12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time
Complimentary Registration for CCIM Institute Members and Non-members
This CCIM webinar on overcoming environmental challenges in real estate transactions is being hosted by the San Diego chapter of CCIM to better understand:
“Strategies to Resolve Environmental Issues in Your Real Estate Transaction” will be presented on Wednesday, October 20th, from 12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time through Zoom. The panel of experts includes:
Registration is complimentary for CCIM members and non-members through the following link: https://ccim.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HU4wA0c6TxiULuKrngdzlA. Webinar attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions and participate in this interactive online platform.
California’s 2021 and 2022 budgets provide $500 million to the Department of Toxic Substances Control to support community revitalization. The funds are available over four years to accelerate the investigation and cleanup of contaminated properties in environmental justice communities. This funding is referred to as the Cleanup in Vulnerable Communities Initiative. A portion of this funding is for establishing the Equitable Community Revitalization Grant (ECRG)—a grant program to incentivize cleanup and investment in disadvantaged areas of California.
Equitable Community Revitalization Grant – Learn more about the program and how to use this funding to advance your communities brownfields and remediation projects.
Brownfields and Voluntary Remediation – Brownfield and voluntary remediation projects protect human health and the environment while restoring beneficial use to properties. SCS Engineers is a pioneer in supporting the public-private partnerships for these types of redevelopment. SCS helped redevelop environmentally impaired real estate more than 25 years before the term Brownfield was coined. Learn more about the possibilities for your community and how to select a brownfields remediation professional for timely and compliant delivery of the benefits.
ECRG Flyer – Provides the basics on this new and important funding along with a timetable.
AKD Real Estate Investments, LLC (AKD) acquired a brownfields property to build a new Mitsubishi car dealership in West Palm Beach. AKD and Mitsubishi Motors, North America, considered the site because it offered existing infrastructure and prevented additional environmental degradation from building on undeveloped property, or Greenfield, increasingly scarce in south Florida. Brownfields are often centrally located in metro areas with good connections to local infrastructure, including roadways and stormwater utilities. National and state brownfields programs also offer grants and tax credits available to businesses with environmentally-friendly goals.
The property under consideration was on the former Servico Landfill operated by the City of West Palm Beach. Before the landfill closed, the City used it for landfilling municipal incinerator waste, medical waste, and garbage from the 1920s to the 1950s.
The Florida Brownfield Redevelopment Program encourages the redevelopment of potentially contaminated properties, following a careful process that includes environmental engineers and compliance specialists. AKD reached out to SCS Engineers, an environmental engineering and consulting firm specializing in landfills and remediation, to turn this property into a business haven.
SCS Senior Project Manager Kirk Blevins and Project Professional Sanaul Khan met with the AKD to review the dealership’s construction plan. “Understanding the client’s challenges and objectives, Kirk and I worked backward from their business goals and developed a plan to achieve their environmental needs in a way that would minimize delays and conflicts with their construction schedule,” stated Khan.
The team went to work performing environmental due diligence by uncovering records to assess the state of the property. Next, they modified the existing Remedial Action Plan by proposing a cost-effective and practical strategy to address specific environmental concerns.
The Plan is useful to inform regulators and environmental agencies before construction begins. It helps ensure the general contractor is aware and responsible for keeping construction on track and adhering to the remedial strategy, including environmental and safety protocols.
SCS also prepared and submitted all certification documents to be reviewed, approved, and recorded before the dealership’s grand opening while preparing an application to receive Voluntary Cleanup Tax Credits.
“Brownfields remediation is a complex process, but it offers benefits to businesses, investors, and most importantly – the community,” says Blevins.
The Palm Beach Mitsubishi dealership is open for business. Shown here at the opening are Sanaul Khan (left), President and CEO of Mitsubishi Motors North America, Yoichi Yokozawa (center), and Chris Berian of AKD (right).
The International Awards Committee and Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) Board of Directors unanimously voted to honor Tom Conrad, the “C” in SCS, with the Robert L. Lawrence Distinguished Service Award at WASTECON 2021 in November. The Lawrence award is the highest accolade SWANA bestows on a member of the waste management industry, reserved for those making meaningful and lasting contributions.
“I’m honored and humbled to be selected for the Robert L. Lawrence Award. I thank you and am especially thankful for what SWANA and SCS are today,” stated Tom Conrad.
SWANA recognizes Conrad for over 60 years of significant influence on the waste management and environmental services industry. Conrad, a Founder, Executive Vice President, and Director Emeritus of SCS Engineers, dedicated his career to advancing solid waste management, most notably through the founding of SCS Engineers (Stearns, Conrad, and Schmidt Consulting Engineers) more than 51 years ago.
Tom Conrad worked on a wide range of environmental engineering projects touching almost every aspect of solid waste management throughout his career. As an environmental engineering firm and consultant to the newly created US Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the founders recognized that responsible solid waste management was increasingly important for protecting the environment and the health and safety of the general public.
Leading SCS, he helped the EPA develop the first federal regulations for sanitary landfills, managing and capturing landfill gas, waste sorting protocols, sludge management, and land remediation.
Environmental services, including wastewater management, were always a significant part of SCS services and the waste industry. When new regulatory policies began expanding in the ’80s, SCS’s techniques, technology, and expertise helped a broad range of industries comply with environmental needs and continues today with the firm’s greenhouse gas, landfill technology, renewable energy, remediation, and sustainable materials management programs.
Conrad is also known for hiring and mentoring today’s SCS leaders, many of whom are SWANA leaders, by creating and fostering SCS’s culture encouraging employee participation in industry associations, community, and SCS’s mentorship and leadership programs.
Before his retirement in 2016, Conrad held professional engineering licenses in 24 states. He was a member of SWANA, the American Society of Civil Engineers, the National Waste and Recycling Association, and the Society of American Military Engineers.
He maintains his “work hard – play hard” lifestyle. He is active at SCS, participating in Board of Director meetings and speaking at the Young Professionals Group events and celebrations. While no longer mountain climbing and biking cross-country, he has a vigorous walking, swimming, and biking schedule.
Popular Mechanics recently published an article entitled The Pungent History of America’s Garbage Mountains. The article starts with a little-known ferryman on Lake Michigan when a storm beached his craft on an oﬀshore sandbar in July 1886. Thus started Chicago’s open dump on today’s Lake Shore Drive, home to landmarks such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Wrigley Building, the Chicago Tribune Tower, Northwestern University, and the Magniﬁcent Mile – all on turn-of-the-century garbage.
Transportation centers, stadiums, and even entire neighborhoods are now built on landﬁlls. This is a fascinating, well-written article on the history and possibilities of building on remediated properties and brownfields.
“Landﬁll redevelopment projects tend to be real estate projects, and you know what matters in real estate: location, location, location,” says Mike McLaughlin of SCS Engineers, who specializes in brownﬁelds and landﬁll redevelopment. “A landﬁll in an urban area might be the only piece of open land in that area. People go to extraordinary lengths to redevelop because the property is so valuable.”
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.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law on March 11, 2021. It provides funds to address health outcome disparities from pollution and the COVID–19 pandemic. To learn more about the ARP, read the House Bill.
EPA is assisting under-resourced communities by quickly getting out ARP funding to leverage important programs that improve air quality, drinking water, revitalization of brownfields, diesel emissions from buses in low-income communities and communities of color. In addition, the agency is awarding its first competitive grants focusing directly on the unequal impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on communities of color, low-income communities, and other vulnerable populations.
Projects include training, developing citizen-science tools, pollution monitoring, and educational campaigns to enable EJ advocates such as SCS Engineers, scientists, and decision-makers to address pollution and create thriving communities.
Funding currently being distributed totals approximately $2.8 million for 14 EJ-focused projects, with more to be announced soon throughout the country. In addition to the Baltimore City grant, today’s announcement includes funding for the following projects in underserved communities:
EPA also announced for the first time how the agency would distribute the $50 million in ARP funds.
A breakdown is provided below:
Join SCS on June 10 for another client webinar. Using case studies, we show you how our clients tackle common challenges using proven GIS technology to reduce expenses and run more productively.
Property Development: Time is money on development projects. Environmental engineers use GIS to more accurately pinpoint potential contamination sources, conduct site assessments, strategize remediation solutions, and see sampling results weeks faster. Infographics and dashboards show if and exactly where to continue sampling without waiting weeks or months for reports.
Landfills: Operators make diagnostic and forensic use of GIS to address maintenance tasks faster. We’ll cover modeling 3D wells and liquid level data, showing how GIS embedded dashboards and infographics pinpoint exactly where to assign staff. At the same time, supervisors monitor completed assignments seeing real-time results and what still needs attention.
Siting Solid Waste Facilities: Decision-makers use multi-criteria decision analysis incorporated into a geographic information system to account for relevant technical data, environmental, social, and economic factors during the site selection of a waste transfer station. The resulting maps and infographics are useful at public meetings too.
Partial Reprint from EPA Announcement
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is announcing the selection of 151 communities to receive 154 grant awards totaling $66.5 million in Brownfields funding through its Multipurpose, Assessment, and Cleanup (MAC) Grants.
This funding will support underserved and economically disadvantaged communities across the country in assessing and cleaning up contaminated and abandoned industrial and commercial properties. Approximately 50 percent of selected recipients will be receiving EPA Brownfields Grant funding for the first time and more than 85 percent are located in or serving small communities.
The grant announcement includes:
The list of the fiscal year 2021 applicants selected for funding is available here: https://www.epa.gov/brownfields/applicants-selected-fy-2021-brownfields-multipurpose-assessment-and-cleanup-grants
Please spend some time with our experts as they help you negotiate funding, regulatory compliance, and helpful tools that will help your community prepare to remediate brownfields and other properties with a past into affordable housing, mixed communities bolstering economic development, stadiums, recreation facilities and parks, logistics centers…
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.