Aaron Bottoms

Environmental Consultant II

Aaron Bottoms recently ONE Environmental Group’s Richmond office, where he embraces the diversity of a role that includes due diligence, erosion sediment control, drone surveying, water sampling and renewing permits. 

Aaron dreamed of being a professional musician as a music major with a concentration in trumpet classical performance at VCU. His excellence on trumpet earned him a spot on The Peppas, the VCU pep band that travels nationally for athletic events. Despite his passion, Aaron didn’t want to commit his entire life to making a career in the music industry. He transitioned into an entirely different path, going to work at an environmental recovery company. 

“Working with hydrocarbon and oil spills, cleaning up hoppers and coal tunnels — it was a messy, dirty, hot job,” he said. “It took me about a year until I found a more rounded position in the environmental field where I could split my time between the office and the outdoors.” 

Aaron worked with several ONE team members, who are now his peers, at his previous position as an environmental specialist for a mineral mining company.  

“There are a lot of young people in the company who I can talk with and relate to and just enjoy being around,” he said. “That’s what originally drew me to ONE.” 

Aaron and his wife, Allison, are newlyweds and avid animal lovers. They have two dogs, a black Labrador Retriever named Bella and a chocolate Lab, June, who doubles as Aaron’s hunting companion. They also own a former feral kitten named Littlefoot that Aaron rescued, and a three-legged kitty named Theo that Allison rescued.  As an outdoors enthusiast, Aaron operates a YouTube channel that focuses on hunting and is preparing to launch a second that will review outdoor gear. 

An old disused factory, abandoned and in ruins, with a smashed roof and a chimney. Tall weeds invade the building. Concept of economic bankruptcy. Cloudy sky. Italy, Foligno, Umbria.

What Can Brownfields Do For You?

At the most basic level, brownfields are idle tracts of land that are either contaminated or believed to be contaminated. Abandoned factories, gas stations, dry cleaners and railyards are just a few examples of the nearly half a million brownfield sites in the U.S. currently.

Expansion or redevelopment of a brownfield may be challenging because of the real or perceived presence of hazardous substances, pollutants or other contaminations. These sites, despite often being in prime locations, may sit dormant for years as the barriers and costs related to cleanup may exceed the redeveloped site’s value.

However, there are many advantages to cleaning up and reinvesting in brownfield sites. In addition to boosting the local tax base and facilitating job growth, redeveloping a brownfield site utilizes existing infrastructure and takes the development pressure off undeveloped land.

The good news is that many state governments are actively encouraging remediation and restoration of brownfields by removing barriers and offering incentives and assistance whenever possible.

For example, the Commonwealth of Virginia implements a brownfield restoration and land renewal policy though programs administered through the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) and other agencies.

This includes the Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund (VBAF) established by Virginia code to provide grants or loans that promote the restoration and redevelopment of brownfield sites and address environmental obstacles to reuse.

Grants are available to localities and authorities for site assessment and planning (up to $50,000 as of 2022), as well as remediation (up to $500,000).

Brownfield programs can also include liability relief and tax incentives.

For example, in Georgia, the state’s Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfield Revitalization Act (Georgia Brownfield’s Program) allows for the redevelopment or use of contaminated properties while protecting the buyer from future liability related to previous contamination. Eligible parcels classified as brownfield property are also assessed at 40% of fair market value for ten years, creating significant property tax savings.

In North Carolina, a brownfield landowner is entitled to the partial exclusion for the first five taxable years after qualifying improvements have been completed.

How ONE Can Help

Skilled environmental service providers like ONE Environmental stand ready to help localities more quickly and easily take advantage of funding opportunities, liability relief and tax incentives related to brownfields.

For example, the ONE team helped the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia win EPA assessment grants worth a total of $400,000. The ONE team won the competitive bid to assist them with management and performance of the assessment grants. The Fredericksburg Brownfields Program has been responsible for assessing over 46 acres of property.

ONE used grant funding to complete Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) on many sites, reviewing historical documents and regulatory databases about former site use. Additional assessment was performed at the sites, such as asbestos-containing material inspections, limited Phase II ESAs including ground penetrating radar studies and soil and groundwater sampling, and delineation sampling to determine the extent of contamination.

The Fredericksburg Brownfields Program has been responsible for assessing over 46 acres of property, leading to a planned redevelopment for a mixed-use property and a second property planned for reuse as a multi-family residential property.

There are many brownfields redevelopment success stories but navigating state codes and the details of each program can be daunting. Localities, prospective land buyers and other stakeholders would do well to engage experienced environmental service providers like ONE Environmental for assistance.

Avoiding Trouble with TRI Reporting

Industrial facility operators are subject to a myriad of reporting requirements from state and federal government related to toxic and hazardous chemicals.

One of those important requirements is the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program, which was created to be a resource to provide communities with information about toxic chemical releases and pollution prevention activities reported by industrial and federal facilities.

The TRI is a key component of the Emergency Preparedness and Community-Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA) which was signed into law in 1986 following several deadly industrial disasters involving chemical releases. These days, tens of thousands of companies file TRI reports for more than 600 different chemicals each year.

Is Your Facility Subject to TRI Reporting?

Generally, any facility that manufactures, processes, or otherwise uses toxic chemicals specified under EPCRA Section 313 must submit a TRI report to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) each year by July 1.

There are four criteria that determine if a facility must report:

  • It is located in a “covered sector” defined by NAICS codes.
  • It employs 10 or more people full-time.
  • It works with a chemical listed on the toxics release inventory.
  • The TRI-listed chemical exceeds its threshold in a given year.

When an industrial facility meets all four criteria, it is subject to TRI reporting, which is some of the most time-consuming annual reporting that a facility will undertake.

Among other challenges, the roster of TRI-listed chemicals can change from one year to the next. That list currently includes more than 700 individual chemicals in 30 different categories.

Terminology can also be tricky. TRI reporting may be referred to as EPCRA Section 313 reporting, SARA Section 313 reporting, Form R reporting, or Form A reporting.

ONE Environmental Can Help

ONE Environmental has significant experiencing helping industrial operator clients wade through the complexity and comply with TRI reporting requirements. This includes analyzing the client’s facility to accurately determine whether a TRI report filing is required and verifying the exact federal and state environmental requirements that apply to the client’s locations.

The ONE team can also prepare and file TRI reports on a client’s behalf, thus reducing the risk of errors or omissions that can lead to penalties.

Visit the Services page on the ONE Environmental website to learn more about TRI and other types of reporting and compliance offerings that can save time and deliver peace of mind.

Hillary Goodell, PE

Senior Project Manager

Hillary Goodell joins the ONE team with a wealth of experience on remediation projects and an appreciation for working at a small firm that will afford the opportunity to consult on a number of different projects. Her background includes investigation and remediation of VOC plumes, pesticides, PFAS compounds and petroleum releases. ONE Principal Eli Holland has been a mentor to her for years, and she’s happy to work with him and be part of a team that places its trust in its staff, junior associates included.  “That’s a really great environment to come into, a place where the leadership and managers trust everyone to succeed,” says Hillary, who will work remotely from Raleigh, North Carolina.

The Hudson Valley, New York, native jokes that she’s a failed marine biologist after earning her degree in that field from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island. She didn’t have the mindset to tackle more years of school after graduation so instead went to work as a field technician at an environmental consulting firm. That opened up a career path she had never considered and later prompted her to return to college to earn an associate degree in engineering and later acquire her license as a Professional Engineer in North Carolina.

When not working, Hillary is usually outdoors, tending to a robust vegetable garden or enjoying her 5-year-old son, Nat, and the family dog, Sunny, a black and white mutt. Hillary and husband Paul love to pile everyone into their travel trailer for kayaking, hiking and camping excursions.

One Environmental worker wearing company vest

Brenna Frank

Environmental Consultant

Brenna Frank fell in love with the outdoors growing up in South Miami. She calls herself “a swamp person,” who regularly volunteered at bay, beach and Everglades cleanups alongside her family.

So much time outdoors laid the foundation for Brenna to attend the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Geology and Geographic Information Sciences in 2021. She completed a GIS internship at Cape Fear River Watch, where the water sampling skills she acquired as a volunteer came in handy.

Brenna was hired at ONE Environmental Group in May 2022, and as an Environmental Consultant, performs due diligence assessments. She works remotely in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Brenna is grateful for the accommodating culture at ONE that prioritizes work-life balance. She is the mother to two elementary-aged children, and they share two dogs, a Goldendoodle and American Bulldog.

Brenna recently completed three months of hiking along the Mountain-to-Sea Trail that stretches 1,175 miles from the Great Smoky Mountains to the Outer Banks. The adventure included seeing bears, elk, otters and an eastern diamondback rattlesnake up close in addition to participating in a horse rescue. Brenna and her children also collect snails together and maintain three terrariums.

The ONE Way of Doing Business

At ONE, we’re one of a kind.

We’re client-focused. We’re creative. We’re collaborative.

“There are no curtains to pull back at ONE,” Principal Eli Holland stresses. “We tackle our mission by effective communication and collaboration both in-house and with our clientele.”

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to scramble, the ONE team had transitioned to cloud services, laptops and wireless cards. The reasoning behind our proactive approach to technology nearly six years ago stemmed from our growth. While we’ve always been headquartered in Richmond, ONE has opened multiple satellite offices spread throughout the MidAtlantic and Southeast over the years. In order to be effective and efficient on behalf of our clients, we knew we needed a streamlined approach to keep everyone connected and mobile. Additionally, operating satellite offices has allowed us to continue to attract the top professionals in the field and retain them.

“We went where the talent was rather than having the talent come to us,” Holland says.

Today ONE doesn’t just rely on state-of-the-art technology to further collaboration among team members. While using the latest tools does contribute to improving our employees’ work-life balance, ultimately, it’s our clients who benefit the most. Happy, healthy employees are essential to delivering cost-effective deliverables in a timely manner. We do our best by our employees who in turn give their best to our clients

ONE’s mobility and cloud offerings provide a streamlined path for communication, file sharing, and collaboration similar to what we see in-house.  Large files are seamlessly transferred and living files (both from the field and office) are shared, allowing our clients to follow progress in real time.

Technology isn’t stagnant and neither are we. That’s why we’ve solidified relationships with cutting-edge application developers who consistently seek better options for custom applications that track compliance, field services, decommissioning, commissioning, etc. We understand how critical it is for our clients to be in the loop in real time.

By embracing collaboration, we are ONE in tackling the challenges that pose a wide array of environmental issues to our clients. Our team members are committed to clients in a personalized way that a large corporation cannot match.

One client. One project. ONE team. That’s our way of doing business.