Client Spotlight: Prem Neupane, Program Manager with Apex Companies, LLC

Prem NeupaneAs an experienced Program Manager with Apex Companies, LLC, a leading environmental services firm and valued Land Science® client, Prem Neupane has an ongoing appreciation for seeing firsthand how his efforts and those of Apex can make a difference in site cleanup. “When I compare the before and after activities at the remediation site,” he says, “Especially those in the State Voluntary Cleanup Program, Brownfield program and sites located in urban areas, our project work continues to provide me with great satisfaction.” With 18 years of experience at Apex, first as an Environmental Scientist, then as a Project Manager and now as a Program Manager, Neupane has been involved in a diverse range of remediation projects. In his current role, he manages several clients, participates in business development, and manages all aspects of his project work-  from initiation to close-out.  He shares, “I like interacting with clients, our trusted vendors and suppliers/lab, and fellow Apexians, and ultimately finding the optimum solutions for environmental remediation problems.” Prior to joining Apex, Neupane performed a year-long internship with the USGS in Dover, DE working on the Air Force Base projects. To prepare for a career in environmental science he earned a BS in Environmental Science from Troy University, followed by a MS in Science and Water Resources at Miami University in Ohio. He continues, “I became interested in the environmental field during high school.  After completing my undergrad studies at Troy University, I went straight to graduate school to further enhance my knowledge on environmental issues.  While working on my Master of Science at Miami University, I was able to take a few advance level courses in contamination, and shifted my focus toward environmental characterization and remediation. Aside from seeing projects through to fruition, it’s the interdisciplinary nature of this field that interests me the most.”

With nearly 20 years of experience in the environmental industry, Neupane takes great pride in his work, while continuing to focus on the company’s long-term goals, which include the practice of utilizing sustainable remediation technologies. He continues, “At Apex, our plans are to strategically grow the company by harnessing the power of innovation, especially in the use of green remediation. We continually invest in leading-edge, sustainable remediation technologies and in remediation experts who can develop and deploy them. Beyond our use of evaporative desorption technology (EDT),  ex-situ on-site bioremediation, cryogenic vapor treatment technology (CVTT), and remote station soil vapor extraction (SVE) – which are just a few ways we help our clients move to more effective results –we plan to adopt and deliver more efficient, practical, and sensible remedial strategies that continue to benefit our clients and communities.” When it comes to working with Land Science®, he continues to be impressed with their client service, responsiveness, and their ability to provide assistance with product recommendations that fit a variety of challenges and situations. He points out that on a recent project, and on short notice, Land Science® met the Apex team at the job site to discuss solutions for an existing issue. As for which Land Science® products Apex uses, two come to mind. He shares, “Geo-Seal® and Retro-Coat™ vapor intrusion coating are those we have used the most. However, we are open to the new products Land Science® has rolled out recently. Geo-Seal® is a composite vapor intrusion barrier system that consists of chemical resistance high density polyethylene (HDPE) and spray applied asphalt latex.  It is ideal for installation on new construction. Retro-Coat™ consists of chemically resistant material that is applied to existing structures to prevent potential vapor intrusion risks.  I like them both because they are relatively easy to apply, are compatible and effective with VOCs from petroleum as well as chlorinated solvents sources, and they are very popular and well liked by regulators.”

When asked about the future of environmental remediation, including trends on the horizon, Neupane points to advancements in technology that enable more accurate targeting of contamination in subsurface and faster analysis. He also expects to see more cost-effective solutions, greener cleanups and green remediation to minimize the environmental “footprint” of remediation activities, emerging contaminants, and vapor intrusion solutions. He notes that the EPA describes green remediation as “The practice of considering all environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporating options to maximize net environmental benefit of cleanup actions.”  He continues, “Some local and state regulatory agencies, such as the Department of Energy & Environment (DOEE) in Washington, DC, are encouraging responsible parties to consider and report green remediation strategies for remediation sites.  Green remediation allows us to reduce the environmental footprint of a cleanup project.” To stay abreast of emerging technologies and trends, Neupane regularly attends seminars and training modules, and participates in webinars offered by remediation industries and coalitions, such as those offered by the Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC). He shares a recent example of a training seminar he attended in May of last year, “I attended Vapor Intrusion (VI) & Soil Gas Training provided by Dr. Blayne Hartman of Hartman Environmental Geoscience, at Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago.  The training was very informational and covered the latest in regulatory, assessment, sampling, analysis and mitigation, as well as legal considerations.” When prompted about the most challenging aspect of his work, he feels accounting for project uncertainties and including contingencies to complete the remediation work on budget and on time can be difficult. “Weather can also be a challenge sometimes,” he says, “Especially with large scale water related projects during winter months.”

Currently residing in Chicago, with his wife and daughter, Neupane works out of Apex’s downtown Chicago office, and frequently travels to the company’s Washington, D.C. region for project work and meetings. In his free time, he enjoys hiking, biking, and visiting new places with his family. He shares, “Having grown up in Nepal, I was always drawn to the beauty of the Himalayas.  I visit Nepal and try to hit the hiking trails there whenever possible.  I was in Nepal just this past October with the family and did some hiking near Mt. Annapurna (10th tallest mountain). Whenever I travel to a new place I seek out nearby hiking/biking trails.” And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes by emphasizing the potential long-term contributions that his profession makes possible.  “Remind those who may be interested that they can make a positive impact on human health and the environment. Look at the bigger picture and think of your contribution to future generations.”

Land Science® is proud to have Prem Neupane, Project Manager for Apex Companies, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his expert knowledge and experience in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science® and its clients.

Industry Expert Spotlight: Blayne Hartman PhD, President of Hartman Environmental Geoscience

Blayne Hartman PhDAs a nationally recognized expert on soil vapor sampling, soil vapor analysis, and vapor intrusion, Blayne Hartman, Ph.D. and President of Hartman Environmental Geoscience, a valued Land Science® client, continues to leverage his nearly 40 years of experience to provide solution leadership on soil gas methods and vapor intrusion to regulatory agencies in over 35 states, and counting. Prior to forming Hartman Environmental Geoscience nearly 10 years ago, he specialized in training County and State regulatory agencies across the U.S., and many of the USEPA regions, the U.S. Department of Defense, and numerous stakeholder groups and consultants.  Although he has amassed diverse experience in a specialized field, he is currently focusing his efforts on indoor air testing. He shares, “I currently do indoor air testing around the country using high-resolution, real-time analyzers.  Over the years I’ve developed expertise in the testing of vapors for a suite of volatile compounds that the EPA has strict regulations on.” To prepare for a career centered around making an impact on our earth’s environment, Hartman earned his Ph.D. in Geology, Geochemistry, and Oceanography from the University of Southern California, (USC) and preceded that with a Masters in Earth Sciences, also from USC. He began his university studies at Clarkson University, in Potsdam, New York, where he received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, after developing an interest in earth sciences while in high school. He continues, “Early on I went to work for Union Oil Company in Brea, CA.  Based upon my background, they assigned me to the dissolved ocean seepage project, which they were looking into at the time.  I saw an opportunity to offer this service to other oil companies, so I opened my own business in 1988 offering this service and other ocean-related services, such as coring.  Oceanography was a tough and risky business back then, so I decided to move into the environmental business in 1990, offering on-site analysis.”

To stay abreast of new industry trends and emerging technology, Hartman teaches continuing education courses around the country and in several countries. This year his instruction included a course titled, Vapor Intrusion Pathway, in conjunction with Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago at Argonne’s Conference Center. The course covered the latest regulatory updates (State & Federal), provided a review and updates on assessment and mitigation methods, and provided a refresher on key topics relating to the VI risk pathway. When asked how he’s seen the industry change over the years, he points to the advancements made in data resolution and real-time data delivery. He shares, “The biggest change I’ve seen in the industry is the embrace of high-resolution data and real-time data telemetry.  20 to 30 years ago we would collect soil samples at 5-foot depth intervals at pre-determined locations on a site, send them to a lab, wait a week or two for results and then figure out what to do next.  Now, we are collecting continuous data through the soil column, getting real-time results and beaming the data to a person’s desk enabling real-time decisions on what to do next while the crews are still in the field. The same is true with indoor air sampling. Rather than collect a few discrete samples and sending to a lab, we are analyzing continuously with automated instruments and sending the data to the web in real-time.”

When it comes to working with Land Science®, Hartman appreciates and enjoys the level of interfacing he receives, which has led to building strong relationships. “Although I really don’t work with Land Science® directly,” he says, “I do get involved with the executive team.  I’ve had a relationship with Land Science® for over 10 years now and I know all their principals. The biggest mutual benefit we both receive from the relationship is exposure. They have a strong marketing presence and client database that I do not have, and I have a reputation in the vapor “world” that brings exposure to them.” When asked what he enjoys most about his work, he points to the satisfaction he receives from assisting clients in overcoming significant challenges. He shares, “Helping people out of predicaments can be very satisfying.  In the environmental business, we are generally more like grim reapers than heroes.  I often say to my clients, ‘Hopefully you won’t see me again.’  So, it’s very rewarding when I get a client out of a jam quickly and inexpensively.”

Married and residing in Solana Beach, CA, Hartman has two children and one stepdaughter. His son works with him and has steadily gained experience. He continues, “He has become my field chemist. In 2019 alone, he has completed field jobs in Belgium, Boston, Vermont, Seattle, Portland, OR, Indianapolis, Michigan, and numerous jobs all around CA.  I couldn’t handle this by myself, and I’m now getting him involved in the business development side of things.” Outside of his work, Hartman enjoys various outdoor activities, and he’s been playing handball for over 40 years. “I do all kinds of things outdoors,” he says, “I’ve waterskied the Colorado River, am a small plane pilot, enjoy snow skiing and backpacking, and have also river-rafted the Grand Canyon twice. As you can probably sense, I love being outdoors, and my earth sciences background translates into wanting to be outside, since the outdoors is the laboratory for geologists and oceanographers.” And what does he see the future holds in environmental assessment? He concludes, “The future will bring more real-time, higher resolution analysis streamed to the internet for rapid decision-making. Like everything in life, real-time information is the present and the future.  Just look at people on their cell phones- constantly engaged, accessing real-time information.  The same is happening in the environmental field.  More data enables better understanding of the situation, and real-time data enables faster decisions, which in turn, saves time and expense.”

Land Science® is proud to have Blayne Hartman, President of Hartman Environmental Geoscience, as a valued client and partner in environmental assessment, and appreciates his highly specialized experience and knowledge base in providing successful outcomes for Land Science® and its clients.

Client Spotlight: Ron Carroll, Owner and Managing Principal of ATON LLC

Ron CarrollFor Ron Carroll, owner and Managing Principal of ATON LLC, an environmental consulting and engineering firm and valued Land Science® client, choosing a career in environmental remediation was both a personal and professional choice. That’s because when he was younger, Mr. Carroll lived near and had friends who were impacted by the Times Beach dioxin cleanup project in the St. Louis area. As a result of toxic chemicals being mixed with oil and applied to roads for dust control, a massive cleanup was initiated in a small town in St. Louis County. Consequently, the EPA ended up buying many of the homes within the town to facilitate an effective cleanup in the area. Understandably, this environmental hazard and subsequent remediation project left an indelible impression on Mr. Carroll, and he eventually pursued and earned a B.S. in Environmental and Hazardous Materials Management, and a B.A. in Biology, from the University of Findlay. In addition to his university degrees, he also became a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager and Certified Industrial Hygienist. His university studies and professional work experience that followed would eventually culminate in forming ATON, where he oversees the firm’s business activities. He shares, “I’m responsible for managing our environmental, health and safety consulting work, and all administrative operations.  I also conduct and oversee site inspections, multi-media sampling, coordination and negotiation with regulatory agencies, facility decommissioning, demolition, and regulatory reporting.” Prior to forming ATON eight years ago, Mr. Carroll held management positions with a national due diligence and real estate assessment company performing environmental, building sciences, and valuation services; and a national environmental engineering consulting firm that provided site investigation, industrial hygiene, remediation, and regulatory compliance services.

When asked what he likes most about his work, Mr. Carroll points to the benefits that result from consistent teamwork. He continues, “I enjoy interacting on a daily basis with our employees and clients to find sound technical solutions to challenging problems. I also take satisfaction as a mentor to technical staff and as a trusted advisor to our clients in the commercial and industrial sectors.” And the most challenging aspect of his work? “Keeping track of ever-changing regulations and how those regulations affect our business and our clients’ business. While it can be challenging, we feel we’re well-equipped. We’re looking to continue our growth organically by adding key technical staff and expanding geographically. We also see the redevelopment of brownfields as a significant growth area for the company.” When it comes to working with Land Science, Mr. Carroll appreciates the combination of innovative solutions and service ATON receives on a consistent basis. He continues, “Land Science continues to provide a quality product with seamless technical expertise, and this helps in the design and implementation phases of our remedial work. We were recently involved in the relocation and development of a large scale, commercial laundry operation in the St. Louis region that involved the construction of a building over a former chemical plant that is highly regulated by the EPA. The success of the redevelopment using Land Science products led to the continued development of industrial warehouse space near the former plant. In essence, the Land Science solutions form a complete package that typically exceeds our design specifications.”

Residing in St. Louis, with his wife and two children, Mr. Carroll likes to spend his free time with his family, enjoying the outdoors, traveling, and attending various sporting events. “We have a great baseball team, the St. Louis Cardinals,” he says, “and the Stanley Cup hockey champs, the St. Louis Blues.” He also finds time to give back to his community as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity. To stay abreast of emerging trends and new technologies, ATON offers all its employees continuing education and technical training for environmental, health & safety (EHS) consulting and remediation work. When asked how he he’s seen the industry change, his focus turns to the advancements made possible through innovation. He continues, “We’ve seen technical innovation working its way into what historically has been a labor-intensive industry. In the past we’ve relied on field sample collection and off-site analysis for environmental contaminants. More recently, we’re able to use smaller and lighter field instruments to detect and analyze contaminant concentrations without having to send samples to a laboratory. In addition, innovations in data collection and management have allowed us to compile data and issue reports much quicker, which in turn allows our clients to make more informed and faster decisions on tight timeframes.” Asked what he sees the future holds for environmental remediation, he feels the consulting side of the business will continue to grow. He shares, “We see the traditional EHS consulting field continuing with strong growth. The environmental remediation industry also continues to grow through local, state, and national brownfield development initiatives.” And how would he encourage others to join his field of study? He concludes, “Education and training in STEM are keys to our success and growth. I would encourage others interested in science and the environmental field to become STEM practitioners and supporters as a way to enter this industry.”

Land Science is proud to have Ron Carroll, Managing Principal of ATON, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his vast experience and knowledge base in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.

Four Facts You Should Know About Vapor Intrusion

Vapor intrusion is the migration of vapor-phase contaminant chemicals from a subsurface source in an overlaying building or structure. The objective of many vapor intrusion investigation professionals is to be able to detect possible pathways for contaminant vapors and their location within the building or structure. Understanding the potential pathways helps to identify risks. A solid understanding of potential pathways informs the client selling the building to potential tenants, who need to be able to live and function within the building without exposure to health risks. Here are four key things to know about vapor intrusion.

It’s A Process

Number one, vapor intrusion investigation and mitigation is a process. Vapor intrusion science requires in-depth investigation. It is not a field which requires only one test to say whether a building does or does not have vapor intrusion. In-depth investigation includes options based on the site and its environment. The in-depth investigation must determine what type of gases are emitting through the cracks, where the origin and the major intrusion pathway are  located. Additionally, the consultant’s next step is contacting the local government environmental representative to confirm the state’s regulatory guidelines and to receive approvals for developing the site. Even after all the preparation work and investigations, the environmental consultant will have to develop a design to cover the exact needs of the site. There is no quick way to handle vapor intrusion. Each site must be evaluated thoroughly to move onto the next step to mitigate the effects of the vapor intrusion.

Recognize Outside Factors

Though thorough investigation is necessary to get an accurate reading of the site, the results may not be complete. At times investigations or screenings of a site will pick up additional vapors from the testing area or concentrated in one single area to indicate contaminants present. These readings could be caused by a number of factors, even common household appliances on site. For example, if an industrial adhesive product like E6000 glue is located anywhere in the screening area, there will be a significant increase in TCE indicated in the testing, which would easily skew the readings. So, Before any screening can be performed on site, investigators should go through the site with a close eye looking for indoor VOC sources, like paints, cleaning supplies, or insecticides. For more information, visit the EPA’s website regarding the specific materials to look for in a site, along with other information to address VOC concerns is a great resource: https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/volatile-organic-compounds-impact-indoor-air-quality.

In a webinar with Land Science, and the Compound Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA) Lab Director of Microbial Insights provides some tools to help distinguish whether the source of vapor-contaminated indoor air originates from the buildings subsurface or an indoor source.

There are other uncontrolled factors that could contribute to excessive readings, including spatial and temporal variability. Some examples of spatial variability factors to consider are soil types like gravel or sand, bedrock fractures, oxygen distribution in the soil, subsurface building structures and even surface features like pavement or water features. Each of these examples either provide a clear path for VOCs to reach the site or the groundwater or affect how quickly VOCs could reach the site. Examples of temporal variability include: wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, temperature inside or outside, precipitation, and ambient contaminants. These variables can affect how the screenings read the concentrations of VOCs at the site.

Solutions Are Site Dependent

Vapor mitigation professionals are also tasked with developing a solution based on the site’s conditions along with the state/federal regulations. Each site is different, so vapor mitigation often cannot be based on a plan used at a former site with similar conditions. The investigations unveil all the aspects of a site that determine what the remediation plan will be, including: soil types, weather patterns, gas distributions, subsurface conditions, as well as site goals and budget. Each one of these factors can impact the design of a vapor mitigation system, and each factor can yield different results.

Land Science is comprised of a team of vapor intrusion mitigation professionals who have the technical expertise and industry experience to make the most effective recommendations for our clients. Couple that with a range of innovative technologies that address a variety of site types, and the result is industry-leading vapor intrusion solutions that help public safety.

It’s a Growing and an Evolving Science

The final key idea behind vapor intrusion science that everyone should know, it is a growing and an evolving science. The reason vapor intrusion science came into existence was because of the avid use of VOCs—volatile organic compounds–as root zone fumigants and other applications in the 1950s. Surveys of landfill gas and radon exposure in the 1960s lead to the discovery of vapor intrusion in the late 1970s and was found to affect indoor air quality at heavily contaminated sites, which brought the full scope of regulatory attention.

However, at this point, scientists and regulators dismissed the concerns to homeowners due to the processes of dilution and attenuation as well as the ambiguous exposure standards and the fact that most vapor intrusion was found at major former industrial sites. Consequently, scientists began finding vapor intrusion inside residential homes and decided to facilitate public education by going door-to-door and providing information on the issue of vapor intrusion.

The increase in public awareness resulted in a rise of attention and studies regarding vapor intrusion through the 1990s to the 2000s, pushing states to start developing vapor intrusion protocols and ultimately causing the EPA to publish “Guidance for Evaluating the Vapor Intrusion to Indoor Air Pathway from Groundwater & Soils.” Today 42 states have developed their own regulation system for vapor intrusion and the other 8 follow the EPA’s regulation system or deal with vapor intrusion on a case-by-case basis. The history of vapor intrusion has expanded over decades; from the introduction of VOCs in the 50s to the development of a national regulation standards in the 2000s, vapor intrusion science has gone through many changes and continues to develop. Those who work in the field of vapor intrusion must expect continuous changes, whether it be through regulation,  techniques, or emerging science on its effects.

This evolution has caused remediation companies notice and respond to the demand and serves to further develop the technology. For instance, Land Science, a division of REGENESIS® and a global leader of advanced vapor intrusion mitigation technologies, recently introduced TerraShield – a cutting-edge remediation technology which provides superior chemical resistance over any vapor barrier on the market today. Land Science also offers a full-suite of vapor intrusion barrier systems including Nitra-Seal, a proven vapor barrier system now improved with nitrile; and MonoShield, a chemically resistant and easy-to-apply barrier specifically designed as a preemptive solution for vapor intrusion at brownfield redevelopment sites and Retro-Coat, a chemically resistant vapor barrier coating system to properly protect existing structures from the threat of contaminant vapor intrusion . With solutions like TerraShield, Nitra-Seal, MonoShield and Retro-Coat being made available to vapor intrusion mitigation industry, this field is now poised to address the needs created by an increasingly demanding regulatory landscape.

Client Spotlight: Matt Ambrusch, Environmental Project Manager for Langan Engineering and Environmental Services

Matt Ambrusch LanganWhen it comes to playing a part in cleaning up the environment, Matt Ambrusch, Environmental Project Manager for Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc., a valued Land Science® client, realizes he has a responsibility to help ensure healthy and safe communities. Focused on designing, implementing, operating, and optimizing remediation systems, Ambrusch feels he is doing his part to help provide sustainable remedies to address today’s contaminated environments. He shares, “No site is ever the same and every day brings a new and interesting challenge.”  During his seven years at Langan, he has progressed from Staff Environmental Engineer, to Senior Staff Environmental Engineer, and now his current position, as Project Manager. Throughout his career, Ambrusch has made significant contributions to the success of his clients and their projects, particularly in the field of pneumatic technologies. He continues, “My personal focus has been on pneumatic solutions that include air sparging, soil vapor extraction, multi-phase extraction, vapor mitigation, and even methane mitigation and collection. I also help lead the charge to develop and grow our two-dimensional and three-dimensional pneumatic modeling practice. These models allow us the ability to better predict system performance under both existing and future site conditions, and ultimately design a more effective and efficient pneumatic-based remedial system.”

Like many of his peers who work and thrive in the environmental remediation industry, Ambrusch’s interest in the environment began early in life. He continues, “What started out as a desire to always be outside as a kid, grew into a passion for environmental science after taking an environmental studies course during my senior year of high school. I also had an aptitude for math, and recognized that with the applicable college major, a career in environmental engineering just made sense.”  His university studies culminated with a BS in Bioenvironmental Engineering from Rutgers University and later an MBA in Strategy and Leadership from Rutgers Business School. He is also a licensed professional engineer in the State of New Jersey. When he joined Langan early in his career, it did not take long for Ambrusch to develop an appreciation for the firm’s high level of expertise and client service, and the goals that Langan has set for itself. He shares, “Langan has always been focused on technical excellence, practical experience, and client responsiveness. Whatever we do as a company, these values continue to be paramount to our success.  As national and state regulations become more stringent, and new contaminants of concern come into focus, we look to position ourselves effectively so that we can continue to provide our clients innovative, proven, and cost-efficient solutions.  This includes continuing to expand our landfill redevelopment practice. As a team, we are also working on expanding our in-house treatability study and pilot test capabilities.”

When it comes to working with Land Science®, Ambrusch appreciates the industry-leading solutions and rapid response he receives on a consistent basis. “Simply put,” he says, “Land Science® provides cutting- edge technologies and is extremely responsive.” Ambrusch continues, “I work on a lot of redevelopment projects requiring vapor mitigation – these projects are fast paced and require effective cost-competitive solutions.  Land Science® understand the needs required with these types of projects and continues to innovate in an effort to make vapor mitigation products more effective and cost efficient.”  He also appreciates the level of service and customization offered by Land Science®. He adds, “I am heavily involved in the design and implementation of vapor mitigation systems for redevelopment projects.  As such, we often look to Land Science® for innovative vapor barrier materials or application methods that fit the site-specific needs of the project.”

Asked what he thinks the future holds for environmental remediation, Ambrusch feels a focus on sustainable remedies is where the industry is heading. He shares, “Other than emerging contaminants, which everyone is talking about, I see a push for more sustainable remedies.” Ambrusch goes on to say, “The intent of effective remediation is to improve human health and the environment, and we need to be aware of the potential negative impacts the remedial activities we are implementing on one site may have on another. We also need to consider the economical and societal pros and cons of a proposed remedial strategy, both on and offsite.”

Residing in Rockaway, New Jersey with his wife Riley, over the years Ambrusch has worked out of Langan’s Lawrenceville and Elmwood Park (now Parsippany NJ) offices. In his free time, he enjoys the outdoors, and is an avid golfer and snowboarder. He also finds time to provide his expertise to assist the Sustainable Remediation Forum (SURF) and serves as the current President. When asked what he enjoys most about his work, he points to the difference he can make for both our planet and those of us who inhabit it. He shares, “I get a great deal of satisfaction designing and implementing a remedial or mitigation system and see it positively impact the environment.”

Land Science® is proud to have Matt Ambrusch, Environmental Project Manager for Langan Engineering and Environmental Services, Inc., as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his expertise and ongoing efforts in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science® and its clients.

Client Spotlight: Dan Matz, Environmental Engineer at Bunnell Lammons Engineering, Inc.

Dan Matz Bunnell LammonsFor Dan Matz, a career in environmental remediation provides the ideal combination of variety and pace to keep him both energized and challenged. As an Environmental Engineer at Bunnell Lammons Engineering, Inc., a leading environmental and geotechnical engineering firm and valued Land Science® client, Matz plays a key role in a broad range of the firm’s environmental services. “My primary responsibilities are Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments and Brownfield redevelopment projects,” he shares. “We commonly call these our ‘Due Diligence Services’ because they are designed to better inform clients about a property prior to the acquisition of it.”  The diversity of his work, along with the demands of short due diligence periods can be challenging, but that’s just what keeps Matz moving at full speed. He shares, “Working in the field of environmental remediation is very gratifying.”

As someone with a love for the outdoors since childhood, Matz wasn’t surprised when that passion led him to focus his university studies in environmental engineering, where he earned his B.S. in Physics of the Environment at Furman University.  He continues, “I developed my own major, and tailored it toward an engineering degree. My degree was a combination of physics, math, and environmental science.”  He followed his undergraduate degree by earning a Master of Engineering in Environmental Engineering and Science from Clemson University. He then joined Bunnell Lammons Engineering, Inc., where he’s served since 2008, first as an Environmental Engineering Associate before being promoted to Environmental Engineer.

To stay current with industry trends and technology, he attends multiple conferences per year, and participates in webinar trainings and “lunch and learns” at the office. He adds, “I try to focus my continuing education on vapor migration, groundwater and vapor remedial techniques, and Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS/PFOAs) .”  Suffice to say, he thoroughly enjoys what he’s doing, and takes pride in knowing he’s making a positive impact in the community. He shares, “I like the quick turnaround time on projects. When environmental concerns arise, it is exciting to determine the best solution for the client to move forward with the transaction, whether it is a Brownfields agreement with the state or some other avenue of environmental protection. It is rewarding to work on real world environmental problems and help my clients determine solutions to mitigate risk, keeping in mind their project schedule and budget.”

When it comes to working with Land Science®, Matz appreciates the timely response and level of expertise he receives. He shares, “Land Science® is responsive. You ask a question of a Project Manager and they answer it quickly and thoroughly. They provide support on VI design, install, etc., which makes my job as an engineer easier in support of my clients. They are industry leaders and have the solutions to the problems we face.” He currently has four projects with Land Science®– two Retro-Coat™ applications and two Geo-Seal® applications.  “The support and assistance they have provided on each of these projects is remarkable, and we have a good working relationship with them,” he says. About specific Land Science® products and solutions, he says Geo-Seal®, Retro-Coat™, and Vapor-Vent are all used in various ways, depending on the site requirements.

When asked about the future goals of Bunnell Lammons Engineering, Inc., Matz says continued growth and providing superior service are always at the top. Currently, the firm has more than 125 employees between its various divisions: environmental engineering and consulting, geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, transportation services, and solid waste services.

Residing in the Greenville/Spartanburg, South Carolina area, where he works out of the company’s Greenville office, Matz and his wife Laura, have two young children, Ryan, age 4, and Erin, six months. In his free time, Dan can be found out on the nearby roads, training for his next half marathon or triathlon. Additionally, Dan and his family enjoy rooting on their favorite football team, the Clemson Tigers.

When asked what he sees the future holds for environmental remediation, he says PFAs and PFOAs are garnering a great deal of attention. He continues, “There is a lot of talk about these emerging contaminants, but we will see where it goes. If more regulatory agencies start to develop action levels, it could become a BIG issue in years to come. The science is relatively new, and there are a great deal of discoveries to come in future.”

And what is it he likes most about his work? “Helping clients solve their environmental problems and allowing them to purchase and redevelop properties that otherwise might sit vacant and underutilized.”

When prompted to share how he would encourage others to join in his field of study, he again points out the quick cadence his work entails, and the satisfaction of helping clients. He concludes, “I tell people interested in the field the industry is a fun, fast paced work environment. It is exciting to work on a variety of projects and provide clients with solutions.”

Land Science is proud to have Dan Matz, an Environmental Engineer at Bunnell Lammons Engineering, Inc., as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and appreciates his expertise and thorough approach in providing successful remediation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.

Opportunity Zones: The Basics

The talk of “Opportunity Zones” seems to be growing with each passing month,  though there is not a lot of information available. Opportunity Zones are a great way to not only receive tax benefits, but help better economically stressed communities in the process. This article helps acquaint those unaware of Opportunity Zones with how they work, and what makes them so important for the future of redevelopment efforts across the US.

Hazel Park
Hazel Park in Michigan is an opportunity zone site that used a preemptive vapor barrier, MonoShield to protect against environmental issues. Hazel Park is benefiting from a new development, which will stimulate jobs, promoting growth within their city.

What is an Opportunity Zone?

In 2017, Congress established the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to aid economically strained communities by turning designated areas into a potential real estate investment. By using private investment funds, the communities would benefit from economic growth while investors would receive tax benefits by re-investing their unused capital gains into Opportunity Funds. Today, up to 25% of low-income neighborhoods  qualify, in a state, territory, or district are eligible for qualification. Once an Opportunity Zone is created in a certified area, it holds onto that title for 10 years until it is time for the zones to be re-evaluated.

Investing in an Opportunity Zone

If planning to invest in an Opportunity Zone, there are a few requirements that should be taken into consideration. As an example, with a real estate investment, there are certain restrictions put in place to ensure that the property in question is, in fact, bettering the community. For these real estate investments, properties can be either built or remodeled. It must be known though, that if an investor is choosing to remodel, there is a minimum on how much the investor must invest in the project. Say you, as the investor, bought a pre-existing building for $2 million and only wanted to upgrade/remodel it, in order to comply with the Opportunity Zone rules, you would need to spend at least $2 million and 1 dollars. An investor must put more into the project more than the amount they purchased it for – even it that means the investment is only $1 more than the purchase price.

opportunity zone
In order for a site to qualify for the opportunity zone program, it must bring value to the community.

It is also essential that investors note there are “right” and “wrong” types of investments, especially when it comes to real estate. As an example, the “wrong” investments are those that are not much use to community, with examples such as country clubs, luxury housing, gambling facilities, and liquor stores. Keep in mind, communities where Opportunity Zones are located are those with greater financial hardships. The examples provided either create greater financial burden for the residents of the community or are of no use to them. The goal of the Opportunity Zone project is to improve and bring wealth to low-income communities, not to bring in establishments that can do them more harm than good.

The “Right” Investments – Real Estate Example

It is essential when choosing a real estate investment to keep in mind the question of “is this bettering the community”? Great opportunities can come in the form of business parks and warehouses, due to their ability to generate job growth. In 2015, Ashley Capital began a project to turn Hazel Park Raceway, a horse track in Hazel Park, Michigan, into industrial offices and warehouses. The project generated 675,000 square feet of the manufacturing and industrial space now known as the Tri-County Commerce Center. The raceway was located in an Opportunity Zone, so Ashley Capital would receive the provided tax benefits for building within the zone, all the while creating the possibility for job growth in the area.

What is an Opportunity Zone Fund?

Opportunity Zone Funds are a way for investors to invest in Opportunity Zone projects. They are a US corporation or partnership planning on investing at least 90% of its holdings into a qualified Opportunity Zone. They can be used, as stated before, to start ground-up on new buildings, or significantly improve existing ones. These investments allow investors to receive tax benefits immediately and long term on capital gains.

When using an Opportunity Fund to invest, there are three different types of investments that are available. The first is through partnership interests in a business that operates within an Opportunity Zone; the second is owning stock in a business that executes all of its projects and affairs in an Opportunity Zone, the third, is by investing in property located within an Opportunity zone such as real estate.

If looking at it on a 10-year timetable, like the one provided by fundrise.com, there are a few crucial years to  note. For the first year, taxes are deferred on the capital gains. For the 5th year, the tax on the capital gains will be reduced by 10%. On the 7th year, tax on the capital gains is reduced by 5% from the 5th year now making it a total of a 15% reduction. On the 10th year, the capital gains taxes are eliminated on potential profits from the Opportunity Fund. It is important to note that in order to take advantage of this program, an investor has to take their capital gains and invest it into an Opportunity Fund within 180 days of the sale of the asset.

According to Adam Hooper for WealthManagement.com, “Essentially, the federal government is allowing the investor to keep the capital gains at 0 percent interest and use those funds to invest in one of these Opportunity Zone projects for 10 years. After 10 years, the investor pays no capital gains tax on the appreciation of the asset”.

How REGENESIS and Land Science Can Help

When investing in an Opportunity Zone, there may be a unexpected issues that come with the land. There is a possibility that the previous inhabitants of the site created negative environmental impacts, and cleanup may be necessary before further progress can be made.

That’s where REGENESIS and Land Science can help. As investment continues into Opportunity Zones, developers will increasingly look to develop brownfield sites – properties with environmental impacts preventing redevelopment. By integrating site cleanup with wider community plans, there can be significant economic benefits, such as the creation of new jobs or an increase in housing values, which can stimulate the revitalization of distressed neighborhoods.

To learn more about handling environmental impacts at opportunity zone sites, download the eBook 11 Tools and Resources for Maximizing Your Investment in An Opportunity Zone.

When it comes to site cleanup, there are many available approaches, each of which must be carefully considered to achieve maximum impact both technologically and economically. Selecting the proper technology to deal with environmental issues can lead to immediate cost savings due to the streamlining of construction schedules or as compared to other applicable remedial technologies or future cost savings from the reduction of overall risk.

The Benefits of Using Nitrile to Mitigate Vapor Intrusion

Nitrile or nitrile-butadiene rubber (NBR) has an abundance of properties that make it an ideal material to be utilized in barrier systems that prevent subsurface contaminants from migrating into the indoor airspace of buildings. It has good abrasion/tear resistance, good compression set, resistance to heat, water, and chemicals. But let’s take a close look at why nitrile has become of key importance to the vapor intrusion mitigation industry.

Gas Permeability and Chemical Resistance – Why Nitrile is So Protective

nitrile
Physicians offices have moved away from latex and to nitrile gloves, because not only is nitrile more chemically resistant; it’s more durable too.

Many synthetic rubber production companies rate Nitrile’s gas permeability as good. Its gas resistance depends on the level of acrylonitrile which is commonly referred as the ACN content. The typical ACN content ranges from 14% to 50% because the more acrylonitrile included in the copolymer, the resistance to oil and gas permeation increases; however, the higher the ACN content, the lower the flexibility of the rubber. Ergo, the common ACN content percentage for the nitrile to have low permeability while still being flexible is 36%. The possible reason for the good gas permeability is that when butadiene and acrylonitrile are combined in the mixing process, the two polymers react to each other a create strong cross-linked valent bonds. These bonds leave little room for most gases to pass through, except for ozone, ketones, esters, and aldehydes.

So it makes sense that nitrile can be of tremendous value to the vapor intrusion world.  The primary goal of practitioners in this industry is to protect human health by blocking contaminant gases from migrating from a subsurface source into the indoor air space of a building.

An acknowledged weakness in many vapor barrier systems is in the slab penetration and perimeter termination locations, where spray-applied core material composed of Styrene-Butadiene (SBR)- modified asphalt is used. While excellent at repelling water, aggressive chemicals such as petroleum solvents and chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) will permeate into the SBR-modified asphalt at a relatively high rate, particularly in these vapor intrusion sensitive areas of the building construction.

The Research and Development Scientists at REGENESIS and Land Science know this, and that’s why they developed Nitra-Seal.

Nitra-Seal offers a substantial upgrade as it employs a more chemically resistant nitrile latex instead of the more susceptible SBR material. Nitrile, due to some of the reasons explained above, is recognized throughout the environmental engineering industry as being more chemically resistant than rubber or SBR and is often used in personal protective equipment when working on hazardous waste sites (e.g. nitrile gloves). Laboratory testing has shown up to 10X higher chemical resistance when compared to any other spray applied vapor barrier material on the market.

Puncture Resistance

If you’ve been to a doctor’s office lately, you’ll likely see that the gloves sitting there on the counter are no longer latex; they’re nitrile. Physicians offices have moved away from latex and to nitrile gloves. Why? Because not only is nitrile more chemically resistant; it’s more durable too.

So the R&D team at Land Science again applied this concept when they were developing Nitra-Seal. With vapor intrusion regulatory standards becoming ever more complex and stringent, there is an emerging need in the industry for better, more reliable protection against contaminant vapor intrusion.

This is why nitrile is so valuable. It will provide better protection, and that protection will be more durable and reliable due to puncture resistance. Nitra-Seal forms a highly puncture resistant barrier that greatly reduces the chance of damage occurring after installation and prior to the placement of concrete.

The added value brought by nitrile’s durability provides a critical advantage with new building construction.

Nitrile can be applied as sheets or as liquid depending on what it needs to be applied to. For instance, if nitrile rubber is needed to seal plumbing, then liquid is required; but if an entire floor needs to be sealed then nitrile sheets are the best option. There is no need to lose sleep over whether nitrile will leave even a sliver of a crack on the application site because Nitrile can fit into any nooks and crannies of any site where it is spray-applied, including seams and penetrations of a vapor barrier base layers. In the end, once a site is sealed, there is an excellent chance that the seal will last for years without letting gas permeate or being severely damaged.

When the other layers of the Nitra-Seal system are combined with its spray-applied Nitrile-based core to seal all seams and penetrations, the end result is a barrier that is highly resistant to a broad range of chemical pollutant vapors.

Nitrile is a versatile material that is utilized in many different applications, from sealing gas pipes to providing doctors protection in gloves. But it’s also especially valuable to the vapor intrusion mitigation industry, due to its low gas permeability, chemical resistance, and easy application.

webinar

Incorporating CSIA in Vapor Intrusion Investigations

Land Science is pleased to present a webinar with Dora Taggart, President of Microbial Insights, Inc., and Sam Rosolina, PhD, Analytical Chemist and Manager of the Compound Specific Isotope Analysis (CSIA) Laboratory at Microbial Insights. In this webinar, Dora and Sam discuss incorporating CSIA in vapor intrusion investigations. They are joined by Tom Szocinski, CEP, Director of Vapor Intrusion at Land Science, who discusses innovative new vapor barrier technologies that are more protective and more cost-effective.

Learn the following in this free webinar:

  • A primer for sites impacted with contaminant vapor intrusion
  • How CSIA is being used to fingerprint different contaminant sources
  • Using CSIA to help identify the underlying cause of decreased indoor air quality

FAQ: CSIA and Vapor Intrusion

Geophysics FAQThe questions summarized in this FAQ as part of the Land Science “Distinguished Speaker” webinar series, were provided by our guest presenters, Dora Taggart and Sam Rosolina, PhD in response to questions fielded throughout the webinar presentation. REGENESIS and Land Science are grateful to both Ms. Taggart and Dr. Rosolina for sharing their expertise. Land Science is dedicated to providing relevant, industry-leading content in support of client partners globally. Any use or reproduction of the contents of this FAQ document must be approved by Land Science, REGENESIS and/or Microbial Insights.

Want to learn more about CSIA and Vapor Intrusion? Download the Q&A from the webinar here:

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Former textile mill

Vapor Barrier Speeds Redevelopment of Former Textile Mill

A former textile mill operated from 1926 through 1983. Throughout the years in operation, there were no regulatory guidelines in place regarding the use and disposal of hazardous chemicals used on site. As a result, once operations ceased, the site was classified as a brownfield. The building has been vacant since the early 2000’s and the hazardous environmental conditions have made redevelopment a challenge. However, tax credit financing made it possible for developers to purchase the 24,500 square-foot building in 2015. The developers received $9 million in tax credit financing, making this remediation and restoration project possible. The tax credits included the New Markets tax credits and South Carolina Textiles Communities Revitalization Act.

textile mill case study

This case study features the following:

  • Site owners are pleased that the quick installation of Geo-Seal allowed the project to meet construction timeline goals
  • The support of the state of South Carolina through the tax incentive package made it possible for developers to redevelop this brownfield site into new jobs and businesses for the community
  • The construction and renovations included elements of historic preservation