HOW CLEAN IS CLEAN MAY DEPEND ON HOW CLEAN YOU NEED IT TO BE

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

As seen in the November 2014 issue of Cleaner & Launderer

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“How clean is clean”, has been a phrase that has been debated for decades.  It is used in reference to determining the degree to which a site that is contaminated by chlorinated solvents such as PCE (Perc) and TCE, needs to be cleaned up and remediated before the site is deemed to be free of environmental encumbrances.   Commonly this clean up level is based on concurrence from the regulatory agency overseeing the site. When the regulatory agency determines that cleanup levels have been satisfactorily demonstrated, they will issue a No-Further-Action (or equivalent) letter.  But not all site closures are equal, nor in the best interest of the property owner.

I want to tell you this because obtaining site closure may not avail a property owner with property that can be marketed and utilized to its fullest value, even constricting future land uses.  I want to tell you this because most people are so afraid of the environmental contamination that their focus is on getting the site closed.  By putting the site closure focus ahead of the future value may leave a property owner with a long-term management problem and an under preforming asset.  If property owners do not think about the future land use and long-term monitoring requirements of a property, they could be restricted to use the property for a specific land use (e.g. industrial or commercial) by way of a deed restriction that is placed on the property for generations to come.  The property owner could be required to manage contamination left in place by having to ensure that the deed restriction is enforced. They could be required to maintain the operation and maintenance of a vapor mitigation system for as long as twenty to thirty years after site closure.  They might even find that a bank is not willing to lend on the property, restricting the use of the property as collateral for fear of future changes in the law or potential future third party personal injury or property value claims.

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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

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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.

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Enhanced Reductive Dechlorination It’s A Matter of Give and Take

Written By: Steve Henshaw, President and CEO of EnviroForensics in collaboration with Keith Gaskill, Senior Geochemist, EnviroForensics

As seen in the February 2014 issue of Cleaner & Launderer

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When scientists evaluate how to best cleanup groundwater that has been contaminated with chlorinated solvents, such as perchloroethylene (perc) from a drycleaner or trichloroethene from a manufacturing facility, the option of in-situ treatment is considered.  If the subsurface conditions are favorable, in-situ (or in-place) remediation can have a lot of advantages to other remedial alternatives.

One of the most common in-situ approaches is the use of bioremediation and reductive dechlorination.  The advantages to using in situ bio-remediation or reductive dechlorination technology are that a liquid can be injected into the subsurface using a small drilling rig while there is minimal business interruption. There is no need for an active treatment system involving a trailer or stationary shed with electrical pumps, compressors and treatment tanks.  There is no trenching for conveyance lines and electrical wires.  There are no costs for routine operation and maintenance, electrical power, or monitoring telemetry.  Other advantages to using in situ bio-remediation are that the product is relatively inexpensive, readily available and it is safe and easy to handle.  In-situ treatment is particularly favorable when remediating a contaminated groundwater plume that has migrated away from the Site where the release occurred.

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Practical Approaches for Remediation of VOCs in Clayey Soils

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

The question is often posed, “How much will it cost to clean up contamination at a drycleaner?”  Invariably the answer is, it depends.  Factors that come into play include, but are not limited to, the concentration of VOCs present in the subsurface, whether or not the groundwater is impacted, the depth to groundwater, how far the contamination has spread, whether the cleanup will be focused on residential or commercial land use, and the type of geology and stratigraphy underlying the site.  This article focuses on how clayey soils affect cleanup considerations.

Clay is a naturally occurring material composed of very fine-grained particles.  Clayey soil is a term used for soils containing at least 30% clay.  When clay comes in contact with liquids, it swells and becomes plastic.  When it dries out it shrinks and cracks. Clay is very porous and can hold liquids (e.g. water) between the fine-grained particles, but it is not very permeable, meaning liquids won’t move through the material rapidly.  Clayey soils can hold water and moisture, but water does not move through it very fast.  Likewise, air doesn’t move through clayey soils very well.

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Green mean$ Green!

Can you afford not to go green?

Written by Steve Henshaw, President and CEO of EnviroForensics in collaboration with John Soderberg, PE, Esq. As seen in the September 2012 issue of the Cleaner and Launderer.

Nowadays everyone in business wants to be considered environmentally “friendly” or “green.” The retail dry cleaning industry is no exception.  In fact, given the ecological concern over perchloroethylene or “PERC”, actual or perceived, the retail dry cleaning trade has been at the forefront of the green movement.  However, there is another aspect of an environmentally friendly operation that most cleaners do not recognize, namely, that reducing consumption reduces costs.

The primary reason the trade participates in environmental conservation is because it is part of being a good corporate citizen.  Hence, most retail cleaners are only remotely aware of the potentially positive economic impact “going green” may have, independent of its positive public relations impact.  The purpose of this article is to explore that aspect as well as provide a simple method of prioritizing potentially available “environmentally friendly” or “going green” activities.

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