Fun Fact Friday: The Importance of Professional Guidance Through the Environmental Permitting Process

Fun Fact Friday: The Importance of Professional Guidance Through the Environmental Permitting Process

Many levels of government have their own sets of environmental regulations and permit requirements applicable to business owners, land developers, and more. On a federal level, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) operates to regulate environmental interactions across the country. On a state level, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) operates to preserve the environment in our state.

Compliance with environmental regulations is a critical component of operation in any industry. Not only are they often required in order for a business to legally operate, but in addition, many existing regulations serve to protect a business’s reputation and the health and safety of its workers. Additionally, in today’s society, where environmental responsibility is becoming a consumer consideration, being found in violation of regulations can be detrimental to business efforts as a result of consumer boycotts and slander.

The US EPA and the NYS DEC have three major State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) general permits required for activities associated stormwater discharges.

In the case of many industrial activities, a Multi-Sector General Permit for Stormwater Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities (MSGP) is required to address stormwater runoff. In order to obtain this permit, a facility must have Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) and monitor their activities as required per their industry to submit for annual reports to the DEC. Most SWPPPs are written documents describing the pollution prevention practices and activities to be implemented on the site for each major phase of the planned activity.

SWPPPs are also required to obtain a General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities. This permit is required for the undertaking of any construction activities which will disturb one of more acres of soil.

In urban areas a federal regulation known as Stormwater Phase II requires permits for stormwater discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). Any individual or corporation seeking a permit is required to have an adequately developed Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) and submit annual reports to the DEC.

Additionally, a State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR) is required in order for a government agency to approve permits or propose projects when environmental impacts are possible. This review is important in legally protecting the agency undertaking the project, as failure to comply with SEQR requirements allows citizens or groups who are able to demonstrate that they may be harmed by the failure to take legal action against the agency.

Most environmental permits have complex and dynamic processes both to fill the necessary requirements and to provide adequate documentation and verification to the appropriate government agency. These processes can be confusing and lengthy if undertaken without suitable knowledge, which can threaten a business’s ability to perform and earn revenue. This makes expert knowledge critical in successfully acquiring permits to get a facility up and running in a timely manner and allow businesses to operate efficiently, safely, and without hassle.

Encorus Group has a strong team of environmental professionals, including engineers, geologists, and technicians who are well versed in navigating various permitting and approval processes, creating SPCC and SWPPP plans, organizing SEQR and NEPA reviews, and completing designs and evaluations for Petroleum Bulk Storage and Chemical Bulk Storage Tanks. These individuals are highly capable and experienced at fulfilling environmental regulation requirements.

If you need environmental compliance or permitting assistance, contact Environmental Engineer Mary Padasak at (716) 592-3980 ext 144 or mpadasak@encorus.com.

Announcing….

Announcing….

Meet the MI Team – Nick Zwara

Meet the MI Team – Nick Zwara

Nick Zwara is a Mechanical Integrity Project Manager with a background in API pressure vessel, process piping, and storage tank inspections. His certifications include API 510 – Pressure Vessel Inspector, API 570 – Process Piping Inspector, API 653 – Storage Tank Inspector, and Steel Tank Institute – SP001 Certified Inspector. In his nearly ten years of experience in the field, Nick has served as project manager, customer point of contact, and lead API inspector for mechanical integrity inspections at SBHPP – Durez Canada, Praxair, and more.

Meet the MI Team – Pat Camillo

Meet the MI Team – Pat Camillo

Pasquale (Pat) Camillo is a Mechanical Integrity Project Manager for Encorus. He started his career as a drafter before moving into the mechanical integrity field, and now has a background in API and NACE inspections, as well as the evaluation of pressure vessels, process piping, and storage tanks.  Pat’s certifications include API 510 – Pressure Vessel Inspector, API 570 – Process Piping Inspector, API 653 – Storage Tank Inspector, Steel Tank Institute Certified Inspector, NACE CIP Level II Certified Inspector, and PA DEP Certified Storage Tank Inspector.  He is a Level II qualified technician Ultrasonic Testing, Liquid Penetrant Testing and Visual Testing. Mr. Camillo and the Encorus Team have recently used Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) for utility location at the West Valley Demonstration Project site and the Grand Island Wastewater Treatment Facility, performed API-570 Piping Analysis for a local client, and is the lead Mechanical Integrity Project Manager for Encorus Group’s work with Repsol Oil and Gas.  Call Pat at 716.592.3980, ext. 141 to find out how Encorus can find better solutions to your toughest problems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Facts About a Dry Subject: Determining Optimal Moisture Content in Soil

Fun Facts About a Dry Subject: Determining Optimal Moisture Content in Soil

DID YOU KNOW? #funfactfriday
Fun Facts About a Dry Subject: Determining Optimal Moisture Content in Soil

The Fun Fact Friday post for this week will concentrate on one of the services offered by our Civil Materials Testing Group, Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Modified Effort.

This standard laboratory test is referred to as a Proctor test (named after its creator, Ralph R. Proctor) and was developed to evaluate a soil’s moisture density relationship under a specified compaction effort. The test includes dropping a rammer onto the layers of soil to produce a level of compaction that will determine its correlation between the molding water content and dry unit weight of the soil.

A soil sample that has a specific molding water content, which is the amount of water in the soil after it has been subject to compaction, is separated into five layers and then placed in a single mold. Each layer of the soil is packed down by a rammer with a total compactive value of 56,000 ft-lbf-ft3. This compactive effort removes the water from the soil sample. The dry soil is then weighed, and the results become the dry unit weight.

This procedure of determining the dry unit weight is repeated with a number of soil samples from the same location to determine the relationship between the molding water content and the dry unit weight. The results from these tests are plotted to form a curve, known as the compaction curve.

An approximate visualization of optimum soil moisture can be found by squeezing soil into a lump that will stick together, yet break cleanly into two sections when “bent”.

The compaction process is important when soil is to be used as engineering fill. Proper compaction is necessary for the soil to maintain acceptable engineering properties such as shear strength, compressibility, and permeability when used for foundations, embankments, or bases. Compacting soil increases load capacity and stability, prevents settlement of the soils or damage from front, and reduces water seepage, expansion, and heaving. If compaction is not performed properly, failure of the pavement or structure may eventually occur.

The dry unit weight number that is obtained from this method of testing is used to conduct In – Place Density Testing by Nuclear Methods, which will be the topic of the next Fun Fact Friday post.

If you are in need of Laboratory Compaction Characteristics of Soil Using Modified Effort services, contact Civil Laboratory Supervisor Jeremy Lake at jlake@encorus.com or (716) 592-3980 x133.

 

 

Fun Fact Friday: Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys

DID YOU KNOW? #funfactfriday

Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys

This week, our Fun Fact Friday post will focus on Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys. The purpose of these surveys is to determine where improvements need to be made to increase energy efficiency.

Large buildings transfer heat throughout the facility using a steam transport system. This steam can be used for any task that may require the use of heat, such as heating the building through radiators and making hot water. Steam is made by heating water to its boiling point. It is then transported from the boiler through pipes to other areas of the building. As the steam is transported through the pipes, some of it cools and condenses into water. Small devices that open when they sense water, called steam traps, are utilized to remove the condensate water from the pipes to keep the system running effectively.

Hundreds of steam traps could be present in a steam transport system for a large building. Occasionally, the steam traps malfunction and do not remove the condensate from the system. This occurs when the steam traps do not sense the return of steam and fail to close, losing the steam produced to the condensation collection system.

The same loss of energy can stem from poorly insulated piping. When a building has poorly insulated piping, it requires an increased production of steam to heat the building as compared to the amount of steam it would take if the pipes were properly insulated.

Both malfunctioning steam traps and poorly insulated piping cause the system to lose heat. This situation also leads to a loss of money. Energy is purchased and used to heat the boiler, which then produces steam to heat the building. When a building needs more heat, the boiler has to produce more steam, which means that it needs more energy to heat the water. This can become an issue in the colder months, when heat is necessary to keep other pipes from freezing. If the problem with either the steam traps or piping insulation can be identified and fixed, the facility can reduce its steam consumption, thus reducing overall energy costs.

Encorus Group offers inspection services for steam traps and piping insulation, as well as energy efficiency studies. Encorus recently performed steam trap and insulation surveys at the Buffalo and Batavia VA Medical Centers to determine the amount of steam which was being wasted, and then prepared an energy efficiency study to show how much money could be saved if the issues were corrected.

Are you in need of Steam Trap and Insulation Surveys? Contact Director of Mechanical Integrity Keith Taylor by phone at (716) 592-3980 ext 143, or via email at ktaylor@encorus.com.

Tune in next Friday for more fun facts about Encorus Group’s wide variety of services!