Inspiring The Future

As the pendulum of the economy swings and the world populations grows ever more aware of the environmental issues plaguing our planet, a new industry of environmental sustainability is born.  Today, careers in sustainability look more and more promising to a batch of young people entering higher education.  The promise of the growth of a new industry and the evolution of older industry are very welcoming to a youth facing a world of economic uncertainty.  It is an industry starved for new ideas and approaches to making our lifestyle sustainable.

 

At Hofstra University’s Sustainability Studies Program, students take advantage of their surroundings, in the large suburban landscape of Long Island which is situated outside of one of the most populous metropolitan cities in the world. and look head on at real-life sustainability problems.  Sustainability Studies offer an opportunity to combine engineering, planning and environmental sciences into a diversified understanding of how to solve these issues.  As the world evolves and the population grows we need the best and brightest minds to enter this field and bring us the new solutions.

 

On November 6th, 2013 Hofstra University Career Center is hosting a Sustainability Careers Panel Discussion.  Richard Parrish, CEO if Impact Environmental will be joining that panel to discuss successful careers in the environmental consulting business.  With over 25 years in the industry, Mr. Parrish has experienced all sides of the environmental industry from government regulations, environmental site assessments, environmental engineering on large scale construction projects and Brownfield and mine reclamation. He looks forward to imparting his wisdom and experience to the next generation of talent joining the field.  Impact Environmental has a strong history of being a leader not only within the industry but the surrounding communities.

HofstraSustainabilityCareersPanel-Fall13-Flyer


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California to New York

california to new yorkWe certainly have enough naysayers in the environmental field – critics of legislators and bashers of regulators; bloggers on superfunding, fracking and petrochemicals in general. Writers are ensured of sympathy from a public now saturated with the environmental ideal. Of course if you have dedicated your lifelong career to the nuts-and-bolts of a clean earth, whether on the review side or the proposal side, it all begins to sound like so much peanut-gallery palaver.

I recently noted a six-month study of California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) by Consumer Watchdog.* In a profound example of public flagellation, they concluded that:

“…it is clear that the DTSC is falling down on the job. We have some of the toughest environmental laws in the nation, and some of the weakest enforcement. The DTSC epitomizes this problem, allowing serial polluters to cut deals with the department out of court time and again instead of revoking their permits, letting polluters operate on expired permits for years at a time, and levying wrist-slap penalties instead of applying maximum fines. The DTSC sits on its hands while hazardous waste management companies and large-scale generators of hazardous waste poison communities.”

Pretty stong words based on a 6-month review. Let us ignore for a moment that the very foundations of reason (remember logic’s rule of thumb: if this, then that) have been ignored here to reach the most extreme conclusion. Let us accept for a moment that one state at least is hopelessly mired in financial interests. What would it mean for New York State, where this author lives and works? Perhaps we could do a 6-month study, and conclude we have some of the “weakest” environmental laws, with some of the “toughest” enforcement.

Sorry, but such broad-brush statements and foregone conclusions are anathema to me, having cut my teeth and been raised on the meat of rational environmental reporting.

Let me say simply that the balance of economic interests and environmental ideals is never simple, and in consequence it is not the stuff of simpletons. You have only to look at election-year debating to understand that we all share economic (if not survival) interests, and we all share quality-of-life (fresh air and clean water) concerns.

Healthy business brings us groceries each day and lumber for that bedroom addition; a healthy environment guarantees our children a healthy life. The decisions that balance both economics and environment are brought about sometimes by extreme soul-searching, sometimes by dead reckoning, sometimes after years of Environmental Impact Analysis, but always by an excruciating process of give-and-take.

Try it sometime. The next time you are tempted to express a critical view, instead step into the lion’s den yourself. Participate in the process. You can guarantee that a balanced view is the end result, because you are indeed a part of the problem, and you are a part of the solution.

http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/golden-wasteland-report


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Transformation

TRANSFORMING…dreams to reality, tragedy to triumph, waste to beauty.

When the twin towers fell, so many of us held our breath. What was next? Had we lost some of our own? Where was the world headed?

honor guardSince the dust settled, over these many years, we have learned to breathe again, and to breathe deep in the face of one crisis after another. As a global community now, we identify with the calamities our brothers and sisters endure, though so far removed, through the miracle of hi-definition recordings and ubiquitous playback. We are confronted daily with the unthinkable – are forced to rethink our paradigm – and we continue to step off into the future daily, sometimes with an uncertainty that is hard to overcome.
But we do.

Impact and Krapf Resurrect a 9.11 Artifact

The late John Krapf, a builder and contractor from the Lehigh Valley area, came up with the idea of turning a number of slabs from the ruined subwalls of the World Trade Center into memorials of hope. Impact Environmental, a New York based environmental remediation company intimately involved with Ground Zero restoration, worked with Mr. Krapf to preserve 11 concrete relics, with a vision to create 11 sculptures destined for 11 US cities coast to coast.

This vision, like so many dreams of restoration since 9-11, came to fruition recently when the first of the 11 planned sculptures was welcomed to its temporary home in Bethlehem, PA. Visitors and close observers of the sculpture will find engravings in binary code (0s and 1s) on the peaks of two concrete aggregate branches forming a victorious “V”, reflecting a triumphant rebirth of the twin towers. The 0s and 1s are a reassembling of the digits for the 10th anniversary and the 11th day of the month.
Christened “Victorii Rebuild”, the sculpture is for now a part of the South Bethlehem Greenway. This is a fitting tribute to the resilience of the families left behind, the vision of one man who has now passed on, and the dedicated work of one company among many who honor the loss of so many vibrant lives with a memorial drawn up from the ruins. Here is the substance of what has passed, standing as a testament for the many who live on.
ott
2/12/2013

View a History in Photos – From Concept to Dedication: For an ebook  by Impact Environmental, email social@impactenvironmental.com.


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Impact Paper Recycling Initiative

impact environmental logoImpact Environmental is proud to announce the start of our in-house paper recycling initiative.  For decades Impact Environmental has striven to solve many of the environmental issues of the surrounding area.  Our promise and goal to our clients is to assist them in finding peace of mind, as they are confronted with environmental issues.  It is now time for us to look inward on our own corporate carbon footprint.  Like many active and growing businesses today, Impact Environmentalis caught up in the use of hundreds of reams of paper monthly.  So much of the paper we use is often disregarded, or becomes insignificant in hours if not minutes.  As a company we are making strides to ensure that every piece of paper counts, and the life of that paper does not end up contributing to the problems we clean up every day. 

 

Here is a list of steps we are taking as part of the Impact Environmental Paper Recycling Initiative:

1.       A written company commitment, and reminders to print cautiously.

2.       Duplex printing all reports when possible.

3.       Reuse paper as scrap paper if possible.

4.       A paper and cardboard recycling program (of all non-confidential material) at our company headquarters in Bohemia, NY.

5.      Offering our clients digital copies of environmental reports first and only producing printed reports if requested by the client.

6.       Reuse shipping boxes if possible.

Impact Environmental and all of our employees are committed to making this world a more environmentally sound place.   This is continuing step in a history of actions showing our devotion to our shared environment. Now the work we do inside the company headquarters is working to be as environmentally conscious as the work we are so proud of providing for our clients.  Look for updates on our blog, on the progress and effect of our recycling initiative.

 

Welcome to Solid Ground

Impact Environmental

Corinne Jacoby

6/6/12


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Mitigating the Risk of Asbestos Rock

Serpentine – A Naturally-Occurring Asbestos Rock.

“If we find 1 percent asbestos in building materials, we tear the building apart and take all kinds of precautions.” says Robert Reynolds, head of the Lake County Air Quality Management District, California. “We should do the same for rock with 1 percent asbestos.” In 1992, Lake County enacted tough regulations for handling chrysotile deposits in the subsurface where disturbance occurs. Companies proposing a construction project, roadbed or quarry on rock containing 1 percent asbestos or more must submit an extensive plan for protecting the health of workers and the community. Dust must be kept so low that it is not visible. Workers must be notified, and precautions are taken so that asbestos is not tracked off site on truck tires.

“There have been too many legal decisions and too many scientific studies for us to continue to breathe this in.” Reynolds says. “We can’t ban it, but we can make sure people are not exposed unnecessarily.”[1]

What It Is

Rock composed primarily of serpentine minerals is called serpentinite. Serpentines find use in industry for a number of purposes, such as railway ballasts and building materials, and find use as thermal and electrical insulation. When serpentine is excavated, or used as a road surface, the asbestos content can be released to the air, and this has caused concern over a long term health hazard from wind-borne dust.

Naturally Occuring Asbestos (NOA) occurs in rocks and soil as a result of natural geological processes. Natural weathering and human activities may disturb NOA-bearing rock or soil and release mineral fibers into the air, which pose a greater potential for human exposure by inhalation. [2]

A California Controversy

There are many known locations of Serpentine rock throughout the New York Metro area (home to Impact Environmental), so it is important that our clients take note of events in California, if only to establish precautionary protocols where NOAs exist. Back in 1965 the California Legislature designated Serpentine (the mineral) as “the official State Rock and lithologic emblem.” But recent controversy regarding the health hazards associated with Naturally-Occurring Asbestos Rock (NOA) created enough concern that in May of 2010, State Senator Gloria J. Romero proposed legislation (SB 624) to removed serpentine as the state rock. With no conclusive evidence regarding the real threat to health posed by the rock itself, any reference to health threats was stricken from the legislation as it was first proposed. For instance, the Act originally held the following language:

“SECTION 1. …(b) Serpentine contains the deadly mineral chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen, exposure to which increases the risk of the cancer mesothelioma. (c) California has the highest rate of mesothelioma deaths in the nation. (d) California should not designate a rock known to be toxic to the health of its residents as the state’s official rock. (e) It is the intent of the Legislature to remove serpentine as the State Rock.”

This section was simplified to:

“SECTION 1.  It is the intent of the Legislature to remove serpentine as the State Rock and lithologic emblem.”

This non-committal wording is emblematic of the issue surrounding NOA, i.e. the jury is still out on the real hazards of the rock in its native state (and on the legislation itself), but the documented hazards of asbestos as it has been used in the marketplace raises enough red flags so those concerned with occupational health must take note. For those responsible for the health and safety of employees exposed to this material – in excavation, construction or other tasks – an ignorance of this issue could someday turn into a nightmare of liabilities in the future.

Bloggers and Writers Take Both Sides

Perhaps depending on whether they have direct experience with mesothelioma, writers have lined up on both sides of the hazardous versu nonhazardous issue. In an article published by the NY TIMES –  “California May Drop Its Official State Rock” By Jennifer Steinhauer, July 13, 2010 – Malcolm Ross, a geologist who retired from the United States Geological Survey in 1995, said “There is no way anyone is going to get bothered by casual exposure to that kind of rock, unless they were breaking it up with a sledgehammer year after year.”

Nonetheless, KStarr of Fayetteville, NC, on July 14th, 2010 wrote:

“… I lost my stepfather to asbestos related cancer and all this bill is about is awareness – helping the public to understand that asbestos is a carcinogen and is highly dangerous. It’s not about whether anyone is going to take a sledgehammer to a serpentine rock. It’s about the SYMBOLIC meaning behind it. Good God – 10,000 people die from asbestos related diseases each year in the U.S. and CA has one of the highest rates of mesothelioma deaths (the deadliest of cancers). It is NOT from people going around smashing up rocks. It’s from INDUSTRY – mining sites, etc. where these people worked. Did you know that the rock was made the state rock in 1965 specifically because of the then “lucrative” asbestos industry – so how can geologists now say there is no link to asbestos? CA state geo and enviro groups now ALL agree that asbestos is dangerous and have issued numerous warnings about it. So what we’re really talking about here is removing a symbol that to people like me represents something tragic. And to the guy who said this is still being used to make jewelry – I hope you’re not in the room when that jewelry is being made. Seriously – how ignorant.”

Chrysotile Asbestos

In the IA/ADAO Chrysotile Asbestos Fact Sheet from The Environmental Information Association, the following may be found:

Fact #1: Asbestos is a regulated carcinogen.

Fact #2: There are 6 fibrous minerals that are currently regulated as “asbestos:”
chrysotile, amosite, crocidolite, tremolite, actinolite and anthophyllite
Fact #3: Chrysotile is the most common variety of asbestos found in products in the United States: It is the most abundant asbestos variety on earth.
Fact #4: Chrysotile asbestos has been a significant contributor to asbestos-related illness and death to the US and worldwide workforce.
Fact #5: There is sufficient evidence to conclude that ALL FORMS of asbestos, including chrysotile, are carcinogenic and are responsible for asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma, laryngeal and ovarian cancer

California’s Response

In California as a whole, there are already strong requirements in place for construction and grading projects. Full text for the following excerpted “Final Regulation Order, Asbestos Airborne Toxic Control Measure for Construction, Grading, Quarrying, and Surface Mining Operations”, may be downloaded by accessing the California Air Resources Board’s Internet web page at http://www.arb.ca.gov/toxics/atcm/asb2atcm.htm.

New Jersey

More locally, in New Jersey, the transportation of Asbestos and Asbestos Containing Material (ACM) is a regulated activity. The transportation of asbestos and ACM must be handled in accordance with N.J.A.C. 7:26-3.5(d) and other guidelines including:

  • Registered New Jersey solid waste vehicles are required for the transportation of ACM and any solid waste containing asbestos. All vehicles shall be designed to prevent any spillage or leakage or emissions.
  • There shall be no visible air emissions during loading, transporting, or unloading operations.

Locations Within The New York Metropolitan Area

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has an ongoing project to map the locations of historical asbestos mines, former asbestos exploration prospects, and natural asbestos occurrences. For the New York Metro area, the USEPA mapping shows the following locations.*

OccurrenceLocations

* From 2005 US Geological Survey Report – Published by the USGS on July 1, 2005, this report contains a regional map and an associated database that includes 324 locations where naturally occurring asbestos has been historically identified in the Eastern United States.

USEPA Guidance on Approaches for Mitigating Exposures to NOA [3]

The USEPA has provided guidance through specific recommendations where NOA is of concern. The extracts below are pertinent. The following general approaches to mitigate inhalation exposures to NOA are aimed at reducing NOA releases from rock or soil into the air:

  • Leave NOA material in place and undisturbed
  • Cover or cap NOA material
  • Limit dust generating activities
  • Excavate and dispose of NOA material Depending on the situation, a combination of engineering controls, work practices, and institutional (administrative) controls may be needed to implement an approach and reduce potential exposures to NOA.

Selecting an approach depends on factors including:

  • Accessibility of NOA (ground surface vs. below ground surface)
  • Types of activities that disturb NOA (construction project vs. gardening)
  • Climate and weather conditions
  • Current and future land uses
  • Technical and administrative feasibility of the approach

Approaches for reducing NOA exposure are similar to practices used for asbestos containing materials in commercial applications.

Excavation, Grading, or Utility Work at Construction Projects

Wet road surfaces with water using trucks, hoses, or sprinklers. Wet piles of excavated material and cover them with tarps, plastic sheeting, or other items1 Continuously mist the work area. Install wind barriers around the work area. Clean or decontaminate equipment and vehicles to ensure that no equipment or workers track soil out of the work area (a gravel pad, tire shaker, or wheel wash system may be used to clear soil from vehicles). Wet the work area using a spray system attached directly to rock cutting or drilling equipment, such as a fine-mist sprayer or a variable-rate fogger nozzle (similar to those used in fire fighting). Excavate utility trenches to an adequate depth and backfill them with clean soil so that future repair work will not need excavation into potential NOA-containing materials. When transporting NOA-containing materials, avoid overloading trucks; keep the material below the top of each truck compartment and cover material with a tarp. Limit personnel and vehicle access to the work area. Identify NOA-containing areas with signs. Reduce driving speed. Reduce drilling or excavating speeds. Excavate during periods of calm or low winds.

Roads and Parking Areas (unpaved and gravel roads)

Cover roads with non-NOA-containing rock, chemical sealants or dust suppressants, chip seals, limestone aggregate, petroleum sealants, or asphalt cement paving. Wet road surfaces with water. Install windbreaks or berms. Reduce driving speed. Avoid dusty areas, especially in windy conditions.

Around Communities (playgrounds, ball fields, pathways, and gardens)

Cover areas of rock and soil with clean soil, rock, vegetation, or other material (see next section, General Considerations for Using Covers or Caps). Pave over unpaved walkways, driveways, or roadways containing NOA. Landscape areas with vegetation, such as NOA-tolerant plants, and add a layer of organic mulch or NOA-free soil. Water plants often until they are established to minimize erosion. Water garden areas before digging. Keep windows and doors closed on windy days and during periods when nearby rock or soil may be disturbed, such as during construction. Limit track-in by using entryway (door) mats, and wipe down pets before they enter buildings to reduce the amount of soil tracked indoors. Allow children to play in outdoor areas only if the area has a ground covering, such as wood chips, mulch, sand, pea gravel, grass, asphalt, shredded rubber, or rubber mats. Relocate outdoor activities to areas that do not contain NOA (walk, run, hike, and bike only on paved trails). Avoid dusty areas, especially in windy conditions.

Limiting Naturally Occurring Asbestos Exposure To Workers

Other guidance has been provided by those with the most profound experience of the consequences of asbestos exposure. For further information regarding the following extracts please visit: www.mesotheliomaweb.org/mesothelioma

Beyond the miners who are tasked with extracting asbestos from rock, a number of other workers may be at risk for exposure to asbestos. The job fields that are most at risk to environmental asbestos exposure include construction workers, excavators, lumberjacks, gravel pit operators, farmers and landscapers. Basically, any professional that works in and around asbestos-laden soil is a potentially at risk for exposure. Local health agencies will help you follow Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations to determine if asbestos is a health risk in your work area. Based on the level of asbestos identified by OSHA, employees may be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as respirators. Other steps that can be taken to reduce asbestos exposure to workers include:

  • Using wet methods when working with soil and asbestos-containing products
  • Avoiding the use of compressed air or leaf blowers for cleaning purposes
  • Avoiding eating, drinking and smoking in dusty areas
  • Limiting access of unnecessary visitors to the worksite
  • Showering and washing hair before leaving the worksite
  • Changing out of and leaving work clothes at the work site*

In summary, too much is now known about risks to those who live or work closely with serpentine (NOA) rock, to ignore the guidance provided by responsible agencies who are charged with the protection of public health. Any work where these risks occur, should include appropriate risk abatement measures, and local agencies should continue to reinforce local regulation that emphasizes the safety of the public and our work force.

Using foresight now, to navigate the issues that will be crucial to you tomorrow – this is the ongoing philosophy of Impact Environmental. All our clients are concerned with future value and liability. Your values matter to us, and our values demand that we work hard to eliminate your concern. Call us now at 631-269-8800. Welcome to Solid Ground.

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[1] From the March 11-17, 1999 issue of metroactive news & issues, “Dust in the Wind” Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc.
[2] USEPA – “Naturally Occurring Asbestos: Approaches for Reducing Exposure” Office of Superfund Remediation EPA 542-F-08-001 and Technology Innovation March 2008 (5204P) www.epa.gov
[3] USEPA – “Naturally Occurring Asbestos: Approaches for Reducing Exposure” Office of Superfund Remediation EPA 542-F-08-001 and Technology Innovation March 2008 (5204P) www.epa.gov

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Sludge as a Benefit

A Program for Beneficial Reuse*

DEP’s 14 wastewater treatment plants handle an average of 1.3 billion gallons of wastewater every day, which generate approximately 1,200 tons per day of solid byproducts that are also known as biosolids or treated sludge. Environmental Protection Commissioner Carter Strickland today announced the selection of WeCare Organics in response to a Request for Proposals to transport, process, and market biosolids for beneficial reuse.

Under the new proposed contract, WeCare Organics will bring up to 400 tons per day of biosolids to its processing site in rural eastern Pennsylvania where it will be stabilized with lime and made into a product suitable for beneficial reuse. WeCare will use the organic material for mine reclamation projects or sell it as compost to garden centers, nurseries, and landscape supply companies. Once approved, the new five-year contract will start in spring 2012 at a cost of approximately $56 million.

“Our selection today fulfills (the) promise to process sludge in a beneficial way … Converting our sludge from waste to a valuable resource moves us closer to achieving Mayor Bloomberg’s vision for a greener, greater New York.” said Commissioner Strickland.

In June 2010, DEP terminated its contract with the New York Organic Fertilizer Company due to its increasing costs in processing approximately 600 of the 1,200 tons of sludge that the wastewater treatment process produces each day for use as fertilizer. At the time the contract was terminated, it cost approximately $30 million per year. Under the new proposed contract, WeCare Organics, based out of Jordan, NY will collect up to 400 tons a day of biosolids after it has been dewatered at a cost of about $11 million per year — a roughly 50% savings over the NYOFCo contract on a cost per ton of biosolids basis.

Sewage sludge is the bulk of the residual material removed during the wastewater treatment process. Wastewater treatment plants use physical, chemical and biological processes to remove on average more than 90% of the organic material in sewage. Raw sludge is first digested in oxygen-free tanks where it is heated and mixed for several days. The final treated sludge, also known as biosolids, is treated to remove nearly all of the pathogens that can be found in raw sludge.

Impact Environmental Consulting is committed to performing responsive, efficient and comprehensive environmental services that remain current with these changes. For a complete listing of services, please visit www.impactenvironmental.com.

*Extracted from:http://www.nyc.gov/html/dep/html/home/home.shtml


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SENSORS MOVE TOWARD MINIATURIZATION*

There are two principal trends of note in the environmental sensing and monitoring business. The first is the technological revolution in the design and engineering of individual sensors and sensor components. The trend in terms of individual sensors is toward miniaturization. Making sensors smaller lowers material costs and energy requirements and makes large distributed networks possible.

Indeed, the second principal trend is the development of environmental sensor and monitoring networks themselves. There is an explosion in the number, extent, and capacity of these networks, so much so that this report can only provide a sampling. At the governmental level alone, annual expenditures on maintenance and operation of these networks is nearly $500 million just in the U.S.

Sensor networks allow distributed sensing capacity, real-time data visualization and analysis, and integration with adjacent networks and remote sensing data streams. Underpinning the development of networks is the miniaturization of electronics, the availability of massive data storage and computational capacity, and the Internet. As this report documents, environmental sensor networks have been firmly established, and large new networks are actively in development. New projects range from those that are continental in scope to those that only monitor local conditions. The range of variables measured includes daily CO2 fluxes to decadal shifts in temperatures. Sensor systems can monitor physical and biological activity, as well as measure groundwater fluxes and nutrient dynamics.

Impact Environmental is committed to bring you the most up-to-date, efficient, and comprehensive environmental services. Feel free to call with any questions you might have, about advances in our industry today.

* http://www.environmental-expert.com/news/environmental-sensing-and-monitoring-technologies-global-markets-261712


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