Each year EBI, Inc. and its award selection committee present Business Achievement Awards in several categories to worthy recipients in the environmental and climate change industries. Winners of this year’s awards are honored at the Business Achievement Awards Ceremony held virtually on February 4-5, 2021. Click here to register for this free event!
Groundwater and Stormwater Remediation Solution
A Florida developer acquired a 500-acre former landfill to redevelop into an 8-million-square-foot industrial park. Reuse of the site required remediation of contaminated groundwater and stormwater. Problem: Environmental guidelines required 140 acres to be set aside for stormwater retention. This involved relocating several thousand cubic yards of waste but would prevent redevelopment of the 140 acres, costing the developer $300 million in real estate sales. That, combined with the expense of groundwater remediation, would make site redevelopment cost-prohibitive. Solution: The innovative strategy included connecting the groundwater remediation and stormwater management systems. The integrated system allows for shallow aquifer recharge using stormwater and captures impacted groundwater at the site’s boundary. The extracted groundwater is ultimately disposed of through a 3,500 feet deep injection well. SCS provided an alternative design acceptable to permitting agencies that included groundwater remediation, stormwater management, and recharge as a single system. Benefits: The integrated system made the 140 acres available for redevelopment. Over 2 million square feet of building space is being constructed, with another 6 million square feet planned. The development will create hundreds of new jobs and deliver several hundred million dollars to the city and county tax base.
Waste Managements Connected Landfills Technology
Waste Management designed an internal landfill technology solution then contracted with SCS Engineers to integrate and deploy Waste Management’s innovative ‘Connected Landfills’ pilot, which leverages advanced automation technologies. Waste Management’s Connected Landfills system was 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 can 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 spend more time managing landfills’ productivity and health.
The design and integration advance Waste Management’s existing environmental management platform by increasing worker safety, the user experience, and running the landfill systems efficiently. It also supports Waste Management and SCS Engineers’ commitments to ensuring public safety and environmental protection for landfill staff and the surrounding community.
“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.
According to a recent article in APNews, U.S. Oil loaded its first shipment of 100,000 barrels of ethanol in April to ship out of the Port of Milwaukee. The distributor is a subsidiary of U.S. Venture, which distributes oil, ethanol, lubricants, tires and auto parts. The company has been shipping ethanol from the port of Green Bay for six years without incident.
The company filed an environmental response plan with the U.S. Coast Guard to help allay feels of pollution. The plan is comprehensive including controlling a potential spill, guarding water intake pipes and protecting wildlife in near-shore areas. “They have a very robust response plan,” said Lieutenant Commander Bryan Swintek of the U.S. Coast Guard in Milwaukee. “Clearly, they want to make sure they are operating in a safe manner.”
The safe transportation of ethanol helps support Wisconsin’s agricultural community, supports renewable fuels which play a major role in the new energy economy, and is done in a socially responsible, environmentally friendly way.
SCS Engineers provided the response plan mentioned in the article, which is not regulatory driven, but rather a proactive action driven by U.S. Oil. This type of response plan is called a Tactical Response Plan and provides an extra layer of spill preparedness. It’s a site-specific, emergency response and cleanup strategy that allows facilities to take action faster and quickly minimize the spread of a spill – and can help protect a facility’s reputation.