Kathy Lehnus, a Senior Geologist with Farallon Consulting, LLC, brings depth and an impressive range of experience within the environmental remediation space to her role with the firm. With more than 27 years managing environmental consulting projects, Kathy has excelled in a variety of roles, including site investigation and remediation, regulatory compliance, staff training, new business development, and much more. She begins, “I have had the pleasure of working in a variety of positions that include both the public sector and EPA contracts. I’ve also worked at national and international private firms, giving me a wide array of experience in expertise and approach.”
Lehnus joined Farallon, a leading environmental consulting firm based on the West Coast, just over 3.5 years ago. In her current role, she specializes in projects focused on transactional investigation and regulatory oversight. In addition, she performs characterization-level Phase I Environmental Site Assessments with focused subsurface investigations, including vapor intrusion evaluations, which are designed to provide a wide array of data options within workable budgets and deliverable time frames.
She continues, “I have also managed investigation and remediation projects led by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and California Regional Water Quality Control Boards. Coordinating multifunctional teams to ensure projects remain on time and on budget, while obtaining regulatory approvals for project redevelopment milestones is always key when working with these regulatory bodies. Additionally, I provide technical input to owners and counsel for identifying potential risks associated with purchasing and redeveloping contaminated properties.”
Lehnus became interested in environmental remediation in her youth while living in western Massachusetts, where she became enamored with the beauty of the Adirondacks. “I became involved in ecology groups looking to ‘go green’ before it was even a catch phrase! Studying environmental science and geology in college was a natural next step.” She laid the groundwork by earning a BS in Environmental Science from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she also received a BA in Geology. She went on to earn a Master of Science in Geology at the University of Connecticut and is licensed in both Connecticut as Licensed Environmental Professional and in California as Professional Geologist.
While she enjoys many aspects of her work, servicing clients ranks at the top. She shares, “I really enjoy working with clients and providing them with the solutions they need to help them be successful in their tasks.” Her desire to help clients via close collaboration dovetails nicely with what she says is a key future goal at Farallon. She continues, “Farallon wants to continue to provide clients with high quality and technically creative solutions, while building strong and enduring relationships. The staff at Farallon collaborate with each other to leverage expertise in a variety of fields to provide the very best for our clients. A good example of this would be when preparing a cost estimate for a client who wants to purchase contaminated property. Farallon can rely upon our Phase I due diligence experts who have discovered and followed leads to truly understand previous use and potential release areas. This is a skill set not commonly offered by other consultants, many of whom will provide low-cost, “check the box” Phase I work, while simply seeking to please clients by not pointing out problems, instead of identifying issues and providing reasonable solutions.”
With regard to working with Land Science, Lehnus appreciates the partnership Farallon has developed. “From offering multiple options to being part of the scheduling process, Land Science helps me get the job done. I recall one recent example where a client purchasing an existing distribution warehouse requested that we provide them with a Phase I ESA as part of their typical purchasing procedures. Although the building was only used in the past as a food storage warehouse, we identified a historical map that showed a carpentry shop and paint booth in the building that appeared to be associated with constructing crates for food transport. Although there was a short due diligence timeframe, we were able to mobilize the following week and collect sub-slab soil vapor samples beneath the building pad. We identified chlorinated volatile organic compound impacts in one area of the building, which led to air sampling that identified potential exposure threats throughout the building. We then provided the client with a cost estimate for mitigating impacts, which we implemented immediately upon their purchase to ensure the protection of occupants until additional work could be completed. Later, we applied Retro-Coat® to the floor to further mitigate air impacts.”
She continues, “Working with Land Science helped provide us with the ability to sample in a quick timeframe and develop creative mitigation solutions, which in turn allowed the client to move forward with the purchase and lease back immediately.” In terms of specific Land Science products, Retro-Coat continues to be Farallon’s “go to” solution for its clients due to its outstanding track record on performance. Kathy adds, “As part of our evaluation for determining the best post-construction vapor barrier for an existing dry cleaner, we evaluated several epoxy coatings as options to apply to the existing floor. Based on discussions with Land Science, the Retro-Coat barrier had been used for several sites with regulatory oversight as the proven method of mitigation.”
Living in Mission Viejo with her husband, (who also happens to be a Geologist) and their three teenage kids, Lehnus finds time away from work to enjoy socializing with friends over a glass of wine, while discussing “what makes people tick and the earth turn- geology pun intended!”. She adds, “For relaxation, when I’m not indulging in binge-watching guilty pleasure TV, you’ll find me reading a good book.”
When asked how she would encourage others to join her field of study, she points to the diverse range of opportunities that exist, depending on one’s interest. She concludes, “Environmental consulting requires us to stretch in all directions- from geology, biology and chemistry, to understanding the legal language of regulations, to understanding clients’ needs and being able to explain technical findings to them. We also need to create investigation scopes, prepare and maintain budgets, keep subcontractors in line, and mentor and manage fellow staff members. Every day and every project are different and challenging!
Land Science is proud to have Kathy Lehnus, Sr. Geologist with Farallon Consulting, LLC, as a valued client and partner in environmental remediation, and they appreciate her diversified experience and leadership in providing successful remediation and mitigation outcomes for Land Science and its clients.