Welcome or Register

Liberty Environmental ~ Delaware River Basin

Important & Informative Environmental Updates for the Area

Be Sure to Take a Look at:

http://www.libertyenviro.com/

Information Overload! Why the Definition of “Reasonably Ascertainable” is Changing Rapidly in Environmental Due Diligence

Information Overload! Why the Definition of “Reasonably Ascertainable” is Changing Rapidly in  Environmental Due Diligence

A Liberty Environmental Scientist visits a residential development site as part of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Social media, and the information age in general, has connected us in ways that were unimaginable when many us began in the environmental business.  I recall the difficulties of sharing a single PC among a staff of five in a cramped office in 1992; the novelty of Windows when it was purchased by our company a year later, and the utter joy over a company-wide internet connection – a technological wonder! – on my first day at a new job in the late 1990s.

In those days, collecting information about a site required real legwork, and the completion of a single Phase I Environmental Site Assessment meant some sweat equity.  There was the trip to the County Courthouse and its Tax Assessment Office for parcel information, then the Recorder of Deeds office for the cumbersome chain-of-title research.  Then, there was often a separate trip to the County Planning Commission for aerial photographs, and yet another drive to the County Agricultural Extension office or the local Conservation District office for soil, geologic, and other physical setting data.  In Philadelphia in the 1990s, I was on a first-name basis with the Free Library’s mapping archivist, the gatekeeper to the only reliable source of detailed historical maps in the city.  It all amounted to quite an effort, but as a result of the limited availability of records there was a clear line of demarcation between what data you could collect and what you couldn’t.  If it was available within the project timeline and you could go get it, you did.  Often, you were left with less data than you hoped to collect, but it represented what was reasonably ascertainable at the time.

How times have changed.  Liberty’s younger professionals cringe when I tell them of the miles I logged for a single ESA, of the piles of quarters I kept in the car for parking meters and pay phones, and – this actually gets a chuckle – the stack of County Atlases on the passenger seat to keep from getting lost somewhere in southern Delaware County.  It’s a shock because nearly every conceivable resource that we used to chase down with great effort is now available through a simple online search or ordering system.  From historical aerial photographs to fire insurance maps, deeds to liens, topographic maps to tank registrations, it’s mostly available at the click of a button and a subscription payment.  And thus, within the context of environmental due diligence, there has been a re-evaluation of what information is now reasonably ascertainable and, perhaps more to the point, practically reviewable.

Thankfully, each of these terms is clarified under ASTM Standard Practice E1527-13 for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments.  In essence, if the data is relatively easy to search using standard efforts, it’s reviewable.  More to the point, there are a number of examples that the Standard definition describes that it considers not practically reviewable – such as large numbers of records that are searchable only across large geographic areas, or databases that can only be screened through chronological entries.  But in the short period of time between the publishing of the current ASTM Standard in late 2013 and now, such circumstances are rapidly disappearing.  Once-obscure map records are now easily viewable in your browser on public agency websites backed by GIS-based applications, regulatory databases have become more robust and searchable, and archived agency records are being digitized quickly in all states.

The takeaway of all this for environmental professionals is that we must keep ahead of the information curve and be sure to collect all information that is reasonably ascertainable and practically reviewable within the definitions set forth in our industry’s standards of practice.   Periodic updates of the ASTM Standard or others, as current as they may be, may not be able to keep up with the changing nature of this definition in the information age.  More data is available to us now than ever before, so more data is expected to be collected, reviewed and evaluated within the scopes of our assessments.   Is this a good thing?  Sure.  And it’s exciting to have so much information at our fingertips, that’s for certain.  But I will admit to a certain wistfulness for those great old courthouses, and I still keep a stack of quarters in my glove compartment – just in case.

This article was written by David S. Coyne, Principal, as part of a series of news posts on environmental due diligence studies. To read other articles, please visit our news page.

The post Information Overload! Why the Definition of “Reasonably Ascertainable” is Changing Rapidly in Environmental Due Diligence appeared first on Liberty Environmental, Inc.

TRI/Form R Season is Upon Us!

From the desk of Gavin L. Biebuyck, Principal

What is TRI Reporting?

Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Reporting is required for manufacturers in certain industrial categories, with more than 10 employees, that handle listed toxic substances in quantities that exceed annual thresholds that depend on the type of processing (“manufacture”, “process”, or “otherwise use”) and the type of toxic material. For most of the TRI-listed toxics,  the reporting thresholds are either 25,000 pounds/year (“manufacture” or “process”) or 10,000 pounds/year (“otherwise use”) but lower reporting thresholds have been established for Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic chemicals. The TRI reports for 2017 are due on July 1, 2018, but since that falls on a Sunday this year, reports are due by midnight on Monday, July 2. TRI requires online submission of Form R reports detailing any environmental releases of the toxic substances to air, wastewater, or stormwater, and any transfers to landfills or recycling centers. TRI reporting must be completed online using EPA’s TRI-ME software and must be certified by a company official.

What’s New for 2018?

There are some new elements for the 2017 reporting due on July 2, 2018.

+ A new chemical category, Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), has been added to TRI for the 2017 reports. HBCDs are brominated flame retardants used in some textiles and Styrofoam products used in the construction industry. HBCD has been added as a Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxic (PBT) chemical with a much lower TRI reporting threshold of 100 pounds/year. Note that PBTs are treated differently from other TRI substances and SDS de minimis levels do not apply. This means that any and all amounts of PBTs known to be present in raw materials, fuels, or process aids, or coincidentally produced during manufacture need to be accounted for to assess TRI reporting applicability. Other PBTs include lead and mercury compounds.

+The 2017 TRI reports must now identify a facility’s NAICS Code(s) using the 2017 updated codes.

+Reporting de minimis levels have been revised from 1.0% to .01% for certain substances that have now been identified as carcinogens (e.g., MIBK). This impacts whether these substances must be reported on SDS sheets. It is very important to obtain the most up-to-date SDS for all chemicals used at a facility.

 

 

The post TRI/Form R Season is Upon Us! appeared first on Liberty Environmental, Inc.

PA DEP Reconsiders Policy on Vertical Blending

       Photo courtesy of CBA Environmental.

For many years, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) prohibited vertical blending of soils as a remedial method. Liberty Environmental recently identified a site where the use of vertical blending was demonstrated to be an attractive remedial option. Liberty proposed to DEP that it reconsider its long-standing policy on vertical blending, which was based on a prohibition on blending in its Management of Fill policy. Liberty argued that 1) the Management of Fill policy is not applicable to remediation of contaminated soil at a cleanup site, and 2) since DEP permits excavation, consolidation and capping of contaminated soil under a site-specific cleanup utilizing pathway elimination, it should allow vertical blending for a site-specific cleanup under a human health risk assessment. In correspondence received on March 2, 2018, DEP acknowledged that no statute or regulation exists to prohibit vertical blending to eliminate a human health risk and attain a cleanup standard under the Land Recycling Program. Allowance of this remediation method would be a major advancement in Pennsylvania site cleanup policy because vertical blending can result in the elimination or a significant reduction of remediation costs.

What is Vertical Blending?

Vertical blending is a process where mechanical equipment is used to blend shallow contaminated soils with uncontaminated underlying soils, resulting in a reduction of contaminant concentrations throughout the blended soil zone to levels below applicable cleanup standards. Particularly applicable at golf courses and orchards where historical application of pesticides has contaminated very shallow soils (typically 6 to 9 inches), this remedial approach has been applied in other states with great success.

Evaluating Remedial Alternatives

Application of lead arsenate and other arsenic-containing and organic pesticides over many decades has resulted in contaminant concentrations several times higher than cleanup standards on recreational and agricultural sites. The first step in evaluating remedial alternatives on these sites, once the extent of impacts is known, is to perform site-specific studies to determine 1) the leachability of the contaminant in soil which determines whether groundwater is a medium of concern and 2) the bioavailability of contaminants in soil to establish a site-specific contaminant concentration that is protective of human health. By following this type of risk-based approach, it is often possible to substantially increase the acceptable concentration of contaminants in soil when compared to the regulatory agencies’ established cleanup levels, and either eliminate or greatly reduce the cost of remediation.

Strong State Agency Relationships Help Our Clients Achieve Their Site Cleanup Goals

Liberty Environmental is a full-service environmental consulting firm with extensive experience in assessing and remediating sites under numerous cleanup programs. Similar to this policy advancement, Liberty was also successful in petitioning DEP to reconsider its Agricultural Soils Policy, which allowed our client to enter the Land Recycling Program (Act 2 cleanup program) to develop a former orchard site. Read more here:  Pennsylvania Act 2 and Agricultural Soils Policy _Orchard Site Remediation.

The post PA DEP Reconsiders Policy on Vertical Blending appeared first on Liberty Environmental, Inc.

Weidel Realtors in Bucks County PA Homes for Sale at FindBucksCountyProperties.com  

     Steven A. Walny, REALTOR®
     www.FindBucksCountyProperties.com
     WEIDEL Real Estate | Weidel Realtors
     
Doylestown | New Hope | Yardley

     DIRECT: 215-862-7207
     OFFICE: 215-348-5600
     Steve@FindBucksCountyProperties.com

     Open 7 Days a Week ~ by Appointment
     Find Bucks County Properties

     HomesOfNewHope.com

     TownhomesInNewHope.com

     HomesOfDoylestown.com

     HomesOfCentralBucks.com

     HistoricHomesInBucks.com

     StoneHomesInBucks.com


     LuxuryHomesOfBucks.com

     EstateHomesOfBucks.com


 

Selling a Home in Bucks County | #BucksCountyHomeSellers |  #BucksCountyHomeSeller

Home Buying Bucks County | #BucksCountyHomeBuyer | #BucksCountyHomeBuyers

Bucks County Real Estate Information | #BucksCountyRealEstate | #NewHopePA | #NewHope | #Doylestown

 

Have A Question??

See How This Site Works
for Bucks County Home Sellers Too!

Maximizing Exposure for Your Bucks County Homes for Sale | New Hope Realtors | Doylestown Realtors 
Or, If You'd Prefer for Me to Contact You . . .

See Below 






* fields are required

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Seeing What You Like?
Click For Additional Search Options
Find My Ideal Bucks County Home

Easily Search by
Type of Home | Location | Style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Seeing What You Like?
Click For Additional Search Options
Find My Ideal Bucks County Home

Easily Search by
Type of Home | Location | Style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Seeing What You Like?
Click For Additional Search Options
Find My Ideal Bucks County Home

Easily Search by
Type of Home | Location | Style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Seeing What You Like?
Click For Additional Search Options
Find My Ideal Bucks County Home

Easily Search by
Type of Home | Location | Style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Seeing What You Like?
Click For Additional Search Options
Find My Ideal Bucks County Home

Easily Search by
Type of Home | Location | Style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Seeing What You Like?
Click For Additional Search Options
Find My Ideal Bucks County Home

Easily Search by
Type of Home | Location | Style

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Seeing What You Like?
Click For Additional Search Options
Find My Ideal Bucks County Home

Easily Search by
Type of Home | Location | Style

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World | Luxury Portfolio

 
             Huliq.com Logo

Regional ~ State ~ National
Current Real Estate News & Commentary

Where I'm Also a Contributing Author
Articles
Bucks County Spring Housing Market Insights 2015

A Stronger 2015 for Bucks County Buyer Activity