Zero-Valent Iron Shows Promise As a Strong Chemical Reducer of Perc

Written by Steve Henshaw, P.G., President & CEO, EnviroForensics, in Collaboration with Keith Gaskill, L.P.G., Project Manager and Geochemist, EnviroForensics
As seen in the May 2011 issue of Cleaner & Launderer

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Zero-valent iron (ZVI) has been used in the groundwater remediation industry for several decades.  Typically, granular scale ZVI was emplaced in trenches serving as a permeable reactive barrier wall, whereby contaminated groundwater would flow through the wall and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like Perc would react with the material and breakdown.

This technology worked so well that scientists started applying the ZVI into contamination source areas and hot spots.  Recent advances have produced smaller scale iron particles that can be mixed into a slurry and pumped into the ground through the use of pre-existing injection technologies.  Continue reading “Zero-Valent Iron Shows Promise As a Strong Chemical Reducer of Perc”

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”

State Level Environmental Enforcement During Periods of Economic Downturn

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

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The current state of the economy affects so many areas of our lives, but one that isn’t talked about much is how the current hiring freezes imposed by almost every state environmental agency impacts environmental cleanups.  It is safe to say that the state-level regulatory agencies are not hiring new staff to handle environmental cleanups.  While this may initially sound like a good thing in that dry cleaners may feel they have some breathing room from the long arm of the law, I see it a differently.   

In general, the environmental regulations continue to get tougher and the acceptable levels of chemical constituents allowed to remain in soil, vapor and groundwater continue to be lowered.  Because many sites take a long period of time before they are cleaned up to acceptable levels and “closed”, the project managers working for local, state, and federal regulatory agencies continue to get more and more sites that they are responsible for managing.  Their workload continues to increase in volume and the piles of reports and work plans they are to review keep growing. Continue reading “State Level Environmental Enforcement During Periods of Economic Downturn”

Planning For Remediation During Renovation

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

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Soil and groundwater investigations and cleanups can take years before site closure is obtained from the regulatory agencies.  Over the course of these activities, it is not unusual for impaired properties and shopping centers to be bought, sold, refinanced and renovated.

If you are the one responsible for the paying for the cleanup, keeping in close contact with the property owners and property managers can save you a lot of headaches and money.  Site investigations and remediations tend to drag on for two primary reasons; 1) Lack of funding necessary to complete the work; and 2) slow turnaround time by the regulatory agencies reviewing investigation reports, feasibility studies and remediation work plans.  Because the process is stretched over years, neighboring tenants come and go and renovations occur.  If you are paying attention, the construction activities associated with new tenants and renovations can be used to reduce your overall cleanup costs. Continue reading “Planning For Remediation During Renovation”

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

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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!”