • $5,000,000 will help communities tackle the challenge of assessing, cleaning up and preparing brownfield sites for redevelopment. This educational video helps you understand how funding may be used.
  • $4,850,000 will go to children’s health issues and fund the Children’s Healthy Learning Environments Grant and Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSUs). PEHSUs build capacity in vulnerable communities to reduce children’s environmental exposures in child-occupied settings and address children’s COVID-19 environmental health risks.
  • $4,700,000 will be used for drinking water and compliance monitoring in rural and tribal areas. This supports small and underserved public water systems and wastewater treatment facilities through in-person technical assistance, including a circuit rider program, and supports integrating EJ into EPA permit writing.
  • $2,150,000 will support the agency’s community-driven solutions to collaboratively build community capacity to address air and water issues in underserved communities. Specialized technical assistance will help align school reopening investments with clean air and neighborhood cooling shelter needs and promote equitable resilience and revitalization.
  • $1,600,000 will support the Tribal General Assistance Program. This program supports efforts by tribes to engage their community members on priority EJ water and air quality issues. Tribes and indigenous organizations will also be eligible for all the above support mechanisms.
  • $720,000 will be used to enhance the development of EJSCREEN, the EJ analysis tool, and support related resources.
  • $700,000 is allocated for a climate protection program to advance data analytics work in the Office of Air and Radiation to identify cumulative burdens, improve equity outcomes for vulnerable communities, and advance regulatory analytics and policy modeling to incorporate environmental justice considerations better.
  • $500,000 will support new methods of outreach and support for those performing analysis and outreach related to critical EJ issues in the oil and gas sector.
  • $1,000,000 will be used for administrative costs under the 2% reserved in the law for this purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

A Brownfield Redevelopment Journey in Madison, Wisconsin

June 14, 2021

While making efficient use of land and cleaning up brownfields, Madison, Wisconsin, can provide workforce housing, job opportunities, and cultural venues, all while enhancing the City’s tax base.

 

The main thoroughfare in Madison, Wisconsin, leading to the state capitol, is going through a major renaissance. Once an idle brownfield, and before that an active industrial-commercial area, the entire block has now been converted to residential, commercial, and office spaces, as well as a youth art center. After extensive due diligence to assess, then successfully remediate significant adverse environmental conditions from past uses, the property’s new mixed-use buildings are open for occupancy. The community art center opens in 2021.

The block formerly housed a dairy operation, gas station, auto maintenance shops, a print shop, and a dry cleaner. These past uses and the historic fill placed on the property resulted in chlorinated solvents, petroleum, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and heavy metal contamination.

Remediating and mitigating environmental contamination and redeveloping brownfields like this one into vibrant, revenue-generating community assets takes pooled expertise from multiple disciplines, including hydrogeology and environmental engineering.

While these projects can provide high value for communities long into the future, they are complex and require large investments up front, explains Ray Tierney, an SCS vice president. Having a team that gets a full picture of the property’s environmental condition, knows regulators’ expectations, and can identify technically sound, cost-effective remediation and mitigation approaches can translate to substantial money savings.

In this case, a solid knowledge base and vetting key details resulted in seven-digit figure savings and facilitated prized redevelopments.

“We identified the amount of soil and groundwater contamination, evaluated strategies to best address the issues, and came up with a cost estimate for remediation. Based on the estimate, along with documentation validating the scientific rationale for our recommendations, the seller reduced their price to account for the legacy environmental liabilities which the purchaser agreed to accept and address as part of the property’s redevelopment.”

SCS Engineers assessed for contamination; oversaw the management of contaminated soil and groundwater during construction according to the materials management plan; supported the client in securing grants, permits and documented compliance with the approved planning documents.

For this project, as is often true in historic urban areas, the greatest expense was dealing with widespread contamination found in the historic fill soils and with groundwater issues.

“Our client is obligated to handle contaminated materials properly. We plan and permit the proper procedures, work with contractors to facilitate the work, documenting that procedures and plans are followed while making sure they only invest what is necessary to be judicious in protecting the environment and public health,” says the SCS Project Manager and Geologist Dr. Betty Socha.

During construction, Socha’s team was onsite to assist contractors in complying with environmental plans and permits, documenting that activities were completed safely and in compliance with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) expectations. The team oversaw soil removal and management during site demolition and construction of the foundation, including piles and a structural slab. This support system reduces the geotechnical requirement of the underlying soils to reuse more onsite soil safely. But knowing what soil is acceptable and orchestrating the separation of contaminated and non-contaminated materials takes specialized expertise and skill.

“During construction, we evaluate soil conditions, so contaminated soil is safely disposed of at a landfill. But landfilling large volumes of soil is a considerable expense, so it’s important to determine what is safe to be segregated as clean soils for reuse elsewhere. Knowing how to do this efficiently will minimize disposal costs and maximize the use of valued resources,” Socha says.

Getting a handle on groundwater conditions and identifying the best management strategy requires equal attention.

“This property sits on a strip of land (an Isthmus) between two large and prized lakes, with a shallow water table. We thoroughly assessed the groundwater (aka, hydrogeologic) site conditions and managed groundwater generated during construction and dewatering activities,” says Tierney.

“We documented the extent of contamination, and the WDNR confirmed our evaluation that no additional remedial groundwater treatment systems were needed. We could show the contamination was contained enough to pose no risk to municipal wells, private wells, surface water, or other sensitive environments. However, the client still needed a permit to dispose of the contaminated groundwater generated during dewatering for construction of the building foundation and underground utilities,” says Tierney.

Major brownfield redevelopment projects are involved with multistep processes. They begin with a Phase I Environmental Assessment entailing an inspection of the property and a historical review.

That’s where SCS initially identifies potential or existing environmental liabilities from contamination. Then the team confirms the presence of multiple soil and groundwater contaminants through a Phase II Assessment, involving collecting and analyzing soil and groundwater samples.

Next comes a site investigation, a robust testing program to see exactly what is going on. This is where the team further defines contamination, locations, how far it spread, and concentrations. That information lays the groundwork for developing the remedial action plan to file with the WDNR. The team then works with the redevelopment contractors to seamlessly and concurrently manage both the property’s remediation and the buildings’ construction.

In Madison, Socha, Tierney, and their team also helped the developer apply for and win a $500,000 brownfield grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, a practice that is as much an art as a science. Additional public support for the project was also received through tax incremental financing (TIF) and the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) tax credits for low‐income housing.

“We merge our technical backgrounds to show the land has the potential to be turned into a strong asset that addresses the legacy environmental contamination, promotes public health, and delivers a high-value property that pays taxes and supports important city services,” says Tierney.

Madison Youth Arts Center

It takes technical horsepower to show regulators just how you are addressing contamination. You need to show the economic development group awarding the grant that the project will create well-paid jobs and tax revenue. Equally important, it must be shown that the redevelopment helps address a community need for affordable workforce housing and additional market-based housing,” Tierney says.

Tenants have already moved into the two 11-story mixed-use buildings. In addition, The Madison Youth Arts Center (MYAC) is slated to open in early summer, with a grand opening ceremony this fall. The MYAC includes classrooms, offices, rehearsal spaces, and a 300-seat auditorium.

The final project showcases the heartbeat of this popular downtown space situated between two large lakes, with features such as a rooftop terrace, plazas with seating and green space, and soon to come are 3D urban art installations and murals that tell the story of this long-lived community.

“The redevelopment of brownfields and the creation of projects like the Lyric and the Arden align with the City of Madison’s Performance Excellence Framework Vision of Our Madison – Inclusive, Innovate, and Thriving. These types of redevelopment projects help the City act as a responsible steward of our natural, economic, and fiscal resources. While making efficient use of land and cleaning up brownfields, the City is able to provide workforce housing, job opportunities, and cultural venues, all while enhancing the City’s tax base,” says Dan Rolfs, the Community Development Project Manager for the City of Madison’s Office of Real Estate Services – Economic Development Division.

It takes a village, or in this case – a City, to revitalize an urban brownfield!

 


 

Brownfields Resources to Organize, Educate, and Implement Plans in Your Community

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

SCS Webinar: Using GIS Technology on Landfills, Facilities, and Development Projects

June 10, 2021

Recorded Live Thursday, June 10 at 2:00 pm ET

 

Watch Using GIS Technology on Landfills, Facilities, and Development Projects Now

 

GIS improves operational efficiency at waste facilities, landfills and helps keep development projects on schedule. GIS technology transforms volumes of collected data into maps and easy-to-understand dashboards – making staff assignments and decisions more precise and timely.

Our panelists use case studies to demonstrate how they use this proven technology in new ways to improve forensic, diagnostic, and planning activities. Join us to learn how your operation may also leverage GIS to address these challenges:

Landfills: Operators make diagnostic and forensic use of GIS to address maintenance tasks faster. We’ll cover modeling 3D wells and liquid level data, showing how GIS embedded dashboards and infographics pinpoint exactly where to assign staff. At the same time, supervisors monitor completed assignments seeing real-time results and what still needs attention.

Siting Facilities: Decision-makers use multi-criteria decision analysis incorporated into a geographic information system to account for relevant technical data, environmental, social, and economic factors during the site selection of a waste transfer station. The resulting maps and infographics are useful at public meetings too.

Property Development: Time is money on development projects. Environmental engineers use GIS to more accurately pinpoint potential contamination sources, conduct site assessments, strategize remediation solutions, and see sampling results weeks faster. Infographics and dashboards show if and exactly where to continue sampling without waiting weeks or months for reports.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 2:00 pm

You’ll be amazed by what GIS can do for your remediation project, landfill, or facility siting

June 2, 2021

Join SCS on June 10 for another client webinar. Using case studies, we show you how our clients tackle common challenges using proven GIS technology to reduce expenses and run more productively.

 

Property Development: Time is money on development projects. Environmental engineers use GIS to more accurately pinpoint potential contamination sources, conduct site assessments, strategize remediation solutions, and see sampling results weeks faster. Infographics and dashboards show if and exactly where to continue sampling without waiting weeks or months for reports.

Landfills: Operators make diagnostic and forensic use of GIS to address maintenance tasks faster. We’ll cover modeling 3D wells and liquid level data, showing how GIS embedded dashboards and infographics pinpoint exactly where to assign staff. At the same time, supervisors monitor completed assignments seeing real-time results and what still needs attention.

Siting Solid Waste Facilities: Decision-makers use multi-criteria decision analysis incorporated into a geographic information system to account for relevant technical data, environmental, social, and economic factors during the site selection of a waste transfer station. The resulting maps and infographics are useful at public meetings too.

 

 

LEARN MORE & RESERVE A SEAT 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

EPA Announces $66.5 Million in Brownfields Assessment and Cleanup Funding

May 17, 2021

Scissortail Park in Oklahoma City was once a Brownfields. Now it is a source of pride for the City and the site for the 2021 Brownfields Conference!

 

Partial Reprint from EPA Announcement

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the selection of 151 communities to receive 154 grant awards totaling $66.5 million in Brownfields funding through its Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grants.

This funding will support underserved and economically disadvantaged communities across the country in assessing and cleaning up contaminated and abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Approximately 50 percent of selected recipients will be receiving EPA Brownfields Grant funding for the first time and more than 85 percent are located in or serving small communities.

The grant announcement includes:

  • $8.8 million for 11 Multipurpose Grants, which will provide funding to conduct a range of eligible assessment and cleanup activities at one or more brownfield sites in a target area.
  • $42.2 million for 107 Assessment Grants, which will provide funding for brownfield inventories, planning, environmental assessments, and community outreach.
  • $15.5 million for 36 Cleanup Grants, which will provide funding to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites owned by the recipient.

The list of the fiscal year 2021 applicants selected for funding is available here:  https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2021-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants


 

I want to learn more about the 2021 Brownfields Conference.

Please spend some time with our experts as they help you negotiate funding, regulatory compliance, and helpful tools that will help your community prepare to remediate brownfields and other properties with a past into affordable housing, mixed communities bolstering economic development, stadiums, recreation facilities and parks, logistics centers…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Free Webinar: Capitalize On Upcoming Opportunities to Redevelop Contaminated Properties

April 29, 2021

RECORDED ON: Thursday, April 29, 2021

Brownfields redevelopment and voluntary remediation provide the opportunity to improve our communities and local economies in many different ways. SCS’s next webinar helps our clients prepare to capitalize on upcoming opportunities to redevelop contaminated properties as a result of market demands, stimulus funding, and traditional Brownfields grant programs.

 

In a hurry? Jump to Brownfields and Remediation case studies here.

 

 

These are not really environmental projects—they are real estate projects. But meeting the environmental challenges of such projects with the “right” approach can be the difference between success and failure. We will use examples to illustrate how different solutions to environmental problems can attract community support, overcome environmental justice concerns, and safely meet the demand for affordable housing, logistics facilities to support online commerce, and other important community needs.

  • What to do now to lay the groundwork for success.
  • Where to find seed money and what it can be used to accomplish.
  • Is your project realistic?
  • How to integrate remediation and development to streamline schedules and reduce costs.
  • Recovering remediation costs and fixed price remediation.
  • Regulatory challenges—taking advantage of new elements found in voluntary cleanup programs.

Our panelists bring comprehensive expertise to the discussion, including due diligence, Brownfields, voluntary remediation, funding and grant expertise. The team answers questions throughout the presentation, and the second portion of the program is devoted to Q&A and idea exchange.

This educational, non-commercial webinar with a Q&A forum is free and open to all who want to learn more about meeting the environmental challenges these new opportunities offer.

We recommend this month’s discussion for developers, contractors, municipal officials, city managers interested in using stimulus funds for local development, and advisors such as banks, insurance firms, and attorneys to private and public entities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 2:00 pm

LIVE THURSDAY: Capitalize On Upcoming Opportunities to Redevelop Contaminated Properties

April 28, 2021

Our panelists bring comprehensive expertise to the discussion, including due diligence, Brownfields, voluntary remediation, funding and grant expertise. The team answers questions throughout the presentation, and the second portion of the program is devoted to Q&A and idea exchange.

 

SCS’s next webinar helps our clients prepare to capitalize on upcoming opportunities to redevelop contaminated properties as a result of market demands, stimulus funding, and traditional Brownfields grant programs. In this live, non-commercial presentation we’ll cover the following:

  • What needs to be done now to lay the groundwork for success.
  • Where to find seed money and what it can be used for.
  • Is your project realistic?
  • How to integrate remediation and development to streamline schedules and reduce costs.
  • Recovering remediation costs and fixed price remediation.
  • Regulatory challenges—taking advantage of new elements found in voluntary cleanup programs.

This educational, non-commercial webinar with a Q&A forum is free and open to all who want to learn more about meeting the environmental challenges these new opportunities offer. We recommend this month’s discussion for developers, contractors, municipal officials, city managers interested in using stimulus funds for local development, and advisors such as banks, insurance firms, and attorneys to private and public entities.

 

DATE: Thursday, April 29, 2021

TIME: 2 p.m. ET, 1 CT, Noon MT, 11 PT

 

Click to Register

 

You will receive a Zoom email with your link to attend. Do not share this link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am