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May 8, 2024

SCS Engineers Composting Programs

 

SCS Engineers announces that Erik Martig is now the project director and organics leader in the Southwest region covering California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. Martig’s expertise in compost systems design, operations, and management aligns with and supports SCS clients moving to organics management as a strategy to reduce greenhouse gases and reuse organic material productively. His office is in Pleasanton, California.

As a Certified Compost Operations Manager, Martig has over a decade of experience producing results for public and private clients such as L.A. Compost, San Mateo County Resource Conservation District, The Heal Project Farm, and clients across the U.S.

SCS Engineers’ Organics Management teams help communities evaluate their waste streams and create custom programs using circular economy strategies that produce high-grade compost. Instead of treating organic material as waste filling up landfills, they produce a product good for the environment. These programs are launching all across the U.S. in small and large communities because they are effective and sustainable but require expansive knowledge and training.

Martig’s project management expertise includes developing project charters and teams that serve all stakeholders, custom design, environmental compliance, financing/funding from grant programs, and safety to create and sustain long-term programs. SCS provides pilot programs for entities wishing to test before they invest in the technology.

Among his professional accolades, Martig has presented at industry events such as the BioCycle West Coast Conference and the U.S. Composting Council to share insights with others. The Solid Waste Association of North America recognized him with its Unsung Heroes Award in 2015 for his work as Program Manager at GrowNYC, developing and increasing New York City’s network of residential food scrap drop-off sites.

Robert Lange, former director of the Bureau of Waste Prevention Reuse and Recycling at DSNY, stated,

Erik Martig has played a critical role in developing New York City’s network of residential food scrap drop-off sites. As Program Manager at GrowNYC, Martig significantly grew the number of drop-off opportunities at farmers’ markets throughout all five of NYC’s boroughs. Additionally, he developed a system for managing the organics collected through the drop-off program, which included providing a portion of the organics collected to community-based composting sites and thereby generating high-quality finished compost to be used by local public greening initiatives.

“Community-Scale Composting Systems,” A Comprehensive Practical Guide for Closing the Food System Loop and Solving Our Waste Crisis by James McSweeney highlights Martig’s urban composting programs as best practices.

“As the Southwest team lead for SCS Engineers’ composting programs, Martig brings a fresh perspective to our clients who expect high quality and technical expertise to advance their programs,” says Vice President Greg McCarron, SCS’s national expert on organics. “They’ll get that from Erik and his team.”

 

Composting and Organics Management Resources:

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

May 6, 2024

H&H Modeling Improvements and Best Practices
Hydrologic and Hydraulic (H&H) Modeling is used in engineering analyses to evaluate waterbodies, pipes, culverts, channels, and rainfall. H&H Models enable the evaluation of drainage and/or flooding impacts of various development or restoration scenarios and support the development of design and policy solutions.

 

Hydrologic and hydraulic modeling software are critical for managing our nation’s surface waters. Quantitative models help local communities and environmental engineers better understand how surface waters change in response to development and pollution, and how to protect them. Surface water modeling software has been useful for solving large-scale watershed and local stormwater studies for over 50 years. Over time, these tools have evolved dramatically.

Early versions of Hydrology & Hydraulics (“H&H”) software were developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers Hydraulic Design Center (HDC). Examples are the early hydrologic modeling tool HEC-1 and the early open channel hydraulics tool, HEC-2. When a model was executed, results were in a simple tabular format, generally without notes about unusual results or troubleshooting tips.

These pieces of software were slow and cumbersome to use – generally, one needed a pad of paper and a pencil to make notes on printouts of the input code. Using these tools was a hassle, but – you knew every inch of the information entered. Back in the early days of these tools, specialty modeling firms flourished. Generally, “modelers” had master’s degrees supporting hydrologic or hydraulic study, which helped inform modeling.

Fast Forward to 2024

The picture of H&H modeling has changed dramatically. Understandably, the light-speed growth of software and computing power has enabled us to enter information and get results out of almost any model many times faster than the equivalent effort 40 years ago. Software user interfaces have become Windows-based, with 3D charts and output tools that give the whole story of a simulation with very easy access.

Moreover, an increasing number of public agencies are publishing their own HSPF-based long-term statistical hydrology simulation software. HSPF stands for “Hydrologic Simulation Program -FORTRAN,” originally developed by the EPA as a flow/duration model. It gives statistical returns of rainfall/runoff events over a period of years. A sophisticated but cumbersome to use platform, many agencies have incorporated the HSPF engine into a locally focused “Black Box Model,” which reduces user input down to the general characteristics of tributary areas and then directly produces a necessary BMP (pond, swale, etc.) footprint.

Legacy to HydroCAD

The legacy USACE tools mentioned previously evolved from HEC-1 and HEC-2 to HEC-HMS and HEC-RAS in their current versions. Both current models feature advanced data input, computation, and output modes. HEC-RAS, in particular, has evolved to perform dynamic flow simulations, GIS-based mapping, and 2-D flow calculation (not just straight down the channel, but also coming in/out of the channel from all directions).

Some newer, practicality-based tools, such as HydroCAD, enable the general civil engineer to perform H&H calculations to a significant level of detail for single-event storms. Additionally, today’s younger engineers have developed an ability to use new software that exceeds any previous generation.

Field Experience and Expertise Matters

Challenges can arise when adeptness at locating and entering data exceeds the user’s experience in hydrologic or hydraulic studies. Balancing this knowledge is crucial since both are essential for accurate water resources study (environmental, stormwater, and work related to climate change).

The aspect of current progress that gives one pause is how easy it has become to get results. Today’s users are adept at running simulations and getting results. However, sometimes these results are wrong or at least should raise questions.

Unfortunately, a novice user can get results that may look “fine” to them but odd to an experienced water resource engineer. If not carefully reviewed for engineering judgment, the less experienced user could inadvertently issue plans or study results with costly errors—This is a critical reason for a seasoned modeling professional’s review for quality assurance.

H&H software is more accessible and rapid than ever before but offers new challenges in ensuring those using, interpreting, and reviewing output have sufficient background in the subject matter. Moving forward, modelers who receive assistance with the “buttons and levers,” as well as a review of results by an experienced water resources professional, will learn to start thinking critically about their analysis results more quickly.

More formally, a project-specific QC process geared toward the review of applied hydraulics in H&H modeling helps maintain a firm’s quality of modeling performance and documentation

 

Hydrologic and Hydraulic Modeling Resources:

 

Jonathan ArchibaldAbout the Author: Jon Archibald, PE, has over two and a half decades of experience. He has strong expertise in leading multidisciplinary design teams, stormwater facility design, site civil engineering, and capital project execution. Jon has served clients in the solid waste, municipal, aviation, military, high-tech, hydroelectric, and flood risk sectors.

He successfully delivered several capital programs as a public works project manager for the City of Oregon City, OR. He has also assisted public agencies as an owner’s engineer. His combination of public and private experience helps foster collaboration on challenging design and permitting efforts.

Jon has delivered dozens of successful civil and water resource projects in the Pacific Northwest, California, and Alaska. Projects include site civil infrastructure, private and public utility design, hydrologic and hydraulic modeling studies, and design and accreditation of flood control systems. You can reach Jonathan or any of our Stormwater experts at or on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

April 24, 2024

 

A Summary of the Latest Updates for AST Inspections Using STI SP001 7th Edition

The Steel Tank Institute (STI) released the 7th Edition of the SP001 Standard for the Inspection of Aboveground Storage Tanks (ASTs) in late February 2024. This release comes six years after updating the previous Edition in January 2018.

The first update is the change to STI’s website, which is now www.stispfa.org. This new website includes much of the same information as the previous website, but the site map of that information is very different, with some data behind a membership wall, including the list of certified inspectors.

Revisions and Definitions

As for the SP001 7th Ed. text, it now includes a few revised and new definitions. The definition of Double-walled AST and Spill Control now specifies that “A tank insulation system or insulating jacket placed on a tank does not constitute a double wall tank.” This clarification distinguishes between insulation and the actual structure of the tank.

The Initial Service Date is specific to the tank “regardless of the AST’s current location or ownership. If the initial service date is unknown (e.g., rented or repurposed AST),” refer to the Inspection Schedule section of SP001.

In addition, the Standard now includes a definition for a Permit-Required Confined Space, providing clear guidelines on the safety requirements for confined spaces in line with the applicable OSHA requirements.

The Ultrasonic Testing Scan (UTS) is further clarified to mean “An ultrasonic scan which scans 100% of a designated surface area.” This scan detects thinning from material loss, not just corrosion.

Relevance to AST Inspections

Several items during formal tank inspections are now specifically mentioned. Manways are now on the list of tank components for inspection. The Basic Tank Anatomy Figure (Figure A.1.2) is revised to include the Manway, Fill Pipe, Tank Gauge, and Tank Support. This enhancement provides a more comprehensive overview of common tank components.

In addition to these updates, tank inspections now specifically include verifying the accuracy of the owner’s STI SP001 AST Record data, inspecting for vegetation growing alongside or against the AST or the foundation, and Ultrasonic Thickness Testing (UTT) readings of the corroded areas if corrosion is evident on the outside surface of the secondary tank shell.

The 7th Edition also broadens the range of potential inspectors, designating the responsibility of conducting Periodic AST inspections and the Leak test to “a qualified party designated by the owner” or “a qualified party designated by the owner or owner’s designee.” A detailed description of the grid pattern for Formal Internal Inspections (FII) is in the 7th  Edition.

If Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) is suspected, the standard now suggests testing a sample of liquid from the tank bottom for bacteria that could cause MIC going forward.

A written report is required for each Formal External Inspection (FEI) & Formal Internal Inspection (FII) performed.

Should the integrity of spill control be compromised during an inspection, SP001 7th Ed. includes a reevaluation of the tank category and inspection timetable. This new standard introduces more flexibility and responsiveness to potential issues that may arise during inspections.

In conclusion, the 7th Edition of STI’s SP001 Standard for the Inspection of Aboveground Storage Tanks presents significant updates and clarifications that aim to enhance the inspection process, ensuring the safety and longevity of ASTs.

 

Benjamin ReynoldsAbout the Author: Benjamin Reynolds is a Senior Project Professional in our Little Rock, Arkansas, office. His experience includes Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasures (SPCC), Tank Assessments, Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs), and Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments. He is a Professional Engineer licensed in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Florida. Reach out to Ben at or on LinkedIn.

 

Additional AST and SPCC Resources and Tips:

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

April 23, 2024

EPA alert

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule that strengthens its process for conducting risk evaluations on chemicals under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). These improvements to EPA’s processes advance the goals of this important chemical safety law, ensure that TSCA risk evaluations comprehensively account for the risks associated with a chemical, and provide a solid foundation for protecting public health, including workers and communities, from toxic chemicals. The rule also includes changes to enhance environmental protections in communities overburdened by pollution, complementing the Administration’s environmental justice agenda.

The 2016 TSCA amendments require that EPA establish a procedural framework rule on the process for conducting chemical risk evaluations. TSCA risk evaluations are the basis for EPA’s risk management rules. Although EPA finalized a risk evaluation framework rule in 2017, that rule was challenged in court. EPA’s final rule includes revisions made to respond to the court’s ruling, as well as several changes to improve EPA’s process for TSCA risk evaluations, including:

  • Consideration of real-world exposure scenarios such as multiple exposure pathways (e.g., in air and water) to the same chemical, and combined risks from multiple chemicals when EPA has the scientific information to do so, which may be particularly important for communities who face greater exposures or susceptibilities to chemicals than the rest of the general population.
  • A requirement that risk evaluations are comprehensive in scope and do not exclude conditions of use or exposure pathways.
  • Clarifications to ensure EPA appropriately considers risks to all workers in its risk evaluations.
  • Consideration of chemical uses that may be required for national security or critical infrastructure by other Federal agencies.
  • Assurance the agency will continue to use the best available science to conduct risk evaluations, that decisions are based on the weight of the scientific evidence and that risk evaluations will be peer reviewed in accordance with both federal and EPA guidance.
  • Discussion of chemical-specific fit-for-purpose approaches that allow for varying types and levels of analysis so that risk evaluations focus less rigorously on the conditions of use that are expected to pose low potential risk and can reliably be completed within the timeframes required by the statute.
  • A clear requirement for risk evaluations to culminate in a single risk determination on the chemical substance, rather than on individual chemical conditions of use in isolation, and improved communications regarding the uses that significantly contribute to the unreasonable risk.
  • New procedures and criteria for whether and how EPA will revise scope and risk evaluation documents, to improve transparency.
  • Adjustments to the process for submission and review of manufacturer requests for risk evaluations of chemicals to better align with the process and timeline associated with EPA-initiated risk evaluations, while also ensuring that the agency can use the authorities provided under the law for gathering any needed additional information on such chemicals.
  • A requirement that risk evaluations must explicitly consider overburdened communities when identifying potentially exposed and susceptible populations as relevant to the risk evaluation.

EPA announced many of the changes included in the final rule in 2021 and has incorporated them into TSCA risk evaluation activities over the past three years. EPA then proposed a revised procedural framework rule in October 2023 and, after considering public comment on the proposed rule, released today’s final rule. EPA is submitting this document for publication in the Federal Register (FR).

The procedures outlined in the rule apply to all risk evaluations initiated 30 days after the date of publication of the final rule or later. For risk evaluations that are currently in process, EPA expects to apply the new procedures to those risk evaluations to the extent practicable, taking into consideration the statutory requirements and deadlines.

TSCA Risk Evaluation Process

The Risk Evaluation process is the second step, following Prioritization and before Risk Management, in EPA’s existing chemical process under TSCA. The purpose of risk evaluation is to determine whether a chemical substance presents an unreasonable risk to health or the environment, under the conditions of use, including an unreasonable risk to a relevant potentially exposed or susceptible subpopulation. As part of this process, EPA must (1) evaluate both hazard and exposure, (2) exclude consideration of costs or other non-risk factors, (3) use scientific information and approaches in a manner that is consistent with the requirements in TSCA for the best available science, and (4) ensure decisions are based on the weight-of-scientific-evidence. Learn more about the TSCA risk evaluation process.

 

Additional Resources

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 3:10 pm

April 19, 2024

Earth Day

Protecting human health and the environment got serious in 1970.

Make your impact on the environment today.

April 1, 1970, SCS Engineers Founded

April 22, 1970, first Earth Day

December 2, 1970, U.S. EPA Founded

 

Since its inception, the environmental movement has been a force to reckon with, uniting over 1 billion people annually on Earth Day and every day. Together, we have taken significant steps to protect our planet, and our collective efforts continue to make a difference.

Numerous Earth Day events are in the works to celebrate the day and the movement. This year’s theme is “Planet vs. Plastics,” and Earthday.org has some great suggestions for making a difference. Look for events in your area—we all make a difference when we make an effort today, this week, or as part of our careers.

Earth Day Events:

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 11:37 am

April 18, 2024

Lauren Romanazzi of SCS Engineers helps communities reach their zero-waste goals!

 

SCS Engineers announces that Lauren Romanazzi is leading the firm’s Bay Area Sustainable Materials Management operations. She reports to Senior Vice President Michelle Leonard, who leads the firm’s Sustainable Materials Management program for North America.

Romanazzi, an environmental services specialist, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to her role. She holds a Master of Public Administration in Sustainable Management from the Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco.

With over a decade of experience in government and integrated waste management, her areas of expertise include sustainable program development, contract management, policy implementation, stakeholder engagement, and customer service. She has also managed tasks involving organic waste disposal, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, regulatory compliance, and policy/program development.

Her eleven years with the City of San José have given her the tools to excel as the lead on Bay Area Sustainable Materials Management operations. Her responsibilities at the City included collaborating with stakeholders, managing Council District Neighborhood Clean-up projects, analyzing illegal dumping program data, overseeing the creation of the Zero Waste Element, which contributes to community carbon neutrality by 2030, as well as overseeing the implementation of a statewide policy on reduction of organic waste disposal and GHG emissions.

Senior Vice President Michelle Leonard states, “Hiring Lauren is another step in environmental excellence for our clients. She brings a unique blend of expertise and experience in waste management and policy implementation. Her journey from Assistant Environmental Services Specialist to Supervisor at the City of San José showcases a commitment to sustainability that makes her an asset to our firm and our clients.”

 

Additional Resources:

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

April 10, 2024

EPA alert

 

On April 10, the Federal Administration issued the first-ever national, legally enforceable drinking water standard to protect communities from exposure to harmful per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as ‘forever chemicals.’ Exposure to PFAS has been linked to deadly cancers, impacts to the liver and heart, and immune and developmental damage to infants and children. This final rule represents the most significant step to protect public health under EPA’s PFAS Strategic Roadmap.

EPA is also making funding available to help ensure that all people have clean and safe water. In addition to today’s final rule, EPA is announcing nearly $1 billion in newly available funding to help states and territories implement PFAS testing and treatment at public water systems and to help owners of private wells address PFAS contamination. This is part of a $9 billion investment through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help communities with water impacted by PFAS and other emerging contaminants – the largest-ever investment in tackling PFAS pollution. An additional $12 billion is available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for general drinking water improvements, including addressing emerging contaminants like PFAS.

The enforceable drinking water PFAS regulations are finalized today and posted here. EPA PFAS regulations under the Safe Water Drinking Act page.

EPA finalized a National Primary Drinking Water Regulation (NPDWR) establishing legally enforceable levels, called Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs), for six PFAS in drinking water. PFOA, PFOS, PFHxS, PFNA, and HFPO-DA as contaminants with individual MCLs, and PFAS mixtures containing at least two or more of PFHxS, PFNA, HFPO-DA, and PFBS using a Hazard Index MCL to account for the combined and co-occurring levels of these PFAS in drinking water. EPA also finalized health-based, non-enforceable Maximum Contaminant Level Goals (MCLGs) for these PFAS.

The final rule requires:

  • Public water systems must monitor for these PFAS and have three years to complete initial monitoring (by 2027), followed by ongoing compliance monitoring. Water systems must also provide the public with information on the levels of these PFAS in their drinking water beginning in 2027.
  • Public water systems have five years (by 2029) to implement solutions that reduce these PFAS if monitoring shows that drinking water levels exceed these MCLs.
  • Beginning in five years (2029), public water systems that have PFAS in water for drinking, which violates one or more of these MCLs must take action to reduce levels of these PFAS in their drinking water and must provide notification to the public of the violation.

EPA estimates that between about 6% and 10% of the 66,000 public water systems subject to this rule may have to take action to reduce PFAS to meet these new standards. All public water systems have three years to complete their initial monitoring for these chemicals. They must inform the public of the level of PFAS measured in their drinking water. Where PFAS is found at levels that exceed these standards, systems must implement solutions to reduce PFAS in their drinking water within five years.

The new limits in this rule are achievable using a range of available technologies and approaches including granular activated carbon, reverse osmosis, and ion exchange systems. Drinking water systems will have flexibility to determine the best solution for their community and essential services that require wastewater treatment.

 

Additional Resources:

  • EPA will host a series of webinars to provide information to the public, communities, and water utilities about the final PFAS drinking water regulation. To learn more about the webinars, please visit EPA’s PFAS water regulation webpage.
  • EPA has also published a toolkit of communications resources to help drinking water systems and community leaders educate the public about PFAS, where they come from, their health risks, how to reduce exposure, and about this rule.
  • Contact a wastewater treatment expert at service.scsengineers.com to discuss the most appropriate treatment plan for your site, plant, or facility.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 12:00 pm

April 9, 2024

Nanoplastics - SCS Engineers
Tests have shown bottled water from various brands contains particles of different polymer types, as discussed in this article.

 

Rising Concerns and Historical Perspective

In recent years, the growing concern over the environmental and health impacts of nanoplastics has highlighted their pervasive presence and potential harmful effects on living organisms. The early 1970s saw the first reports of plastics polluting the marine environment. However, scientists only began to focus significantly on nanoplastics in the early 2000s, making it a significant area of study in scientific literature since then.

Environmental and Health Risks of Microplastics and Nanoplastics

Both microplastics and nanoplastics, small plastic particles differing mainly in size, pose environmental and health risks. Sources of microplastics, defined as pieces smaller than five millimeters, include the breakdown of larger plastics, microbeads in cosmetics, and synthetic fibers from textiles. Nanoplastics, measuring less than 100 nanometers, challenge detection and removal efforts due to their minuscule size. Their potential for deep penetration and accumulation in organisms, including crossing cellular barriers, raises concerns about their impact on toxicology. These smaller plastics may result from further microplastic breakdown or specific engineering for specific uses.

Synthetic or semi-synthetic materials, plastics consist of long polymer chains and pose risks due to their environmental persistence and potential for bioaccumulation. The large surface area and hydrophobic nature of nanoplastics enable them to carry organic pollutants, including persistent organic pollutants (POPs) such as PCBs, dioxins, DDT, PAHs, BPA, and phthalates, many of which disrupt endocrine functions. The process of pollutants associated with plastics varies, influencing environmental degradation processes.

Case Study on Nanoplastic Pollution
Quantification Challenges and Findings by Qian et al.

Qian et al. found that bottled water from various brands contains approximately 2.4 ± 1.3 × 10^5 plastic particles per liter on average.[1] They individually analyzed these particles to identify the chemical diversity among different polymer types. Among the identified polymers, Polyamide 66 (PA), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC), and Polystyrene (PS) likely contribute significantly to micro-nano plastics exposure through bottled water. Although the specific chemical composition of these micro-nano plastics varies across brands, PA consistently emerged as a predominant component in quantity among the brands studied.

Furthermore, Qian et al. found comparing the exposure of micro-nano plastics from bottled water challenging when using blank samples of reverse osmosis (RO) water from the Milli-Q system, as the Milli-Q water showed the same level of plastic contamination as bottled water. Since plastics are a major component in many parts of the entire water purification system and polyamides serve as the most common material for RO membranes, the presence of nanoplastics in the water disqualifies it from being used as the lab blank for nanoplastic studies.

Overall, RO is an effective approach in control of plastics, however, the age of the membrane and its integrity and the operation conditions might affect the effectiveness of the filtration process according to SCS research and experts.

Exposure and Biological Effects of Micro and Nanoplastics

The widespread detection of microplastics in items consumed daily by humans, including food, beverages, and packaging materials—with bottled water being a significant source—highlights the pervasive nature of microplastic ingestion. Field documentation has shown that microplastics affect a broad spectrum of aquatic organisms across the marine food web, including turtles, seabirds, fish, crustaceans, and worms.[2]

The toxic effects of nanoplastics on organisms depend on their surface properties and size. Positively charged nanoplastics, for instance, disrupt cellular functions more significantly than their negatively charged counterparts, and their small size facilitates easier penetration of cellular membranes, leading to accumulation in tissues and cells.[3]

Detection and Quantification Difficulties

Chem. Rev. 2021, 121, 19, 11886-11936 1

Cai et al. examined 33 studies on advanced methods for pretreating, separating, identifying, and measuring nanoplastics. While most studies effectively identified nanoplastics added to environmental samples as standards, they struggled to isolate and measure nanoplastics in actual environmental samples. A significant issue is that these studies often quantified nanoplastics without chemically verifying the types of polymers involved, casting doubt on the accuracy of their findings.

The current techniques for detecting and quantifying nanoplastics in the environment are limited, with Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) being the predominant method for identifying polymers.[4] Emerging technologies, such as Hyperspectral Stimulated Raman Scattering (SRS) microscopy, promise to enhance the detection of nanoplastics by providing detailed, label-free chemical imaging through unique Raman signatures.[5] Nonetheless, the effective deployment of these technologies faces challenges, including the need for precise sample preparation and the ability to distinguish plastics from other environmental materials. Achieving accuracy in identifying plastics amongst other substances and distinguishing among various plastic polymers is crucial.

Ongoing advancements in technology and methodology are essential for detecting, quantifying, and monitoring nanoplastics across different settings. Such efforts are vital for gaining a clearer understanding of their distribution and concentration levels.

Addressing Nanoplastic Pollution

Understanding the entire lifecycle of nanoplastic pollution—from production to degradation—and the collective measures required to address this widespread issue is imperative. The minute size and substantial surface area of nanoplastics, relative to their volume, contribute to their resistance to natural degradation processes. The inherent chemical stability of polymers, which is beneficial for numerous applications, means that plastics do not readily decompose or chemically interact with other substances in the environment.

The hydrophobic nature of many nanoplastics limits their engagement with waterborne microbes and enzymes that potentially could help break them down. Polymers with high chemical and thermal stability, such as Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Polypropylene (PP), and Polystyrene (PS), are particularly resistant to environmental degradation processes. This resistance makes nanoplastics especially challenging to degrade, leading to their accumulation and persistence in the environment over time.

One of the most direct ways to combat nanoplastic pollution is to reduce the overall production and use of plastics, especially single-use plastics that are more likely to degrade into micro and nanoplastics. However, the likelihood of substantially reducing plastic production and use depends on various factors, including technological advancements, policy decisions, consumer behavior, and global cooperation.

Developing and using biodegradable or sustainable plastics instead of traditional ones is key. These alternatives are becoming more available and affordable, but more innovation and investment are needed to use them widely.

Better recycling technology that can efficiently turn used plastics into new products could reduce the need for new plastic. However, improving these technologies and making them available everywhere is a challenge.

The issue of nanoplastic pollution is global, with particles found even in remote areas, necessitating international cooperation and solutions.

Ongoing Challenge and Future Directions

Ongoing research into nanoplastics, including their interactions with biological systems and their potential roles in diseases such as Parkinson’s,[6] underscores the critical need for developing effective detection, quantification, and mitigation strategies to address the environmental risks they pose.

The extent to which nanoplastics are present in the environment remains uncertain because of the inefficiencies and inaccuracies in current detection methods. These methods’ outlined strengths and weaknesses underscore the unreliability of existing data.

The widespread concern over microplastics and nanoplastics has spurred scientific, policy, and public efforts to better understand their sources, movement, and impacts and find ways to reduce their environmental footprint. Nevertheless, challenges persist in detecting and quantifying nanoplastics, understanding their degradation and contaminant release mechanisms, and tracking their movement through food webs.

 

Resources:

[1] Qian N, Gao X, Lang X, Deng H, Bratu TM, Chen Q, et al. Rapid single-particle chemical imaging of nanoplastics by SRS microscopy. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2024;121(3):e2300582121

[2] Wright, S. L., Thompson, R. C., & Galloway, T. S. (2013). The physical impacts of microplastics on marine organisms: A review. Environmental Pollution, 178, 483–492.

[3] Karapanagioti, H. K., & Klontza, I. (2008). Testing phenanthrene distribution properties of virgin plastic pellets and plastic eroded pellets found on Lesvos Island beaches (Greece). Marine Environmental Research, 65, 283–290.

[4] Vanavermaete, D., Lusher, A., Strand, J. et al. Plastics in biota: technological readiness level of current methodologies. Micropl.&Nanopl. 4, 6 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1186/s43591-024-00083-9

[5] Qian N, Gao X, Lang X, Deng H, Bratu TM, Chen Q, et al. Rapid single-particle chemical imaging of nanoplastics by SRS microscopy. Proc Natl Acad Sci. 2024;121(3):e2300582121.

[6] Anionic nanoplastic contaminants promote Parkinson’s disease-associated α-synuclein aggregation. Liu Z, Sokratian A, Duda AM, Xu E, Stanhope C, Fu A, Strader S, Li H, Yuan Y, Bobay BG, Sipe J, Bai K, Lundgaard I, Liu N, Hernandez B, Bowes Rickman C, Miller SE, West AB. Sci Adv. 2023 Nov 15;9(46):eadi8716. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.adi8716. Epub 2023 Nov 17. PMID: 37976362.

 

David PalmertonAbout the Author: David Palmerton, Jr., PG, is a Project Director for the Environmental Services Practice. Mr. Palmerton has managed strategic and technical environmental consulting issues for Fortune 100 companies throughout the United States. He has typically provided senior technical oversight, strategic support, and cost control for large multi-component environmental sites. His consulting assignments have included environmental science-based investigations, including soil, sediment, groundwater, and dense non-aqueous phase (DNAPL) investigations and remediation at some of the nation’s most high-profile sites. Mr. Palmerton has over 35 years of experience in environmental consulting in the areas of environmental liability assessment, investigation and remediation. Reach Dave on LinkedIn, or our consultants and engineers nearby at 

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

April 8, 2024

Timothy Smith, PE, will now lead the firm’s specialty practice in Leachate and Industrial Wastewater, Anaerobic Digestion (Liquids Management).

 

SCS Engineers, a leading global environmental solutions provider, announces that Timothy Smith, PE, will lead the firm’s Leachate and Industrial Wastewater, Anaerobic Digestion (Liquids Management) specialty practice.

SCS’s Liquids Management practice includes the management and treatment of landfill leachate, industrial wastewater, groundwater, and anaerobic digestion (AD) for converting livestock manure, municipal wastewater solids, food waste, industrial wastewater, FOG (fats, oils, and grease), or various other organic waste streams into biogas.

Smith, a Professional Engineer (PE) in nine states, has over twenty-five years of experience in civil and environmental engineering, focusing on waste and environmental services. His background experience comes from his work in leachate and industrial wastewater management and treatment, groundwater and stormwater management, remediation and biogas gas construction projects. His experience covers all project phases, from assessment to design and construction to implementation of treatment systems on industrial or municipal sites. Smith’s sector experience includes working with landfills, industrial facilities, military sites, petroleum, aerospace, transportation, municipalities, and food manufacturing/processing plants.

Smith, already an integral member of SCS’s Liquids Management practice for years, is ardent about reusing what society discards as waste into useful products and services again. His teams help conserve natural resources and reduce a business or municipality’s carbon footprint.

Timothy Smith’s custom teams of hydrogeologists, geologists, scientists, and engineers develop treatment solutions to meet the strictest federal, state, and local requirements to treat wastewater, leachates, groundwater, and other liquids for reuse. These systems can remove or destroy contaminants, including PFAS, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances of synthetic organofluorine chemical compounds found in some drinking water resources.

These specialized teams also work with manufacturers, food processing plants, and the agricultural industries to turn what was formerly considered organic waste into renewable energy. These Ag-Gas or AD solutions can power production, create energy to sell back to the grid, or become renewable fuels. All offer the benefits of lowering greenhouse gases.

Senior Vice President Nathan Hamm says, “Tim is a talented strategic thinker, an effective collaborator, a builder of people, and has dedicated his career to solving our clients’ liquids management challenges. The team will thrive under his direction.”

You may reach Tim Smith at or on LinkedIn.

 

Additional Resources:

 

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

April 3, 2024

L to R: Stacey Dolden, Eddy Smith, Steve Liggins, Doug Doerr, Nathan Hamm, Curtis Jang, and Jay Hatho of SCS Engineers.

 

SCS Engineers, a leading environmental engineering firm, proudly announces the appointment of its new executive leadership team subsequent to its semiannual Board of Directors meeting, under the guidance of Chairman Jim Walsh and CEO Doug Doerr.

Curtis Jang assumes the role of President, leveraging his extensive 30-year tenure in financial management and organizational improvement. Mr. Jang, will spearhead strategies aligning with the overarching goals set forth by the CEO and Board.

CEO Doug Doerr affirms the significance of this leadership transition, stating, “To ensure our continued success and to position ourselves for future growth, I’ve entrusted several key individuals to assume new executive roles. As one of the country’s foremost environmental engineering firms experiencing remarkable growth, it is imperative that we equip ourselves for the challenges and opportunities ahead.”

In his capacity as President, Mr. Jang will collaborate closely with Doug Doerr and the newly appointed executive leadership team to steer SCS Engineers towards its envisioned future – prioritizing the welfare of its employee-owners, fostering a cohesive ‘One SCS’ ethos, and delivering unparalleled service to our valued clients.

Eddy Smith, assuming the role of Chief Operating Officer, will lead business strategies across various units and practices to foster enhanced collaboration company-wide, thereby enhancing value delivery to clients. With over three decades of experience in environmental and civil engineering design and consulting, Mr. Smith brings a wealth of expertise to his new role.

Chief Financial Officer Steve Liggins, leveraging his financial acumen and a notable career spanning over 17 years, will oversee finance and accounting functions, ensuring fiscal stewardship within the organization.

Stacey Dolden, entrusted with the role of Chief People Officer, will spearhead the company’s intensified focus on enhancing the employee experience. As a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources with 24 years of experience, Ms. Dolden is committed to nurturing a best-in-class workplace, with a particular emphasis on fostering effective career pathways for all employees.

Jay Hatho, SCS’ Chief Information and Chief Technology Officer, will lead the development and implementation of innovative technological solutions within SCS, as well as for our clients. With over 25 years of experience, Mr. Hatho is dedicated to ensuring SCS remains at the forefront of technological advancement, thereby enhancing client service delivery and fostering employee-owner collaboration.

Nathan Hamm, in his capacity as Senior Vice President, will focus on driving strategic initiatives aimed at expanding the company’s service platform and offering creative solutions to clients’ environmental and business challenges. With over 26 years of industry experience, Mr. Hamm brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise across various service sectors within the engineering consulting arena.

The appointment of this new executive leadership team underscores SCS Engineers’ unwavering commitment to excellence, innovation, and client satisfaction. With their collective expertise and vision, SCS Engineers is poised to embark on an exciting new chapter of growth and success.

About SCS Engineers: SCS Engineers is a renowned environmental engineering firm dedicated to providing innovative and sustainable solutions to complex environmental challenges. With a steadfast commitment to excellence and client satisfaction, SCS Engineers has emerged as a trusted industry leader, serving clients across various sectors with integrity, expertise, and unparalleled professionalism.

 

 

Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am