Meet SCS Professionals, including Christine Stokes – Project Manager in our Suffern, NY, office, at NEWMOA’s Science of PFAS Conference: Public Health & The Environment, at the Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center in Framingham, MA, December 1 and 2.
The conference will also feature poster sessions, exhibits, and plenty of networking opportunities.
The conference is hosted by the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA), a non-profit, non-partisan interstate association composed of state environment agency programs that address pollution prevention, toxics use reduction, sustainability, materials management, hazardous waste, solid waste, emergency response, waste site cleanup, underground storage tanks, and related environmental challenges in the northeast states.
SCS periodically prepares Technical Bulletins to highlight items of interest to our clients and friends who have signed up to receive them. We also publish these on our website at http://www.scsengineers.com/publications/technical-bulletins/.
Our most recent Bulletin summarizes the
This Bulletin provides information on these revisions, as follows:
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” We’ve all heard that proverb before, and it’s true – it’s generally easier to stop something from happening than to repair the damage after it has happened.
This is almost always the case when it comes to environmental incidents – it is cheaper to prevent the incident from occurring than paying for the cleanup and impacts the incident caused. Many of SCS’s service areas are specifically focused on prevention and optimization – doing the job in ways that are better, safer, and more protective of human health and the environment.
Environmental insurance is a product that most SCS clients likely have in place in some form to protect their facilities, employees, and neighbors from the harmful impacts of incidents that can introduce contamination into the air, soil, groundwater, or surface water. The types of coverage provided by environmental insurance policies vary in both extent and cost, and many factors, one of which being risk, drive those costs. When an insurance company is underwriting coverage for a new or existing client, the risk associated with that coverage is carefully evaluated. What the client (insured) does, how they do it, their safety record, their history of previous environmental issues, and other factors are all taken into consideration when writing an environmental insurance policy and the associated premium and deductible are determined.
To reduce the up-front costs (the premium) associated with carrying the necessary and appropriate amount of environmental insurance, the insured can do several things. One is to increase their deductible, but in the event of an incident, that could end up costing the insured more on the back end (i.e., costs expended to investigate and remediate an incident). Insureds, their brokers, and the insurers will work closely to balance premium costs and deductibles so that the costs associated with addressing an incident are not detrimental.
An insured shouldn’t reduce the type and amount of coverage – that could put them in a bad financial (and legal!) position. A more prudent choice, one that has many potential positive aspects and makes sound business sense, is reducing risk and therefore the costs associated with an environmental insurance policy that is based on coverage and risk.
SCS Engineers develops proprietary remote monitoring and control software for landfills, manufacturing, and industrial facilities called SCS RMC®. The software provides remote real-time viewing, analysis, and control of equipment and systems critical to safe operations and production. A network of sensors and Machine-to-Machine (M2M) applications enable operations teams to be alerted immediately (via cell phones, computers, tablets) of any operational issues that could potentially result in an environmental incident.
The application reduces reaction time, labor costs, and potential associated impacts. In this case, SCS RMC® puts the client’s decision-making in front of a problem rather than reacting to potential aftermaths, proactively reducing the potential environmental risks of their operations.
SCS’s service areas, including those listed here, are particularly focused on providing our clients with assistance in designing, building, and maintaining sustainable solutions, reducing risk, and helping to foresee and adapt to environmental, social, and regulatory changes:
SCS’s professionals are available to assist our clients in their discussions with brokers and insurers regarding how our environmental services and technologies can potentially reduce risks associated with their operations. We do this by providing creative and cost-effective solutions and guidance that can prevent environmental incidents from occurring and reducing the nature and extent of associated impacts.
We can help you select and implement the “ounce of prevention” so that you won’t have to face the “pound of cure.” This will proactively reduce operational risks, which can, in turn, help facilitate the positive brokering of more favorable environmental insurance coverage, premiums, and deductibles.
About the Author: Michael Schmidt is an accomplished leader with nearly 30 years of progressively-responsible experience in the environmental consulting and environmental insurance industries, with specific experience focusing on the evaluation of environmental risks and liabilities associated with insurance claims and underwriting, site investigation and remediation, due diligence, and project management.
The Dallas City Council recently authorized a three-year service contract, with two one-year renewal options, for environmental monitoring and engineering consulting services supporting Dallas’s Department of Sanitation Services. SCS Engineers will use its integrated specialized practices to support the City’s McCommas Bluff Sanitary Landfill, Bachman Transfer Station, Fair Oaks Transfer Station, and Southwest Transfer Station.
Vice President Ryan Kuntz, P.E., the team’s principal consulting engineer, said, “SCS is privileged that the City of Dallas entrusts us to partner with the City’s staff to maintain the landfill and the transfer stations’ safe and efficient operations. The Department of Sanitation Services support the citizens and the environment; we’re honored to be of assistance.”
Landfills are extraordinarily complex systems integrating liquids and gas management systems, and the City’s McCommas Bluff Landfill is one of the largest landfills in the State of Texas. Transfer stations also require expertise in technical and regulatory issues for successful operation.
The City finds it cost-effective to employ an engineering firm, such as SCS, that specializes in solid waste engineering. SCS enhances environmental services with its specialized in-house practices, providing comprehensive capabilities and advanced technologies that improve efficiency and help control costs.
SCS Engineers will provide monitoring and engineering support staff from the firm’s Bedford, Texas office, along with the help of our minority/women-owned business partners. The SCS Bedford team’s professionals and field technicians are experienced and knowledgeable of regional and local geology, regulatory policies, and technical challenges.
SCS Engineers’ environmental solutions and technology are a direct result of our experience and dedication to solid waste management and other industries responsible for safeguarding the environment. For more information about SCS, please watch our 50th Anniversary video.
Shown here COMM22, developed by BRIDGE-Housing, is an award-winning mixed-use, mixed-income, transit-oriented development located at Commercial and 22nd streets in San Diego. SCS’s environmental remediation of the property to ensure human health and the environment were protected as cost-effectively as possible enabled the four-phase development project; supporting both the social and business goals of our client and the community.
Local governments and non-profits use Brownfields grants to complete environmental assessments, redevelopment planning, and environmental cleanup. The grant opportunities available now are as follows:
Brownfields Assessment Grant– for Brownfields inventories, environmental assessment, redevelopment planning, and cleanup planning. Funding amounts of $300,000 for community-wide and $600,000 for coalitions.
Brownfields Cleanup Grant– for environmental cleanup of a specific property or properties, currently owned by the applicant. Funding amounts up to $500,000
Brownfields Multi-Purpose Grant-for a range of activities including redevelopment planning, inventories, environmental assessment, and environmental cleanup. Funding amounts up to $800,000.
SCS Engineers has provided grant writing and implementation services for over $10 million in successful Brownfields grant applications including an 80% success rate for first-time applications and over 90% success rate for second round applications. Our Brownfields team is ready to support your grant application effort too. We will work with you to understand the EPA Brownfields grant opportunities and support your development of a successful proposal.
SCS Engineers is a national environmental consulting and contracting company with local experts. We serve as Brownfields’ consultants for many public and private sector clients. Find more inspiration and economic redevelopment successes across our nation:
Contact Dan Johnson, Mr. Johnson brings 35 years of experience and over 200 EPA contracts he’s managed to support your grant application. He is a nationally recognized Brownfield expert and author; current practices regarding environmental assessments; speaks or chairs numerous conferences on hazardous waste issues related to real estate transactions and Brownfields redevelopment.
Contact Amy Dzialowski, Ms. Dzialowski is a nationally recognized expert in Brownfields redevelopment, site reuse, and planning. She has supported grant applications and Brownfield implementation for dozens of communities.
Contact Ray Tierney, Mr. Tierney is a Professional Geologist with over 30 years of experience in environmental and sustainability engineering and has helped a wide range of organizations control and reduce their legacy environmental impacts and liabilities, lower their costs, obtain grants for Brownfields, and implement cost-saving practices.
Kirk Blevins, Mr. Blevins is experienced in land development and redevelopment support, due diligence for property transactions, Brownfield redevelopment, environmental compliance auditing, Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) sites.
Find a Brownfields consultant near you, try our staff directory where you can search by specialty, city, and state.
Learn more about Waste Management’s Award at minute 30:54 of the video conference recording. Congratulations to the Waste Management Team!
The Ignition Firebrand Awards recognize system integrators such as SCS Engineers and industrial firms for their use of technology to create innovative solutions.
Today at the virtual Ignition Community Conference, Waste Management (WM) is accepting the 2020 Firebrand Award for its landfill technology and automation platform advances. The Company designed an internal solution then contracted with SCS Engineers’ RMC Practice, and Vertech Industrial Solutions to deploy WM’s new innovative ‘Connected Landfills’ pilot.
“Waste Management is excited to be recognized for our innovative work and use of new technologies,” said Bryan Tindell, vice president of disposal operations at Waste Management. “Striving for the most innovative and advanced technology in the world of waste helps ensure we are able to continue providing essential services for residents, customers and our communities. The use of advanced technology has also introduced new ways of working for our employees, further elevating their daily experience and streamlining our processes.”
WM’s Connected Landfills system was first piloted at the West Edmonton Landfill in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The pilot proved to simplify workflows, equipping landfill assets with internet-connected devices and sensors. Technicians are able to review data remotely via dashboards on mobile devices, allowing them to monitor changes, make decisions and even directly interact with equipment with the push of a button. With less time spent in transit, landfill employees will be able to spend more time managing landfills’ productivity and health.
“The integration of remote monitoring and control helps make landfill operations more efficient, sustainable, and creates a safer environment for landfill staff and the surrounding community,” said Dave Hostetter, regional manager of SCS RMC®. “That the innovation is being recognized as well is gratifying.”
This design and integration advances WM’s existing environmental management platform by increasing worker safety, the user experience, and running the landfill systems efficiently. It also supports Waste Management’s commitment to ensuring public safety and environmental protection for landfill staff and the surrounding community. Landfills, and the municipalities and companies that operate landfills use sophisticated technology to manage the complex environmental systems that keep citizens and the air, water, and soil surrounding landfills healthy. Ongoing collection of data from these assets, often collected by checking meters positioned throughout landfill sites, is essential for landfills’ safe operation.
Waste Management operates the largest network of landfills in the industry, managing the disposal of almost 100 million tons of waste every year at over 250 sites across Canada and the US. Based on the pilot’s success, WM plans to expand the Connected Landfills system to other sites throughout North America.
About Waste Management
Waste Management, based in Houston, Texas, is the leading provider of comprehensive waste management environmental services in North America. Through its subsidiaries, the Company provides collection, transfer, disposal services, and recycling and resource recovery. It is also a leading developer, operator and owner of landfill gas-to-energy facilities in the United States. The Company’s customers include residential, commercial, industrial, and municipal customers throughout North America. To learn more information about Waste Management, www.wm.com.
About SCS Engineers
SCS Engineers’ environmental solutions and technology are a direct result of our experience and dedication to |solid waste management and other industries responsible for safeguarding the environment while delivering products and services. For more information about SCS, please visit our website at scsengineers.com or watch our 50th Anniversary video.
If you want to know how to lead a company in a downturn…listen to this podcast from Oilfield 360 Media as David de Roode and Josh Lowrey interview Gabriel Rio, President, and CEO of Milestone Environmental Services.
Gabriel explains oilfield waste, how it is regulated, and managed, along with some of the better practices evolving in environmental waste consulting.
I have known Gabriel since his early days at R360 when he found my presentation at the International Petroleum and Environmental Conference (IPEC), regarding evaporation ponds; I believe it was 2010. He invited me to stop by his office in Houston, which I did while presenting at the Produced Water Society’s annual conference in Nassau Bay that year. I worked with Gabriel for several years and into the start of when Waste Connections bought R360. He has some useful insights and knowledge of the oilfield waste industry, what is happening now, and what they are doing to weather the current 2020 pandemic storm. Part of the discussion is about carbon sequestration and oil field waste. – Neil Nowak, SCS Engineers, Oil & Gas Exploration and Production
Co-authors: Karen Luken of Economic Environmental Solutions International, an SCS consultant with Krista Long, Mike Miller, Anastasia Welch of SCS Engineers.
In 1987, the Mobro barge was carrying six million pounds of New York garbage. Its final destination was North Carolina, but the state turned it away. The Mobro barge spent the next five months adrift – rejected by six states and three foreign countries. The plight of the “Garbage Barge” was covered by the mainstream media throughout the summer. This unprecedented attention to trash generated a heated national debate about landfill capacity and recycling to reduce the municipal solid waste (MSW) stream. This dialogue swiftly and permanently transformed recycling in the U.S.
Between 1988 and 1992 alone, the number of curbside recycling programs increased from 1,050 to 4,354. Today, 49 U.S. states ban at least one product from landfill disposal, and twenty-seven states and the District of Columbia have at least one mandatory recycling requirement. The U.S. recycling rate has steadily increased from the Garbage Barge era; by 2017, the U.S. recycling rate reached 35.2 percent, with more than 94 million tons diverted from landfill disposal (67 million tons recycled and 27 million tons composted).
The U.S. was becoming increasingly proficient at collecting recyclables; however, our performance in domestically remanufacturing these resources into valuable commodities was less than stellar. China was the main destination for U.S. recyclables for most of the early twenty-first century. A number of factors contributed to this, including:
By 2018, China was the top importer of U.S. fiber recyclables, buying 2.73 million tons of U.S. corrugated cardboard during the first half of 2018 and 1.4 million tons of all other U.S.-sourced recovered fiber during the same time. The U.S. became dependent on China to process fiber recyclables, which contributed to the closure of 117 American fiber mills and the elimination of 223,000 jobs since 2000.
Sending plastics to China also impeded the U.S. progression of advanced plastic-recovery technologies, such as gasification and pyrolysis. Products created by these technologies can have a market value that exceeds the cost of collection and processing. This was not always the case when selling plastics to China, as this market could be highly volatile. Even with unpredictable revenues, recycling companies perceived China as an eternal end market for their plastics. With China basically locking up the plastic supply chain, advanced plastic recovery technologies in the U.S. could not secure sufficient quantities of feedstock and, consequently, could not demonstrate financial viability for commercial-scale facilities.
Not only did China enthusiastically accept our recyclables, but they also turned a blind eye to the large quantity of trash (contamination) mixed in with the recyclables. This lenient policy validated the U.S. preoccupation with collecting as many recyclables as possible without really considering their quality, potential to become a valuable commodity or the carbon footprint created by using fossil fuels to transport them halfway around the world. Some in the environmental community began to question the net ecological impact associated with transporting recyclables to developing countries for remanufacturing, especially with the limited environmental regulations in these countries related to processing them into a new product. However, state recycling goals are typically based on the quantity of materials collected (rather than if they actually become a marketable product), and local recycling programs were only turning a small profit, or barely breaking even. Thus, no one wanted to “rock the boat.”
However, in 2018, China introduced the “National Sword” that almost sunk the U.S. recycling boat for the short term. The National Sword banned many scrap materials from entering China and required other materials to meet an extremely strict (low) contamination level of only 0.5%. To put in perspective, contamination rates of U.S. recyclables before processing (directly after they are collected) can reach 25% or higher. Processing removes some of the contaminants, but not typically down to 0.5%. After the National Sword, U.S. recycling companies started looking for new markets in other Southeast Asia countries. However, one by one, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, and India also shut their doors by introducing new restrictions on waste imports. So far, there are few signs that any of these countries intend to relax their standards on contamination levels again.
In the short term, there is no question that the National Sword severely disrupted recycling in the U.S. The Chinese market for recyclable commodities was greater than the next 15 markets combined, leaving the U.S. with little in the way of backup to accept this commodity. Thousands of tons of recyclables are now in a landfill rather than becoming a new product. Some municipalities have stopped collecting recyclables (or specific items) altogether, and many more, both public and private, have been stockpiling collected materials in the hope that markets return.
In the long term, the National Sword may be the most significant catalyst to transform recycling since the Garbage Barge started its journey over 30 years ago. In 2019, seventeen North American paper mills announced an increase in their capacity to process recycled paper. Also, and somewhat ironically, Chinese paper companies have begun investing in North American mills because they could not import enough fiber feedstock. Experts anticipate the domestic market for fibers mills to improve for at least another three years.
Chemical companies have also begun investing in advanced plastic recycling technologies, improving recycling systems, and creating bio-based polymers since 2018. In April 2019, Brightmark Energy announced the closing of a $260 million financing package to construct the nation’s first commercial-scale plastics-to-fuel plant, which will be located in Ashley, Indiana. The plant is in a testing phase, and Brightmark anticipates bringing the facility to production-scale in 2021. Now, rather than using fossil fuels to ship plastics to China, more than 100,000 tons of plastics from Indiana and the surrounding region will become feedstock to produce fuel and other intermediate products.
While the U.S. recycling industry was busy making a comeback from the National Sword industry-wide disruption, in came another setback in the form of the 2020 global COVID-19 pandemic. Shelter-in-place orders began in March 2020 in many states, which resulted in families spending more time in their homes than ever before. As of August 2020, many businesses, schools, and governmental entities are still allowing or requiring their stakeholders to work or learn remotely from home.
This work or learn from home phenomenon has resulted in massive increases in MSW and recyclables placed at the curb for collection. From March to April 2020 alone, U.S. cities saw a 20% average increase in MSW and recycling collection tonnage. Struggling restaurants have to offer takeout and delivery services, which is further contributing to a rise in paper and plastic packaging waste. COVID-19 restrictions such as mask mandates have resulted in higher amounts of personal protective equipment in the waste stream, and many items that previously could have been recycled are now discarded due to sanitary concerns.
The higher volumes of MSW and recyclables encountered at the curb during a pandemic present both challenges and opportunities. Challenges include budget cuts due to lower tax revenues, adequately staffing and ensuring the safety of waste-handling employees, and preventing the spread of COVID-19 through the waste stream. During this unprecedented time where municipalities face complex decisions on how to manage their MSW, the opportunity for innovation within the solid waste industry could not be greater.
Cities have begun to “right-size” their recycling systems by evaluating the usage of community recycling containers and reducing/redistributing containers to maximize the quantity of recyclables each site receives. Communities are evaluating curbside recycling programs to increase efficiency, and decreasing contamination is a priority. “When in doubt, throw it out,” has replaced campaigns such as “Recycle more, it’s simple.”
Cities are embracing the concept of public-private partnerships with their recycling processors as they recognize the vital and interrelated role of both the public and private sectors in recovering recyclables. Lastly, the U.S. is beginning to drive manufacturing and end-use markets domestically to stimulate demand for recyclable materials – materials for which we have become so effective at collecting.
There is little doubt that through leadership, innovation, and strategic planning, cities will continue to help lead the way on recycling to achieve landfill diversion and provide for a more environmentally and financially sustainable solid waste management system for the next 30 years.
Pictured in January 2020, Bob Gardner, Jim Walsh, Tom Conrad (co-founder), and Mike McLaughlin. All Young Professionals joining SCS, they now lead this ESOP environmental consulting firm. Jim as President & CEO, Bob and Mike as Senior Vice Presidents. The founders converted SCS to an ESOP early in its history to reward its employees and create a leadership path that exists today.
Waste Today reports M&A activity in the waste and recycling sector up big in 2020. No surprise there, but some employees prefer to avoid the suspense about their employment status that goes along with mergers and acquisitions. One of the first effects of a merger is widespread uncertainty among employees. Will I lose my job? What about my job responsibilities and performance, existing pay structures, and benefits packages?
1 ESOPs or Employee Stock Ownership Plans have many benefits, including that you’re not likely to lose your job when an owner(s) decide to sell. You are an owner with a meaningful voice. Here are a few other benefits at SCS Engineers:
2 We encourage a company culture of innovation – where different people integrate their skills to create new solutions and technology.
3 Our teams are more productive; productivity goes along with our clients and our own job satisfaction.
4 SCS attracts self-motivated people with expertise – you’ll learn much from your colleagues and have the opportunity to work with experts, and share your ideas.
5 Here at SCS, we genuinely respect our clients and strive for their success. It’s part of the culture of being an SCS owner.
There’s more to appreciate about ESOPs, such as tax advantages and company longevity. NestEgg recently posted an article about ESOP longevity entitled Sharing Your ESOP Heritage Story. We were happy to see SCS along with Davey Tree Company and King Arthur Baking Company – also celebrating milestone anniversaries this year.
Check SCS Engineers out – we have the pleasure of creating environmental solutions for municipalities, businesses, and industries around the world for over 50 years.
SCS Engineers announces the expansion of its environmental consulting team with the hiring of Senior Project Manager Michael Dustman.
Mr. Dustman brings 17 years of experience providing environmental consulting to public and private entities desiring to assess, delineate, and remediate environmental conditions adversely affecting properties and facilities. Clients often utilize Mr. Dustman’s expertise following natural hazards like hurricanes, tornados, and floods, causing significant risk to health and property.
As a Senior Project Manager, he will continue to focus on remediation and the planning for, and the recovery from natural and human-made hazards. His experience also includes health and safety (IHS) consulting to clients in Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Ohio, and Oklahoma, all locations with SCS clients. He has previously supported municipal agencies, private clients, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Region 4 Superfund Technical Assessment and Response Team, hospitals, and the U.S. Postal Service, among others.
Mr. Dustman has a wide range of environmentally hazardous conditions he mitigates, including asbestos, lead-based paint, and other hazardous materials, mold, radon. He regularly performs soil and groundwater testing and air monitoring.
“We genuinely strive to understand our clients’ challenges and goals, states Vice President and Environmental Services Lead, Michael Miller. “We appreciate the quality, standards, and leadership that Mike Dustman brings to them and our environmental teams.”
SCS Engineers’ environmental solutions and technology are a direct result of our experience and dedication to industries responsible for safeguarding the environment as they deliver services and products. Mr. Dustman’s educational credentials, professional certifications, and training are available on the SCS Engineers website. For more information about SCS, enjoy our 50th Anniversary video.