Long-term Stewardship of Contaminated Sites, Vapor Intrusion Mitigation and Monitoring Fit the Requirements

Written by Stephen R. Henshaw, President & CEO, EnviroForensics

As seen in the December 2014 issue of Cleaner & Launderer

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The latest wrinkle in the cleanup process of sites contaminated with chlorinated solvents (PCE and TCE) is in understanding how long the site, and those sites downgradient, will need to be monitored when complete contaminant removal is not possible and potential human exposure remains. Generally speaking, the more contamination left in place, the longer the site will need to be monitored. I want to tell you this because the cleanup costs that will be generated for your site, will be greatly affected by two things; 1) the removal of contaminated soil and groundwater in the source area and 2) the long-term monitoring requirements (how many locations need to be monitored and for how long). If you are not aware of these two big issues, you are not looking at the full picture and you could be unwittingly reviewing cleanup cost estimates that may have been prepared using the old “bait and switch”.

Let me make no bones about it, the environmental consulting industry is highly competitive and like many purchases consumers make, price is a large factor when you select a consultant to clean up environmental contamination. Nowhere is this price more susceptible to variation than in asking for the consultant to give a true site closure cost estimate. The most important thing to understand about what I am telling you is that you know to ask the hard questions about the provided cost to closure and don’t get caught up in hearing what you want to hear. Consultants don’t enjoy being the bearer of bad news and they realize that they might be competitively shopped, especially if the provided costs are higher than the party paying for the contamination expects. Consequently, the consultant may try to soft pedal the remediation costs. I refer to this as, “telling people what they want to hear”. I see this all the time, particularly when insurance companies are responsible for paying for the cleanup. Continue reading “Long-term Stewardship of Contaminated Sites, Vapor Intrusion Mitigation and Monitoring Fit the Requirements”

DERF Goes Broke (Again): Historical Insurance Remains Source of Funding

For the second time in 5 years, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (WDNR) Dry Cleaner Environmental Response Fund (DERF) has run out of funds necessary to keep pace with claims from dry cleaners dealing with perc cleanups. In the meantime, the WDNR has expressed no intention to slow down its enforcement activities.

The language from WDNR Hydrogeologist Theresa Evanson, P.H.’s letter to drycleaners specifically states, “Despite the projected DERF revenue shortfall and anticipated delays in reimbursements to eligible drycleaners, state law still requires that those responsible for contamination or who own contaminated property undertake investigation and cleanup of those properties.” This is an alarming statement to many drycleaners already involved in the DERF and uncertain when they’ll receive DERF aid. It’s even more disturbing if you’re a dry cleaner who’s trying to refinance or sell his business and who was counting on the DERF to be there if due diligence detected any contamination.

Continue reading “DERF Goes Broke (Again): Historical Insurance Remains Source of Funding”

How The Cost Of Cleanup Can Be Controlled By Things You Cannot Control

Land Use And Geology As Hidden Variables

Written by Keith Gaskill,  L.P.G., Project Manager and Geochemist, EnviroForensics, in collaboration with Steve Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics.

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

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I am often asked by drycleaners how we will do the clean up and what will be the costs? It is almost always impossible to say at the onset because almost every situation is unique with a number of variables.

Environmental contamination from dry cleaning facilities is ob­served commonly. Historical spills and releases, from outdated machin­ery and outdated hazardous material handling practices are examples of the causes that may have impacted the soil and groundwater below such facilities.

Unfortunately, the amount of material released into the subsurface and the time duration during which it was released are not the sole in­dicators of the resources required to remediate the impacted media. The cost of cleanup is determined by a complicated combination of variables. For instance, if a gallon of Perc is spilled at Site A and at Site B, the cost of cleanup may be vastly greater at Site B based on the type of geology below the ground and/or the type of current use of the land at the surface. Continue reading “How The Cost Of Cleanup Can Be Controlled By Things You Cannot Control”

Planning For Remediation During Renovation

Written By Stephen Henshaw, P.G., President and CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the June 2010 issue of Cleaner & Launderer.

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Soil and groundwater investigations and cleanups can take years before site closure is obtained from the regulatory agencies.  Over the course of these activities, it is not unusual for impaired properties and shopping centers to be bought, sold, refinanced and renovated.

If you are the one responsible for the paying for the cleanup, keeping in close contact with the property owners and property managers can save you a lot of headaches and money.  Site investigations and remediations tend to drag on for two primary reasons; 1) Lack of funding necessary to complete the work; and 2) slow turnaround time by the regulatory agencies reviewing investigation reports, feasibility studies and remediation work plans.  Because the process is stretched over years, neighboring tenants come and go and renovations occur.  If you are paying attention, the construction activities associated with new tenants and renovations can be used to reduce your overall cleanup costs. Continue reading “Planning For Remediation During Renovation”

Insurance Archaeology – What is it and Why is it Beneficial?

Published in Fabricare The Magazine of Drycleaning & Laundry Institute Sep/Oct 2008

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Insurance archeology is the process of location and finding historical insurance policies that covered individuals and businesses. Historical insurance can be a huge benefit to drycleaners, as old policies can be used to pay for costs associated with soil and groundwater contamination investigations, legal representation, and even the cleanup of contaminated sits. Continue reading “Insurance Archaeology – What is it and Why is it Beneficial?”