One Environment staff with vest

A Streamlined Approach to DEQ’s Voluntary Remediation Program Provides a Cost-Effective, Efficient Solution

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) Voluntary Remediation Program encourages hazardous substance cleanups that might not otherwise take place. The program allows site owners or operators to voluntarily address contamination sites with oversight and approval from DEQ. The main goals are site redevelopment and protection of human health and the environment.

DEQ logo

The program provides regulatory oversight and facilitates the sale and/or reuse of industrial and commercial properties in the Commonwealth, which benefits all Virginians. Participation decreases potential environmental liabilities of reusing or further developing existing commercial properties.

When remediation is properly completed, DEQ issues a transferable Certificate of Satisfactory Completion of Remediation.

How ONE Can Navigate What Can be a Cumbersome Process

Some property owners or developers may have a limited understanding of regulatory requirements for redevelopment projects or a lack of understanding of how to successful navigate the Voluntary Remediation Program. Fortunately, ONE Environmental Principal Jeff Duncan is among the team members with thorough expertise of the Voluntary Remediation Program, and his established history of collaborative relationships with the state’s regulatory agencies can prevent speed bumps from becoming roadblocks. His valuable experience can streamline what can be a staggeringly slow process for someone unfamiliar with the program’s precise requirements and guidelines. Most recently, his efforts for a Virginia Beach project earned the client a Satisfactory Completion Remediation Certificate in less than a year after contracting ONE.

In that case, a developer opted to complete DEQ’s Voluntary Remediation Program because a historic use of the property included an on-site dry-cleaning business. Dry cleaning operations raise a concern for potential contamination. While cleaning agents can be more eco-friendly today, chlorinated and petroleum-based solvents are often associated with dry cleaning and can linger in the environment for decades.

“One of those is Perchloroethylene or perc,” Duncan said. “These contaminants easily spread in the environment. Even spills that occur on concrete or asphalt will seep right through and enter the subsurface environment. It can migrate into soil and groundwater.  Once in the soil and groundwater, it can migrate, and vapors can impact indoor air in structures.”

Initial assessments for the property dated back almost 15 years. Multiple studies had been completed in that time for the former strip mall site that had since become dilapidated. ONE was engaged to streamline the project to completion.

Instead of spending additional time and monies on extensive site assessment, the focus was on risk assessment. Duncan relied on existing data sets and used his skills with the Virginia Unified Risk Assessment Model (VURAM) to set relevant remediation goals for the site.

ONE conducted a soil gas survey to ensure safety of nearby enclosed buildings and updated Risk and Remediation assessments. No additional studies were required as Duncan was able to move the project to completion by placing land use restrictions, ensuring health and safety measures, and groundwater prohibitions.

“The main remediation effort was to limit exposure,” Duncan said. “If you eliminate exposure, you limit risk.” Ultimately there was no excavation or treatment of soil and groundwater required.

The solution-based approach and streamlined effort “exemplify ONE’s relationship with the regulators,” Duncan said. “We have a great understanding of the program itself, and that, in turn, benefits the client.”

The certificate is transferrable and a valuable asset to a potential purchaser or a tenant. “The DEQ will transfer it to a new buyer as long as the buyer abides by the specified restrictions,” Duncan said.

Thanks to ONE’s efforts, the client can now secure tenants who may have been risk-averse. Any potential tenant can rest assured that the site is DEQ-approved.

ONE can help a wide range of clients address issues related to Voluntary Remediation Programs and other complex environmental, health and safety concerns.

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.

a storm water basin surrounded by grass and trees

Keeping Stormwater Basins at Their Best: A Rehabilitation Case Study

Stormwater basins, sometimes called retention basins, play an important role in land development for managing stormwater runoff and providing a way to capture and settle pollutants. Not only do stormwater basins reduce downstream flooding and erosion, but they also remove the nutrients and other pollutants before they can adversely impact downstream water resources.

But as materials build up in a stormwater basin over time, the less effective the basin becomes. This is true for even the most well-designed and well-maintained basin. For that reason, most all stormwater basins will require periodic rehabilitation, which is best handled by a skilled services provider such as ONE Environmental.

For example, ONE partnered with the Homeowners Association (HOA) Board of a large residential development located in Yorktown, Virginia to rehabilitate a stormwater basin that had been established for more than 30 years. The HOA had several objectives for the project, such as preventing roadside ditch flooding and re-establishing a working fountain for aesthetics and mosquito control. Another goal was to increase the basin’s storativity, an indication of how well the basin is handling and filtering the water flowing through it.

Following an initial evaluation of the basin, recommendations were made to the HOA, and ONE was selected to implement the rehabilitation plan. The project included performing a bathymetric survey to precisely determine the quantity of muck that had accumulated in the basin, and closely coordinating with local and state regulatory agencies to ensure compliance.

The ONE team also sourced and screened a muck disposal location, and they designed basin improvements including forebays at all inlet and outlet locations. The forebays provide additional places for sediment to settle from stormwater runoff before it is delivered to the main basin or downstream.

Working closely with regulatory entities, the ONE team identified contaminants of concern (COCs) and analytical test results were screened against the appropriate regulatory criteria for approval to place muck material in the sourced disposal site.

ONE was also asked, on behalf of the HOA, to prepare a detailed Request for Bid (RFB) document and solicit bids from qualified contractors. The RFB included detailed plans and permitting to cover erosion and sediment control (ESC) and land disturbance permitting (LDP), mobilization and site preparation, muck removal techniques, transportation and disposal including dust and spill control, and forebay installation.

ONE then presented contractor bids to the HOA board and provided full details of the methods and means of all aspects of the project. A schedule was provided and included an interactive on-line Gantt chart service that so that all stakeholders could easily track progress during the completion of the project.

Under the ONE team’s leadership, the project was successfully completed on-time and within budget. A total of 1,000 cubic yards of material were removed and placed at the disposal site. All ESC measures were approved by the County and bonds were released once vegetation was established.

Visit ONE Environmental’s Services page to learn more about the full range of Storm Water Consulting, Erosion & Sediment Control and other field services the firm offers.

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.

Kaitlynn Bryan-Scaggs

Environmental Consultant

Growing up in rural North Carolina, Kaitlynn Bryan-Scaggs loved being surrounded by animals — dogs, cats, gerbils, hermit crabs and a neighbor’s horse she treated as her own. Being outdoors with them, along with an affinity for math and science, inspired her to earn two undergraduate degrees and one graduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry, a Bachelor of Science in Earth and Environmental Science, and a Master of Science in Geological and Earth Sciences.

“I like knowing why things are the way they are — why the trees are a certain color, for example,” Kaitlynn says.

Kaitlynn worked in quality assurance and gained technical expertise at a diagnostic lab prior to joining ONE Environmental in March 2021. Her scope of work in ONE’s Charlotte office has included Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, commercial reporting, stormwater sampling, groundwater monitoring, soil investigations and sub slab vapor mitigation.

“I like that ONE is a smaller company where I’m able to have the accessibility to everyone at the upper levels of the company,” she said. “I feel like I can reach my goals here.”

Kaitlynn spends a lot of her free time with a sidekick who has been with her she was a teenager, a Pitbull Boxer mix named Tucker. She enjoys hiking, running and yoga as well as the urban scene in the south end of Charlotte.

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.