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”

Getting your Best Cleanup for your Money

Why Won’t This Stuff Just Go Away?

Written By Keith Gaskill, L.P.G., Project Manager & Geochemist, EnviroForensics, in collaboration with Stephen R. Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics.
As seen in the December 2011 issue of Cleaner & Launderer.

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Environmental cleanups are most often a complex undertaking with both soil and groundwater contamination.  A certain amount of creativity is required to complete a site cleanup within acceptable timeframes, regulatory requirements, and of course, budget. 

Ideally, once a cleanup begins, it ends when all contaminants have been removed.  Sounds simple enough. Many times, cleanup projects start very well and appear to be heading toward closure (even under budget) but the cleanup appears to stop working.

Why did it stop working?

Continue reading “Getting your Best Cleanup for your Money”

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”

What Drives an Environmental Cleanup?

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

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I frequently get calls from dry cleaners asking for advice and one of the common questions is, “How much is it going to cost to cleanup my site?” Knowing that my dry cleaner friend is looking for an answer better than “depends” and realizing that it is impossible to give him an accurate cost without knowing a lot more about the site conditions, I find myself walking a bit of a tightrope. Environmental cleanups are driven by several factors, but the primary factor is risk. The risk is whether the chemical release could impact the environmental that supports animal life, as an example, wetlands, creeks, streams, lakes and oceans.

Of course, in stating these primary risk factors, one cannot ignore property damage immediately below the cleaners or at the adjacent properties where contamination has migrated. And last but not least, a regulatory agency can bring a third party claim against a dry cleaner to cleanup contamination to the lowest of levels, but in general the primary factors presented apply.

So, how can one determine whether or not a threat exists or is present to human health and/or the environment? We have to determine if the release has reached either people or the environment. Continue reading “What Drives an Environmental Cleanup?”

Groundwater Flow

Written by Steve Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO of EnviroForensics & PolicyFind

As seen in the March 2009 issue of Western Cleaner & Launderer March, 2009

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“Water runs downhill.”  That old catch phrase is true.  A hydrogeologist, however, is more likely to say that groundwater runs downgradient.  What’s the difference?  One we can see and the other we infer.  That is the essential difference and why some in the 1850’s said that understanding groundwater flow was an occult practice instead of a science.  This article will go into how we simplistically determine the direction of groundwater flow, why tetrachloroethene (perc) enters groundwater, and how perc “goes for a ride”, sometimes in a different direction than the groundwater flow. Continue reading “Groundwater Flow”