Environmental

 


Boyle Dayton Los Angeles 1

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles

The Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Company was a reputable manufacturer and seller of fueling pumps and standalone underground tanks, for automobiles in the early 1900s. Unlike modern gasoline service stations, the Boyle Dayton Company was a specialty manufacturer of curbside fuel station accessories. Curbside fueling stations were common in America before the demand for full service stations. In fact, curbside fueling stations were typically part of drug stores and hardware shops. And commonly fronting the major streets and roadways. The Boyle Dayton Los Angeles company had the reputation of making stylish, economic and easy-to-use standalone pumps and tanks for these curbside fueling stations. The company was in operation from approximately 1910 through 1929, on the corner of 52nd Street and Santa Fe Avenue, in the City of Los Angeles, California. The Boyle Dayton Company was a prominent part of the history of American gasoline, oil and automobile sectors.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST Gas Pump

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST Gas Pump www.collectorcarproductions.com

Remains of Boyle Dayton

Take a walk in Los Angeles, and you will likely not think twice about the multitude of utility manways and vaults underlying the aging concrete beneath your feet. The City of Angels has undergone rebuilding and redevelopment several times since its inception, and continues to evolve to this day. Many of the metal lids and covers seen on the street are no longer in use and long forgotten. However, some may warrant a closer inspection, particularly if you are concerned about the environmental condition of a property.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST Valve Manhole Lid

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST Valve Manhole Lid

Non-descript circular lids are seen in sidewalks across the city, with the words “Boyle Dayton Los Angeles” on them. These metal discs bear the name of a long-forgotten gasoline dispenser manufacturing company. The Boyle Dayton Company was a huge part of the gasoline service station industry, and American industrial history. Boyle Dayton Los Angeles essentially introduced factors of convenience, quality and style into their parts, much like Apple and Tesla do today. As a result, the Boyle Dayton Company history is a feature subject in automobile and petroleum museums across the country.

Curbside Fueling Stations

The world’s first fueling station was built in Wiesloch, Germany in 1888 to refill the tank of the first automobile. This station was reportedly setup at the city pharmacy during Bertha Benz’s inaugural trip from Mannheim to Pfrozheim. In the same way, pharmacies all over began selling gasoline on the side. The first fueling station made solely to sell gasoline was built in St. Louis, Missouri in 1905. With the growing rate of automobile manufacturing and ownership, curbside fuel stations became of higher demand. Consequently, new curbside gasoline stations began to appear across the United States.

The first generations of curbside fuel stations were quickly followed by full service auto fueling and repair stations. The idea for the full service station, was to create a one-stop-shop, where travelers can repair and fuel-up their cars while using the restroom, enjoying a meal and picking up road maps and tourist brochures. Consequently, the curbside fueling stations became obsolete, and the standalone gas pumps and USTs were put out of commission. According to a review of historical fire insurance maps, these replacements began as early as the 1930s. However, fueling was not a regulated service at the time. Additionally, there had been a lack of environmental impact understanding during the early dates of decommissioning. Thus many curbside station owners chose to remove the above ground accessories, leaving the underground components in place.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Aug 1925 Newspaper AD

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Arizona Republic – Aug 1925

The First Drive-Up Fuel Stations

The first drive-up station opened in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1913. In fact, prior to drive-up stations, gasoline was typically purchasable at general or hardware stores. Early gas stations were powered by kerosene adapter pumps. These pumps would require hand-cranking, and could accurately measure and dispense fuel. Earliest pump models include a metal tank with wooden cabinet, and have a hand-operation suction pump. These early systems were capable of holding approximately 40-gallons of fuel at a time. Moreover, the early systems did not entail direct fueling into and automobile. Instead, the system would require a technician to dispense the fuel into a secondary container, and manually transfer it into the vehicle’s gas tank. As a result, most gasoline stations chose to store the fuel in the dispensers themselves, in effort to save time.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Jun 1928 Newspaper AD (2)

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles San Francisco Examiner – Jun 1928

Early 1900 Technology & Style

The Boyle Dayton Company was born in Los Angeles in approximately 1910 and manufactured a gasoline pump called the “Boyco” by 1920. The company continued operations through 1929, until agreeing to a corporate acquisition by the Wayne Pump Company. Boyle Dayton Los Angeles had a reputation for making stylish pumps that accurately measure oil and gasoline, as well underground storage tanks, lubrication pumps, and air compressors. Pumps by the Boyle Dayton Company included bolting assemblies to the ground and connections to product pipes leading to underground storage tanks directly underground. Additionally, Boyle Dayton secured a patent for an air-powered technology which increases the speed an automobile could be fueled. As a result of the innovative design, there had been a significant increase in popularity of their pumps and sales. Consequently, installations of their pumps began spreading radially outward from their home base in Los Angeles.

Although the Boyle Dayton Company was in business for a brief period of time, signs of the former gas pump and tank manufacturer exist all throughout Los Angeles. For instance, their legacy still displays in the form of small utility covers within the city walkways, and in petroleum museums.

History of Underground Storage Tanks

In the urban areas across America, underground storage tanks (USTs) became popular for both aesthetic and functional purposes. Early tanks were typically single-wall steel sheets, and under 1,000 gallons by volume. Boyle Dayton did advertise a study manufacturing process, with galvanized steel, riveting and soldering. Moreover, the tanks and pumps had glossy paint jobs, much like cars the at the time. And according to an Automobile Trader listing for Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Company, the pumps and dispensers were capable of an easy quick connection to a variety of tanks (any capacity).

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles UST www.worthpoint.com

These tanks typically comprise of three openings. One serves a purpose for ventilation piping. Another is for a filling port. And in the third place, a suction line, leading directly to the pump. Additionally, the fill pipe appears to include a strainer to prevent debris from flowing inside the tank.

An average set up of the original Boyle-Dayton pumps may include two curbside pumps on a sidewalk. Each pump would be directly connecting to a stand-alone underground storage tank. Typically, the underground storage tanks underlay the sidewalk as well. Furthermore, additional lines were likely to extend from the UST, toward an air compressor for pump operational purposes. Fill ports are typically flush with the ground surface, and directly lead to the top of the UST for easy deliveries.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Jun 1928 Newspaper AD

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles San Francisco Examiner – Jun 1928

City Sidewalks

Since the original Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Company pumps were located within city sidewalks, the remnant features remain in place for over a century. Especially in areas which have not undergone road-widening and redevelopment. For example, a former curbside fueling station operational in 1915, may not have sold gasoline for decades. However, there may still be an existing fuel storage tanks (UST), as well as ventilation and product lines within the sidewalk. And although these items are technically off site, the owner may still be held responsible for any environmental issues arising from the original curbside gasoline station.

In the City of Los Angeles, municipal substructure maps often denote the locations of known underground tanks in city sidewalks. Additionally to gasoline tanks in association with former curbside stations, many city buildings historically maintain heating fuel tanks in the street. Underground storage tanks in association with former gasoline fueling activities will often still have piping and access ports to the former fill pipe and former pump locations. The “Boyle Dayton Los Angeles” utility covers in age-old sidewalks indicate the prior locations of these features. Often, these underground storage tanks are unnoticeable due to having no record of the substructure or former use of the property and the lack of familiarity with the former gasoline pump manufacturer brand.

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Jun 1921 Newspaper AD

Boyle Dayton Los Angeles Jun 1921 Newspaper Ad

Environmental Site Assessment Concerns

Remaining underground storage tank features represent an environmental concern. This is due mostly to the lack of corrosion protection and secondary containment. Despite advertisements to the contrary, the single-wall steel piping and tanks with riveted sheet metal are prone to damage and rust. Consequently, hazardous contamination compounds include gasoline, diesel, fuel, oil and metals such as lead. As a result, these substances may impact the surrounding soil, soil vapor, and groundwater.

If a property undergoes redevelopment or selling, a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is the prudent coarse of due diligence. Environmental due diligence reports entail professionals which may identify the potential underground fuel tanks and piping. If evidence of former fueling activities are noticeable, there would be a recommendation to perform a geophysical survey. Furthermore, the existing underground storage tanks can undergo a removal and official abandonment process, under the proper permits and environmental protocol. Typically, this includes sampling oversight by a licensed Professional Geologist.

Informational Sources

Explore Pennsylvania History

Antique Trader

Los Angeles Navigate LA

Handbook of Storage Tank Systems Available Now

American Oil & Gas Historical Society

Cali Spphere – University of California


Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit

Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit

Per the Department of Public Health Drinking Water Program, a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit is mandatory for most environmental, geotechnical and hydro-geological projects in LA County. As of August 2018, the County of LA enforces a new set of stricter well permit guidelines. The new standards require oversight for soil sampling boreholes deeper than 10 feet. Additionally, permits are necessary for any borehole that encounters groundwater. Lastly, a C-57 Licensed Driller is mandatory for this process. There are various drilling service categories under the purview of a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit. And various forms of supporting documents are essential to the application process. Updated December 10, 2018.

Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit

Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit

Los Angeles County Exclusions

Most Phase 2 Environmental Site Assessment and remediation projects will require a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit. However, a Well Permit and Drilling Permit are not necessary for soil gas probe boreholes without soil sampling. Moreover, the Environmental Protection Agency exempts the requirement of a drilling permit for Superfund CERCLA sites. Although, to qualify for this exemption, there may be additional forms to provide Los Angeles County.

Some cities within Los Angeles County, such as the City of Pasadena, Long Beach, Vernon and more, have their own Health Departments which require Well Permits and Drilling Permits. In such a case, other permits may be required in addition to the Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit.

Environmental Projects with Well Permit and Drilling Permits

Environmental Site Assessments and geological investigations within Los Angeles County boundaries are subject to a variety of permits, depending upon the nature of the sampling. Notably, for locations within the unincorporated County limits, and within certain city jurisdictions, the Department of Public Health (LADPH) requires an approved Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit to advance soil borings and groundwater monitoring wells. Additionally, permit fees apply for each sampling event from existing groundwater monitoring wells may apply.

Typically, environmental soil borings and groundwater monitoring wells assist in researching contamination conditions and concentrations at specific locations. For example, subsurface investigations help to identify the source of an environmental release. Furthermore, deep soil borings aim to define the width and depth of a plume. Moreover, exploratory boreholes identify a site’s geology and soil characteristics. Groundwater monitoring wells are devices which aid in identifying hydro-geologic and environmental conditions, as well as the the lateral and vertical extent of aquifer contamination. Using this information, geologists can also define contamination migration pathways. Groundwater monitoring wells are also usable for remediation purposes.

Approval for Los Angeles County Well Permit & Drilling Permit

Approval for Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit ©remg

Exploration Projects with Well Permits and Drilling Permits

Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit is also necessary for “Exploration Hole” purposes. Typically, these boreholes explore subsurface and hydro-geological conditions at a property. For instance, any soil sampling boring, hydropunch boring and Cone Penetrometer Test (CPT) will require oversight. Furthermore, any soil sampling boreholes with depths exceeding 10 feet into the vadose zone, and any borehole or CPT encountering groundwater will require oversight by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LADPH).

Prior to commencing work, consultants must submit a work plan and well permit application to the Drinking Water Program within the LADPH. The investigative work may only commence after the County’s approval of the well permit and drilling permit.

Soil Vapor Probe Investigations and LA County Permitting

The vadose zone is a area represented by dry soil, above the groundwater table. Generally, soil gas probe boreholes only (within the vadose zone) do not require an LADPH Well Permit and Drilling Permit. In fact, if a CPT or soil boring does not extend beyond 10 feet below grade, it will also be exempt from a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit.

However, if any probe or borings extends into a groundwater zone during installation, a permit will become necessary. Similarly, if an investigation involves the installation of a groundwater monitoring well, groundwater production well, piezometer, injection well, extraction well, sparge well, CPT boreole into groundwater, or a HydroPunch temporary well, a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit is mandatory. As with the soil boring permits, applicants must provide a comprehensive work plan and application to the Drinking Water Program. And the package must disclose the professional C57 contractors and geologists overseeing the job.

Methane Soil Gas Survey Probe Set

Permanent Methane Testing Probe Set

Although groundwater depths are variable in Los Angeles County, some areas have water tables shallower than 10 feet. In fact, some beach areas have reported first-encountered groundwater as shallow as 2 feet below grade. For instance, Santa Monica, Venice Beach and Long Beach area are generally known to have shallow groundwater. As as result, a well permit and drilling permit will be required, even for boreholes less than 10 feet.

Groundwater Monitoring Well to Test Groundwater for Possible Contamination during Environmental Site Assessments

Groundwater Monitoring Well to Test Groundwater for Possible Contamination during Environmental Site Assessments

Well Permit & Drilling Permit Service Categories 

Additional well service categories that require a permit from the LADPH include irrigation, production and geothermal heat exchange wells. And the Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit application also includes services such as well decommissioning, rehabilitation and renovation of existing wells. Moreover, some procedures to service existing water supply wells are likely to require oversight. For example, yield evaluations, yield enhancement procedures, performance tests, in situ water treatment and more.

In the same way, permit approval may be required for periodic sampling of commercial food service facility water, for United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certification.

The LADPH turnaround time for processing these permits is approximately 10 business days. The processing time commences upon receipt of the application and payment of fees. And work plan modifications or design amendments might be mandatory to achieve approval by the LADPH.

Properties undergoing soil or groundwater assessment within Los Angeles County are more than likely in need of a Well Permit and Drilling Permit, as well as a work plan prepared by a Professional Geologist. Contact Geo Forward for more information, or to determine if your project requires a Los Angeles County Well Permit and Drilling Permit.


By: Devina Lee Horvath 


Phase 1 Reliance Letter Cost & Price

Phase 1 Reliance Letter Cost & Price

A Phase 1 Reliance Letter cost can vary. However, typical prices for a Phase 1 ESA Reliance Letter range from $250 to $600. Moreover, prices for a Phase 1 ESA and Phase 2 ESA Reliance Letter together can range between $850 and $2,000. In addition to the time spent preparing this legal document, the supplemental fees are also based on the original cost of the work performed, as well as the extension of liability. In most cases, environmental professionals will charge 10% to 20% of the original cost of work, to prepare an additional Phase 1 Reliance Letter. Other companies might also implement a flat rate or minimum cost for this service. Updated January 15, 2019.

A Phase 1 ESA Reliance Letter cost is not the same as a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Report Cost. A Phase 1 reliance letter simply grants legal ability for other parties to use and rely on an existing Phase 1 ESA report. Thus it is usually a fraction of the cost of a complete Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment Report.

What is a Reliance Letter?

A Phase 1 Reliance Letter is a legal document which authorizes additional parties to rely on an existing environmental report. A reliance letter essentially serves as an extension of liability, on behalf of the Environmental Professional. As a result, the additional fees typically apply. In the case of writing reliance letters for lenders and the SBA, Environmental Professionals must document their understanding that the property serves as collateral for the loan. Additionally, the professional must legally authorize the lenders to use and rely on the Environmental Site Assessment Reports. Moreover, a Phase 1 Reliance Letter should certify that the assessments are in compliance with the recent ASTM Standard, and meet the qualifications of the Brownfields AIA for Innocent Landowner Liability Protection.

What is a Phase 1 Reliance Letter?

What is a Phase 1 Reliance Letter ©Kineticimagery

The Pillars of a Phase 1 Reliance Letter Cost

Despite what Clients may think, there is more to a reliance letter than it seems. Preparation time for these letters plays almost no role in the cost. The most significant pillar of a Phase 1 reliance letter cost is the extension of liability on behalf of the environmental company. And according to our counsel, the legal liability that comes with a Phase 1 reliance letter poses a higher risk than assumed in the price of the original contract. Consequently, the environmental professionals are expected to charge for this.

Shelf Life of the Phase 1 ESA Report

It is widely known in the industry that Phase I Environmental Site Assessment reports age and expire. Certain aspects of a Phase 1 ESA report have a 180 day limitation to meet AAI and CERCLA protection laws. At this time, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will accept a Phase I ESA within 1 year of the date completed.  However, many other lenders may stick to the 180 days. The SBA’s 1 year acceptance policy is a deviation from EPA’s AAI requirements.

Phase 1 Reliance Letter ©Adrian_Lucki

Phase 1 Reliance Letter ©Adrian_Lucki

Average Costs for Additional Reliance Letters

The overall cost for reliance letters is variable. Thus, we don’t recommend solely relying on these approximate price ranges. This information should  be regarded as a learning tool. For a proper estimate, call Geo Forward at (888) 930-6604.

  • Typical Phase 1 ESA reliance letters approximately range from $250 to $600 per letter. 
  • However, the cost for a reliance letter of a Phase 1 ESA and Phase 2 ESA approximately ranges between $850 and $2,000.

Ultimately, the cost will depend on the price of the original assessment. A larger scope assessment, and thus more expensive, will likely have a higher reliance letter cost. Generally, consultants charge anywhere from 10% to 20% of the original cost of work.


Contaminated Soil Excavation & AQMD Rule 1166   Recently updated !

Contaminated Soil Excavation & AQMD Rule 1166

AQMD Rule 1166 applies to Southern California construction sites undergoing contaminated soil excavation. To start, AQMD Rule 1166 requires a mitigation plan.  Moreover, this report is also goes by the title “Contaminated Soil Excavation Plan.” Additionally, the rule requires air quality testing during excavation. The primary oversight agency is the Air Quality Management District (also referred to as the AQMD or SCAQMD in the South Coast). Updated February 19, 2019.

Contaminated Soil Excavation and AQMD Rule 1166 ©Dmitry_Kalinovsky

Contaminated Soil Excavation and AQMD Rule 1166 ©Dmitry_Kalinovsky

Discovering Contaminated Soil Excavation Issues

Unless a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment or Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation calls it out, you may be surprised to find contaminated soil at a job site. It happens from time to time. As a result, there are legal requirements for disposal and monitoring. Consequently, an environmental engineering firm should be retained to achieve proper contaminated soil excavation and AQMD Rule 1166 compliance.

In the first place, the process starts with soil sampling by an environmental consultant. Next, the consultant will prepare a waste profile and manifest. At this point, the engineering firm should also complete a mitigation plan. Some mitigation plans are site-specific. Others are for various locations. Lastly, the SCAQMD will need to approve the mitigation plan, and issue a permit to dig.

Tasks that require AQMD Rule 1166 Compliance

Per the rule, compliance is necessary for each of the following activities:

  • Removal of any underground storage tank (UST) or associated product piping.
  • Contaminated soil excavation.
  • Stockpiling and movement of contaminated soil.
  • The treatment of contaminated soil at a disposal facility.

Accordingly, there is a need to monitor disturbed soil via an organic vapor analyzer (OVA). Often times a photo-ionization detector (PID) is exemplary. Other times a flame-ionization detector (FID) may be more ideal.

Costs for Contaminated Soil Excavation

Unfortunately, we are unable to provide any general cost estimates via the internet. There are just too many variables in each project. A custom price quote is a requirement for each specific project.  However, you can expect to pay for the following items for an AQMD Rule 1166 compliant contaminated soil excavation:

  • Soil sample laboratory analysis.
  • AQMD Rule 1166 permit application.
  • Mitigation Plan preparation.
  • Contaminated soil excavation air monitoring labor.
  • Permit closure process.
Finish the Job Right and Save Money

AQMD Rule 1166 compliance is a requirement for contaminated soil excavation. Although this process is costly, the fines and penalties for violating them are more. Thus, its best to consult an proper environmental engineering firm. Moreover, a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment at the purchase stage is the best recommendation for staying one step ahead. If contaminated soil becomes apparent during the assessment, a proper budget can be set.

 


Phase I Environmental Report Cost   Recently updated !

Phase I Environmental Report Cost

Phase I Environmental Report cost can vary depending on the region and characteristics of a property. A Phase 1 Environmental Report cost, for typical commercial or industrial lots, can range between $1,800 and $6,500. This article clarifies that prices can, and do, vary. And just like all other goods and services, the suspiciously lower prices can result in errors and omissions, at the expense of the Client. In fact, due to the complications and lengthiness of these reports, most errors are unnoticeable by Clients at the time of purchase. Consequently, errors come to light later down the line, and may cost a fortune. Nonetheless, this article will provide insight on what to expect when purchasing a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment. Additionally, this article highlights some do’s and don’ts for purchasing a Phase I ESA Report. Updated February 19, 2019.

Phase I Environmental Report Cost ©creativecommonsstockphotos

Phase I Environmental Report Cost ©creativecommonsstockphotos

Variable Costs for a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Report

Property characteristics base the cost for a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. The location and size of the property are the main pillars. Some lots require more research. Others require more time and resources to physically inspect. For example, car dealerships can require multiple days to inspect compared to a small office. Other complexities and special requirements also weigh in on Phase I ESA pricing. For instance, some organizations require specific reporting elements above the ASTM Standard.

Price Ranges to Expect in the Year 2019

Phase I Environmental Report cost is variable depending on the area and characteristics of a property. Thus, it is not recommended to solely rely on these approximate price ranges. The information below is merely to reference as a tool for learning. To learn how much a Phase I ESA will actually cost on your property, call Geo Forward at (888) 930-6604 for a site specific proposal.

  • A small sized typical commercial lot in the Year 2018 may range between about:
    • $2,300 and $3,000
  • A medium to large sized industrial lot in the Year 2018 may range between about:
    • $3,000 and $5,500
  • A large scale industrial facility in the Year 2018 may range between about:
    • $4,500 and $6,500
  • A large sized rural property in the Year 2018 may range between about:
    • $3,500 and $4,500

As years go on, so does the cost to perform a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. Factors of price changes overtime are the result of changing ASTM standards, technology, labor and employment costs, industry demand, and more. Moreover, as environmental laws strengthen overtime, the necessity for a proper Phase 1 ESA becomes similarly vital.

Suspiciously Low Phase I Environmental Report Cost – Watch Out!

Whether buying, selling or applying for a loan, Clients tend to be curious about variable pricing, and the comparisons to quality of work. A low-cost or cheap Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment generally entails small budget restrictions, and is subject to short cuts. Thus, the suspiciously low-cost assessments usually perform below the professional standard of care. Under review, the lowest Phase I Environmental Report cost will typically have significant errors and data gaps. And as history has shown, this can result in heavy law suits, unforeseeable remediation, costly agency fees and possible forfeiture.

Earlier this year, geologists were hired to investigate an industrial property, where a major error was discovered in a prior Phase 1 ESA by a different company. There was no surprise to learn the report was sold at a low-cost. The report completely missed a gas station on the lot for over 10 years, and didn’t mention the existing underground tank. Other errors and omissions were also found. This disqualified the report from the CERCLA Innocent Landowner Liability Protection policy. The buyer was mislead by the conclusions of the lower Phase I Environmental Report cost. Consequently, the buyer already purchased the property with a massive amount of liability.

Numerous cases like this arise each week. And they consequently link back to going cheap on the Phase 1 ESA process. For every three price quotes, Clients might find one for about 30% less than the others. This should raise a red flag. Consumers must know that it can actually cost hundreds to thousands above the lowest bidder’s price, just to make a proper Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment.

Phase I Environmental Report Cost Savings ©YanikChauvin

Phase I Environmental Report Cost Savings ©YanikChauvin

Agency File Review Fees

Another factor which affects the average Phase 1 Environmental Report cost is the ever-changing municipality fee structure for government file reviews. Some local agencies (examples below) charge fees for file recovery and review. Additional fees typically apply for copying, printing and binding.

Most State agencies (examples below) typically don’t charge for file recovery. However, copy and printing fees usually apply.

Takeaway

The environmental liabilities, damages and attorney fees that come with a faulty Phase 1 ESA aren’t cheap! And since everyone’s got a lawyer on speed dial these days, it’s best to do the job right the first time, with a proper Phase I Environmental Report. In fact, the industry’s best practice standards advise researching companies before opting for the lowest cost. Although one may be faced with a strict budget, it is generally best to avoid the suspiciously low Phase I Environmental Report cost. Additionally, Geo Forward recommends confirming that a professional geologist or engineer, with a clear license to practice, is in charge of the work to be done.


Can You Retest Methane Test of Soil?   Recently updated !

Can You Retest Methane Test of Soil?

Information about a retest methane test can be difficult to find. Sometimes a methane test will result in high results at a property. On rare occasions, developers will ask if a retest methane test can be done. Is this possible? And is this ethical? Whatever the decision, there is a possible legal requirement to still submit the original test data that reports highest methane levels. This is a public health concern. The rule is to submit the original report with the retest methane test report for the agency to ultimately review. More than likely, the agency will go with the highest result, as a matter of public safety.

The City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (also known as the LADBS agency) has distinguished methane zones and methane buffer zones.  Additionally, the Los Angeles Fire Department (also known as the LAFD agency) has oversight. As a result, methane mitigation standards are applied.  And therefore, a methane test becomes necessary.  Other cities and counties also administer the same methane test policies. Cities like Huntington Beach have their own standards, while others may reference the LADBS policies and guidelines directly.

Can you retest methane test soil in oil fields?

Interest to Retest a Methane Test

Building Safety Codes base the standard on the highest overall test results. Consequently, the LADBS and LAFD typically select a Level per the highest overall result. For Example, consider a scenario with two methane test reports by different companies. the first methane test reports Level 5, and the retest methane test reports Level 4. In this case, the agency is likely to use the highest methane test, which is the Level 5.

The Legal Requirement to Report all Methane Test Data

High levels of methane soil gas become a matter of public health concern. Anyone that has discovered high levels of methane test results, is required to obey the California Health and Safety Code and report results to LADBS and LAFD. In other jurisdictions, all potential public health hazards should also be reported to the appropriate agency for proper evaluation.

Thus, the policy entails the appropriate agency receive a copy of each methane test report, including the original and retest methane test.

What will the Agencies Decide?

Only the appropriate oversight-agency has the authority to decide what methane level a property is. One cannot guarantee whether the agency decides to accept the original report or retest methane test. In the example above, the decision in the matter is entirely up to the City of Los Angeles.

Methane Test Results for Properties with Oil Wells

Properties with oil wells typically result in high-level methane mitigation systems. Thus, it is common that a Level 5 mitigation system has an appropriate level of building safety components. Accordingly, the higher results between a methane test and a retest methane test are likely to prevail. Building an appropriate level mitigation system is not just about construction costs. Its about the health safety of those who will use the building.

For more information about the inquiry and your specific property, call (888) 930-6604 and request a free consultation today.


Additional Information & Sources: 

DTSC Reporting Nonemergency Hazardous Substance Releases

EPA Groundwater & Drinking Water

EPA Risk Assessment

U.S. EPA

U.S. EPA Guidance for CH4 Landfill Gas Sampling & Testing

City of Los Angeles, Department of Building & Safety

The CH4 Zone – The Land Developer’s Guide


Dry Cleaner Soil Contamination

Dry Cleaner Soil Contamination  

Dry cleaner soil contamination issues are no mystery to commercial property owners and investors. Even when landlords trust their dry cleaning tenants run a clean shop, the process remains stressful. For instance, soil contamination cleanup can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Additionally, time and development opportunities may be impacted. The requirement for cleanup may depend on the results of a Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation.

Dry Cleaner Soil Contamination – How it Happens

Most modern dry cleaners have upgraded equipment with leak-prevention systems and environmentally friendly solvents. Various types of dry cleaning solvents have been used since the early 1900s. However, the most commonly used is tetrachloroethylene or “PCE.” Additionally, older machines are known to lack secondary containment. Consequently, the older dry cleaning facilities tend to have a higher potential for contamination. Moreover, additional potential sources of dry cleaner soil contamination exist within sewer and drainage systems. In the same way, the hazardous waste storage areas tend to be a hot spot.

Dry Cleaner Soil Contamination

Dry Cleaner Soil Contamination ©Vladimir

Taking Small, Smart Steps in Dry Cleaner Soil Contamination Testing

Typically, today’s standard for due diligence starts with a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment. However, due to the known issues with dry cleaner soil contamination, Clients often request request a Phase II Subsurface Investigation when there is a known cleaners onsite.

Sometimes, a commercial property owner may find it in their best interest to independently conduct a series of limited subsurface investigations. For example, a sub-slab soil gas test, shallow soil sampling, etc. This could occur prior to a Phase II Subsurface Investigation. By taking smaller steps in the form of limited subsurface investigations, landowners can use the limited results as a decision making tool.


Limited Dry Cleaner Soil Contamination Testing vs. Phase II ESA

The goal of limited environmental due diligence tests is to obtain a particular set of data that is: (1) Not certain enough to verify actual contamination onsite; (2) Not significant enough evidence to warrant a reporting obligation to environmental agencies; and (3) Provide -at the same time- reliable enough information for use by the landowner towards better judgment.

Although limited dry cleaner soil contamination tests can provide some insight, they do not qualify as an official Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA. To meet the ASTM standards for the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment and satisfy major lending entities, a full-scope Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA will be required.


Dry Cleaner Contamination Remediation

If soil and groundwater contamination becomes apparent after a Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA, landowners may find that their best option would be to begin remediation and restore their property value overtime.  The geologists and engineers at Geo Forward, Inc. are knowledgeable of all modern methods of dry cleaner remediation.  The remediation process can vary from site to site, and become complicated overtime.  In most cases, remedial efforts at contaminated dry cleaning facilities include soil vapor extraction, groundwater pumping and treating, and controlled chemical injection to accelerate the degradation of contaminants.

Geo Forward is a experienced in conducting all levels of dry cleaner investigations and remediation projects, and can guide landowners through the best methods for environmental due diligence.  For more information about the various options for limited subsurface testing, dry cleaner Phase II ESAs or dry cleaner remediation, please call (888) 930-6604 to speak with a licensed professional geologist or engineer today.   


Additional Information & Sources: 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards,  Health and Environmental Impacts Division, Research Triangle Park, NC. “Economic Impact Analysis of the Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning Residual Risk Standard” – July 2006, https://www3.epa.gov/ttnecas1/regdata/EIAs/eiafinalpercdrycleanersresidrisk.pdf

USEPA, Technology Transfer Network – Air Toxics Web Site, “Rule and Implementation Information for Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning Facilities” – Docket ID. No. OAR-2005-0155, Legacy Docket #A-88-11 – February 2016, https://www3.epa.gov/airtoxics/dryperc/dryclpg.html


Reporting the Results of Environmental Due Diligence Investigation

Reporting Results of Environmental Due Diligence Investigation

A frequent inquiry that we get from clients during real estate environmental due diligence investigations is whether the results of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) or Phase II ESA need to be reported to environmental agencies.

An article about Environmental Due Diligence, by Azad A. Kaligi, PG.


Do the Results of an Environmental Site Assessment need to be reported to local regulatory agencies?

In most cases, the requirement to report subsurface investigation results to government agencies generally depend on three factors of the job:

  • Whether the results of the assessment(s) reveal any potential dangers or health risks to the public;
  • Whether the job-site happens to be located within an agency jurisdiction that requires permitting and data submittals to commence with drilling; and
  • Whether the purpose and scope of the assessment is intended to intercept known contamination plumes for cleanup reasons.

I must remind readers that I am not an attorney and that this article is NOT intended to be legal advice.  This article simply serves to guide inquirers towards supportive information based on the engineering and geological professional standards in the State of California, during the year 2016.  In all cases, I always advise my clients to consult such matters with their attorney.


Environmental Due Diligence Finds Public Health Risks

Reporting the results of groundwater samples during an environmental due diligence investigation

© Julien Harneis

Health and safety codes across the county specify that responsible parties (examples: owners, occupants, etc) and environmental engineering consultants have the absolute duty to report contamination of soil, soil gas and/or groundwater that has been discovered to be a risk to public health and safety, or the environment. In most cases, the distance and direction to the nearest sensitive receptors are generally disclosed in the body of Phase I ESA and/or Phase II ESA reports. Regardless, when conducting real estate environmental due diligence assessments, property owners should refer to their environmental engineering consultants to determine whether a risk to public health and safety actually exists at their site.

If the results of a subsurface investigation suggest contamination to groundwater near a sensitive receptor (example: drinking water well, river/wash, school, hospital, etc.), or poses a potential health risk to the occupants of a property by mode of vapor intrusion, there is a professional and legal responsibility to recommend further investigation and immediately report data to local fire departments, water boards, air quality boards, toxic substance departments, etc.


Results of the Assessment

Risk-based standards are regulated on both a State and Federal level.  As one would presume, the Federal EPA has jurisdiction across the nation, and publishes standards and foundational requirements per region for State regulatory agencies and departments to use as a template.  Many States (especially in California) have multiple EPA divisions with overlapping jurisdictions such as water quality boards, toxic substances control and more. Furthermore, County and City agencies such as fire departments, public health departments and water agencies, also have overlapping jurisdiction above the State and Federal EPA jurisdictions.

The Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published Regional Screening Levels (RSLs), and similarly the California EPA published Human Health Screening Levels (CHHSLs) which apply to contamination levels in soil and soil gas.  These publications include a list of minimum chemical concentrations to be considered in soil and soil gas investigations.  Screening levels are generally used for the science of toxicology and risk assessment, and are not typically used as reporting limits.  However, during potential health-threatening circumstances, reporting duties prevail as a matter of public policy, and standard practices include comparing site specific soil and soil gas concentrations to RSLs and CHHSLs.

The Federal EPA has also developed Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) as a health-based protective drinking water standard.  Subsurface investigations that include groundwater testing utilize the EPA’s list of MCLs as a guideline for risk assessment.  Additionally, some local agencies (State-Regions, Counties and Cities) have established more conservative clean-up numbers which are exclusive to specific jurisdictions, and can overrule MCLs, RSLs and CHHSLs.

A Phase II ESA generally includes, but is not limited to, drilling for the analysis of soil, soil gas and/or groundwater:

  • A typical Phase 2 ESA report in California relates all site specific concentrations in soil and soil gas to RSLs, CHHSLs, or local numbers.  In most assessments, geologists and engineers apply soil sample analytical data to geologic models/programs in effort to estimate the overall subsurface contamination conditions. As mentioned above, if the results of a soil or soil gas investigation suggest the likelihood of substantial contamination to groundwater near a potable source, or a potential health risk to the occupants of the job site by mode of vapor intrusion, there is a professional and legal responsibility to recommend further investigation and report data.  In some jurisdictions, the mere exceedance of RSLs and/or CHHSLs can create an immediate legal obligation to report results to the lead oversight agency.  Some local agencies have also adopted these screening levels to use as their own clean-up standards during the course of remediation. Environmental engineering consultants and their clients should always contact the lead environmental agency for the jurisdiction in which their job site exists to confirm the reporting limitations of chemicals detected in soil or soil gas.
  • Groundwater reporting requirements are usually held to a higher standard by comparison to soil and soil gas.  Under the California EPA, the State Water Quality Control Board (SWRCB) protects groundwater quality on a statewide basis, and is comprised of nine (9) Regional Water Quality Control Boards (RWQCB).  Each regional board provides oversight and interest in groundwater quality data at/around sensitive receptors (example: drinking water well, river/wash, school, hospital, etc.).  In most cases the RWQCB will act as the leading agency for oversight programs, alongside with other County and City agencies.  If a Phase II ESA detects groundwater contamination in exceedance of MCLs, the property owner will likely be recommended to report the data to their lead RWQCB.  Groundwater data may also need to be reported to local County or City agencies if a drilling permit is required in that jurisdiction.  In most cases, the RWQCB and other agencies refer to MCLs as the minimum allowable contamination to groundwater before requiring remediation.

Groundwater Monitoring Well to Test Groundwater for Possible Contamination during Environmental Site Assessments

© SonoranDesert NPS

Purpose of the Environemtnal Investigation

A Phase II ESA typically entails drilling to collect discrete soil and groundwater samples from below the ground surface.  Some County and City environmental agencies will require a borehole permit for any drilling project within their jurisdiction, while other agencies may only require a permit when groundwater is encountered.  Often times these permits have a closure process that requires all data to be reported back to the permitting agency.  Property owners should refer to their environmental engineering consultants about whether or not their property falls within one of these jurisdictions, and if so, prepare to release analytical data to that department no matter what.

A property owner may also be required to report analytical data from a subsurface investigation if the property is already undergoing regulatory oversight due to a known contamination plume.  Under these circumstances the lead agency caseworker will directly require a copy of the assessment report to review and publish as municipal information.  Prior to any subsurface testing, a Phase I ESA report should disclose whether the property being investigated is undergoing regulatory oversight or not.  In the State of California, assessment reports for properties with known groundwater and soil contamination cases are made public via the SWRCB Geotrackter Database.


Ultimately, it is important for all property owners and consultants of a Phase I ESA or Phase II ESA to understand that each project is different in scope, purpose, jurisdiction and result.  Because reporting obligations can vary on a case by case basis, property owners undergoing real estate environmental due diligence projects should never blindly rely on generalized information about reporting obligations, but rather consult with their environmental engineering consultant, attorney and local regulatory agency.

For more information, or a free consultation about site specific environmental  due diligence reporting requirements, please call (888) 930-6604 and speak with one of our licensed professional engineers or geologists.



California Requirements Study – Health and Safety Code, Section 25359.4:

(a) A person shall not release, or allow or cause a release of, a reportable quantity of a hazardous substance into the environment that is not authorized or permitted pursuant to state law.

(b) Any release of a reportable quantity of hazardous substance shall be reported to the department in writing within 30 days of discovery, unless any of the following apply:

  1. (1) The release is permitted or in the permit process.
  2. (2) The release is authorized by state law.
  3. (3) The release requires immediate reporting to the Office of Emergency Services pursuant to Section 11002 or 11004 of Title 42 of the United States Code, or pursuant to Section 25507.
  4. (4) The release has previously been reported to the department or the Office of Emergency Services.
  5. (5) The release occurred prior to January 1, 1994.

(c) For the purposes of this section, “reportable quantity” means either of the following:

  1. (1) The quantity of a hazardous substance established in Part 302 (commencing with Section 302.1) of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, the release of which requires notification pursuant to that part.
  2. (2) Any quantity of a hazardous substance that is not reportable pursuant to paragraph (1), but that may pose a significant threat to public health and safety or to the environment. The department may establish guidelines for determining which releases are reportable under this paragraph.

(d) The owner of property on which a reportable release has occurred and any person who releases, or causes a reportable release and who fails to make the written report required by subdivision (b), shall be liable for a penalty not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars ($25,000) for each separate violation and for each day that a violation continues. Each day on which the released hazardous substance remains is a separate violation unless the person has either filed the report or is in compliance with an order issued by a local, state, or federal agency with regard to the release.

(e) Liability under this section may be imposed in a civil action or may be administratively imposed by the department pursuant to Section 25359.3.

(f) If the violation of subdivision (b) results in, or significantly contributes to, an emergency, including, but not limited to, a fire, to which a county, city, or district is required to respond, the responsible party may be assessed the full cost of the emergency response by the city, county, or district.”


Additional Information & Sources: 

DTSC Reporting Nonemergency Hazardous Substance Releases

EPA Groundwater & Drinking Water

EPA Risk Assessment



Dry Cleaner Soil Testing

Dry Cleaner Soil Testing 

An article about Dry Cleaner Soil Testing, by Azad A. Kaligi, PG.


Limited Dry Cleaner Soil Testing can be Conducted Prior to a Phase 2 ESA

(c) rhinman

In this day and age, most commercial landowners are well aware of the environmental risks associated with having a dry cleaning facility on their property.  A common hassle for landowners gearing up to sell property (or applying for an equity loan) with a history of dry cleaning is the obligation to face environmental testing.   Even when landowners trust that their dry cleaning tenants run a clean shop, this process becomes stressful since money, time and future opportunities are dependent on the findings of the environmental investigation.


Real Estate & Environmental Due Diligence

Today’s standard for real estate due diligence typically starts with a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA).  However, due to the known environmental impacts caused by many dry cleaners in the past, some lenders today tend to skip past the Phase I ESA stage, and request a Phase II Subsurface Investigation if there is a known cleaners onsite.


Dry Cleaner Contamination – How it Happens

Soil and groundwater contamination is a possibility from most historical and current dry cleaning facilities. Various types of dry cleaning solvents have been utilized since the early 1900s, but the most commonly used substance has been tetrachloroethylene (PCE).   Older dry cleaning facilities tend to have a higher potential for contamination because the older machinery lacked secondary containment and tank-tightness features.  Other potential sources of subsurface contamination exist in the onsite sewer and drainage system, as well as waste storage areas.  Modern facilities can have upgraded equipment with leak prevention systems, and operate using environmentally friendly solvents.  However, its the historical releases of PCE that could still pose environmental concerns for landowners.


Taking Small, Smart Steps in Dry Cleaner Soil Testing

Sometimes, a commercial property owner may find it in their best interest to independently conduct a series of limited subsurface investigations (such as a sub-slab soil gas screening, shallow discrete soil sampling, shallow soil gas screening, etc) prior to conducting a full scope Phase II Subsurface Investigation.


Dry Cleaning Soil Testing Interior Sub-slab Vapor Probes

Limited Dry Cleaner Soil Testing vs. Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA

The goal of limited environmental due diligence tests is to obtain a particular set of limited data that is cost efficient and reliable enough to be used by the landowner towards better judgment and decision making.  In some cases, limited subsurface investigations may not even need to be conducted.  The Geo Forward team is experienced with this process, and can help landowners decide the necessity for a limited subsurface investigation.

Although the data from limited dry cleaner soil testing scopes can help provide insight to landowners, it does not qualify as an official Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA.  To meet the ASTM standards for the Phase II Environmental Site Assessment or Phase 2 Subsurface Investigation and satisfy major lending entities, a full-scope Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA will be required.


Dry Cleaner Remediation

If soil and groundwater contamination becomes apparent after a Dry Cleaner Phase II ESA, landowners may find that their best option would be to begin remediation and restore their property value overtime.  The geologists and engineers at Geo Forward, Inc. are well experienced with all of the modern methods of dry cleaner remediation.  The remediation method and process can vary from site to site.  In most cases, remedial efforts at contaminated dry cleaning facilities include soil vapor extraction, groundwater pumping and treating, and controlled chemical injection to accelerate the degradation of contaminants.

Geo Forward is a experienced in conducting all levels of dry cleaner investigations and remediation projects, and can guide landowners through the best methods for environmental due diligence. 

For more information about the various options for limited subsurface testing, dry cleaner Phase II ESAs or dry cleaner remediation, please call (888) 930-6604 to speak with a licensed professional geologist or engineer today.   


Additional Information & Sources: 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards,  Health and Environmental Impacts Division, Research Triangle Park, NC. “Economic Impact Analysis of the Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning Residual Risk Standard” – July 2006, https://www3.epa.gov/ttnecas1/regdata/EIAs/eiafinalpercdrycleanersresidrisk.pdf

USEPA, Technology Transfer Network – Air Toxics Web Site, “Rule and Implementation Information for Perchloroethylene Dry Cleaning Facilities” – Docket ID. No. OAR-2005-0155, Legacy Docket #A-88-11 – February 2016, https://www3.epa.gov/airtoxics/dryperc/dryclpg.html



What is a Brownfield Site and Brownfields?

What is a Brownfield Site?

An article about the Brownfields Act by Azad A. Kaligi, PG.


The Brownfields Revitalization and Environmental Restoration Act of 2001 (also known as the Brownfields Act) defines a Brownfield Site as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of hazardous substance, pollutant, or contamination.”

In other words, a Brownfield Site is land that might be contaminated, and the purpose of the Brownfields legislation is to encourage remediation, if needed, so that the site can be redeveloped.


CERCLA & Brownfields Sites

A Brownfield Site is Land that Might be Contaminated, and the Brownfields Legislation Encourages Remediation.

© Paige Foster

The Brownfields Act amends the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) of 1980. The redevelopment process starts with a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment and the due diligence process.   The purpose of environmental due diligence s to determine the extent of contamination and possible legal and financial risks.


Brownfields Redevelopment & Environmental Due Diligence 

If a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment concludes that there are no Recognized Environmental Concerns related to contamination or human health risks, the property can undergo redevelopment.  Although, if recognized environmental concerns (REC) are reported, a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment will be required, which entails field sampling, laboratory analysis, and geological/engineering based conclusions.


 Cleanup of Brownfields Sites

Cleaning up a Brownfield Site is considered Phase III Environmental Remediation, or simply “remediation.”  Often times with remediation, additional site assessments and groundwater monitoring will be conducted.  Modernly, environmental remediation efforts are comprised of soil vapor extraction, groundwater pump & treat, or in-situ chemical/microbial injection. However, in some cases remediation by soil excavation (also known as contamination source removal) is most practical.


For information about the environmental due diligence process for Brownfields Sites, check out Geo Forward’s Phase I ESA and Phase II ESA pages, or call Geo Forward, Inc. at (888) 930-6887 to speak with a licensed professional geologist or engineer.


References:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2005, Brownfields Cleanup and Redevelopment: http://www.epa.gov/enforcement/brownfields-and-land-revitalization-cleanup-enforcement.



Leaking Septic Tank & Environmental Concerns

Environmental Concerns for a Leaking Septic Tank

The area directly underlying a leaking septic tank is a biologically active zone known as the “Infiltration Zone,” and is approximately 1 to 3 inches thick.  Usually, some oxygen is present at this depth, causing a process called “Nitrification.” Nitrification basically means ammonium nitrogen is being converted to nitrate.

An article about Nitrate and Nitrite, by Azad Kaligi, PG.


Nitrate from a Leaking Septic Tank – Into the Soil

Nitrate is a form of nitrogen that is found in the soil underlying septic systems. Other sources of nitrate are agricultural areas where fertilizers and animal manure are stockpiled.

High levels of nitrate and chloride in the soil surrounding a septic system indicate contamination of soil from leaking septic tanks.  A known fact about the California water resources industry is that more groundwater production wells have been shut-down due to high nitrate concentrations than any other chemical constituent.


Nitrate From a Leaking Septic Tank – Into the Groundwater

A Property with a Leaking Septic Tank can Include Nitrate and Nitrite Concentrations in Soil and Groundwater

Nitrate & Nitrite

Nitrates can fall through soil, and form a contamination plume in groundwater. Natural concentrations of nitrate in groundwater range from 0.1 milligrams per liter (mg/L) to 10 mg/L. Nitrate is soluble in groundwater, and has a high rate of mobility through aquifers. Nitrate has also been known to accumulate at specific portions of aquifers, depending on the geology and soil characteristics.

Since high-nitrate water  can cause fatal diseases affecting infants, drinking water standards are set at 10 mg/L.


After “Nitrification” – Nitrate Can Become Nitrite

After a some percolation time, nitrate changes to become nitrite with the help of bacteria in the subsurface. The bacterial count pre-existing within the septic system is usually an aid to this process.

Nitrite From a Leaking Septic Tank – Into to Soil and Groundwater

Through the underlying soil horizons, nitrite goes through a sorbtion process.  During seepage phosphorus and pathogens are removed along with all other septic tank matter. However nitrite (along with nitrate) typically fall through these zones and contaminate groundwater.


Environmental Evaluation of a Leaking Septic Tank

The Federal EPA developed Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs) as a health-based protective drinking water standard.  Nitrate and nitrite are included in the list of MCLs.  When conducting an Phase I Environmental Site Assessment or a Phase II Subsurface Investigation related to a potential septic tank release, it is important to consider the depth to groundwater, the regional geology & hydrogeology, and the findings of the percolation test prior to installation.


Leaking Septic Tank in Industrial or Commercial Properties 

At industrial sites, nitrate and nitrite may not be the only chemicals of concern potentially released to the subsurface.  Historical land use of industrial properties usually include dumping hazardous chemical waste into the onsite sewage system.  In such cases, a leaking septic tank serves as a pathway for various contaminants to reach soil and groundwater once dumped onsite.

For more information about leaking septic tanks and the environmental concerns for soil and groundwater contamination, call Geo Forward, Inc. at (888) 930-6887 and speak with a licensed professional geologist or engineer.

For information about environmental risk assessments and soil and/or groundwater sampling, check out Geo Forward’s Phase I ESA and Phase II ESA pages.


References:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, office of Ground Water & Drinking Water, July 2002, List of Drinking Water Contaminants & MCLs: http://www.epa.gov.safewater/mcl.html#organic



Lower vs Higher Prices for Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (Phase II ESA)

 Lower vs Higher Prices for Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (Phase II ESA)

An article about Phase 2 ESA Reports, by Azad A. Kaligi, PG.


Clients seeking a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (also known as a Phase II ESA) are usually attracted to the lowest priced proposals.  As a person who truly believes that “money saved” is just as good as “money earned,” I understand the incentive to seek lower prices.  However, when it comes to environmental due diligence, not all scopes are created equal.  Usually unknown to Client’s, reduced prices for Phase II Environmental Site Assessment may result in a reduced scope of investigation.


Prices For Phase II Environmental Site Assessment aka Phase II ESA

Prices For Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

Not All Phase II ESA Scopes Are Equal

Far too many times, I have witnessed individuals rejecting a proposal for a properly scoped Phase II ESA, and turning to a lesser-expensive proposal that is inadequately scoped and lacking of reasonable investigation methods.

In most cases, when a Client turns to the lower-costing Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, they are unaware that the difference in cost is due to a reduced scope.  Without a reliable scope of work, the decision to save money on a Phase II ESA can backfire later down-the-line.


Simple Example/Scenario:

  • Purchaser is interested to buy a property with a gasoline station, where groundwater is approximately 30 feet below the ground surface. Purchaser needs a Phase II ESA to address environmental risks and concerns.
  • Consultant A submits a proposal for the higher cost, which includes drilling to 35 feet to collect soil and groundwater samples.
  • Consultant B submits a proposal for the lower cost, and only includes drilling to 15 feet to collect shallow-soil and shallow-soil-gas samples.
  • Both consultants claim their proposals are for a comprehensive Phase II Environmental Site Assessment. Purchaser mistakenly believes that both scopes are equal, and chooses the lesser expensive option by Consultant B to save money.
  • Years later, a nearby subsurface investigation reveals that gasoline contaminants have been found in the groundwater flowing from Purchaser’s property.  Now Purchaser and his/her attorney are facing pollution fines and remediation costs, and are having a difficult time proving that the groundwater contamination was not Purchaser’s fault, mainly because the lesser expensive Phase II ESA didn’t include groundwater analysis.

 A Proper Scope for Proper Prices – Phase II Environmental Site Assessment

A reasonable scope of work is objectively created by experienced geologists or engineers to address all potential contamination concerns onsite.  Various site conditions, such as depth to groundwater, type of soil, regional land use, and more play a great role in the designing of a Phase II ESA scope.


Phase I ESA & Phase II ESA: Environmental Due Diligence

Environmental Due Diligence is a critical process that typically warrants a comprehensive investigation for reliable results and legal liability protection. In some cases, Clients (who are not seeking legal liability protection) specifically request a Limited Environmental Site Assessment as a tool for better decision making.

Before blindly awarding a Phase II ESA to the lowest bidder, it is important to review and compare the listed scopes of work for each proposal.  Be sure to compare apples to apples, and communicate with a licensed professional geologist or engineer to accurately understand what is a reasonable scope of work is for your property.


Benefit from a Free Consultation with a Licensed Professional Geologist or Engineer

For a free consultation with a licensed professional geologist or engineer about your Phase I and/or Phase II Environmental Site Assessment, call Geo Forward, Inc. at (888) 930-6604, or Click Here to Visit the Contact Page.