Introducing Our New Field Professional II Lance Summers

EnviroForensics recently welcomed Lance Summers onto the Field Team as a Field Professional II. Lance has already demonstrated proficiency in sampling fundamentals and procedures and is expected to take on more complex and sensitive field assignments.  

Talking about this new addition to the team, EnviroForensics’ Director of Field Services Casey McFall, CHMM says, “In my initial discussions with Lance, I got the impression that he’s reliable and hard-working. In his short time here, he’s not only proven that true to me and my colleagues, but that he’s also able to work through problems in the field and offer efficient, sound solutions. The sky’s the limit for Lance’s career potential and I’m really glad he’s on our team.”

Get to know Lance Summers inside and outside of EnviroForensics through our Q&A session.

Lance Summers, Field Professional II

Question: Where did you grow up?
Answer: Versailles, Indiana

Q: Where did you study and what did you study?
A: I attended college at Indiana University, and I studied Environmental Science/Management.

Q: Did you do research during your studies?
A: I assisted a Ball State University professor with fish surveys on the Wabash River. The survey locations were downstream of major industrial runoff locations. The purpose of the survey was to utilize an integrated biotic index score based on fish assemblages to determine if the Wabash river was being adversely affected by pollution such as agriculture or waste-water runoff. It was a very exciting project and I was able to see first hand the impacts that human activity can have on a river.

Q: Why are you passionate about the environment?
A: I have a passion for the outdoors. Any day outside is better than a day inside.

Q: Why did you choose to go into environmental science?
A: Initially I chose environmental science because I wanted to work outside. As I’ve continued in my career, I learned that I really appreciate the opportunities environmental consulting provides. We are able to make a paycheck while working to protect human health and the environment. I personally think it’s one of the most fulfilling careers. I’ll never forget remediating lead-contaminated yards near Evansville, Indiana and seeing for myself the type of effects lead can have on human health. My project showed the impact contamination can have on human health because I met a boy with developmental issues living in a home where lead was found in the yard. We were able to remediate his yard so that he could continue playing outside without exposing himself to lead-contaminated soil.    

Q: Why did you want to work at EnviroForensics?
A: My wife and I were looking to relocate to Indianapolis and EnviroForensics was at the top of my list. I worked for a different Indianapolis consultant after undergrad and I remember being at an IDEM conference and seeing a presentation that EnviroForensics had prepared. I was impressed that the approach was well thought out and concentrated on specific areas of concern such as utility corridors, dumpster locations, and off-site drains. EnviroForensics’ projects also include dry cleaner sites, and I learned that they can quickly become very complex. I wanted to work for a consultant that I viewed as on-top of their industry.

Q: What are you most excited about for your new role at EnviroForensics?
A: It’s great to be back in Indiana and I’m excited about getting back to fieldwork. 

Are you interested in becoming an EnviroForensics field professional? Apply today.

Northwest Indiana Forum names EnviroForensics’ Michele Murday Environmental Committee Chair

Michele Murday, Northwest Indiana Branch Manager for EnviroForensics, an environmental engineering firm headquartered in Indianapolis, was named Environmental Committee Chair by The Northwest Indiana Forum. The Northwest Indiana Forum aids in increasing economic development and the retention of quality jobs throughout Northwest Indiana. 

Michele first joined the Forum’s Environmental Committee as a member shortly after moving home to Northwest Indiana and opening a branch office for EnviroForensics. Now, as Environmental Committee Chair, Michele will lead over 50 members of The Northwest Indiana Forum during monthly discussions focused on improving environmental policy and economic development opportunities to positively impact the quality of life and business climate in the area.

Michele says, “I’m extremely honored the board has accepted my nomination as the new Chair of The Northwest Indiana Forum’s Environmental Committee. I’m very excited for the opportunity to collaborate with other business and organization representatives to keep environmental policy moving forward in Northwest Indiana for the benefit of its citizens”.

Learn more about the Northwest Indiana Forum


Employee Spotlight: Jennifer Hallgarth

Each month, EnviroForensics recognizes talented individuals, like our Director of Technical Operations, Jennifer Hallgarth, LPG. Get to know Jennifer inside and outside of EnviroForensics.

Jennifer Hallgarth, Director of Technical Operations

Question: What’s your background and career path?
Answer: I’m a geologist who always wanted to be an engineer. It turns out that wasn’t my strength. I’m bad at math, but I’m good at understanding the insurance/claim process. And I never take “no” for an answer (unless it’s the good kind of “no”, like “No Further Action”).

Q: How do you feel about being recognized by your coworkers?
A: It is an honor to work on this team. Everyone works really hard here, every day.  

Q: What do you enjoy about working at EnviroForensics?
A: We have an incredible team! I am so impressed with what we accomplish together. We continually adapt to industry needs and our evolving business model. We face challenges and celebrations together- like true (work) family.

Q: What is one of your most exciting projects at EnviroForensics?
A: I really love to watch employees grow, and support that process.

Q: What is your life like outside of EnviroForensics?
A: I spend most of my free time with my 3-year-old son. What an amazing gift. He is without a doubt the best part of my day. “While we try to teach our children about life, our children teach us what life is all about.”

Emerging Contaminant Alert for Dry Cleaners: PFAS is the New Bad Guy in Town!


beads of water on PFAS treated glass in front of blue background


I believe that most dry cleaners were just beginning to feel like they were well-informed of the risks environmental liability contributes to their businesses, then all of a sudden came the onset of vapor intrusion (VI) issues a little over 10 years ago. It was gradual in the beginning, but at one point it seemed like dry cleaners were utterly swamped with new regulatory demands to immediately assess whether there could be VI problems emanating from their sites. Now, although still a part of environmental investigations, the VI panic has mostly subsided. As the VI exposure pathway was further studied and understood, the ultra-conservative approach initially unleashed by the regulators began to soften to a more reasonable level.

Well, there is a new bad guy in town, and its name is PFAS or perflouoroalkyl substances. It’s a big deal, and although the dry cleaning industry is in no way at the epicenter of the developing PFAS issue, dry cleaners will get involved before this is all over with. Similar to what we saw with VI, I certainly anticipate that the regulatory community will initially react with an abundance of caution as the toxicological and political process settle into a plan. There have already been incidences of dry cleaners being forced to include PFAS in their sampling plans when a solvent release is known to exist. In this article, I want to explain what PFAS really are, wherein the dry cleaning industry they may have been used historically, and how the regulatory process development has been progressing. You will need to stay aware as the toxicological study and regulatory reaction develops related to this emerging contaminant.

Fluorosurfactants, otherwise known as perflouoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are a wide group of engineered chemicals created to lower the surface tension of water. The various individual chemicals are created by replacing the Carbon atom on normal petroleum hydrocarbons with a Flourine atom. Essentially, anything that has been developed industrially or commercially to be non-stick, or waterproof owes its success to PFAS. Although initially created in the 1930s, the first widely used PFAS material was polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which was a non-stick coating developed by DuPont that became known by its trade name, Teflon. Given the wide success of Teflon, further research and development led the way to a total of nearly 5,000 different PFAS chemicals in subsequent years. Some of the other products that were created using this group of chemicals focused on water repellency and stain resistance, such as 3Ms Scotchgard. One of the most prevalent uses of PFAS chemicals has been in the production of fire-fighting foams, especially in the air transportation industry and especially at the United States Department of Defense facilities. There have been, and still are, a very wide range of products that contain PFAS chemicals, including:

Firefighting Foam

Fire crews battling fire with flame retardant foam which commonly contain PFAS

Some grease-resistant paper, fast food containers/wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and candy wrappers

Grease resistant cardboard that potentially contains PFAS

Nonstick cookware

Non-stick pan that is potentially treated with PFAS

Stain-resistant coatings used on carpets, upholstery, and other fabrics

Dog sitting on stain-resistant carpeting potentially containing PFAS

Water-resistant clothing

person wearing water-resistant coat potentially treated with PFAS

Cleaning products

Cleaning products that contain PFAS in front of yellow background

Personal care products (shampoo, dental floss) and cosmetics (nail polish, eye makeup)

Makeup container that potentially contains PFAS

Paints, varnishes, and sealants

Open paint cans that potentially contain PFAS

PFAS compounds are one of several groups of chemicals referred to as “Forever Chemicals”. This means that they are so well-built, so to speak, that they are extremely durable and don’t break down easily. It was great for the products they are used to make, but that also makes their presence in the subsurface very troublesome now that they have been determined to be hazardous to human health and the environment. Of course, when I say “now” they are known as hazardous, I really mean that it has been known by researchers for over 20 years that exposure to PFAS chemicals is harmful to humans, but it has taken this long to get the giant commercial and regulatory ship to turn. In fact, there are estimates that PFAS compounds can be found in the bloodstream of 98% of the United States population.

I’m sure that you all know better than I do, the whole host of products that have been available through the years to make textiles, rugs, and leathers waterproof and stain-resistant. Clearly, these are the primary connection between the dry cleaning industry and PFAS, although there has been some discussion regarding detergents and other additives during the cleaning process. The theory is that during the cleaning process, some of the PFAS enter the waste solvent solution. As such, anywhere there has been an environmental release of dry cleaning solvent to the subsurface, the presence of PFAS is also possible because materials treated with related products may have been cleaned at the facility. The dry cleaning operations that actually performed waterproofing would be the most at risk.

Once released into the subsurface, PFAS chemicals are highly resistant to breakdown and are very soluble, and as such, they can migrate quite far in the groundwater. Drinking water supplies are of primary concern to the Federal and State environmental regulators. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has established health advisories for two of the most prevalent PFAS chemical contaminants, called PFOA and PFOS, based on the agency’s assessment of the latest peer-reviewed science. These advisories will provide the most up-to-date information on the health risks of these chemicals and aid drinking water system operators and state, tribal and local officials in making determinations as to the appropriate steps needed to address PFOA and PFOS in their communities.

Infographic explaining what the EPA is doing to regulate PFAS
The EPA has established PFAS measurement methods, issuing drink water health advisories, supporting site-specific challenges and providing tools and information so communities can better understand processes and procedures. Courtesy:

The EPA’s assessment indicates that drinking water with individual or combined concentrations of PFOA and PFOS below 70 parts per trillion (0.07 micrograms per liter ug/L) is not expected to result in adverse health effects over a lifetime of exposure. Current studies indicate that exposure above these levels in drinking water could increase a person’s lifetime risk of several types of cancer, immune system dysfunctions, or developmental disorders.

One of the primary concerns about PFAS, given its widespread use and known releases to the environment, is its impact on the country’s drinking water supply. Although the US EPA issued its PFAS Action Plan on February 14, 2019, many states have expressed frustration with the EPA’s proposed plan and have started the process of regulating PFAS in drinking water themselves. As we saw the vapor intrusion regulation process evolve, some states have moved forward with their own versions of regulations and standards that present significant challenges to impacted industries.

Read more about PFAS and learn about currently available state resources

From the environmental consultant’s perspective, I see this playing out very much as VI did in the 2000s, as I mentioned. As new toxicological studies are completed by those agencies to whom the US EPA relies upon to make their policy and regulations, there will be an ongoing debate in Washington D.C. This is certainly to be expected since PFAS chemicals have become such a large industry, the regulators will want to make sure they respond appropriately. There is a very large amount of money at stake, and a misstep that leads to over-regulation could create a huge financial crater in the US manufacturing, commercial and retail, and insurance sectors. As a business owner, I’m sure you can understand that perspective.

We have already seen some of our dry cleaner clients with known subsurface releases of Perc being asked by the state regulatory agency to start looking for PFAS as well. We’ll just have to keep an eye on regulatory developments across the states this coming year. In the meantime, it would definitely be worth the time to consider how PFAS could be associated with your past operations.

The good news is that subject to the same limitations I have written about many times, your business’ old commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policies could be used to pay for the investigation and cleanup of PFAS, if they are identified, just like Perc. Most of the time, however, if you are going to find PFAS, you will already have a solvent release problem.

The main impacts of this PFAS issue will be to draw even more dry cleaners into the regulatory process and to increase the cost of environmental investigation and cleanup. Instead of seeing it as another blow to the dry cleaning industry, you could see it as another reason to sit up and take notice of your potential environmental problems.

Have you been asked to include PFAS in your environmental sampling? Share your thoughts.

Contact EnviroForensics, the dry cleaning industry’s most trusted environmental consultant.

As seen in Cleaner & Launderer

Jeff Carnahan, President at EnviroForensics
Jeff Carnahan, LPG, has 20+ years of environmental consulting and remediation experience. His technical expertise focuses on the investigation and interpretation of subsurface releases of hazardous substances for the purpose of evaluating and controlling the risk and cost implications. He has focused on being a partner with the dry cleaning industry for the past decade, and he’s a frequent contributor to the national dry cleaning publication Cleaner & Launderer. He is an industry leader in understanding that environmental risk includes not only cleanup costs, but also known and unknown third-party liability.

EnviroForensics’ Morgan Saltsgiver begins tenure as MSECA President

First woman president of the Midwestern States Environmental Consultants Association

Morgan Saltsgiver, LPG, Director of Brownfields & AgriBusiness was officially sworn in as President of the Midwestern States Environmental Consultants Association (MSECA) on January 1, 2020. MSECA is a professional trade organization comprised of member companies and individuals spanning the Midwest region of the country to advance the field of environmental consulting. Morgan is making history as the organization’s first woman president.

Throughout 2019, Morgan served as President-Elect alongside 2019 President Brent Graves and other past leaders to understand the inner workings of the executive team and to prepare for her own term at the helm. As the group’s first female leader, she’s looking forward to leaving her own unique mark on the organization. Morgan shared that “inclusivity, expansion of membership, and education will remain our goals moving forward and as MSECA’s first woman President, I hope I can bring a fresh perspective to the group.” 

One of the main focuses of MSECA is educating its members on the latest investigation and remediation trends and methods in the environmental consulting industry. Morgan says, “At MSECA, we are continuously striving to provide educational topics that are front-burner or even up-and-coming industry topics. There are many new emerging contaminants, emerging investigation and remedial technologies, and emerging regulations/guidance to stay up to date with so our members can benefit from attending our events.”

Morgan is most excited about hosting the organization’s flagship two-day Conference on Environmental Liabilities, Risk Assessment, and Remediation and shared that “this event has grown since its inception two years ago and the content provided by our top-of-the-industry speakers continues to bring attendance from all of the major consulting firms in the Midwest.”

Morgan has been an environmental consultant for more than 16 years. As a Licensed Professional Geologist (LPG) in Indiana and Texas, she specializes in providing Brownfields redevelopment, agribusiness and traditional consulting services. At EnviroForensics, she is a leader in building collaborative relationships between brownfields redevelopment project stakeholders, and helping clients find alternative funding sources for environmental investigation projects, including historical insurance policies, federal and local brownfield grants, and state trust funds. 

In addition to her involvement with MSECA, Morgan actively pursues her passions for environmental work and leadership outside of EnviroForensics with the Northwest Indiana Influential Women’s Association (NWIIWA), The Ball State University Geology Department’s Alumni Advisory Board, and the Indianapolis Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), where she serves as the Treasurer and was named the Foremost Leader of the North Central Region in 2019.

Become a member of MSECA.