Tag Archives: environmental consulting

2019 Missouri Environmental Conference July 14 – 16

June 3, 2019

SCS Engineers is looking forward to seeing you at the 2019 Missouri Environmental Conference, July 14-16, at the Margaritaville Lake Resort in Osage Beach, Missouri.

This year the conference includes a full Brownfields track, sessions on Tanks, Land Development, Legal, Solid Waste and Environmental Services. Four SCS professionals will be presenting on the following topics:

Registration details are here.

MONDAY JULY 15, 10:30 AM
A Balancing Act – The Many Requirements at a Modern Landfill – Doug Doerr, P.E., SCS Engineers As landfills have become more complex, they have also become subject to more rules, regulations, and requirements. Many times the involvement of different groups with different requirements and end goals lead to a well-run facility that is very environmentally protective. However, many times owners and operators find themselves trying to balance different, and sometimes competing, requirements. This presentation will discuss some of the instances when conflicts exist and provide insights on how to find balance.

Injection Wells for Responsible Liquids Management – Stephanie Hill, SCS Engineers This presentation will highlight two case studies where deep well injection is being used to manage non-hazardous industrial wastewater at (1) an underground coal mine and (2) leachate from a landfill. This side-by-side comparison of each of these industry’s differing approaches will walk through their unique wastewater type and how they manage chemical compatibility of their injected wastewater and downhole reservoir fluids to ensure the longevity of this capital asset.

Also at 8:30 AM 
PFAs in Landfill Leachates – Overview and Handling Options – Viraj deSilva, Ph.D., P.E., BCEE, SCS Engineers With the EPA positioned to take serious action on PFAS in late 2019, regulators in many states have already begun implementing measures of their own, while state and federal courts are beginning to address legal issues surrounding this emerging contaminant. These changes mean new potential liabilities and consequences for organizations that manufacture, use, or sell PFAS or PFAS-containing products, and the time to take action to protect your operations is now. A number of established treatment options to remove PFAS from landfill leachate are available, including activated carbon, ion exchange or high-pressure membrane systems.

Design and Construction of a ClosureTurf® Final Cover System – Dillon Baird, P.E., SCS Engineers As onsite borrow sources become depleted and Subtitle D landfills reach capacity and close, synthetic final cover systems such as ClosureTurf® are now being utilized as an alternative to a prescriptive final cover system. The construction and long term postclosure maintenance costs of final cover systems are crucial factors when selecting which cover system is best for a site. Mr. Baird’s presentation will provide a recap of the value engineering process that led to the construction of a ClosureTurf® final cover system. Additionally, he will share some of the lessons learned during each phase of the project.






Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Tag Archives: environmental consulting

Wendell Minshew Captures the Essence of SCS’s Purpose

May 31, 2019

Wendell, a Senior Project Professional in the SCS Engineers Sacramento office became interested in photography 35 years ago. He had broken his ankle and needed something to do because he felt grumpy not being able to play tennis. His tennis partner loaned him a camera, some film, and his dark room.

Wendell was hooked.

Wendell’s beautiful photos capture the reason we work with our clients to protect our environment. See a few pieces of his organic work, and look for more soon.

Mr. Minshew has over 30 years of engineering experience. He specializes in civil engineering services in the planning, design, permitting, and construction management of solid and hazardous waste facilities. He is a licensed Professional Engineer in California and Nevada.

Thank you for sharing, Wendell.





Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:01 am
Tag Archives: environmental consulting

The Who, What, When, Where, Why of an Environmental Insurance Claim

May 13, 2019

The 5Ws of Environmental Insurance

An environmental insurance claim is simply the response and mitigation of an environmental issue or event paid for by an environmental insurance policy. Similar to an auto or home insurance claim, a company or individual purchases this type of policy to protect them in case a matter arises about their facility, operations, or property resulting in a regulatory requirement for investigation and remediation; forming the basis for a submitted claim. Such responses cost money, often a lot of it, and the environmental insurance policy is there to pay for the costs associated with the investigation and remediation of any environmental issues.

Any environmental issue can result in an environmental claim, so it is essential that you have the right policy in place to cover a particular claim. Typical issues or events include:

  • An underground storage tank release (i.e., at a gas station),
  • Vehicle accidents (i.e., a tanker truck rollover),
  • Operational incidents (i.e., the release of a chemical at a plant or factory),
  • Fires or natural disasters (i.e., contaminant release to the air, water, or soil), and
  • Indoor air quality (i.e., asbestos and mold).
The onus is on the client to provide sufficient information to substantiate a claim, even for straightforward situations.

Insurance clients submit notice to the insurance company that an environmental issue occurred or was discovered which requires investigation and corrective action. The onus is on the client to provide sufficient information to substantiate a claim submittal. The insurance company reviews this information in their evaluation of coverage for the issue under the policy.

Insurance Support for Environmental Claims

When a new claim is submitted to the insurance company, the client must provide information that substantiates that an issue exists and that further investigation and corrective action is required. Often their substantiation consists of the initial technical details about the nature and extent of the environmental problem. Claims analysts generally have a strong legal background but may lack technical environmental expertise; this is when insurance support services become valuable. The following paragraphs summarize each step in the process and how SCS insurance support assists claims analysts through the process.

Coverage Determination

Once the insurance company receives a notice of claim, they determine whether the client’s policy provides coverage for the specific issue or event that constitutes the claim. A claims analyst evaluates the specifics of the claim to determine if the associated details and circumstances fall within the specifics of the client’s policy. If so, coverage is usually accepted. If not, coverage is generally denied.

SCS’s role is to provide an evaluation of the technical aspects of the claim so that the claims analyst can take the distilled facts and compare them against the specifics of the policy; often called a “Source and Timing” evaluation. Take, for example, an underground storage tank (UST) release at a gasoline station. In this example, free product (gasoline) is observed in an on-site monitoring well where no free product has previously or recently been identified.

SCS reports provide valuable details strategic to the evaluation of a claim.

The station owner or their environmental consultant reports the apparent new release to the regulator, and a confirmed discharge is recorded. The property owner than notifies the insurance company of a gasoline release to the environment.

As part of the “Source and Timing” evaluation, SCS’s insurance support reviews tank system leak detection and inventory records, tank system tightness testing records, previous groundwater monitoring data, reports of any earlier releases at the facility, and any other information or data about the facility and the subject release. The goal is to identify:

  • Source (which tank, piping, dispenser, surface spill),
  • Timing (an approximate timeframe during which the release started or took place) and
  • Cause (tank system failure, tank overfill, surface spill).

If enough information is available to make these determinations, then the claims analyst compares the SCS report to the coverage specifics and exclusions included in the policy; determining if the event is covered. The claims analyst will usually try to make a coverage determination on their own if the facts are relatively straightforward, but often that is not the case, and the assistance of insurance support services is necessary.

This process can be straightforward, such as in the case of a tanker truck rollover or industrial facility chemical spill, but is often more complicated when insufficient information is available to make a source and timing determination.  In the latter case, the claims analyst issues a Reservation of Rights letter, stating that the insurer is not accepting or denying coverage at this time as the circumstances of the claim are still under evaluation and investigation.

Claims can be denied if the incident occurs before or after the policy period; if the source or type of incident are not included or are specifically excluded under the policy; or if the incident occurred because of the client’s negligence. If coverage is denied no further actions are generally necessary on the part of the insurance company. Whether a claim is accepted or denied is often more complicated than what we’ve discussed here.

Accepted Claim Handling

Removal of UST following the identification of the release source.

The claim is accepted; undoubtedly good news for the client. What happens now is that the claim becomes “Active,” requiring among other things for the claims analyst to set reserves. A reserve is an estimate of what the claim is going to cost the insurance company. Your insurance support consultant can provide a rough approximation of the estimated costs to achieve regulatory closure, which includes all expenses incurred from investigation through remediation, post-remediation monitoring and reporting.

Early in the life of a claim, these are preliminary estimates that are refined as a project progresses, often requiring the claims analyst to adjust their reserves; important to the insurance company as future reserves impact financial forecasts. Insurance support services will develop the cost-to-closure estimate based on all available information and data, as well as their professional experience on similar projects. The insurer wants the most experienced environmental consultants and engineers on the case because their estimates are more likely to be on target and identify potential regulatory issues or risks.

From the insurer’s standpoint, the primary goal is to maintain a high level of responsiveness to their clients and process requests for reimbursement against the claim. The role of your insurance support team can continue by managing quality control and evaluation of site-specific activities; ensuring that the investigation and cleanup are reasonable and appropriate given the environmental conditions at the site, all applicable regulatory requirements, and costs consistent with industry standards for recovery. The client and their environmental consultant are required to provide the insurer and the insurance support consultant documentation of the work as follows:

  • Proposals (submitted for review and approval before starting work)
  • Work plans
  • Technical reports
  • Progress reports
  • Copies of correspondence with the regulatory agency
  • Invoices supported by detailed substantiating documentation

Over the life of a claim, insurance support may correspond with the project consultant on behalf of the insurer, conduct site visits, and be asked to participate in meetings, conference calls, and mediations. The overall goal of your insurance support consultant is to assist claims analysts in closing a claim in the most time-efficient, cost-effective manner possible within all regulatory rules and guidelines.

Claim Closure

Once an active claim−environmental project has achieved regulatory closure, the claims analyst begins the administrative process of closing the claim. From SCS’s insurance support standpoint, all that remains is to obtain the appropriate documentation from the regulator confirming that the subject project is approved for closure and that no further actions are required.

Identification of equipment failure can result in the insurer pursuing subrogation.

There are other circumstances which may result in closing a claim, such as exceeding the maximum total cost that can be paid out by the policy, non-compliance with policy requirements, or new information coming to light which results in a change in coverage position by the insurer. In some cases, such as when there is a change in coverage position or the cause of the issue can be attributed to a third party equipment failure, the insurer may seek to recover costs expended from the client and third-party policies. That process, called subrogation, may require the expertise of your insurance support specialist and at times their testimony as an expert witness.

Support When You Need It

There are several ways that SCS helps our insurance clients and other clients. The involvement of insurance companies is becoming more pervasive throughout environmental consulting and engineering in all business sectors. The combination of SCS’s industry expertise, contacts associated with our insurance support services, and our Federal, State, and local level regulatory expertise brings more knowledge and efficiency to each project. SCS offers a wide range of engineering and environmental services, a national presence, and a positive established industry reputation.

Our clients appreciate being able to draw upon our insurance-related expertise to assist them with their submittals, interpreting insurance requirements, and liaising with insurance companies as part of our core capabilities.


Michael Schmidt, SCS Engineers

Mr. Michael Schmidt is an accomplished industry leader with nearly 30 years of progressively responsible experience in the environmental consulting and environmental insurance industries. He has specific expertise focusing on the evaluation of environmental risks and liabilities associated with insurance claims and underwriting, site investigation and remediation, due diligence, and project management.

mschmidt@scsengineers.com    1-845-918-5220

Feel free to use our website to share our blogs, whitepapers, case studies, events, and news. SCS respects your privacy.




Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Tag Archives: environmental consulting

Thank you for continuing the tradition of keeping our roads clean!

May 8, 2019

Next year… 2020 will be the 30th year of SCS Engineers keeping roads in Madison, WI. clean.

Thank you to Jared Omernik, Lindsey Carlson, Paul Grover, Chris Jimieson, Zana Bajalan, Keith Gilkey, Brandon Suchomel, and Phil Gearing for your dedication to your community.













Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Tag Archives: environmental consulting

Spotlight on Christina Finizio of SCS Engineers

May 3, 2019

Christina Finizio of SCS Engineers

Christina Finizio, a recent graduate from the University of Florida now holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering. Her journey with SCS began last summer when she joined the Boca Raton team as an Intern. Christina did not always know she would become an engineer, she thought she would study International Business just like her sister, but that quickly changed.

In high school, she attended a Hackathon event that took place in San Francisco, and that is when her interest in engineering began. In this event, she got a glimpse of computer science and other areas; her instincts kept drawing her to engineering. She looked at her options, and many did not seem appealing to her until she looked into environmental engineering. It ultimately made sense to go that route; she always had an interest in the environment and was the President of the Environmental Club in high school.

While in college, she participated in an exchange program and flew out to Madrid for the spring semester. Her experience was unforgettable. During this time, she made friends from all over Europe and the world, improved her Spanish and explored the world of tapas. While there, she took care of business and had an internship with Sacyr’s (Valoriza Servicios Medioambientales), a construction firm, where she joined their Environmental Engineering group. Her internship focused on environmental and solid waste. This was the first time she was exposed to the solid waste industry, and where her interest grew.

After completing her exchange and internship program, she arrived home with a clear idea and knowledge of what she wanted to do next. She did her research and found a well-known professor who teaches and researches in solid waste at her university. She took his classes and studied with his group so she could become more knowledgeable.

Christina is was involved on campus and joined many student organizations. At one of the Society of Women Engineers’ (SWE) event, she met SCS’s Director of Talent Acquisition, Jennifer McCafferty. Christina was interested in SCS’s work and kept in touch with Jennifer. The following summer she applied to SCS’s internship program and was offered an internship in the Boca Raton, Florida office. She enjoyed the experience because it focused on solid waste management her primary area of interest.

Shortly after graduating, Christina joined the SCS team as an Associate Professional at the Tampa, Florida office. She loves the culture, and enjoys working with her team; they are exceptionally friendly and are always willing to lend a hand. She feels her success is in part, due to her team’s focus on their clients’ needs and believes this focus and the team’s communication style is valuable to clients, her team and herself.

Every day her work is different; she can be out in the field one day and in the office the other. She works on a variety of reports such as annual air monitoring and greenhouse gas reports; performs construction oversite for gas systems and system expansions. Her internship and new responsibilities give her a deeper understanding of the solid waste business, and how landfill gas can become a renewable energy resource rather than an environmental impact.

One of her biggest challenges is being able to imagine or see what is going on in the landfill. Landfills are complex requiring environmental monitoring and multiple systems for continuous protection; no doubt that Christina will continue to learn from the best in the business and continue to excel as an Associate Profesional.

Her advice to new interns is to always ask for help when you need it and offer support to those around you. You will be surprised how much you will learn from different areas and how friendly and willing to mentor everyone is. She feels this mantra was what prepared her for her current position.

Fun facts you should know about Christina; that she loves to salsa dance, cook, and travel. She is the first one in her immediate family to hold a degree in engineering and the STEM field. Christina is a valuable member of the SCS Tampa office team and the firm.

SCS Engineers is fortunate to include Christina and our many other Young Professionals at SCS on our teams.





Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:08 am
Tag Archives: environmental consulting

SCS Engineers Welcomes Depika Vidyarthi, Marketing Manager, and Jed Douglas, Certified Industrial Hygienist to the Firm’s Long Beach Office

April 12, 2019

Depika (Depi) Vidyarthi joins the SCS team with a proven track record of planning and implementing successful marketing and business development programs for firms in the A/E/C industry. She will oversee SCS’s West Coast regional marketing team by writing winning proposals, creating marketing collateral, managing marketing staff, conducting market research and other promotional initiatives.

Depi holds a BA from UC Irvine and is active in the Society of Marketing Professional Services, Association of Proposal Management Professionals and the Business Development Association of Orange County. She is also a former member of the Professional Environmental Management Association.

Jed Douglas, a senior project advisor, brings more than 20 years of experience in project management, health and safety, air quality and more. He will direct and develop SCS’s industrial hygiene practice in the Southwest region leading business development and client service, managing projects, and managing staff. Jed is a certified industrial hygienist and safety professional, and an accredited U.S. Green Building Council LEED Professional.

In the community, Jed has served on the board of the Big Brothers and Big Sisters of the North Coast, the board of the Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers, and as Editor of the Humboldt Bay Mycological Society newsletter.

Welcome to the SCS team – driven by client success!







Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:05 am
Tag Archives: environmental consulting

Impact of Organizational Change on Safety and Risk Management

March 13, 2019

If your facility is subject to Process Safety Management and Risk Management Plan regulations, or even if you are a mom and pop grocery store,  during the life of your business you’ll experience organizational change. William Lape, of SCS Engineers, writes about how we need to consider the impacts on a facility’s PSM/RMP or ARM programs and on the operation of the ammonia refrigeration system itself.

Published in the RETA Breeze, Managing Organizational Change, How It Impacts Your Ammonia Refrigeration System




Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Tag Archives: environmental consulting

Keys for Successfully Siting a Transfer Station

March 11, 2019

A well-sited transfer station could possibly save millions a year in operation costs, but it’s nearly impossible to find a location with every desirable checklist item. Project developers and one municipality share which priorities tend to matter the most and how to satisfy as many as possible, whether it is accessibility, traffic considerations, zoning, among others.

“There has been an uptick in construction of transfer stations in the past several years. Governments want to have facilities in their community for convenience,” says Michael Kalish, vice president of SCS Engineers.

Easy access is key.

“Haulers want to collect material quickly and easily to get rid of it and get back on the road. Otherwise, it costs a lot of money and time,” says Kalish.

Read the article How to Resourcefully Site a Transfer Station.




Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Tag Archives: environmental consulting

Landfills Are Building in Resiliency to Increasingly Erratic Weather

March 7, 2019

Stormwater management at landfills is changing as owners/operators are adapting their operating plans and designs to minimize the risks that come with heavier rainfall, and severe storm conditions. Landfill engineers are “overdesigning,” in regions hard hit in recent years by severe weather, and not designing for what is labeled as a statistically probable 25-year-storm.

Operations and maintenance are also preparing for changing conditions. William Mojica, Republic Services Director of Environmental Compliance is quoted in this article saying “It’s understanding the facility’s lifecycle, what best management practices (BMPs) are required and anticipating what may come.”

Jonathan Meronek, of SCS Engineers, notes similar strategies are being explored or employed along the U.S. coastlines including designing retention facilities to handle much larger storms.

Read Landfills Prepare to Brave Storms into the Future published in Waste360 and by the American Planning Association (APA).




Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
Tag Archives: environmental consulting

SCS Advice from the Field: Finding the most cost-effective and reliable LFG monitoring technology for your landfill

March 5, 2019

With the number of LFG monitoring technologies out there, it can be difficult for operators to distinguish which is the best fit. The authors, Pat Sullivan and John Henkelman of Understanding Landfill Gas Monitoring Techniques, do just that, help readers find the approach that works best for their landfill monitoring needs.

Methane can be monitored above the surface of the landfill as a gauge of potential emissions or can be directly measured using techniques that test for the rate or flux of emissions. The above-surface monitoring techniques for gauging potential emissions include surface emission monitoring, ground-based or low-altitude imaging and satellite and aerial imaging.

Landfill methane measurement is the direct measurement of methane emissions from landfills. Direct measurement of methane is more expensive than surface emission monitoring. Four ways to measure landfill methane directly are flux chamber testing, plume measurement, micrometeorological methods, and dispersion modeling.

Read the full article in Waste Today to decide which technologies work best for your landfill and why.




Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am
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