Category Archive: Industry News

Waste processing plant. Technological process plastic bottles at the factory for processing and recycling. The worker recycling factory,engineers is out of focus or blurred.

Wasteful Thinking: How a Skilled Service Provider Can Demystify the RCRA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has authority to control hazardous and other wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Enacted in 1976, the RCRA establishes a national system for how hazardous and non-hazardous waste is handled, transported, recycled and finally disposed.

Operators may hear the RCRA acronym used in reference to multiple things, from the statutes and amendments themselves to related regulations, as well as EPA guidance and policy. Since EPA regulations are explicit and legally enforceable, the RCRA means serious business.

​Unfortunately, the RCRA program is constantly evolving as new waste generation and management considerations arise. Understanding and complying with shifting RCRA regulations can be a challenge for even the most sophisticated organization.

The ONE Environmental team has significant experience providing businesses RCRA support through a full range of services.

For example, our auditing and gap analysis services include on-site compliance inspections that accurately identify all waste streams and provide recommendations for how they should be managed. Waste determination is an important part of ONE’s service offering as well, helping operators navigate an alphabet soup of waste classification subtitles. 

Waste generation threshold tracking and biennial reporting are also key components of ONE’s RCRA service portfolio. An operator’s status is based on the amount of waste generated, and once an operator reaches the threshold of a large quantity generator (LQG) even temporarily, it is subject to the rigorous National Biennial RCRA Hazardous Waste Report requirement. The ONE team knows the requirements inside and out.

The ONE team can also plan and implement RCRA training for teams internally, as well as assist with regulatory negotiations and communications externally, giving operators peace of mind that a trusted advisor has their back.

Since RCRA is a “cradle-to-grave” program, the ONE team site provides a range of investigation, remediation, decontamination and facility closure services. These include RCRA corrective action, RCRA closure and post-closure care services.

The bottom line is that the ONE team can help operators gain a full understanding of all of the RCRA regulations relevant to their business and implement a robust plan for staying compliant.

Visit our Services page for more details on how the ONE team can ease the RCRA burden and much more.

Petrol Oil Running Down a Gutter Drain

Case Closed: Successful LNAPL Remediation in Action

Light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPL) are a type of contaminant that can present challenges for most any site. As the name implies, an LNAPL is less dense than water and can float on a water table surface. Diesel fuel, gasoline and other petroleum oils are common examples, and the risks range from human health and ecological problems to potentially explosive conditions and more.

LNAPLs are a frequent issue related to leaking underground storage tanks (USTs). Because they are below the surface, LNAPLs are typically difficult to accurately assess and recover. What’s more, navigating state and federal government regulations around LNAPL management and cleanup can be quite a burden.

Indeed, LNAPL remediation is an area where an experienced environmental services provider such as ONE Environmental can prove invaluable.

For example, ONE was engaged to take the lead on a LNAPL remediation project at a site where leaking diesel USTs were first discovered in 1992. Before the ONE team was engaged, previous remediation approaches had exhausted the Virginia Petroleum Storage Tank Fund allotment of $1,000,000. Yet LNAPL persisted.

ONE worked closely with the client and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to reach a common goal of justifying the deactivation of an inefficient remediation pump and treatment system and evaluating the presence of and potential mobility of the remaining LNAPL at the site.

The DEQ accepted the documented asymptotic system recovery trends and justification to deactivate the remediation system presented by ONE. After the deactivation and once hydrogeologic conditions stabilized, ONE implemented monitored natural attenuation (MNA) and LNAPL transmissivity testing.

MNA was completed in accordance with U.S. Interstate Technology & Regulatory Council (ITRC) guidance. This guidance is published in a document entitled Evaluating Natural Source Zone Depletion at Sites with LNAPL. It sets the standard for evaluating bioremediation and geochemical data as evidence that natural source zone depletion (NSZD) is occurring. 

ONE also completed bail-down LNAPL transmissivity tests in accordance with ASTM Standard Guide for Estimation of LNAPL Transmissivity (ASTM E2856-13). Wells were carefully selected through collaboration between ONE and DEQ and were chosen due to their free product thickness and location within the LNAPL plume.

MNA and transmissivity evaluations revealed that the remaining LNAPL at the site was not a risk to human health or the environment (under non-pumping conditions). The evaluations also determined that the areal extent of LNAPL and dissolved-phase contaminants were either stable or decreasing. And most importantly, the remaining product exhibited not practicable to low recoverability.

Thanks to the diligence of the ONE team, their partnership with the client, and their relationship with the DEQ, the project resulted in a successful closure of a case that had been open for decades.

The site was ultimately granted “no further action” (NFA) from the DEQ, providing the client official confirmation that critical work was successfully completed. The remediation system was removed from the site and the extensive monitoring and recovery well network was properly abandoned.

ONE Environmental offers a comprehensive set of Industrial Hygiene, Facility Closure, Site Investigation and Remediation services. Visit the firm’s Services page to learn more.

Worker installing a huge underground fuel tank, aerial

The ONE Way to Ensure Your Underground Storage Unit is in Compliance

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that more than half a million underground storage tanks (USTs) nationwide are buried and filled with petroleum or other hazardous substances. Nearly 18,000 of them are located in Virginia.  Owners of these USTs can range from municipalities and large corporations to state parks or small family-owned gas stations.

All must be in compliance with local, state and federal regulations to ensure they do not pose an environmental threat.

ONE Environmental Group works with companies and facilities of all sizes to ensure they comply with EPA and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) regulations. ONE can develop a comprehensive UST compliance program from scratch, assess a current compliance program, or manage the closure of a UST that is corroded or no longer needed due to the transition of a business.

Failure to comply with regulations can lead to penalties and fines, or in more extreme cases, shutdown of operations.

ONE Checklist for Compliance

The ONE team handles all aspects of UST compliance for clients. This includes:

  • Registration — USTs must be registered with DEQ, and that registration must be up to date when changes to ownership or equipment are made.
  • Spill and leak protection — If groundwater is contaminated, this could affect the safety of drinking water or pose another hazard. Monitors and sensors can be added to detect leaks or spills.
  • Overfill protection — UST systems must be equipped with overfill protection consistent with current regulations. These will automatically shut off flow into the tank, alert the transfer operator, or restrict flow. They must be periodically inspected.
  • Tank and line tightness testing — Damaged or leaking tanks need to be repaired or replaced to prevent releases.
  • Air permitting applicability – ONE can perform air permitting applicability determinations for equipment powered by fuel from a UST.
  • Training for routine inspections — ONE can educate onsite staff to perform monthly inspections of USTs and provide safety training in the handling of hazardous waste.  
  • Recordkeeping – ONE can maintain all required records
  • Cleanup services if a leak or spill is detected — Corrective action must be taken should an emergency arise
  • Proper closure of a UST to prevent environmental risks to future development

DEQ conducts more than 1,500 inspections annually. The safeguards ONE puts in place offer business owners peace of mind in knowing that any potential issues are corrected prior to a DEQ inspection. ONE partners with clients to address all UST requirements and other complex environmental, health and safety compliance issues that business and organizations may encounter that could affect operations.

Meeting the Challenge of Wastewater Management and Compliance with Confidence

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program was created by the federal government under the Clean Water Act (CWA) in 1972. At its core, the purpose of NPDES is to help improve water quality by limiting water pollution at the source of discharge.

NPDES has a significant impact on thousands of facility owners, operators and other wastewater dischargers across the United States. Keeping up with the responsibilities and requirements of NPDES is no small task for any organization.

The program works at the state level, by giving states, tribes and territories permitting authority to enforce the federal NPDES rules and adding a few of their own.

From Federal to State: How Challenging Requirements Flow Downhill

For example, in Virginia, the NPDES is administered through the Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (VPDES) permit program. It mostly follows the federal regulations, but with additional state requirements, such as the need to meet water-quality-based effluent limits and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) notification requirement for unpermitted discharges or unusual discharges.

And for those identified as a “significant industrial user,” there are also local wastewater permits required in many localities and counties which can vary greatly from one region to the next.

Fortunately, ONE Environmental has developed vast expertise around the ins and outs of discharge elimination system requirements for clients in states such as Virginia, where the firm is especially skilled in VAR05, VAG84, VAN00, and VAR10 general permits.

Removing the Permitting Burden and Providing Compliance Peace of Mind

The ONE team can assist organizations of all sizes with wastewater compliance on a local and regional level. Our specialists can handle the permitting process from start to finish, including preparing permit applications, completing the required sampling for the application, and implementing the permit by performing ay required inspections, sampling, and discharge monitoring reports (DMRs).

When considering an environmental services provider, remember that wastewater management and stormwater management are each important pieces of the of NPDES puzzle, and ONE can help clients solve for both.

In fact, wastewater and stormwater permit renewal applications are a great opportunity for facilities to take a close look at their current permit and existing discharge limits, their facility operations, and any facility changes and consider if their permit continues to align with operations and is protective of water quality.

When Experience, Innovation and Focus Matters

ONE Environmental has earned a reputation for being technically sound and having a comprehensive grasp on the full spectrum of wastewater compliance regulations, as well as permitting process requirements.

The ONE team also prides itself in the way it closely examines each client’s facility operations and uses out-of-the-box thinking to ensure it receives the best permit possible for that location. The ONE approach involves examining each facility holistically, and from there determining which areas of their permit can be focused on and improved upon. 

In addition to being able to leverage years of experience to navigate the nuances of the permitting process, the ONE team thinks through the process, the data, the flows, the mapping, and any facility changes to ensure the application is fully tailored to the facility and will deliver the most favorable result.

ONE can help clients address wastewater and stormwater needs, as well as the full range of other complex environmental, health and safety compliance issues that go hand-in-hand with the planning, development, and operation of facility’s EH&S program.

Pipe or tube for water sewer leading into the river.

New Wastewater Analysis Method Saves Money and Ensures Regulatory Compliance

Environmental media – from water supplies to wastewater and soil – can be put at risk by a multitude of compounds and materials that are often difficult to identify without careful analysis.

For facility operators, being able to effectively identify and manage these materials becomes very important in today’s regulatory environment. Remediation, treatment techniques, permit applicability and compliance with regulatory requirements all hinge on fully understanding what those compounds and materials are.

ONE Environmental Group has vast experience not only investigating and resolving the issues such materials present, but also developing brand new analytical methods in the lab that are helping clients address those issues with more speed and precision than ever before.

Some of these new methods are being incorporated into permit or plan requirements to overcome the limitations of traditional analytical methods.

Grit in Wastewater Method Saves the Day

For example, a facility operator recently turned to the ONE team for an analytical method that would help measure polymer beads in their wastewater stream. The original method required by a permit was inadequate and overstating the actual values, putting the client at risk of a $150,000 penalty.

The ONE team went to work investigating and managing the development of a new Grit in Wastewater Method. This novel and creative analytical approach enabled the client to successfully dispute the erroneous results of the traditional analytical method and implement a new, accurate and sensible method to show compliance going forward.

In addition to bringing the client back into permit compliance and avoiding penalties, the Grit in Wastewater Method also:

  • Lowered compliance costs for operating additional treatment systems.
  • Helped identify upstream process errors.
  • Reduced product loss and associated expenses.

The client’s relationship with regulatory agencies also improved thanks to the success of the new analytical method as a tool for effectively finalizing and verifying the status of facility compliance.

Comprehensive Portfolio of Investigative Approaches

The ONE team is also well versed in many other creative investigative approaches such as investigative microscopy, which can identify microscopic particles down to 8 microns in size. This powerful approach is used to identify unknowns and organic/inorganic substances. Particles may include fibers, contaminants, coatings, wastewater constituents or residues and build-up of polymers. Investigative microscopy can also be used for failure analysis.

Other types of microscopy and spectroscopy used by ONE Environmental Group to help clients calculate exactly what and how much is in their mediums include:

  • Stereomicroscopy
  • Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM)
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)
  • Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) / FTIR Microscopy
  • Energy Dispersive Spectroscopy (EDS)

Methods such as instrumental wet chemistry testing are also used by ONE to qualitatively assess compound samples or to quantitatively measure the compound quantities in a given sample.

Selecting the right investigative approach for the job, ONE Environmental Group is able to help clients slash costs and confidently maintain regulatory compliance – bringing peace of mind during increasingly challenging times.

Technology background 3d rendering.

Today’s Reality Modeling Delivers Host of Benefits to Industrial Operators

Enterprises of all sizes use technology as a tool for boosting competitive advantage, increasing efficiency and meeting safety and regulatory compliance objectives. Reality modeling is just one such technology that ONE Environmental is using to deliver clients tremendous benefits in those areas and many more.

At its core, reality modeling is the process of capturing the existing conditions of a site by gathering information from a wide range of instruments and pre-existing data sources. Today’s 2D/3D modeling software applications can incorporate data from variety of sources including survey data unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) imagery, laser scanners and even smartphone cameras.

That real-world contextual data can be combined with data from pre-existing computer aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) project sources to inform critical decision-making processes.

ONE Environmental clients are implementing reality modeling in disciplines such as:

  • Operations & Maintenance
  • Design
  • Environmental compliance
  • Asset management
  • Visitor orientation training
  • New employee training
  • Specialized training for specific functions within the facility
  • Marketing

Reality models are especially effective, ONE Environmental has proven, to improve human performance and promote consistency in tasks involving daily compliance, O&M and safety, to name a few.

For example, models of an industrial facility can be easily accessed and used across multiple departments and can help ensure the use of current information. Rich 2D/3D visualizations can be shared online and viewed with everyday devices such as a PC, tablet or smart phone. Virtual reality wearables can also be used for some applications.

By sharing detailed information online, client teams can benefit from remote troubleshooting, safety enhancements and quality improvements while keeping costs low.

Following are just a few examples reality modeling use cases that the ONE team has supported with UAV mapping and modeling of industrial facilities.

  • Monitoring the integrity of landfill caps or detecting changes in other critical facilities.
  • Visualizing facility layouts and muster areas.
  • Detailing facility topography and areas of off-site discharge.
  • Promoting spatial analysis and best practices.

Other types of reality models are informed by UAV imagery and laser scans that produce colorized “point clouds,” using a single laser scan measurement to highlight a certain point. Scans are stitched together to create a complete scene. These techniques enable tasks such as:

  • Animating fly-throughs of colorized point clouds.
  • Using colorized point clouds to supplement drawings.
  • Creating visualizations that include photos, models and text.

UAV imagery and laser scanning is also a powerful way to perform inspection and inventory tasks. Clients are using these tools to enhance capabilities around:

  • Inspection and inventory of access ladders, stormwater drains and other items.
  • Keeping repair records of pumps, motors and other machinery.
  • Inventory of above-ground storage tanks (ASTs) and secondary containment vessels for spill prevention, control and countermeasure (SPCC) reporting.
  • Creating immersive illustrations for workforce training and discussion.

The possibilities are limitless. With reality modeling, the ONE team brings clients new opportunities to optimize workflows by taking advantage of real-world context and the power of visualization. Ultimately, this leading to accelerated decision-making, better regulatory compliance and a smarter, safer workforce.