"I'm trying to anticipate and manage environmental issues related to a construction project, but I am having a hard time finding resources. What are some construction-related environmental issues I should keep an eye out for since this appears to be an overlooked area?"
Vapor Intrusion (VI) has become a routinely addressed environmental exposure issue within the past few years. Especially at sites where a spill of Tetrachloroethene (PERC) or Trichloroethylene (TCE) has occurred. Many state environmental agencies have provided guidance on dealing with VI issues, and now the US EPA has recently finalized their guidance for use at federal sites. In prior years, however, assessment of the VI exposure pathway was often excluded from a site's investigation and remediation process. Since VI was not really on the regulator's radar, many sites achieved closure without VI having been evaluated. As VI has become a routine part of environmental investigations, regulatory agencies are now beginning to reassess closed sites to see if VI exposure issues have been inadvertently missed. Very recently, it has been reported that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has joined other states in reopening closed sites that warrant further assessment for VI risk.
The willingness to view risk as part of daily life has vanished. A risk-averse mindset among environmental regulators engenders confusion between the ethics of intention and the ethics of consequence, leading to the elevation of the precautionary principle with unintended and often unfortunate outcomes. Environmental risk assessment is conservative, but the actual level of conservatism cannot be determined. High-end exposure assumptions and current toxicity criteria from the USEPA, based on linear extrapolation for carcinogens and default uncertainty factors for systemic toxicants, obscure the degree of conservatism in risk assessments. Ideally, one could choose a percentile of the target population to include within environmental standards, but this choice is complicated by the food, pharmaceutical and advertising industries, whose activities, inadvertent or not, often promote maladaptive and unhealthy lifestyle choices.
The fundamental, hard-fast goals of a subsurface remediation project are to stop any current human or ecological exposure; and to avoid any potential future human or ecological exposure. Here are some of the basic concepts and economic considerations used to determine effective site cleanup strategies to attain regulatory closure at contaminated sites.
Selecting an environmental consultant can be a daunting task and for small business owners that do not have day-to-day exposure with soil and groundwater contamination it's very difficult to know the difference between consultants. This article is meant to shed light on the differences between environmental consultants and to present the different methods for selecting an environmental consultant. It's my goal to show people that selecting the right consultant for your situation is a very important decision and should not be taken lightly. If a business person doesn't know that there are differences between environmental consultants, countless hours and dollars may be wasted, projects could drag on and site closure could be a distant glimmer.
The benefits of reducing health-care associated infections (HAIs) are well documented, impacting both the general health of a facility and its bottom line. According to the CDC, HAIs cost the healthcare system $37 to $45 billion annually and account for an estimated 1.7 million infections and 99,000 deaths.
The world of brownfield insurance (BI) was recently shocked to learn that AIG was non-renewing its site pollution liability (SPL) book of business. AIG's Pollution Legal Liability Select (PLLS) policy, issued in 1995, was environmental insurers' first response to the Brownfields Movement. It allowed them to modify previously restrictive and inflexible policies so that they could be used to facilitate transactions. The idea of the policy was that the insured would be able to "select" specific coverages out of a number of modules based on distinctions of time, location, and types of damage, for instance On Site Cleanup Costs due to Pre-Existing Pollution Conditions. However, in addition to this selection process, specific policies also need to be manuscripted or tailored to fit specific risks. They are negotiable contracts, and, as illustrated by most of the cases involving such policies over the last 10 or 15 years, need to be negotiated by coverage experts.
Vapor Intrusion, or VI, occurs when contamination beneath the ground emits toxic vapors that can travel through the soil and enter the interior spaces of houses and buildings. The types of contamination most commonly associated with VI concerns are industrial solvents like chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs), and petroleum products like gasoline. The Environmental Protection Agency just released final guidance on vapor intrusion issues, which regulates how inhalation exposures from VI are assessed and controlled.
Financial institutions require the completion of environmental due diligence of a commercial real estate collateralized lending transaction for many reasons. They may wish to understand the environmental condition of the proposed collateral and ensure a Borrower's compliance with applicable regulations prior to making a loan; to reevaluate the collateral during a renewal or refinance transaction; to determine the collateral's condition at the time of a loan default; or to obtain information about an unexpected environmental condition encountered within the loan term.
I read with interest the article by Ken Kaye on two scientist's challenge of other scientist's linking warmer oceans to more intense hurricanes (Sun-Sentinel page 1, December 13, 2007).