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  • JG
    Can you identify this Sanborn marking?6
    Topic posted October 10, 2014 by JGElite Contributor in Discussions > Environmental Due Diligence public
    Title:
    Can you identify this Sanborn marking?
    Content:

    Any idea what this (circled in red) symbolizes?  My first thought was elevation, but it's a dashed circle and the elevation here is 50 ft.

     

     

    Image:
  • MargaretThibo
    Pining Away for Forest Protection
    Entry posted October 19, 2014 by MargaretThiboContributor in Current Environmental Issues > Current Environmental Issues Blog public
    Title:
    Pining Away for Forest Protection
    Entry:

    The culinary world my soon be without pine nuts if deforestation continues. Unlike most produce, pine nuts are not grown on a farm or orchard, but rather continue to be gathered in a natural forest setting. Pine nuts are essentially the seeds inside of the cones of many species of pine trees. The majority of the world’s pin nut supply comes from China, as well as Russia, Portugal, and the United States. The majority of U.S. pine nuts can be found in Western states like Nevada and New Mexico where they have been harvested on for centuries. As a result the pine nut has deep roots in local culture.

    Over the past twenty years about have of the pine forests have been destroyed. In many cases, pine trees have been clear cut to create more grassland for the cattle industry.  In total, about three million acres were destroyed and converted for agricultural use. Historically, little was done to oppose the destruction as the trees since they were portrayed as an invasive species. Residents were warned that replacing the trees with grassland could prevent wildfires and make the area safer. Later research has revealed that pine nut trees are not invasive, but rather an important part of the local forest’s environmental safety.  The destruction of pine forest in the Western United States has also led to the shrinking of several species of animals, including the pinyon jay. This bird is vital to the spreading of pine nuts so that future trees can be grown.

    Climate change has also changed the environment that the trees grown in, which has resulted in many issues. For instance, the change in climate may be linked to an increase of insect populations. These bugs are consuming more and more of the pine nuts, leaving less for harvesting. Warmer temperatures have also changed the gathering season since the pine cones fall from the trees at different times now.

    Pine nuts are already a relatively expensive culinary delicacy due to their rarity and that they come from the wild and not a farm where that can be grown in mass quantities. The continued destruction of their habitat due to clear cutting forests and climate change promises to endanger their future. The only solution is for the remaining pine nut forests to be protected by environmental regulations.

    Keywords:
    environmental safety, environmental regulationsP
  • readude
    Phase I Quandary2
    Topic posted October 17, 2014 by readudeSuper Contributor in Discussions > Environmental Due Diligence public
    Title:
    Phase I Quandary
    Content:

    I'm finishing up a Phase I for a single parcel that a local governmental agency is acquiring.  A Phase I was previously conducted on the property 10 years ago finding stained soil due to storage of a number of abandoned vehicles.  A very limited Phase II was conducted following the Phase I consisting of very limited soil sampling (2 samples collected using a shovel).  All results were below detection limits for TPH-G, TPH-D, and TPH-MO.  TRPH compounds (total carbon range of C-5 through C-100) were quantified just above the laboratory's RDLs of 50 mg/kg in both soil samples.

    I conducted the site reconnaissance a few days ago.  All the vehicles were removed years ago, no hydrocarbon odors were noted and no visible soil staining observed.  What would your findings be given that so much time has elapsed since the previous investigations, I have reviewed the previous reports from 10 years ago indicating some level of possible contamination, but no overt indications of any impacts during this current Phase I.

    Any help would be much appreciated.  

  • MargaretThibo
    Texas Faces Big Choices in Energy Future
    Entry posted October 18, 2014 by MargaretThiboContributor in Current Environmental Issues > Current Environmental Issues Blog public
    Title:
    Texas Faces Big Choices in Energy Future
    Entry:

    They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and that is unfortunately the case when it comes to carbon pollution created by the state’s power plants. Based on 2012 air quality testing Texas created as much pollution as the entire nation of Egypt. If that isn’t impressive enough, the state’s carbon emissions is the equivalent to about 47 million cars. These comparisons are quite shocking and will help encourage the passage of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan.

    The Clean Power Plan would limit the amount of carbon that can be emitted by a power plant. Currently there are only limitations on heavy metals like mercury and arsenic. The EPA promises that the Plan and its goals are flexible in order for each state to adapt and make the most out of it.

    Ultimately, the Clean Power Plan should reduce the carbon pollution from power plants by as much as 30% which is about the amount that the entire nation of Canada produces. The reduction of carbon pollution will not only help slow down climate change, but it will directly benefit the health of the community. Less carbon pollution in the form of smog and dangerous haze means less breathing problems. According to the EPA’s website: “The Clean Power Plan will lead to climate and health benefits worth an estimated $55 billion to $93 billion in 2030, including avoiding 2,700 to 6,600 premature deaths and 140,000 to 150,000 asthma attacks in children.”

    Texas supporters of the Clean Power Plan, including Governor Rick Perry, believe that this is the opportunity that the state has been waiting for to transition toward sustainable energy.  Becoming leaders in clean energy would set an excellent precedent for other states in the nation. It would also benefit the state of Texas economically. There would be more than the obvious environmental benefits, the state could see over 100,000 new jobs created. Residents would also see their electric bill, water bill, and healthcare costs go down as an indirect result.

    Keywords:
    air quality testing, sustainable energy
  • Joe Kress
    Hydrocarbon Dry Cleaners4
    Topic posted May 22, 2014 by Joe KressMember in Discussions > Environmental Due Diligence public
    Title:
    Hydrocarbon Dry Cleaners
    Content:

    How are  EP's handling new dry cleaners that have only used hydrocarbon solvents?

  • K Boddy
    Dry Cleaner...in Florida Fund w/$1,000 deductible..what is...
    Topic posted October 15, 2014 by K BoddyMember in Discussions > General public
    Title:
    Dry Cleaner...in Florida Fund w/$1,000 deductible..what is liability really
    Content:

    I have a 40-yr old on-site cleaners (PERC) facility, closed ~10 years ago, In 1997 one soil sample showed elevated tetrachloroethene.  Groundwater has never been assessed.  Of course I called it a REC in the phase I.  Client has a letter dated 1998 from FL indicating site is in the fund w/a $1000 deductible. Site score indicates any assessment will not occur for decades if ever.  Phase I does not involve new purchase only a refi.  Phase I required recommendations and of course I recommended sampling.  Client and bank's client both say why sample if my risk is only $1,000. I tried to explain vapor potential, other liabilities, etc. to no avail. Any examples I can use to support my case?

    thx

  • MargaretThibo
    To Log or Not to Log? That is the Question
    Entry posted October 12, 2014 by MargaretThiboContributor in Current Environmental Issues > Current Environmental Issues Blog public
    Title:
    To Log or Not to Log? That is the Question
    Entry:

    Alaskan conservationists are now doing everything they can to help protect some of the last virgin trees in the Tongass National Forest. The Tongass is the largest national forest in the U.S. and spans thousands of islands off Alaska’s Southeastern Pacific Coast.  In 2010 President Obama vowed that the timber industry would be forced to phase out the logging of previously undistributed forest. Despite the national efforts, Forest Service’s plans to auction of almost 20 square miles in the near future.

    Environmentalists believe that Forest Services are in clear violation of environmental regulations. They may be able to use several protected or endangered animals that call the Tongass home to stop the auction. In particular they hope to use the Alaskan wolf and the Alexander Archipelago wolf in court cases against Forest Service.  Since the 1950’s the timber industry has clear cut approximately 700 square miles of the Tongass National Forest, destroying important habitats and creating even more conflict with environmental groups. Aside from the clear cutting of trees, over 4,500 miles of road have been created to transport the logs. Roads are created by simply bulldozing an area, no matter what may have called it home.

    Supporters of the Alaska’s Timber industry, including many politicians, feel that the auction of the Tongass is essential to saving the state’s vulnerable economy.  Supporters do not deny that here has been a massive decline in the number of milling jobs, from 4,500 down to only 200 in 2013. The drop in jobs comes as no surprise since; almost all of the logs are shipped overseas in a raw state to be milled more cheaply. Despite the decline, many officials feel it is vital to save what few jobs remain.  They note that a job in Alaska is not merely a job, but could be what makes or breaks a community. In many remote Alaskan towns a school must have at least ten students to receive state funding, if a parent becomes unemployed a school could have to shut down.  That parent would most likely have to move their family to town miles away just to gain new employment.

    Conversationalists also acknowledge that it is important to develop Alaska into a more prosperous state, but they feel as though other, potentially more lucrative, options must be explored. For example fisheries have become a very successful industry. Tourism has become an even bigger success, boasting almost 11,000 employees and growing by about 700 jobs annually. In order for tourism to be even more lucrative, natural sites like the Tongass National Forest must be preserved so that they can be enjoyed. Tourists travel to Alaska for the majesty of the nature and its exotic wildlife, not to see a clear-cut area void of life.

    Another option is for timber companies to explore is to begin logging young forests that were already clear-cut years ago. These second-growth areas are almost like tree farms and are not as environmentally devastating when cut down, since they lack a rich underbrush for animals to call home. The logging industry feels as though it is the unique properties of the older trees that result in a more expensive, higher quality wood. Young trees would have less quality and put them in a cheaper market. Alaska’s remoteness makes shipping and exporting more expensive so entering a cheaper market is not ideal.

    Keywords:
    environmental regulations
  • MargaretThibo
    Food for Thought
    Entry posted October 12, 2014 by MargaretThiboContributor in Current Environmental Issues > Current Environmental Issues Blog public
    Title:
    Food for Thought
    Entry:

    When we think of all the land pollution in the form of waste in the landfill we tend to think of wrappers, containers, and packaging material.  While those items are there, the food that those items contained is also being disposed of in massive quantities. Approximately 133 million pounds of food ends up in the landfill each year. This issue of food waste is twofold. First our society treats food as if it is an entirely renewable resource, so wasting it seems like no big deal. Secondly there is a genuine misunderstanding of packaging.

    While shopping for produce we have become quite spoiled, tossing any imperfect fruits or veggies to the side. Think of the last time you intentionally purchased a bruised apple of brown banana. Like most people you examine each piece of produce and purchase the ones you see fit, not giving what happens to all the produce that didn’t pass your inspection. Supermarkets have as a result begun to toss any of this “undesirable” produce in the trash.  The same applies to readymade food that is prepared for customer convenience. Once it is no longer hot and fresh it is tossed.

    The other issue lies in that the average customer usually confuses the “sell by” dates with an expiration date. One food safety specialist’s claims that sell by dates are merely to let the consumer know how long the food has been sitting around on store shelves. It is estimated that 20% of food is thrown away due to this confusion. This does not include everything we avoid buying because we think it is expired.

    Cutting down on the amount of food wasted not only lessons what goes into the landfill, it also has a dramatic positive ripple effect on the environment. For instance, less pesticides & nitrates will be used on crops since there will be less of a demand. Nitrates and pesticides have been linked to many serious instances of water contamination, so lessening their use is important. The need to transport food as frequently may also be decreased, reducing the carbon emitted by delivery trucks.

    There are ways that we can reduce the amount of food that ends up in the landfill. Obviously a change in society’s attitude towards food would be ideal, but that is not an easy goal to accomplish.  A more attainable goal is to rely on advances in technology that will predict the demand. New software can keep track of historical data and help ensure that excess is not purchased form wholesalers. Another technique is for supermarkets to compost all of the organic matter that would normally be trashed. One grocery store in Missouri has experimented with this idea and has gone from having its trash picked up three times a week to three times a month. The compost that they create is used to enrich soils. Another solution is to allow food waste to be consumed by livestock, especially pigs. Many European nations have banned this practice, while many other nations have laws requiring it.

    Keywords:
    land pollution, water contamination,
  • Michelle
    Historic Grain Elevator2
    Topic posted October 9, 2014 by MichelleMember in Discussions > General public
    Title:
    Historic Grain Elevator
    Content:

    While conducting a Phase I on a former grain elevator (buildings demo'ed in 2011- only thing left standing is the silos) in a very rural community.  The sanborns indicate "Fuel Hu." and some text regarding cob & coal fuel source from 1886-1921. It appears the facility switched to electric sometime between 1921 and 1932.  Aerials indicate the structures were present until 2011 and former owners indicate the facility was operational until 1996. Many, many owners have passed through this structure through the years and it is impossible to know how the coal fuel was stored.

    Is this a historical REC or current?

    Obviously the proximity to the rail is going to be an issue as well? 

     

    Image:
  • TESKCMO
    Historic Coal Storage Site = REC??11
    Topic last edited January 19, 2012 by TESKCMOMember in Discussions > Environmental Due Diligence public
    Title:
    Historic Coal Storage Site = REC??
    Content:

    I have found through Sanborn map search that the area of a phase I site was used as a Coal Storage area "coal bins".  Would this be considered a REC? With the map drawing, however, it not clear if these bins were ON the phase 1 site, but judging from the identified street these bins were in the area in 1950.  The area was rural.  We were not able to locate any additional Sanborn maps of the area for other years.