The Iowa Recycling and Solid Waste Management Conference planning committee is diligently working on hosting an in-person conference October 4-6, 2021, at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cedar Rapids Convention Complex. Naturally, we’ll be attending if at all possible. So get your vaccine and plan to head to Cedar Rapids in October.
Check back; more information to come! We are recycling it here 🙂
StormCon and WaterPro Conference to be held as parallel events in 2021. Endeavor and the National Rural Water Association (NRWA) plan to hold their annual conferences, StormCon and the WaterPro Conference, as parallel events on September 13-15, 2021, at The Wisconsin Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
StormCon 2021, the industry’s leading conference on advancing the science and practice of stormwater management, will feature these tracks and professionals such as Jonathan Meronek ready to help!
Industrial Stormwater Management
This track covers industrial stormwater management and permitting, focusing on publicly and privately owned facilities covered by industrial stormwater permits or EPA’s stormwater multi-sector general permit. Such facilities range from small businesses located in urban areas, such as restaurants and automotive repair shops, to large sites such as manufacturing plants, transportation facilities, landfills and waste transfer stations, and mining operations.
Managing stormwater at industrial and manufacturing facilities
Stormwater management in the mining industry
Concerns for oil and gas facilities
Transportation activities: airports, ports, and fleet maintenance facilities
Managing stormwater on active landfill sites
Selection, installation, and maintenance of stormwater management systems on closed landfill sites
Storage and handling of hazardous waste
Inspecting industrial sites for stormwater compliance
Integrating industrial stormwater operations with municipal permits
Flood Modeling & Mitigation
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a model is worth a million. This track will focus on cutting-edge tools and technologies for designing stormwater infrastructure based on hydrology models.
1D, 2D, and 3D modeling
Flood plain simulation
Flood risk assessment
Programs, Permits & Compliance
This track covers the various aspects of complying with municipal stormwater permits and funding, staffing, and managing municipal and state stormwater programs.
Funding opportunities, such as bonds, development impact fees, and enterprise funds
Creating and managing a stormwater utility
Stormwater credit trading
Hiring, training, and managing staff
Strategies for meeting NPDES permit requirements
Building public education and outreach programs
Illicit discharge detection and elimination programs
Transportation & Construction Stormwater
Roads, bridges, highways, airports, and ports convey goods and people and stormwater runoff, transporting pollutants in the process. Sessions in this track will address concerns at these locations and active construction sites and offer strategies for addressing challenges.
Stormwater BMPs for transportation/construction sites
Programs and management
Illicit discharge detection/elimination
This technical track discusses methods for evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of best management practices and topics and trends in stormwater research, such as standardizing testing protocols and standards.
Performance standards and testing protocols
Evaluating BMP performance
Characterizing pollutant loads
Fate and transport of pollutants
Sampling tools and techniques
Bacterial detection and identification techniques
*Please note that descriptions of technologies or proprietary BMPs must be accompanied by supporting performance data. If your presentation deals with one or more BMPs, especially with proprietary systems, your abstract must indicate what supporting data the presentation will include.
This track showcases examples of green infrastructure and low impact development (LID), practices that strive to maintain or mimic the predevelopment hydrology by infiltrating, storing, filtering, and evaporating stormwater runoff rather than moving it offsite to a centralized stormwater system.
Infiltration and bioretention practices
Maintenance of green infrastructure practices
Rainwater harvesting and stormwater reuse
Mark your calendar for the second webinar in our 2021 Quarterly Environmental Update series on Thursday, August 5. Once again, our presenters will be the knowledgeable staff of GLGA member SCS Engineers, who will discuss critical regulatory issues that affect your plants.
About the Presenters:
SCS is an award-winning, international environmental consulting and construction firm serving the private and public sectors. They deliver environmental solutions by combining long-term experience with compliance and technological expertise. Rated a top performer in six environmental categories and solid waste engineering company by Engineering News-Record.
Thursday, August 5, 2021
11:00 a.m. Eastern / 10:00 a.m. Central
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.
June 21st – 25th, 2021
Join SCS at the Annual IIAR Natural Refrigeration Conference, the largest conference and exposition dedicated to the natural refrigeration industry. We provide opportunities for the industry’s leading manufacturers, technicians, and regulators to learn more about SCS’s comprehensive programs and training.
Lee Pyle: Ms. Pyle is a Vice President of SCS Engineers, the Business Unit Director of our SCS Tracer Division, and our National Expert on Risk Management Plans and Process Safety Management. Ms. Pyle serves as lead engineer on many projects and has been involved in preparing over 100 Risk Management and Safety Management Programs. She is a key element in developing the Risk and Safety program at SCS Tracer Environmental, including document preparation for specific Administrating Agencies throughout the state of California and ensuring that all our risk programs are acceptable to these agencies.
Bill Lape: Mr. Lape is a Project Director for the Risk Management Group in our Tracer Environmental Division. His responsibilities include outlining project budgets, organizing project schedules, and quality control. He is experienced in developing and deploying standardized Risk Management and Process Safety Management (PSM) Programs, including process safety program implementation and PSM support to manufacturing facilities that utilize ammonia as a refrigerant.
The 79th Annual Conference is one of the Midwest’s largest gatherings of safety and health professionals. It is the perfect opportunity for decision-makers to find new products and services, and learn more about the environmental concerns they are facing. SCS Engineers’ Cheryl Moran is attending; she looks forward to meeting and greeting you soon! Cheryl is ready to share her industry expertise with colleagues and peers on safety.
Half-day sessions starting at 8:00 am on Tuesday, April 20, 2021 – Thursday, April 22, 2021
Wednesday at 10:00 AM join us at Session #17 PFAs – An Update On This Emerging Contaminant
Tony Kollasch, Project Manager, and Jeff Marshall, Vice President, National Expert on Innovative Technologies, SCS Engineers discuss the history of PFAs, why people are concerned about PFAs, the current state of environmental
regulations regarding this substance, and the likely future of PFAs concerns.
Virtual Conference on April 15, 2021, at 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM ET
Moderated by Michelle Gluck of Cornell Cooperative Extension Dutchess County, the panel discusses waste reduction, composting, anaerobic digestion, compost use, carbon sequestration…so many avenues to reduce climate impacts through organics management.
We’ll hear about New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the progress of its waste advisory panel, and from a Climate Smart Community on how they’re planning to manage their organics with greenhouse gas emissions in mind.
Suzanne Hagell, Climate Policy Analyst, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
Molly Trembley, Environmental Engineer, NYSDEC
Cities like Oviedo, Fla. are investing in the cleanup of defunct brownfield sites, converting even highly contaminated properties from liabilities to assets that pump economic vitality into their communities. And municipalities are getting reimbursed for doing so. But these ambitious undertakings require the expertise of professionals with strong environmental engineering and remediation backgrounds and an understanding of federal and state regulations aimed to protect public health and the environment.
This spring, after over two years of working closely with SCS Engineers and the development team, the City of Oviedo will unveil its redevelopment project: a 3.7-acre public park with a walking and jogging trail. The loop trail will be part of a larger trail system interconnecting through the City and the Cross-Seminole trail, with the latter running throughout the county.
The walking and jogging path surrounds a pond with a dual purpose: to serve as an added feature to this peaceful retreat and part of an enhanced stormwater management system that will allow business owners to convey drainage from their properties via an underground stormwater management system. Along the park perimeter, historical displays will tell the story of the nearly century-and-a-half-old City’s past.
SCS helped the City navigate regulatory issues associated with redeveloping environmentally impacted land, ensuring safe and environmentally sound practices, and maximizing financial reimbursement through the Florida Brownfields Program.
In the 1940s, the site operated as a farm but lay idle and overgrown with vegetation decades after. When SCS came in to complete the environmental assessment, the team confirmed that years of pesticide application did leave arsenic behind in the soil.
“It appears that the pesticides were used appropriately, but with the change in land use and to meet the state’s environmental criteria, we need to address the residuals to redevelop the property as a park. It would otherwise remain as unusable land without this cleanup,” says Kirk A. Blevins, SCS senior project manager.
SCS completed site assessment activities according to Chapter 62-780 FAC, which includes additional testing to delineate the extent of arsenic-impacted soil further and evaluate groundwater conditions. Assessment activities indicated that while not impacting groundwater, the soil contained arsenic above acceptable regulatory levels. In its next step, the team designed a remedial action plan with multiple considerations for success.
“Given that the site would include both a stormwater management pond and a public park, we recommended that rather than cap the soil to reduce potential exposure, the City meet the strictest cleanup criteria. This option is the most protective of human health and the environment,” Blevins says.
The plan included removing approximately 47,000 cubic yards of arsenic-impacted soil, then placement of clean import fill for areas open to the public. Blevins and his team proposed excavating to the property boundary, and they provided technical guidance to the City contractor on how to efficiently and safely execute this undertaking. “It was important to excavate to the property boundary to assure removal of the impacted material so that the City would receive unconditional closure approval from the regulatory agency,” explains Blevins.
Concise reporting of the work is key to securing that approval, so SCS documented the excavation of impacted soil to the appropriate depths and lateral extents, managing it appropriately onsite, and transporting it to an approved landfill for disposal.
The team worked with the City’s environmental counsel to bring the site into the Florida Brownfields Program and prepared its voluntary cleanup tax credit (VCTC) applications for submission to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). All expenses and payment, confirming the expenditures “integral to rehabilitation,” are documented. With this validation, the City of Oviedo is getting back about half of its $1,432,000 related investment. It will receive another 25% bonus once FDEP issues a letter stating that no further action is required.
Documentation and communication with the state regulators is an ongoing process requiring a detailed review of contractor proposals, invoices, pay applications, proof of payment, and a summary of progress each year over the project’s life. “In particular, a line-item review of invoices can sometimes establish additional actions that are critical to remediation that otherwise might have been overlooked and not captured. This process is vital to maximize reimbursement,” Blevins explains.
Cost, as always, is a client priority. So, SCS and the remedial team focused on minimizing offsite disposal of the impacted soil, proposing over-excavating the pond, using the unimpacted soil as the onsite fill, and placing a portion of the impacted soil at the pond’s bottom.
“This was possible because testing indicated that the impacted soil would not leach arsenic into the pond water at a rate that would adversely affect water quality. We confirm that arsenic concentrations are below the strictest regulatory level before any soil from over-excavating the pond can be of beneficial reuse onsite. Safety of people and environmental protection always comes first,” Blevins says.
The ultimate outcome: Oviedo has a regional stormwater pond suited for potential commercial operations to use for drainage, maximizing available land for economic development, as well as a recreational park for the community and visitors.
SCS’s technical expertise was crucial to successfully remediating this site, attests Bobby Wyatt, Public Works Director at City of Oviedo, Florida.
“The team easily navigated and sped up the permitting process for the arsenic removal and provided continuing assistance with monitoring during construction. The process for completing the specific remediation/permitting was unfamiliar to City staff, and SCS provided efficient and competent assistance to get us where we needed to go.
Their experience provided a sense of confidence that we were going to be able to make the park project successful,” Wyatt says.
SCS has worked on brownfields projects and voluntary remediation across the U.S. for over 45 years. We convert once nonproductive commercial and industrial properties into revenue-generators and affordable housing.
What is your title and responsibilities at SCS Engineers?
My title at SCS Engineers is “Project Professional.” In the Southeast region, we have something called “Assistant Project Managers,” which is not an official title. However, as the name suggests, the position entails helping the project manager run the project. My responsibilities include:
What attracted you to join SCS?
While completing my Master of Environmental Engineering, most of my classes were either water or wastewater-related. I had heard of SCS Engineers; from what I had heard and seen, it was focused heavily on landfill engineering. As a millennial, I did not have a positive outlook on landfills; I was interested in the environmental remediation of properties. Luckily, I was in a restaurant and ran into Eddy Smith, Senior Vice President of Client Success. We went over my career goals and the projects at SCS. I applied for a job, and the rest is history!
What attracted me initially to SCS was working in Environmental Services. I have been with SCS for over three years now and have expanded into sustainable materials management (SMM), which is interesting and good for communities and the environment. I’m also eager to build a more comprehensive knowledge of using what was once waste to renewable energy sources and clean-burning fuel. Solid waste management and landfills are fascinating, more than I ever imagined. SMM, renewable energy, remediation, and landfill operations are interconnected and essential for keeping people and communities safe and thriving.
What is your favorite part of working at SCS?
The people at SCS! We hire humble, hungry, and smart people. The knowledge pool is incredible, and everyone is always willing to help, no matter what part of the country you’re working. People are just a phone call away.
What do you feel is your greatest achievement or contribution to date?
I am working on a 500-acre landfill redevelopment project divided into four quadrants. Our client completed construction on one quadrant with nine buildings. We’ve received closure for eight of the nine buildings and anticipate closure for the remaining building soon. I take pride in supporting them to accomplish the closure and earn the environmental approvals safer and faster because of my combined team’s expertise and experience.
What is challenging for you as a YP?
Learning to manage my time was the greatest challenge. Regularly, I would stay late to work on projects and completing my tasks. It wasn’t a sustainable balance in my life. I said yes to everything assigned instead of letting the project manager know that my plate was full. Now, by planning my day better, prioritizing, and giving project managers realistic deadlines. I found the balance that works, and I am more productive.
What has helped with your success?
The support of management and our team at SCS has made me successful. If I have an issue with a project or unsure of the direction I need to take, I know I can rely on my team to help. There have been times when colleagues have dropped what they are doing to help me finish a project on time and within budget.
Do you have a favorite aspect of SCS’s Young Professionals Program, and describe your role as Chair?
My favorite aspect of the YP program is the mentorship program that the committee relaunched in 2020. It is such an incredible opportunity as a YP to be guided by an experienced professional. They have stood where we are today, and getting to learn from their experience is invaluable; our YPs take advantage of it.
I enjoy my role as the Chair of the YP program; I spend my energies organizing by:
What are your favorite hobbies outside of SCS?
I am a bit of a nerd, so my friends and I play Dungeons and Dragons every week. I also like DIY projects with arts and crafts – I made wall décor out of cardboard when I moved into my house!
What advice do you have for others getting into STEM fields?
When I was younger, I was advised not to go into the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields by my career advisors and teachers because they did not think I would be successful. In fact, because of their advice, I tried out classes in the non-STEM field like history, commerce, geography, and I did not enjoy them. I was still intrigued by the STEM field, so I listened to my gut and look where I am today! STEM is not biased. My advice would be not to let anyone tell you that STEM is not for you. If you want to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, just do it!
Thanks to South Florida’s hot real estate market and impressive growth rates, a dwindling supply of properties are available for development in the area. The Atlantic Ocean limits South Florida’s development options to the east and Florida Everglades to the west. Due to these supply limitations, developers seek to redevelop contaminated landfills, golf courses, and agricultural land. Environmental due diligence is essential to the successful redevelopment of these types of properties. Depending on the property’s size and the extent of the contamination, redeveloping contaminated properties can cost upwards of a million dollars.
Typically, developers will have to deal with contaminants like ammonia at a landfill redevelopment project, arsenic at a golf course redevelopment project, or pesticides at agricultural redevelopment projects. In some cases, remediation and assessment using the standard or “default” cleanup target level (CTL) can stop a project from proceeding. However, before abandoning the project, developers should consider the potential for establishing alternative cleanup target levels (ACTLs) for the site’s contaminants.
Several technical strategies are available to developers considering redeveloping contaminated properties to reduce overall costs and expedite the construction schedule. Costs associated with managing material above a default CTL can include disposal of contaminated material, importing clean fill, and delays to permitting and construction schedules if an environmental regulator determines your assessment is incomplete.
Understanding Default Cleanup Target Levels
Environmental regulators use a range of tools to develop default CTLs. Default CTLs can be based on complex equations that consider toxicity and exposure assumptions such as ingestion rates, body weight, age, and exposure levels. Soil properties are also considered. In some cases, human health may not even be the determining factor in calculating a default CTL. Rather, a particular contaminant’s environmental impact on the local ecosystem may be what determines its default CTL.
While default CTLs are useful tools to formulate remediation strategies on a broad range of sites, default CTL values will be overly conservative for other sites. More explicitly, some sites’ present and future use and exposure characteristics are so different from the assumptions used to calculate the default CTLs – that the default CTL does not accurately correspond to the risk associated with the proposed sites’ use. In such cases, explore the development of an alternative cleanup target level (ACTL).
Establishing Alternative Cleanup Target Levels
With the right approach, a site ACTL could provide significant cost savings while maintaining regulatory compliance. But buyers beware; choose your environmental consultant carefully. The consultant should understand the site-specific factors that affect the calculation of the ACTLs. Often, a knowledgeable consultant has a good idea of the outcome even before investing the client’s time and money pursuing the alternative.
Cost and Schedule Benefits
To illustrate cost and development time-savings, consider a simple example of arsenic-contaminated soil at a residential development. Suppose there are no other reuse options available for the contaminated material, and the material must be disposed of at a landfill. Given 100,000 cubic yards (cy) of contaminated material at a disposal cost of $60 per cy, we estimate 6 million dollars in disposal costs, not including importing clean fill. However, if the site is an age-restricted residential community, certain exposure assumptions could be modified to calculate a much higher ACTL for arsenic. The soil would no longer be regulated as contaminated, and costs associated with disposal, imported material, and soil tracking are eliminated. Soil that was considered contaminated based on the default CTL is now clean based on the ACTL.
Let us look at a more complex example. Consider the case of a site contaminated with dieldrin, a common pesticide found at golf courses and agricultural properties. A leachability ACTL recalculates the default leachability of a particular soil contaminant. A leachability ACTL uses site-specific soil chemical and physical properties, such as soil organic matter content, bulk density, and annual average soil moisture content, and determines a more realistic risk profile associated with soil that could potentially leach contaminants into the groundwater. With an ACTL above the default CTL, remediation may not be necessary, or the site may not require a deed restriction, or ongoing costs associated with monitoring of the groundwater or operation of a remediation system could be eliminated, making the completed project more attractive to potential buyers.
Developing ACTLs is a careful, thoughtful strategy that an experienced environmental consultant can propose based on the site’s unique conditions. The developer’s financial objectives and schedule and the property end-use must be carefully considered to develop a thorough redevelopment approach. The use of an ASCTL could mean the difference between a project that is financially infeasible and one that is attractive and profitable.
About the Author: Troy Schick, PE, specializes in stormwater and groundwater management and voluntary remediation of properties, including brownfields and former landfills. Troy uses his experience at SCS Engineers and education as an Environmental Engineer and Environmental Manager with field inspection, sample collection, documentation, and project management to benefit Florida communities. Troy is available for consultation at tschick@scsengineers.