stormwater compliance

April 4, 2022

Agriculture Odor Management

When we think of farming, most of us think of fresh air, big skies, and acres of open land. One of the oldest industries is transforming to meet the increasing demand for commercially grown produce, wine, hemp, and cannabis with emerging agriculture odor management strategies.

Agricultural commerce brings jobs but also a few unwelcome odors. Hemp farms have distinct odors, vineyards spray elemental sulfur smelling of rotten eggs on wine grapes, and cannabis facilities can smell at different stages of plant growth. Even a farm growing cut flowers, when fertilized, will have a measurable smell.

Air Quality
A wine’s aroma is usually floral, citrus, or earthy, and Thanksgiving Day is the smell of home and hearth. However, getting these agricultural products grown and processed can sometimes be smelly. Many environmental technologies are being adapted for use in agriculture. Some are the result of industrial risk management and even landfill technologies for controlling odors and maintaining good air quality. As with landfills, they work best when designed for a specific site with site-specific wind conditions and site-specific distances from the nearest neighbors.

Hemp and cannabis growing facilities, both indoors and out, get odor complaints, so operators plan ahead to manage them. Odor intrusion for facilities coexisting in dense urban areas or com-mingled with other industries nearby tends to get more complaints, where the odor source is more complicated to pinpoint. On larger tracts, greenhouses, and small farms, air-misting systems or air blocking vegetation are more common.

“We can assess the potential concentration (odor strength) using known chemical surrogates emitting from cannabis. However, this approach has considerable weaknesses since many of the odor-causing compounds are difficult to detect at concentrations near their odor detection thresholds,” says Paul Schafer of SCS Engineers. “The ratios of emitted compounds are variable based on cannabis strain and time in the plants’ lifecycle, drying/curing/processing method, and varying atmospheric chemistry following emission.”

Some proposed cannabis greenhouses filing for a permit use an internal carbon filtration system to prevent fugitive pot odors from becoming a neighborhood nuisance. This indoor odor-control system would replace outdoor air-misting systems used by some greenhouse operations and commonly at landfills. The outdoor systems neutralize smells by changing the molecular structure of escaping vapors and work best when designed to work with air patterns. They are useful when there is a larger buffer zone because odors typically rise or flow in patterns.

Production hubs on larger acreage, even property utilized for agriculture for decades, require remediation. Many firms use modern greenhouse structures encompassing hundreds of thousands of square feet with processing plants. Schafer explains “As an odor and air monitoring expert and environmental engineering consultant, my job is to assess how various environmental technologies work under specific conditions to these companies and at times to the public. We use and investigate specialized technologies for industrial or agricultural use because they require specialized odor reduction, are safe, and can be successfully utilized to manage air quality and odors.”

As farming, businesses, and housing coexist across the nation, SCS’s water, soil, and air management teams are tweaking environmental technologies to help communities and new-age farmers remain good neighbors. Schafer who is the firm’s Ambient Air Monitoring expert puts it this way, “As engineers and consultants, we help communities and industry thrive together.”

Stormwater Management
Farmers or growers strive to include more ethical and sustainable growing practices, such as higher standards for water use and purifying their wastewater for reuse. As urban areas grow and farmland shrinks, stormwater management is essential to help new-age farmers operate sustainably and meet growing stormwater regulations that protect water supplies and the environment.

These aren’t the only greenhouses we work in.
The proven sustainable environmental solutions SCS Engineers offers to the agricultural, construction, extraction, manufacturing sectors, and municipalities help them attain their cleaner operating goals. As an environmental consulting and construction firm, we produce measurable technologies and programs that capture and reduce more greenhouse gases for private and public clients than any other environmental firm in the Americas.

Learn more on our website.






Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

May 21, 2021

portland or environmental consulting
Nathan Williams of SCS Engineers helps businesses and municipalities meet environmental challenges such as managing stormwater.


SCS Engineers is expanding its environmental expertise with Nathan Williams, PE, as an Environmental Engineer in the firm’s Portland, Oregon office. Williams will support SCS’s growing client base in the region to meet and remain compliant with local, state, and federal regulations that impact their business or municipality, with particular emphasis on stormwater compliance and management.

Washington, Oregon, and Idaho clients have regulatory requirements that include Compliance Audits, Spill Prevention and Countermeasure Plans (SPCC), Stormwater Pollution Control Plans (SWPCP), Air Pollution Control Discharge Permits, Risk Management Plans, Form R reports and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Part B. These plans and permits address regulatory requirements and help protect watersheds and wetlands that provide drinking water to downstream communities, habitat for fish and wildlife, and countless other public and economic benefits.

Williams brings expertise and credentials to provide comprehensive stormwater management services to support businesses in the region ranging from vineyards to landfills. His experience includes working on permitting and remediating contaminated sites for industrial, residential, and power generation reuse across Oregon and Washington.

As a Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead, Williams has extensive experience in erosion and sediment control projects, from design, permitting, implementation, and project closeout with final stabilization. Combining these skillsets helps businesses continue to deliver products and services on schedule as they encounter increasingly rigid compliance regulations.

As with all SCS Engineers employee-owners, Nathan Williams engages in industry associations and his community. Learn about Nathan and how his work on the SCS team helps municipalities, all citizens, and businesses thrive.


About SCS Engineers

SCS Engineers’ environmental solutions and technology directly result from our experience and dedication to industries responsible for safeguarding the environment as they deliver services and products. For information about SCS, watch a short video, visit our website, or follow us on your favorite social media.






Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

November 28, 2018

We will continue to see changes on the federal, state and local regulatory front that together will help us manage storm water in a smart, cost-effective manner preserving our water resources. Betsy Powers of SCS Engineers provides an update in her most recent article.

Until a new WOTUS definition is finalized, the U.S. EPA and the U.S. Department of the Army have indicated their intent to re-codify the pre-Obama regulations. The revised WOTUS rule is expected to include looser regulatory requirements, meaning fewer waters will qualify, and therefore, fewer permits will be required.

To speed up approvals of permits for highways, bridges, pipelines and other major infrastructure, an Obama-era executive order aimed at reducing exposure to flooding, sea level rise and other consequences of climate change were rolled back reducing the environmental reviews and restrictions on government-funded building projects in flood-prone areas.

Removing phosphorus from storm water runoff is a hot topic, with partners exploring alternative opportunities to reduce the introduction of phosphorus in runoff, remove it or manage it in watersheds.

More proprietary filters are being used for pretreatment before underground infiltration for redevelopment sites for total suspended solids (TSS) control and where land is limited. The performance of proprietary devices continues to be studied and improved to meet regulatory requirements. Increasing general attention is being paid to emerging contaminants that are problematic in storm water runoff. Among the emerging contaminants of concern are pharmaceutical and personal care products, pesticides, hydrocarbons, and hormones. Many of which are now included within the Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals group.

Read the article here.

Betsy Powers
Betsy Powers, PE, SCS Engineers

Betsy Powers is a civil and environmental engineer with SCS Engineers.









Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am

November 8, 2017

How to stay in compliance, do what is right and avoid costly fines and litigation.

The State of California passed regulations in 2015 that impact all craft brewers (SIC Code 2082) who must comply with these regulations by either preparing and implementing a plan or certifying “no exposure” for their facility. While enforcement has so far been limited, the State maintains a searchable database by SIC code, and compliance determinations by government officials, environmental groups and other non-government organizations is comparatively easy.

Based on our research, the current compliance rate for craft brewers in California is relatively low. Those who don’t comply run the risk of fines or citizen suits by non-profits, which can be costly and time-consuming. Find out about the different types of compliance, what is involved, and how to stay in compliance.

A Qualified Industrial Storm Water Practitioner (QISP) can help you answer the following questions:

  • Do I need to comply with these requirements?
  • What if I am brewpub/restaurant, do I still need to comply?
  • What steps do I need to take to be in compliance?
  • Can I do the compliance work myself or should I get help?
  • What are the tips or strategies to attempt to stay out of the more stringent aspects of compliance?
  • What is my exposure and what are the fines and penalties for not complying?
  • What strategies can I use to avoid citizen suits and what do I do if I am targeted by a citizen’s suit?

For more information or help with stormwater compliance in California, contact Dan Johnson at or the California Craft Brewers Association. If you are a CCBA member, you may access slides from a recent Webinar relating to Stormwater Compliance for Craft Brewers here. To sign up for our e-newsletter on stormwater and compliance tips send an email to .

Contact for stormwater compliance services in all 50 states.



Posted by Diane Samuels at 6:00 am