News and Events - "Environmental"

Welcome to our newsroom! Here you will find the latest information about our company, projects and people. Browse articles published by our engineers and scientists in national publications and conference proceedings, view our press releases and read through news coverage of Terracon.

If you are a member of the media, you may contact our media relations representative at media@terracon.com.


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Stormwater: A Frequently Overlooked but Potentially Costly Construction Management Issue

Storm management can be an overlooked aspect of construction management that can result in a multitude of unanticipated costs and the need for additional contractors on a project. For property owners, stormwater may be a low priority when building a multi-story high-rise or shopping center. However, failure to consider potential stormwater problems could result in making them an unforgettable part of a construction project. For contractors, responsibility for who will be managing stormwater services should be identified in the bid phase of a project. If not managed well, nearby business could be negatively impacted by mud in the streets and may file a complaint with local inspectors, assigning responsibility for stormwater management.

Planning for stormwater permitting and compliance

Well in advance of breaking ground, it should be determined who is responsible for planning and managing stormwater permitting and compliance. Frequently, this item occurs at the beginning of the rainy season when the contractor notifies the owner or stormwater permit holder that someone should manage the stormwater to prevent any scheduling delays. Since this responsibility is often specifically excluded in bids, it can become a last-minute scramble to resolve. While early partnership offers owners the greatest value, Terracon is available to collaborate with the project team after the project has begun with a focus on quickly bringing the site into compliance, and can even help after a violation has occurred.

With proper planning, stormwater design challenges can be addressed, corrected with a licensed contractor, and then monitored with weekly inspections. Common recommendations may include catch basin inlet protections or other best management practices. However, the associated costs can affect project budgets and profit if post-violation recommendations need to include operation of a chemical treatment system to manage the stormwater.

Ready to respond

When a client in the Northwest received a permitting violation letter following a recent inspection regarding the lack of stormwater management, the Terracon team was quickly to respond. The project setting included the demolition of a multilevel structure to be redeveloped with a larger multilevel structure.  The violations included the lack of properly installed or management of best management practices. These practices included track out of mud and failure to sweep daily; excess concrete on the ground not contained in a designated washout area; and cleaning or missing catch basin inlet protection. It was also required that the permit holder have weekly inspections completed by a certified erosion and sedimentation control lead. Other administrative record keeping violations included failure to report discharge monitoring reports from the permit start date and failure to maintain stormwater records/inspection sheets onsite and readily available upon request. Terracon team worked closely with the agency and inspector to bring the site into

Stormwater permitting and management requirements vary widely among states, making it important for contractors to maintain a good working relationship with their state and local agencies. Understanding local stormwater management requirements can help prevent significant potential fines and project delays. With offices in more than 140 locations nationwide, Terracon can provide you with a local, trusted stormwater professionals familiar with your area regulations and can recommend the right solutions for your stormwater issues.


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We have an App for that: Bringing Efficiency to Process

Environmental AssessmentSaving time and money on your next environmental site assessment just got a little easier. Terracon’s new Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) Field App allows assessors to be more efficient while conducting the site reconnaissance and completing report writing for Phase I ESAs.

This mobile app, developed by Terracon, is the first of its kind in the environmental industry. It can be used for most of Terracon’s Phase I ESA projects. Technology associated with the app creates opportunities for Phase I practitioners and other Terracon professionals to streamline assessment processes, efficiently coordinate project deliverables, and communicate issues to clients faster. The mobile app is estimated to save 25,000 to 30,000 total labor hours per year and won the EDR 2017 PRISM Technology Innovation Award.

“We are fortunate to have an incredibly dynamic team who enjoy rising to the challenge of creating efficiencies that help us serve our clients better each day.” John Sallman, National Director, Terracon Environmental Services.

 

Prior to the development of the app, each assessor would take a site reconnaissance form, note pad, camera, or mobile phone into the field to complete each reconnaissance. Then, back at the office, photos would need to be uploaded to the project file and notes taken would be transcribed into the applicable sections of the Phase I report.

Now with Terracon’s ESA Field App, all the assessor needs is a mobile phone! Once on site, our assessor collects necessary data to populate several sections of the ESA report, including the interview, site observations, adjoining properties, and if applicable, additional services such as limited sampling of building materials. The content of the app is structured based on the ASTM standard requirements. Additionally, the assessor can take representative photos and begin a site diagram, all within the app.

With necessary questions and user-friendly answering options, the app allows the assessor to streamline site reconnaissance and be confident the necessary information was collected in the field. Once the required questions in the app are answered, the data can be uploaded to Terracon’s server. The ESA report draft can be generated, with information entered in the interview, site observation, adjoining properties, and additional services sections of the app transferred to the applicable sections of the report. Photos taken in the app will be uploaded to the project file and the site diagram features will be uploaded to Terracon’s GIS Toolbox.

“It was really fun to be part of the team that was given the time and creative freedom to design this app,” said Emily Blakeway, field scientist in Terracon’s Seattle office. Emily was part of the app development team that included several assessors and IT personnel from Terracon offices across the country.


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Silica Exposure Limits: Changing the Way You Work

Silica is one of the most common, naturally-occurring elements on the planet. It is everywhere and, unfortunately, also known to present serious health hazards to people, especially those working in and around construction sites. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has passed a new silica exposure rule which takes effect June 23, 2016. Companies have one year to meet compliance guidelines, and if you are in the construction industry, this rule will probably change the way you work. Full Story


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Here’s how to improve environmental health and safety

Don’t blame an employee for an unsafe behavior; instead look at the factors behind the act.

Proactive organizations recognize that adopting a “systems approach” to their environmental, health and safety (EHS) management creates a stronger, more sustainable platform for success. Full Story


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Motivations of Program Partners for Environmental Sustainability and Persistence of Benefits

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Handling Hazards: Environmental hazards like asbestos, PCBs and lead can change the complexion of a seemingly routine job.

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Texas City Turns Brownfields Challenge into Opportunity


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NEPA 101: Understanding the Impact of NEPA Regulations on the Telecom and Radio Broadcast Industries