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.
FREE LIVE WEBINAR & Q/A
If you can solve their many challenges, landfills often are perfect sites for a myriad of uses. Landfill redevelopment can be smart growth, taking advantage of existing infrastructure and nearby populations to provide infill opportunities for commercial, industrial, residential, and recreational development, sometimes with an opportunity for alternative energy such as solar power. And more active use of a closed landfill site makes post-closure care more robust as compared with quarterly inspections.
Register for SCS Engineers’ February webinar to learn more about the environmental and regulatory strategies to assess and redevelop closed landfills for reuse and, by doing so, set realistic goals toward cost-effective and sustainable economic development. SCS webinars are non-commercial, and your registration information is confidential.
You will receive an email from Zoom containing a private link to attend; the link is reserved for only you. If you would like to share information about this webinar, please use this invitation.
Our panelists bring comprehensive expertise to the table, including scores of successful landfill redevelopment projects. Using case studies, they will cover the topics your team will need to address to meet the unique environmental and regulatory challenges of redeveloping landfills for solar or residential, or commercial use.
Thousands of acres of closed landfills in the U.S. may be suitable for redevelopment. Federal investment tax credits and state incentive programs and rebates are available, enhancing the financial viability of converting a closed landfill or Brownfields property into solar farms. Landfills have operating expenses long after closing, and renewable energy production can help offset these expenses and produce a more environmentally friendly carbon footprint.
We hope you will join us to learn about evaluating the feasibility of converting closed landfills into self-sustaining or revenue-generating assets.
Marketing Specialist Dana Justice of SCS Engineers shares her favorite snack on Snacks with a Surprise while discussing Brownfields’ economic potential, the environmental impact, and the opportunity to serve communities through her support. Her work with SCS’s environmental consultants and engineers provides land remediation and Brownfields grants bringing properties with a past back to pristine condition. The redevelopment of these properties, typically with developed infrastructure already in place, provide jobs, housing, parks, and tax revenues for the surrounding community.
Learn more about the Urban Land Institutes’s Women’s Leadership Initiative or
more about Brownfield Remediation and Grants here.
SCS Engineers announces Brittney Odom’s promotion to the Southeast region’s Environmental Services Director. Odom will continue expanding and integrating SCS’s environmental engineering and consulting operations to provide more streamlined and efficient services in her new role. She will lead environmental operations in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Georgia, and the Caribbean. As with all SCS leaders, she continues serving her clients in Boca Raton in her expanded role.
Odom supports real estate developers, municipalities, banks, and insurance firms to identify properties’ environmental conditions. Next, depending on soil, water, and geotechnical testing determines the appropriate environmental due diligence and the engineering activities necessary to redevelop them and be in 100% compliance with local and federal rules.
There is an active push to develop more affordable residential housing in the U.S. Real estate developers and residents want to be close to business and transportation hubs, but potential development sites could require remediation. Once agricultural sites, golf courses, or at one-time housing industrial operations, these properties need environmental testing, due diligence, possibly remediation, or vapor intrusion barriers to ensure the safe redevelopment. No matter the condition, properties with a past can return to pristine condition and make desirable residential and mixed housing locations, supporting economic development.
“It’s important to know and understand all of the options ahead of time to keep costs down and environmental quality up for sustainable communities,” stated Odem. “You need to reassure all parties that there is no leaking storage tank or anything that could compromise health.”
Her focus recently is on the redevelopment of large-size properties contaminated with arsenic and other legally applied pesticides. These property types include golf courses and agricultural land that have become inactive but are in high demand for residential use. These projects may need soil management, including remediation, soil blending, and placement restrictions.
Odom has years of experience conducting environmental site assessments, overseeing remediation activities, and submitting regulatory reports, including Phase I & II assessments in Florida, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, and the Caribbean. These focus on gas station properties and bulk storage terminals for large oil companies, often located on prime waterfront sites.
Additional highlights in Odom’s professional career include expertise in the applicable Florida Regulatory Chapters and Standard Operating Procedures. She also has experience in state and international cleanup efforts and their associated regulatory procedures. She participated in successful environmental closure efforts, with imposed engineering controls and property restrictions.
Odom has ten years of experience managing subsurface investigation and conducting oversight during remedial activities, including source removal and remediation system installation. She holds certifications in 40-Hour HAZWOPER/OSHA training, Loss Prevention System, CPR, RCRA Hazardous Waste, DOT Hazardous Waste, and American Petroleum Institute certification.
“Brittney’s breadth of experience solving the complexities of large scale redevelopment while meeting all environmental regulatory compliance enables her to innovative better solutions,” said Carlo Lebron, SCS vice president and director of SCS’s Southeast operations. “She’s an expert, with access to our deep bench of engineers, scientists, technology, and even economists within SCS.”
SCS Engineers and Florida East Coast Industries (FECI) are to be honored at the annual conference in Florida planned for August 2021. The firms will receive a 2021 Engineering Excellence Award by the American Council of Engineering Companies of Florida. The honor acknowledges SCS for the environmental engineering firm’s innovative design that integrates groundwater remediation with the stormwater management system on a 500-acre former landfill site. The design enabled the developer to remediate the former landfill into the Countyline Corporate Park in Southeast Florida.
Industrial real estate is in high demand, but former landfills and brownfields present environmental challenges that can become cost-prohibitive to redevelop without sound environmental expertise. FECI retained the professional services of SCS Engineers to provide consulting and design services addressing the environmental concerns preventing the transformation of a former landfill into a state of the art business park.
Environmental guidelines require 28% (or about 140 acres) of the site to be set aside for stormwater retention. The set aside would require the relocation of several thousand cubic yards of waste and prevent the 140 acres’ redevelopment. The estimated loss of $300 million in potential real estate sales, coupled with the groundwater remediation expense, made the site redevelopment cost-prohibitive. Unless resolved, the problem also impeded FECI’s corporate sustainability goals.
SCS’s experts in landfill design, closure, and remediation, developed a solution tying together the groundwater remediation and stormwater management systems. The integrated system allows for shallow aquifer recharge with stormwater and captures impacted groundwater at the site’s boundary. “We were able to provide an alternative design acceptable to all the permitting agencies, eliminating the need to set aside large areas for stormwater retention,” said Mr. Som Kundral, P.E., SCS’s senior project manager.
SCS’s remedial actions protect public health while opening the site for reuse. The project will be completed in phases. Phase I, consisting of 160 acres, is complete, with two million square feet of occupied businesses and a 30-acre community park. Development of the other three phases, which include another six million square feet, is underway.
The development will create hundreds of new jobs, deliver several hundred million dollars to the city and county tax base, and provide a 30-acre public park. “The engineering solution protects the environment while meeting FECI’s strategic, social, economic, and sustainability goals,” said Mr. Eduardo Smith, P.E., SCS’s senior vice president of client success.
Learn more about these related topics, events, and case studies at SCS Engineers:
…it’s like balancing a chemical equation to get the right answer.
SCS Engineers works with insurance firms, and we understand the insurance industry’s involvement in environmental and engineering projects. Our professional staff, located according to their knowledge of regional and local geography, regulatory policies, and industrial or scientific specialty, are available nationwide. SCS professionals are sought after as technical experts, admitted as expert witnesses, and support legal counsel in a variety of environmental and regulatory litigation matters.
Rising to meet the needs of insurance companies, SCS has the resources and professionals to assist commercial, industrial and municipal clients with a wide range of environmental and engineering issues and scenarios that can occur in the course of business operations. As a result, SCS also assists clients who have the need for, and exposure to, environmental insurance policies, assisting with coverage-related matters and claims. For our engineering and environmental clients, SCS has the depth of insurance experience and technical expertise to provide the guidance needed to help with environmental claims and can act as a liaison to facilitate a more straightforward claim process.
Environmental insurance can cover regulatory agency-required cleanups, bodily injury, property damage, and associated legal expenses that may result from a contamination event. Contamination and the mitigation process are expensive, often more expensive than prevention. Contamination is usually accidental, such as a spill, but may transpire over time or be a pre-existing condition. Environmental insurance protects companies by covering the expense of assessing contamination and performing remediation, thus restoring the environment and helping to keep the business operating safely. Our experience includes a wide range of environmental claim scenarios (i.e. gasoline/service stations, transportation accidents, the oil and gas industry, manufacturing and industrial facilities, asbestos, mold), which dovetails extremely well with SCS’s own numerous business sectors.
Partial Reprint of EPA Press Release
Over the past three years alone, EPA has assessed 6,572 properties, completed cleanups at 638 properties, and made 2,900 properties ready for anticipated reuse. Over this same period, more than 43,000 jobs have been leveraged as a result of Brownfields’ actions.
EPA recently announced the selection of 155 grants for communities and tribes totaling over $65.6 million in EPA Brownfields funding through the agency’s Assessment, Revolving Loan Fund, and Cleanup Grant Programs. Many of the communities and tribes selected can potentially assess or clean up brownfield sites in census tracts designated as federal Opportunity Zones.
“Without redevelopment opportunities, urban and rural communities – even those with deep historic roots – can eventually wither,” said OLEM Assistant Administrator Peter Wright. “Brownfields remediation and revitalization support communities by investing in the redevelopment of existing properties in the community.”
Since EPA’s Brownfields Program began in 1995, it has provided nearly $1.6 billion in Brownfield funding to assess and clean up contaminated properties and return blighted properties to productive reuse. EPA’s Brownfields funding has leveraged more than $32.6 billion in cleanup and redevelopment from both public and private sources, which in turn has produced more than 167,000 jobs. This is an average of nine jobs per $100,000 of EPA investment and more than $17 in private funding for each dollar of EPA Brownfield grant funding.
Brownfields grants have been shown to:
A Brownfield is a property for which the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. The Brownfields program empowers local leaders and communities to transform underused and distressed properties into community assets across America. Brownfields funds assess and cleanup vacant, underused, and potentially contaminated properties so that property can be reused as housing, recreation, and open space, health facilities, social services, or commercial sites. There are estimated to be more than 450,000 Brownfields in the United States.
For more information on successful Brownfields program applications, site revitalization, and success stories nationwide visit Brownfields and Voluntary Remediation. If you’d rather jump right into a few success stories, click on these below:
Locate a Brownfields and remediation expert near you – SCS Staff
Blighted properties are common in many urban areas, and with due diligence often present cost-effective and profitable redevelopment opportunities. Redevelopment of these types of projects is often referred to as Brownfield projects if considering the presence or potential presence of contaminants in the subsurface. Brownfields redevelopments can present great benefits and advantages to the surrounding community.
Advantages of the redevelopment of these properties include: revitalizing a property and surrounding properties, creating jobs, rejuvenating businesses, adding much-needed housing, increasing tax revenue, reducing crime, and increasing the efficiencies and quality of life for residents and workers.
Redevelopment of blighted properties does come with challenges, such as density, parking, financing, city approvals, and more. Blighted properties can have environmental issues that are best addressed proactively to reduce the risk of cost and schedule overruns as future liability issues during redevelopment.
These issues should start to be addressed during due diligence and before construction activities commence to reduce the uncertainty on potential project costs and timeline implications. Environmental issues can sidetrack the development process of some properties but most sites, if handled correctly, can present significant upside if these issues are identified during the due diligence and integrated into the development processes.
Common environmental concerns include:
Identifying environmental risks before the acquisition of properties is critical, as is assigning potential costs to these risks. Depending on the nature of the transaction, these items are often useful as leverage during negotiations.
A Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is a good starting place for identifying whether environmental issues may exist at a property. If a Phase I identifies potential risks, these reports may recommend additional investigation (Phase II) in the form of soil, soil vapor, and groundwater sampling. Phase II is used to identify whether contamination is present (i.e., from fuels, solvents, pesticides, toxic metals), and with enough sampling can determine the extent and magnitude of contamination.
Resolving these impacts can include leaving and managing impacted soil in place as much as possible since the significant cost from impacted soil is digging it up and paying to dispose of it. Regulatory agencies such as the local health departments, if approached under voluntary cleanup assistance programs, can accommodate leaving all or a good portion of impacted soil in place if the risks to human health and the environment are identified and resolved in a mitigation plan.
For more significant contamination issues, such as extensive soil and groundwater contamination from a gas station or dry cleaner releases, funding in the form of State or Federal grants can be available. Obtaining a grant with the help of a qualified environmental consultant can be the difference-maker in acquiring, cleaning up, and redeveloping a blighted property. These grants don’t typically cover all the costs associated with these cleanups but can cover the majority of these costs with some additional time required to do a cleanup.
Developers can also take out an environmental insurance policy to console a nervous lender or investor. Environmental insurance can cover clean-up requirements, third-party claims for bodily injury and property damage, and associated legal expenses resulting from pollution or contamination. Policies with various term lengths and deductible amounts are available to satisfy the concerns of lenders or equity investors.
The redevelopment of blighted urban properties is a necessary part of the life cycle of a property and a community. It’s critical to identify potential environmental risks during the due diligence process – before you choose to purchase the site. With proper planning, the mitigation or remediation of these impacts can be incorporated into the development process and result in a vibrant, profitable project that protects human health and the environment, and help owners, lenders, investors, and users of these properties sleep well at night.
Luke Montague is a professional geologist (PG) and licensed contractor with 19 years of experience primarily in environmental consulting, as well as in the areas of geotechnical engineering, general contracting, commercial and residential development, and property and asset management.
Wednesday, December 11, 10:45 am – 11:45 am, Room 403A
Track 2: Financing Options, Real Estate, & Economic Development
This interactive panel will discuss the nexus between brownfields development and affordable housing and will explore various policy, funding and incentive programs that have been successfully deployed in the US, including a forgivable loan and grant program in California, with an emphasis on creating affordable housing. A case study focused on Comm 22, an award-winning affordable housing project complements the policy and funding conversation. Dan Johnson, Evans Paull, and Jeff Williams share the complexities of tax credit based affordable housing finance of a 200 unit affordable housing and brownfield redevelopment project and the role that brownfields funding played. The premise is that if early-stage project funding were more widely available, combined with informed policy and regulatory approach, that the housing stock in California and elsewhere could be expanded, possibly significantly.
4:30 pm – 6:00 pm, Exhibit Hall, West Hall A
Jim Ritchie and Amy Dzialowski present on the City of West Sacramento and the SCS Brownfields Toolbox that helps take advantage of economy of scale to improve both cost and schedule outcomes, and can result in better buy-in from regulatory agencies, due to an emphasis on an overall vision rather than just a transactional approach. Flexibility is another key concept for reuse planning and as a tool for brownfields sites. SCS demonstrates their expansive experience with an array of brownfields tools including, grant funding and leverage, environmental insurance, and other risk-shifting tools such as “CLRRA” agreements.
At the SCS booth 417, meet Mike McLaughlin, SCS Engineers’ Senior Vice President of Environmental Services and a National Specialist on Brownfields & Landfill Redevelopment and Electric Utilities. He is a licensed engineer and attorney with over 30 years of professional experience providing advice on environmental matters. He is an expert on environmental compliance, remediation, and allocation of response costs.
Mr. McLaughlin advises developers, contractors, lenders and land development professionals on the technical and regulatory requirements for construction on Brownfields’ sites nationwide. His combined engineering and legal background provides an unusual perspective on land development where hazardous wastes or other environmental challenges are present. Redevelopment of closed landfills is an area of special interest; he worked on his first such project in 1976.
Mr. McLaughlin has worked at some three dozen Superfund National Priorities List sites in 17 states, and on scores of regulatory compliance, voluntary cleanup, and remediation projects for commercial, industrial, municipal, and military clients.
Thursday, December 12, 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm, Room 411
Track 1: Sustainability, Livability, Resiliency
This 75-minute clinic provides a fun and engaging hands-on experience that will inspire you to tackle the challenges of stormwater flooding using GSI on brownfields. Experts, including Jonathan Meronek, will explain the applications, techniques, and benefits of using GSI on any project site, including the challenges of implementing GSI on Brownfield Sites. During the guided exercise, participants will break into small think tanks, and each think tank will have an opportunity to design their own solution. Come to this session to soak up information on techniques and strategies for integrating GSI into your community’s overall planning efforts.
Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are receiving increasing attention from regulators and the media. Within this large group of compounds, much of the focus has been on two long-chain compounds that are non-biodegradable in the environment: PFOS (perfluorooctane sulfonate) and PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid). Long detected in most people’s bodies, research now shows how “forever chemicals” like PFAS accumulate and can take years to leave. They persist even when excreted through urine. Scientists have even tracked them in biosolids and leafy greens like kale. Recent studies have linked widely used PFAS, including the varieties called PFOA and PFOS, to reduced immune response and cancer. PFAS have been used in coatings for textiles, paper products, cookware, to create some firefighting foams and in many other applications.
Testing of large public water systems across the country in 2013 through 2015 found PFAS detected in approximately 4 percent of the water systems, with concentrations above the USEPA drinking water health advisory level (70 parts per trillion) in approximately 1 percent (from ITRC Fact Sheet.) Sources of higher concentrations have included industrial sites and locations were aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF) containing PFAS has been repeatedly used for fire fighting or training.
Source identification is more difficult for more widespread low-level PFAS levels. For example, in Madison, Wisconsin, PFAS have been detected in 14 of 23 municipal water supply wells, but the detected concentrations were below the USEPA’s health advisory levels for PFOA and PFOS. A study of potential PFAS sources near two of the Madison wells identified factories, fire stations, landfills, and sludge from sewage treatment plants as possible sources, but did not identify a specific source.
With the EPA positioned to take serious action on PFAS in late 2019 and 2020, regulators in many states have already started to implement their own measures, while state and federal courts are beginning to address legal issues surrounding this emerging contaminant. State actions have resulted in a variety of state groundwater standards for specific PFAS compounds, including some that are significantly lower than the USEPA advisory levels. These changes mean new potential liabilities and consequences for organizations that manufacture, use, or sell PFAS or PFAS-containing products, and also for the current owners of properties affected by historic PFAS use.
Questions for manufacturers, property owners, and property purchasers include:
If remediation is required, a number of established options to remove PFAS from contaminated soil and groundwater are available, including activated carbon, ion exchange or high-pressure membrane systems. On-site treatment options, including the management of reject streams where applicable, are also available.
Do You Need Help?
Use these resources to explore more about PFAS each is linked to helpful articles and information.