Posts

Posts

  • RWhite
    USDA FSA Photogrammar
    Topic posted 7:58 AM by RWhiteMember in Discussions > General public
    Title:
    USDA FSA Photogrammar
    Content:

    There was an interesting story on NPR this morning about the USDA Farm Security Administration's (FSA) collection of depression-era photos taken between 1935 and 1946:
    http://www.npr.org/2014/09/02/345158378/depression-era-photos-make-a-mark-in-american-photography

    The story describes a photo archiving and search tool created by researchers at Yale University to help explore the collection:
    http://photogrammar.yale.edu

    Researchers at EDR have used similar collections of historic farm life and scenes to help identify where or when a specific aerial photograph was taken or to help identify historic agricultural practices.

    Enjoy, Richard

  • MargaretThibo
    California Community Plans Lagoon Cleanup
    Entry last edited Yesterday by MargaretThiboContributor in Current Environmental Issues > Current Environmental Issues Blog public
    Title:
    California Community Plans Lagoon Cleanup
    Entry:

    The San Elijo community, located to the north of San Diego, has drafted a detailed plan to completely restore a local 979 acre lagoon.  Area residents are being given the opportunity to publicly comment on the San Elijo Lagoon plan this week at a town meeting. The public may also view the plan electronically on the San Diego Department of Parks & Recreation’s or U.S. Army Corp of Engineer’s website.

    Over the past few decades, Lagoons have been completely ignored environmentally. They have been contaminated by highway runoff water and sewage. Lagoons like the one in San Elijo face water contamination as well as changes to currents. These changes have allowed lagoons to become shallow, mostly stagnant pools of water. It turns out that Lagoons are actually unique ecosystems that should be conserved. After site assessments, researchers have found that the San Elijo Lagoon is home to over 700 different types of plants and animals.

    Restoring the Lagoon would involve a complete dredging as well as a redirecting of the channel flows.  All sand resulting from the dredging process would then be donated to nearby beach for beach restoration projects.  Nearby mud flats would also benefit from the restoration. Mud flats serve an important purpose of filtering potentially contaminated water before it reaches the ocean, as well as being the home to a multitude of shellfish. These shellfish would supply bird populations with a much needed food source.

    A more circulated San Elijo Lagoon will vastly reduce the amount of mosquitoes in the area as well, since they will have much less stagnant breeding area. A reduction in mosquito populations would prevent the spread of diseases as well as make the scenic area far more enjoyable for residents. The restoration plan also calls for the construction of trails to access the Lagoon for nature walks, bike rides, or bird watching.

    The San Elijo Lagoon restoration plan is not anticipated to receive much public scrutiny since it is similar to plans that have proven highly successful at lagoons in nearby communities.

     

     

    Keywords:
    water contamination, site assessments
  • MargaretThibo
    The European Union Could’ve, Wood’ve, Should’ve
    Entry posted Yesterday by MargaretThiboContributor in Current Environmental Issues > Current Environmental Issues Blog public
    Title:
    The European Union Could’ve, Wood’ve, Should’ve
    Entry:

    The European Union’s (EU) desire to improve its energy policies and prevent future climate change has in turn created an entirely new current environmental issue. The European Union’s fatal flaw occurred when it classified the burning of wood as a renewable resource. In 2001 the EU set a goal of reducing the amount of carbon emissions produced by 20% over the next thirteen years. The move toward using wood as a form of sustainable energy was a major piece in reaching that goal.

    There are several issues with treating wood as if it is a renewable resource, the most obvious being the mass deforestation that results.  With countries like Poland and Finland relying on wood burning for most of its energy production, the demand became too great for shrinking European forests. The solution became importing wood from the United States.  The majority of this wood comes from Southern states like the Carolinas and Georgia. Entire forests in the region are slashed for export. This exportation creates an entirely new environmental issue since additional energy is used and contaminates created in the transportation process.

    The decision to encourage the use of wood burning was the result of a series of underdeveloped research that stated that small younger trees offset more carbon than larger older trees. The European Union believed that they were helping the environment. They were not only replacing hazardous coal burning plants, but creating a new generation of healthy trees. More recent research has shown that young trees do not always consume more carbon than older trees. Once again, any difference in wood versus coal in carbon output becomes equalized once trees are cut down, processed, and shipped.  While it is true that technically trees and be re grown, classifying them as a renewable resource seems like a reach.

    Nations across Europe began offering huge incentives to convert coal burning plants to wood burning plants. Great Britain is offering three companies the equivalent of $912 million in subsidies to do so.  About 40% of German energy is generated from wood burning as well, although they have made many advances in solar energy.

    Since many nations have already undergone major conversions to burn wood for energy, environmental groups have suggested the burning of saw dust and wood pellets instead of whole trees.

     

     

    Keywords:
    current environmental issue, sustainable energy
  • Susan
    Subject site was a former print shop17
    Topic posted June 22, 2012 by SusanMember in Discussions > Environmental Due Diligence public
    Title:
    Subject site was a former print shop
    Content:

    I'm reviewing a Ph I ESA dated 1998.  The subject site was a "printing operations facility" that opened in 1955.  The site was listed as a SQG, but in compliance. The son of the founder of the facility was interviewd for this report, and the report says he " has worked at the site since 1958."

     

    The fact that the site opened up as a printing facility in the 1950's raises many red flags to me; however, no RECs were associated with the site and I am puzzled.  The report does state that "all chemicals and inks are stored in proper, well-marked contariners" w/no signs of leakage. The report also states that parts baths located at this building are owned and serviced by (name of 3rd party). All inks and roller wash are seprared and placed in 55-gallon drums that are manifested and disposed of by (same 3rd party). The report doesn't list any dates for these practices so it isn't clear if was ALWAYS that way (unlikly in the 50's-60's). 

    Can someone help shed some light on the fact that the subject site was a printing facility since the 50's and no RECs were identified. No reason was given one way of the other as to why.

     

    Thanks,

    Susan

  • Here2Learn
    Vadose Zone Monitoring Wells?1
    Topic posted August 26, 2014 by Here2LearnMember in Discussions > General public
    Title:
    Vadose Zone Monitoring Wells?
    Content:

    Lately, when we encounter adjoining or up-gradient properties with documented impacts to groundwater, we will install groundwater monitoring wells as well as vadose zone monitoring wells on our property. We sample the vadose zone wells, which are 10 feet deep (5 feet screened and 5' riser Tri-lock pipe) backfilled with sand and bentonite chips, with a photo ionization detector (PID). We will select the analyte from the gas library then sample the well in ppm's. Based on the results, we can use the data to create vapor instrusion model. Is this common practice? My supervisor came up with the plan but we have been using it on many projects now and I don't see others using this method. Is there a better way to do this? Should we not be using a PID? Thanks for any information.

     

    -Kyle

  • KCarter
    Fuel Oil AST6
    Topic posted August 25, 2014 by KCarterMember in Discussions > Environmental Due Diligence public
    Title:
    Fuel Oil AST
    Content:

    Would you consider a 250-gallon heating oil AST in a basement of a residential structure a REC? Note: It was reported in use from 1928 to 2005.  It has been empty since 2005.  Minimal staining on basement concrete floor.  Would you consider the possibility of contamination outside the residence around fill pipes due to possible spillage or over flow in the past 70 years?  

  • JMagdon
    "Fancy" on Sanborn Map2
    Topic posted September 27, 2012 by JMagdonMember in Discussions > Environmental Due Diligence public
    Title:
    "Fancy" on Sanborn Map
    Content:

    Does anyone know what the Sanborn designation "Fancy" means?  It's on a 1885 Sanborn Map.  Based on the operations currently and historically conducted in the building, it's likely a clothing store or eatery. 

  • ezhao
    Sanborn Help4
    Topic posted August 25, 2014 by ezhaoMember in Discussions > General public
    Title:
    Sanborn Help
    Content:

    Hello all,

    I have a Sanborn map from 1897 that depicts a residential property in Alameda.  There is a feature in the central portion that looks like "wind mill tank elevation 65'."   I'm not sure if I'm reading this correctly or if I need better glasses.  I would appreciate any help interpreting this feature.  Thank you very much!

     

       

    Image:
  • MargaretThibo
    Fracking's Fight For Fossil Fuels
    Entry posted August 25, 2014 by MargaretThiboContributor in Current Environmental Issues > Current Environmental Issues Blog public
    Title:
    Fracking's Fight For Fossil Fuels
    Entry:

    The hydraulic fracturing industry, better known as fracking, is relatively young, so it comes as no surprise that the environmental regulations surrounding the practice are also still developing. Currently approximately ten states mandate that if a fracking site plans on using diesel fuels, they must register on FracFocus an online database. They must also notify all surrounding neighbors of the usage in order to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

    One watchdog group, the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) recently discovered that 33 companies owning 351 wells were illegally using fossil fuels over a four year period. The fossil fuel use was not permitted and the use was not logged into the online registry. The EIP argues that fracking companies should not be in charge of both “self-reporting and self-policing.” Neither the federal or state governments are monitoring compliance with FracFocus. In fact, the EIP found that six companies made numerous changes in disclosure on the website.

    The companies being accused of making changes have credited them to coding errors during the submission process and not intentional. Fracking companies also blame issues regarding environmental compliance with changes made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The EPA officially clarified which chemicals were considered diesel fuels in 2014, but had categorized kerosene as a diesel fuel two years prior to that with the Toxic Substance Control Act. Fracking companies were then forced to cease the use of kerosene over time in order to comply. They claim that a lack of clarification made the change much slower than it would have been normally. They also blame the FracFocus changes on the EPA’s new standards.

    Fracking companies believe the Environmental Integrity Project’s study was unnecessary since the fracking industry is phasing out the use of diesel fuel all together. The EIP blasts these claims, listing 14 chemicals used in fracking that contain some amount of fossil fuels.

     

    Keywords:
    fracking, environmental regulations, environmental compliance
  • MargaretThibo
    Possible Asbestos Debris at Oregon Mill Fire Concerns...
    Entry last edited August 25, 2014 by MargaretThiboContributor in Current Environmental Issues > Current Environmental Issues Blog public
    Title:
    Possible Asbestos Debris at Oregon Mill Fire Concerns Neighbors
    Entry:

    A large plywood and veneer mill in Springfield, Oregon caught fire in mid July, completely destroying the factory. The fire is said to have begun in a veneer dryer but an official investigation could take over a year to be finalized. There were also reports of explosions due to propane and glue tanks. Luckily there were no reported injuries due to the fire.

    The large mill fire spread debris across many residential neighborhoods.  At least forty residents have reported debris in their yards.  Officials are concerned with the cleanup of debris since they discovered that the mill contained large amounts of asbestos in the roof as well as the insulation surrounding steam pipes. 

    The fire may have allowed some of the asbestos to become airborne, making exposure a health concern.  Once asbestos becomes airborne it can be inhaled and lead to serious issues like asbestosis, mesothelioma, and cancer.  Asbestos debris also remains completely intact once it does settle on the ground or in water creating contamination concerns.

    So far twenty-seven of the forty Springfield residencies have requested the debris be cleaned up. Additional cleanup efforts will have to be made in order to account for potential asbestos removal. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strict environmental regulations to follow when it comes to the removal of the hazardous material.

    The first responders as well as any employees that were on site during the fire face the most risk to asbestos exposure. Heavy fire smoke helps make asbestos fibers airborne and potentially harmful. Fire fighters are generally protected if they are wearing all of their gear correctly within 1,000 feet of the fire.  Obviously there is much room for unintentional error.

    The factory is considered a total loss and if rebuilt would take years to complete. The Swanson Group, the mill owners, is unsure whether they will rebuild or not. The company will make that decision once they find out what their insurance company will pay. In the meantime approximately 250 employees are without a job.

     

    Keywords:
    asbestos removal, environmental regulations, asbestos exposure