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

PDF Version

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”

RISK BASED SITE CLOSURES SHOULD INCLUDE REMEDIATING THE SOURCE AREA

Written by Stephen R. Henshaw, President and CEO of EnviroForensics & PolicyFind
As Seen in the March 2014 issue of the Cleaner & Launderer

PDF Version

The environmental remediation industry has been in full swing for the last 35 years, but it has only been in the past few years that the regulatory agencies have come to accept risk-based closures as a practical cleanup strategy. In the recent past, cleanup criteria was established for hundreds of individual chemical constituents for soil, surface water and groundwater. The cleanup criteria was based on the toxicological risks assigned to each of the chemical constituents and then further divided into different land-use scenarios (e.g. residential, commercial, wetlands, etc.)

This process made it easy for people to know what the target cleanup objective would be. That is not to say that there was not frustration over the toxicological science that was used to establish the cleanup criteria, but, because the closure numbers were laid out on a table, it made the discussion with the regulatory agencies black and white.

Continue reading “RISK BASED SITE CLOSURES SHOULD INCLUDE REMEDIATING THE SOURCE AREA”

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”

MY INSURERS STEPPED IN AND APPOINTED AN ATTORNEY THAT SHOULD BE A GOOD THING, RIGHT?

Written By Steve Henshaw, President & CEO, EnviroForensics

What I want to tell you about today is the obligations that your insurance carriers have when they defend a claim under reservation of rights (ROR).  I want to tell you this because there is a lot of misinformation that people have on this issue and policyholders have rights that they need to know.  When people don’t know their rights, decisions can be made that could adversely affect their businesses, their financial future, even their reputation. Continue reading “MY INSURERS STEPPED IN AND APPOINTED AN ATTORNEY THAT SHOULD BE A GOOD THING, RIGHT?”

Selecting An Environmental Consultant; What Firm Is Best For Your Situation

Written By Stephen R. Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics
As seen in the May 2013 issue of the Cleaner & Launderer

Selecting an environmental con­sultant can be a daunting task and for small business owners that do not have day-to-day exposure with soil and groundwater contamination it’s very difficult to know the difference between consultants. This article is meant to shed light on the differences between environmental consultants and to present the different methods for selecting an environmental con­sultant. It’s my goal to show people that selecting the right consultant for your situation is a very important decision and should not be taken lightly. If a business person doesn’t know that there are differences be­tween environmental consultants, countless hours and dollars may be wasted, projects could drag on and site closure could be a distant glimmer.

This article will go through some of the selection and screening meth­ods that small business owners use when selecting an environmental consultant to address environmental liabilities.

Continue reading “Selecting An Environmental Consultant; What Firm Is Best For Your Situation”