Vapor Intrusion Assessments: Can You Trust Your Indoor Air Data?

Written by Jeff Carnahan, L.P.G, Senior Project Manager, EnviroForensics in collaboration with Stephen Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics.

As seen in the February 2012 issue of Cleaner & Launderer

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If you’ve ever had to hire an environmental consultant to investigate your property and collect samples, you’ve probably had to look at an analytical report from a laboratory and use it to answer some pretty important questions.  Is there contamination on my property? What chemicals are present? How much is there?  Most importantly, are the levels of contamination high enough to be causing harmful health effects? Only slightly less importantly, are they high enough to require a costly cleanup?  You needed to know the answers to all of these questions so that you could sell or buy a property, get a business loan, or maybe just to sleep at night.  With today’s trend of highly regulated vapor intrusion (VI) assessments being required at sites where dry cleaning with perchloroethene (PCE) has taken place, these questions have become increasingly important and more difficult to answer.

While there are challenges associated with environmental assessments of all kinds; determining the level of hazardous constituents in a building’s indoor air, assessing from where it may have come and evaluating if an unacceptable health risk exists for human occupants can be particularly delicate.  For those property owners who need answers to the questions posed in the situation above, it is extremely important that samples of indoor air collected during VI assessments are representative of the air actually being breathed by the building’s occupants and that the laboratory results can be relied upon.  Continue reading “Vapor Intrusion Assessments: Can You Trust Your Indoor Air Data?”

EPA Officially Characterizes Perchloroethylene as ‘Likely Human Carcinogen’

Written by John Bird, P.G., Vice President, EnviroForensics.

On Friday, February 10, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published the final health assessment for perchloroethylene (Perc) to the EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System (IRIS) database.  EPA’s IRIS is a human health assessment program that evaluates risk information on effects that may result from exposure to environmental contaminants.   Perc is a chemical solvent widely used in the dry cleaning industry.  This health assessment appears to confirm longstanding scientific understanding and research, that Perc is a “likely human carcinogen.”  For the first time, the EPA provides estimates for both cancer and non-cancer effects associated with exposure to Perc over a lifetime.

It’s important to note that the EPA does not believe that wearing clothes dry cleaned with perc will result in exposures which pose a risk of concern.  EPA has already taken several significant actions to reduce exposure to Perc. EPA has clean air standards for dry cleaners that use Perc, including requirements that will phase-out the use of Perc by dry cleaners in residential buildings by December 21, 2020. EPA also set limits for the amount of Perc allowed in drinking water and levels for cleaning up Perc at Superfund sites throughout the country, which will be updated in light of the IRIS assessment. Continue reading “EPA Officially Characterizes Perchloroethylene as ‘Likely Human Carcinogen’”

Why You Don’t Have To Worry About Your Site Being Re-contaminated and You Can Clean-up Now

Written by Stephen R. Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the January 2012 issue of Cleaner & Launderer

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Many dry cleaners have expressed their desire to evaluate the soil and groundwater beneath their businesses for the presence of dry cleaning chemicals, but they are concerned that if they go through a cleanup, the property could be re-contaminated down the road.

Relax, the manner in which dry cleaning is conducted today is far more protective of the environment than it was even 30 years ago.  For one, the machines designed and manufactured today are much safer than those of the past.  Secondly, the safeguards employed today, including the installation of spill containment pans beneath machines and automatic shut-offs are protective of the environment.  Finally, good housekeeping practices and the proper storage and disposal of spent solvent and filters today will greatly minimize the potential for spills and releases to enter the environment. Continue reading “Why You Don’t Have To Worry About Your Site Being Re-contaminated and You Can Clean-up Now”

Navigating the Environmental Due Diligence and Investigation Process in SBA Lending

Written by Darci Thomas Cummings, L.P.G., Project Manager, EnviroForensics.

As seen in the November 2011 issue of Cleaner & Launderer.

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If you are currently considering purchasing a commercial property, expanding your existing business, or are in the market to sell your current business or commercial property, you have likely considered the lending opportunities available in today’s challenging economy.  Borrowing options became limited as small business and business banking lending came to a near grinding halt in 2008.  In September of this year, 13 major U.S. banks pledged to increase government-backed Small Business Administration (SBA) small business lending by $20 billion over the next three years in an attempt to stimulate the economy.  In addition, local banks, regional banks, and even credit unions have begun taking advantage of SBA loan programs as a means of extending lending options to small business owners.  If you choose to secure financing through an SBA loan program, you may face challenging environmental due diligence and environmental investigation requirements for your business venture.  Continue reading “Navigating the Environmental Due Diligence and Investigation Process in SBA Lending”

You Sold Your Business and You’re in the Clear…..Not So Fast

Written by Steve Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics.
As seen in the September 2011 issue of Cleaner & Launderer.

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You worked hard to grow your business and you had the good fortune to sell it for a profit.  You had your lawyer look over the sale contract and you even had the buyer indemnify you for future environmental claims, should they ever arise.  You did everything right and now it’s time to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Several years pass and one day you get a letter in the mail.  The letter is sent “certified” and you have to sign for it.  You open the letter, it’s from the state environmental regulatory department informing you that as a past owner and/or operator of the sold business, you are responsible for groundwater contamination. Continue reading “You Sold Your Business and You’re in the Clear…..Not So Fast”