environmental consulting

Biosolids and PFAS – What’s in my Fertilizer?

January 30, 2023

SCS Engineers
What’s in my fertilizer?

 

From the USEPA to headlines in the media, coverage of PFAS moving from wastewater to drinking water is a major concern. Furthermore, there are growing concerns about how much PFAS is in by-products that are recycled or reused from waste products. Topping that list is fertilizer.

Retail fertilizer products made from at least 50% biosolids commonly sold to the general public and used in farming contain PFAS, which could get into crops and stock, eating those crops. The Environmental Protection departments in some states are beginning to consider or pass state-level specific regulations on the content of PFAS in biosolids.

The December 2022 USEPA memo to states (pages 4-5) made these recommendations on biosolids as follows:

  1. Recommended Biosolids Assessment 1. Where appropriate, states may work with their POTWs to reduce the amount of PFAS chemicals in biosolids, in addition to the NPDES recommendations in Section B above, following these general steps:7 a. EPA recommends using draft method 1633 to analyze biosolids at POTWs for the presence of 40 PFAS chemicals.8 b. Where monitoring and IU inventory per section B.2 and B.3.a above indicate the presence of PFAS in biosolids from industrial sources, EPA recommends actions in B.3.b to reduce PFAS discharges from IUs. c. EPA recommends validating PFAS reductions with regular monitoring of biosolids. States may also use their available authorities to conduct quarterly monitoring of the POTWs (see 40 CFR 403.10(f)(2)).

 

Tony Kollasch, an environmental consultant specializing in remediation, tells us to use precaution and learn more about what plans are underway in your state. In his Wisconsin Agri-Business article, BIOSOLIDS and PFAS – NUTRIENTS with a SIDE OF CONCERN, he walks readers through the most recent reports and studies using plain language.

The issues and questions that come up are solvable. There are treatments for removing PFAS, and as an environmental engineering and consulting firm, we solve these types of challenges. We encourage the safe use of by-products and urge you to learn more about specific products by joining associations where you can educate yourself – it’s good for business and for understanding pending regulations that may impact your operations. It will help you run your business sustainably by making sound decisions based on human health, the environment, and economic demand.

 

Additional Resources:

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

UPDATE: Illinois EPA NPDES Industrial Storm Water Discharges

January 26, 2023

NPDES Permit for Industrial Storm Water Discharges
NPDES changes are coming! All comments on the draft permit and requests for a public hearing must be received by the IEPA no later than February 11, 2023.

 

Attachment 1 of the NPDES Permit No. ILR00 Newly Published

 

On January 11, 2023, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency posted the General NPDES Permit for Industrial Storm Water Discharges (NPDES Permit No. ILR00) for public review and comment. You will find the document here.

Please note that numerous modifications and additions are proposed for Attachment 1 of the NPDES Permit No. ILR00. The Attachment was just made public by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. We are preparing a summary of the changes associated with each subsector.

Modifications and added parts or sections are summarized below:

  1. Modification to Part F.1 – Storm Water Controls for permittees to consider stormwater control measure enhancements for major storm events (storm surges).
  2. Indicator monitoring (measuring and reporting with no benchmark threshold) for pH, Total Suspended Solids (TSS), and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) has been modified in many subsectors for benchmark monitoring, as described in Attachment 1.
  3. Indicator monitoring (measuring and reporting with no benchmark threshold) for polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been added for certain subsectors, as described in Attachment 1. This pertains to areas within a property where storm water is exposed to surfaces initially sealed or re-sealed with coal-tar sealcoat.
  1. Benchmark threshold values have been updated for aluminum, copper, selenium, cadmium, magnesium, and iron in Attachment 1.
  2. The benchmark monitoring schedule has been updated for many subsectors, as shown in Attachment 1. We anticipate that the IEPA will require benchmark monitoring to occur in the permit’s first and fourth years of coverage.
  1. Additional implementation measures have been revised for some of the subsectors in Attachment 1.
  2. A sign of permit coverage (except in instances where other laws or local ordinances prohibit such signage) must be placed in a safe, publicly accessible location in close proximity to the facility and include the following:
    • The NPDES ID Number
    • Information about how the public can request the facility’s SWPPP
    • And how they contact the facility and IEPA if stormwater pollution is observed.
  1. Submit an updated Notice of Intent (NOI) within 150-days of the permit renewal date (to be determined)

All comments on the draft permit and requests for a public hearing must be received by the IEPA no later than February 11, 2023.

Our team of Storm Water professionals in Illinois includes Spencer LaBelle and Scott Knoepke, who are ready to answer your NPDES Permit questions and discuss how the proposed modifications to the permit may impact your operation.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 10:36 am

Illinois EPA Seeks Public Review & Comment on NPDES Permit for Industrial Storm Water Discharges

January 23, 2023

NPDES Permit for Industrial Storm Water Discharges
NPDES changes are coming! All comments on the draft permit and requests for a public hearing must be received by the IEPA no later than February 11, 2023.

 

On January 11, 2023, the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency posted the General NPDES Permit for Industrial Storm Water Discharges (NPDES Permit No. ILR00) for public review and comment. You will find the document here.

Please note that numerous modifications and additions are proposed for Attachment 1 of the NPDES Permit No. ILR00. At the time of authoring this blog, Attachment 1 has not been made public by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency. Once this document is made available, a follow-up post will be prepared to summarize the changes associated with each subsector.

Modifications and added parts or sections are summarized below:

  1. Modification to Part F.1 – Storm Water Controls for permittees to consider stormwater control measure enhancements for major storm events (storm surges).
  2. Indicator monitoring (measuring and reporting with no benchmark threshold) for pH, Total Suspended Solids (TSS), and Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) has been modified in many subsectors for benchmark monitoring, as described in Attachment 1.
  3. Indicator monitoring (measuring and reporting with no benchmark threshold) for polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been added for certain subsectors, as described in Attachment 1. This pertains to areas within a property where storm water is exposed to surfaces initially sealed or re-sealed with coal-tar sealcoat.
  1. Benchmark threshold values have been updated for aluminum, copper, selenium, cadmium, magnesium, and iron in Attachment 1.
  2. The benchmark monitoring schedule has been updated for many subsectors, as shown in Attachment 1. We anticipate that the IEPA will require benchmark monitoring to occur in the permit’s first and fourth years of coverage.
  1. Additional implementation measures have been revised for some of the subsectors in Attachment 1.
  2. A sign of permit coverage (except in instances where other laws or local ordinances prohibit such signage) must be placed in a safe, publicly accessible location in close proximity to the facility and include the following:
    • The NPDES ID Number
    • Information about how the public can request the facility’s SWPPP
    • And how they contact the facility and IEPA if stormwater pollution is observed.
  1. Submit an updated Notice of Intent (NOI) within 150-days of the permit renewal date (to be determined)

All comments on the draft permit and requests for a public hearing must be received by the IEPA no later than February 11, 2023.

Our team of Storm Water professionals in Illinois includes Spencer LaBelle and Scott Knoepke, who are ready to answer your NPDES Permit questions and discuss how the proposed modifications to the permit may impact your operation.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Environmental Consultant David Palmerton Joins SCS Engineers

January 20, 2023

Environmental Consulting - SCS Engineers
Dave Palmerton, Geologist in Pennsylvania and four other states, helps industry work sustainably.

 

David Palmerton joins SCS Engineers as a Project Director specializing in environmental services for industrial water management, due diligence, and remediation. Palmerton serves clients in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and the Mid-Atlantic region.

“David joins SCS with an excellent performance record and credentials serving industry clients. Our consulting engineer teams include scientists with field and business experience to create solutions that meet and remain compliant with local, state, and federal policies while economically and socially practical,” states Vice President Denise Wessels.

Palmerton is a Certified Professional Geologist in five states and brings expertise developed supporting Fortune 100 and 500 firms throughout North America, keeping project teams on schedule and budget.

Today’s sustainable industrial operations, including those for oil and gas, mining, manufacturing, energy, and solid waste, consider the environment and human health during operations. It is good business to run sustainably, supporting both communities and shareholders, which has been SCS’s mission for over 50 years.

Palmerton brings decades of experience working with stakeholders to bring project strategies from concept to successful completion using a holistic combination of environmental field management, construction quality control, and sound economic practices. His project experience includes litigation support, site assessment, remediation, due diligence, and risk reviews for private industry, CERCLA and RCRA-regulated sites.

Palmerton is a published author and speaks at industry and association educational events. He is certified by the American Institute of Professional Geologists and is a USACE Certified Quality Control Manager. He earned his BS at the State University of New York College at Buffalo.

 

Expand your environmental career and make a difference in your community too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Oklahoma State University (OSU) STEM Career Fair

January 12, 2023

Join SCS Engineers at Oklahoma State University’s STEM Career Fair on March 2, 2023.

SCS is an employee-owned, award-winning environmental engineering, consulting, and construction firm with offices nationwide. We are seeking a wide variety of dedicated, hard-working professionals with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) backgrounds.

The fair is FREE to students.

Click for more information and registration

 

 

Posted by Laura Dorn at 9:37 am

Closed Landfills Generate Solar Energy and Win for Local Government

January 10, 2023

solar array on landfill
Solar array at the Oaks Landfill

Success in such projects helps municipalities move closer to achieving their sustainability goals. These two Maryland projects provide value to their communities by lowering greenhouse gas emissions, providing renewable energy and environmental integrity, and creating jobs and savings for taxpayers. That’s a win for Maryland and its citizens.

Closed landfills require significant maintenance and environmental compliance expenditures for many years, more often decades. Recent changes in federal tax law under the Inflation Reduction Act have dramatically improved opportunities for public and private sector landfills to convert a liability to an income-producing asset. The Inflation Reduction Act includes provisions for a 30% investment tax credit for solar projects with other provisions that can increase this incentive to as much as 50%. There are also equivalent provisions for direct payment to non-taxpaying entities such as cities and counties. An excellent summary has been prepared by the law firm of Holland & Knight and is available here.”

Two Maryland counties are among recent SCS Engineers’ clients who are converting their idle properties into revenue-generators that serve their communities—they are installing solar farms, a growing trend on closed landfills. The Oaks Landfill in Montgomery County, MD, is one.

The Oaks Landfill Photovoltaic Array project will be a 6-megawatt (MW) system on 170 acres of the closed landfill, the largest solar project on county property. Governed through a power purchase agreement, two MWs are allocated for the County. The other four MWs are for a community solar project, with 100% of the electricity generated, provided to low and moderate-income subscribers. In total the solar energy system is expected to generate 11.4 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year – enough to power 930 homes. The solar power is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as taking 1,740 cars off the road.

It will be one of the largest solar farms nationwide to allocate all power to disadvantaged communities. The array is on schedule to operate in 2023.

 

Siting solar energy installations

Ideal sites for these facilities are fairly flat (preferably less than 15% slope) with open spaces conducive to photovoltaic system installation. Favorable sites are also in close proximity to utility connection points providing developers a viable means to bring their product to market and consumers. While properties like closed landfills provide ideal locations, the projects command a robust multidisciplinary redevelopment approach. Important skills for successfully engineering and permitting these projects include landfill engineering expertise and experience with state and local permitting processes.

You can learn more about renewable energy solutions here.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Environmental Consultant Donald E. Barfield

January 1, 2023

SCS Engineers

 

Donald Barfield (Don) joins SCS Engineers as a Project Director specializing in environmental assessment and brownfield remediation, the first step in returning damaged sites and property to productive use. Barfield brings AAI expertise developed at over 2,000 assessments and brownfield projects throughout the United States and globally, keeping them on schedule and budget.

“Don’s proven track record fits our aim to create sustainable environmental solutions. Our consulting engineer teams include members with field and financial experience to create solutions that meet and remain compliant with local, state, and federal policies while economically and socially practical, states Senior Vice President and Southeast Business Director Carlo Lebron.

All Appropriate Inquiries (AAI) is a process of evaluating the environmental condition of a property and assessing the likelihood of contamination. Parties must comply with the requirements of the AAI Rule or follow the standards set forth in the ASTM E1527-13 or E1527-21 Standard Practice for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments to satisfy the statutory requirements for conducting all appropriate inquiries.

Today’s commercial property transactions take environmental issues into consideration. Complex laws can impose significant environmental liabilities on purchasers, sellers, and lenders, whether or not they caused the problem and whether or not they still own the property.

Don brings years of experience helping municipalities, developers, and industrial clients prepare and submit EPA Brownfield Assessment and Cleanup Grants, including the compliance reporting and due diligence associated with making these projects successful for communities and businesses. His project experience includes due diligence and risk reviews for large acquisitions or mergers and the assessment and development of closure plans for RCRA Regulated Units.

“Sustainability and environmental compliance are important factors in moving projects forward while protecting communities,” says Don. “There are funding, grants, tax credits, and incentives available now. In Florida, the Voluntary Cleanup Tax Credit Program could support mixed-use developments and potential partnerships right now.”

Barfield is an LEED® Accredited Professional, HAZWOPER Certified, and an ASTM Environmental Professional. He earned his MBA at the University of North Florida and a BS in Biology at Jacksonville University.

SCS Engineers’ environmental solutions and technology directly result from our experience and dedication to industries responsible for safeguarding the environment as they deliver essential services and products. For more information about joining us, please visit the SCS Engineers website, or watch our video to see what we can do for your business and community.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Living Our Founder Tom Conrad’s Culture of Trust and Giving

December 22, 2022

I enjoyed all of my years knowing Tom, and have benefitted greatly from his wisdom, guidance, and inspiration. We will continue to carry forward his legacy and his dreams for this firm, to be the best at what we do, and to have a good time while we are doing it. Michelle Leonard, Senior Vice President

 

We are deeply saddened by the passing of our founder Tom Conrad, but we celebrate his spirit by continuing the culture he established at SCS Engineers. Tom was energetic, creative, hard-working, and fun-loving! His accomplishments in preventing and mitigating environmental damage are just one of the reasons we respect him so much.

Another reason is that Tom believed in providing opportunities for everyone. He founded and ran SCS based on giving individuals the tools they need to thrive while providing for their families, the environment, and their communities. These tools are trust, mentorship, and open dialog. By building these philosophies into our culture, Tom sparked multiple innovations and environmental solutions by some of the finest people you’ll ever want to meet.

These SCSers continue our culture of caring and listening. Anyone at SCS can contribute their ideas for improving a process or technology. Our executives promote forums to keep the conversations and idea exchanges going and open to all. And just as Tom would insist, innovations are proven before they are implemented.

We’re proud of all SCSers, especially our young professionals, who consistently bring in fresh ideas and perspectives by asking “why and how” questions. Designing sustainable environmental solutions requires a deep understanding of systems, processes, and industry knowledge. Asking the right questions and seeking answers indicates a curious mind; Tom called these people “thinkers,” one of the best compliments we could get. Asking these questions indicates a self-actualized mind. And answering the questions takes a team. At SCS, we encourage both.

SCS’s mentorship and young professionals programs are thriving. They were established more formally in the last decade but have always been a part of SCS. President and CEO Jim Walsh called Tom “The best mentor anyone could ever have,” going on to say that Tom “taught me a lot, but more, he let me figure things out on my own… I’ve often said that my best four years of education were not high school or college; it was learning from Tom Conrad.”

SCS’s culture survives because of trust. So as Tom did, we continue to place trust and confidence in SCS’s employee-owners. Tom understood long ago that trust creates a culture of teamwork and respect, enabling effective problem-solving. In fact, Tom was so proud and confident in the firm’s environmental accomplishments in 1987 that he modified the company’s Employee Stock Ownership Plan to expand ownership of SCS to all employees. Today SCS remains 100% employee-owned and is a driving force for SCSers to deliver high-quality and ethical solutions to our clients.

Tom’s other major and no less important philosophy was to “have fun!” We take the time to engage and laugh with our colleagues, clients, and associates.

Our nationwide offices are busy year-round helping their communities, especially during the holidays. A special thanks to our young professionals, who think BIG, for organizing our annual Feed America campaign, always with a healthy, fun competition between our offices!

You can learn more about how SCS continues in Tom Conrad’s spirit today by watching this short video made by SCSers coast to coast.

 

All of us at SCS send you, our community, clients, and friends
best wishes for a happy holiday season!

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

AAEES Webinar – Plastics: Hero or Villain When We Manage Their Afterlife?

December 19, 2022

AAEES and SCS Engineers

 

AAEES Webinar Plastics: Hero or Villain When We Manage Their Afterlife?

Wednesday, January 11, 2023
12:00 PM Eastern | 9:00 am Pacific
1 hour and 30 minutes (approximate)
$40 for non-members | FREE for all AAEES Members

American Academy of Environmental Engineers & Scientists (AAEES) presents an interactive session with “live chat” capability. The session is open to environmental engineering and science professionals across all sectors and career stages. Our objective is to offer special insights on leading-edge solutions for graduate and undergraduate students and early to mid-career environmental professionals considering specialty certification.

AAEES Board Certified Individuals: Attend this event and earn 1.5 PDHs towards your PDH requirements for maintaining your specialty certification.

Webinar Summary

Plastics have always had a rocky reputation. Fifty years ago, the Kinks sang “Plastic Man” as a paean to their superficiality. Now they are blamed for a wide array of problems ranging from marine debris, environmental injustice, negative health impacts, and fraudulent recycling. Yet their use has transformed the products we use in our daily life and what we do with those products when we are through with them. In 1960, plastics were less than half of a percent of America’s trash. Today, they are one-eighth of the garbage we generate. Their impact is significant.

This webinar will look at the rise of plastics in our waste. It will examine the collection, disposal (whether energy recovery or landfill), and recycling along with the extent to which plastics have led to less waste to manage. This webinar will teach you more about plastics’ pervasiveness in our society and how we can best manage their afterlife.

About the Presenters

Bob Gardner holds B.S. and M.E. degrees in civil engineering from the University of Virginia. He is a Senior Vice President of SCS Engineers and has been with the firm since 1980. He serves on the firm’s Board of Directors and oversees SCS’s nationwide solid waste management practice. His expertise is in solid waste management and environmental engineering. He provides consulting and engineering services to municipal and private clients throughout the United States and abroad. Bob is involved with the Environmental Research and Education Foundation Research Council. He is a past Director of the Solid Waste Association of North Americas Landfill Management.

Chaz Miller is a fifty-year veteran of the waste and recycling industry. He was part of EPA’s original Resource Recovery program, is a recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Recycling Coalition, chaired the Aiming for Zero Waste Task Force in his home county in Maryland and writes an award-winning column for Waste360 magazine.

Click to Regster

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

Public Hearing on EPA Proposed Oil and Gas Regulation

December 14, 2022

SCS Engineers

EPA intends to update and expand its November 2021 oil and gas regulation proposal by reducing methane emissions and other harmful air pollution from new and existing oil and natural gas operations. The Agency has issued a supplemental proposal adding proposed requirements for sources not previously covered.

Registration is open for EPA’s virtual public hearing impacting hundreds of thousands of existing oil and gas sources nationwide. The Agency states it will promote innovative methane detection technologies and other cutting-edge solutions which are being developed.

Hearing information:

  • Dates: January 10 and 11, 2023
  • Times (both days). Please see the time for your time zone:
    • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time
    • 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Central Standard Time
    • 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mountain Standard Time
    • 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time

 

To register to speak or to watch a live stream of the hearing on both days, please visit EPA’s website for the supplemental proposal.

The registration deadline is January 5, 2023.  See instructions for submitting a written comment.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am