Environmental Cleanup Can Be Good Public Relations

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

You’ve found solvent contamination at your facility and its impacted groundwater or an adjacent property.   You are probably thinking, not only is it costly to address the contamination, but it could also ruin my good business reputation.  Have you ever thought that cleaning up environmental contamination could be good public relations?  It can, it’s a matter of selling the right message to your audience.

Clearly, one has to be careful in how you are addressing your contamination issue.  Most people’s biggest concern is that their neighbor’s property will have contamination on it or that vapor intrusion is going into their neighbor’s home or business and that the neighbors will sue them.  While that may be a possibility, I’ve been conducting environmental investigations for a long time (ok almost 30 years, I’m old) and I rarely ever see that as an issue.  When it is an issue it’s almost always happens in reverse.  A lawsuit is filed by a party or group of people against all of the parties that owned the property or business where contamination is allegedly emanating from.  It is rarely that a drycleaner conducts a cleanup and they are now being sued.  While PERC dry cleaning solvent is considered a known carcinogen, it is generally very difficult to attribute a person’s adverse health condition to PERC exposure.  That is to say that if someone that has cancer was exposed to PERC, they have likely been exposed to other chemicals that are also carcinogenic, making the direct link between the alleged PERC exposure and the health effect more difficult to legally prove.  Continue reading “Environmental Cleanup Can Be Good Public Relations”

Vapor Intrusion and Indoor Air Sampling Expensive Testing – Make Sure It’s Done Correctly

Written by Stephen Henshaw, P.G., President and CEO, EnviroForensics

As seen in the March 2010 issue Western Cleaner and Launderer.

PDF Version

Vapor Intrusion, or VI, is probably the hottest topic among regulators these days.  Vapor intrusion may be best described as the contamination of indoor breathing air as a result of being in proximity to soil or groundwater releases of hazardous chemicals.  Generally speaking, volatile organic compounds that have been released or spilled into the subsurface display a preference to evaporate into air spaces, or voids, in the soils.  These vapors can then disperse and travel through the soils to nearby buildings.  Contaminated soil vapors are most likely to travel along utility corridors where backfill material, such as sand, typically has more air spaces than the surrounding soils that were laid down naturally by Mother Nature.  Once the vapors travel through a utility corridor, they may migrate into the building through concrete block basement walls, floor drains, drainage sumps or cracks in the floor. Continue reading “Vapor Intrusion and Indoor Air Sampling Expensive Testing – Make Sure It’s Done Correctly”

Score One for the Drycleaners in BAAQMD…at least for a little while

By Marti Russell, REA, Western Sales Manager, EnviroForensics

A Steering Committee Meeting was held on Friday, March 5, 2010 in San Francisco.  As if the economy isn’t bad enough for small businesses and depending on the outcome of this meeting, the cleaners in the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in Northern California may have another hurdle in trying to stay open and meet the mandated regulations bestowed upon them.

The BAAQMD staff was directed by the Board of Supervisors last year to come up with a plan to shorten the time frame on phasing out perc in their District.  All perc cleaners in the BAAQMD know the District wants to accelerate the banning of perc faster than the California Air Recourses Board mandated timeframe of 2023. Continue reading “Score One for the Drycleaners in BAAQMD…at least for a little while”

It’s a Good Idea to be Proactive!

Written by Steve Henshaw, President & CEO, EnviroForensics in collaboration with Justin Gifford, General Counsel, EnviroForensics
As seen in the January 2010 issue of Western Cleaner & Launderer

PDF Version

Opening up Google, a newspaper, turning on the radio or catching the evening news is sure to expose you to the national debate over health care and insurance. Through that exposure, most of us have gained at least a passing familiarity with the issue of “pre-existing conditions.” Insurers either refuse outright to cover a person with a pre-existing condition or exclude that condition from the coverage, leaving the insured to pay for it out of his pocket. Environmental liabilities and using historical insurance to offset those liabilities are not the focus of a lively national  debate, yet the costs incurred by drycleaners each year due to a similar problem are staggering.

We receive calls on a regular basis from drycleaners or property owners already engaged in defining the size of a spill or actively remediating it at the “request” of regulatory agencies asking for our help locating historical insurance to pay for the investigation and cleanup. Often times, we are able to locate that insurance to fund the clean up…but just as often, the twenty, thirty or   hundred and fifty thousand dollars already spent by our client cannot be recovered from the insurer even though the spending was necessary to comply with the regulator’s orders.

Continue reading “It’s a Good Idea to be Proactive!”

News for Drycleaners Concerning BAAQMD

Submitted by Marti Russell, REA-1, Registered Environmental Assessor and Western Sales Manager for EnviroForensics

As it stands now, Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) in Northern California may be changing their regulations…again.  AND, things do not look so good for dry cleaners in that District.

BAAQMD staff will go in front of the Stationary Steering Committee on Monday, November 16, 2009 to discuss the social economic impact the current State’s Air Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) regulation is having on the Dry Cleaning Industry. Everyone should be aware by now, that it is extremely tough out there for businesses to survive.  Some businesses are down by 30%, banks are not lending money for equipment upgrades and credit scores need to be over 680 to qualify for loans or leases.

However, more important than the Steering Committee meeting, is the one that will be held on December 16, 2009. BAAQMD staffers go in front of their boss, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors (BOS), to address the directive that the Board gave them last year.  This meeting will be open for public comments.

Continue reading “News for Drycleaners Concerning BAAQMD”