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
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?”
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.
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”
Written by Stephen Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in June 2011 issue of Cleaner & Launderer
Just a few short years ago it was nearly impossible for me to have an open and honest discussion with dry cleaners about the possibility that soil and groundwater beneath their business might be impacted with dry cleaning solvents. Understandably, dry cleaners were scared that the value of their business would be diminished if such conditions existed. Environmental investigations and cleanups can be costly and legal bills alone are more than many businesses can afford. Hiding one’s head in the sand does little to build or preserve a business as an asset.
Over the years I have preached the merits of looking for old insurance policies, normal everyday comprehensive general liability (CGL) policies, to see if they can be utilized to assist in funding site investigation and remediation costs. Even though we have countless success stories in this unique, specialized business area of finding the funding to pay investigation and cleanup costs, rarely a week goes by where we discover a dry cleaner that is either unaware that old policies have great value or they think that there is a better day ahead to implement this strategy. The reality is that with few exceptions, there is no time like the present. Continue reading “Maximizing Your Business Asset”
Written by Steve Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics, in Collaboration with Jeff Carnahan, L.P.G., Senior Project Manager, EnviroForensics.
As seen in the March 2011 issue of Cleaner & Launderer.
As most drycleaners know, at some time in the not too distant future, you or someone you know will have to deal with the accidental release of perchloroethylene (Perc) or Stoddard solvent. Even if the release is decades old and unknown to the current owner/operator, soil and/or groundwater contamination may come to light during a property transaction, a refinance or through the course of standard due diligence investigations. This finding commonly results in a demand by the state environmental regulatory agency to determine the extent of the contamination and if necessary, remediate the contamination.
Environmental regulatory agencies often prioritize contaminated sites based on whether or not people may come into contact with, or be exposed to toxic chemicals. The three primary ways (or pathways) that people can come into contact with these chemicals is by getting contaminated soil or groundwater on their skin, eating and ingesting contaminated soil or groundwater, or by inhaling the chemicals that volatilize from the contaminated soil or groundwater. If it is determined that one of these potential exposure pathways is complete, it becomes a priority to abate the exposure immediately, even before the extent of the impacts have been fully defined. Continue reading “Vapor Intrusion; Who’s DEFAULT is it?”
Written by Stephen Henshaw, P.G., President and CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the August 2010 issue of Cleaner & Launderer
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?”