Mason McElroy

Mason McElroy

Senior Project Manager

As Senior Project Manager at ONE Environmental, Mason McElroy focuses on environmental compliance and permitting needs for industrial clients. He brings years of experience to his new role, having worked as a senior environmental engineer at AdvanSix in Hopewell, Virginia, and as a client manager and project manager in Sage Environmental’s Richmond and Austin, Texas, offices.

Mason McElroy

Mason joined ONE in October 2021, drawn to its people and culture. “It’s a very relaxed environment, a great work-life balance,” he said. “At the same time, client focus is a top priority.”

Mason never misses a chance to lace up his shoes for a run. He logs between 20 and 30 miles a week and recently completed the 8K course downtown during the Richmond Marathon. Mason was a decorated runner at J.R. Tucker High School and competed in both track and cross country at Columbia University in the City of New York.

Mason was the fastest Lion at NCAA Regionals his senior season — finishing the 10K in a personal-best 31:04. He earned his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science in 2009. Mason and his wife, Laura, have two children, Landon, 5, and Libby, 2, along with their dog, Junior. The family enjoys camping, and Mason is always in search of another road race or trail run with aspirations to train for his first marathon when time permits.

Elli Woodward

Elli Woodward

Environmental Consultant

Soccer and science fueled Elli Woodward growing up, and had the sight of needles and blood not made her queasy, she might have pursued a healthcare career. Chemistry fascinated Elli, so much so that she made it her minor along with geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a focus on Quantitative Energy Systems in 2019.

Elli is the newest addition to ONE Environmental Group’s Charlotte office, where her focus is due diligence and industrial work.

“ONE is a tight-knit group of dynamic individuals that I feel honored to be a part of,” she says. “At ONE, I feel valued for my professional abilities and personality alike, which is unique and truly appreciated.”

While the Durham native has lived in North Carolina most of her life, Elli is smitten by Thailand after spending her junior year abroad, completing a life-cycle assessment on the eventual waste management of solar panels.

“It was one of the best experiences of my life,” Elli says, drawn to the generosity of the natives, the beauty of the mountains in the northern part of the country, and the islands in the southern half. “I fell in love with Thai culture and Thai food, and look forward to going back one day.” When not working, Elli is likely planning her next trip or concert — she’s an avid fan of the indie folk band Mt. Joy and has traveled as far as Iowa to see them. Another fun fact about Elli is that her family agreed to all get tattoos if the North Carolina men’s basketball team won the NCAA championship during her time there. After the Tar Heels won the 2017 title, Elli got the word “TAR” tattooed on her heel.

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.

Motion blur of water flowing in farm field waterway to ditch aft

The ONE Role in Erosion & Sediment Control

Construction sites engaging in land-disturbing activities must have an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan in place to minimize erosion and sediment pollution from the site.

Sediment pollution is one of the most common sources of pollution in our waterways with negative consequences for aquatic and plant species and other wildlife. When too much sediment reaches rivers, streams, lakes and ponds, increased turbidity inhibits growth of crucial aquatic vegetation and it can leave deposits that alter water flow, reduce water depth, and threaten important habitats.

ONE Environmental Group’s staff includes six erosion and sediment control inspectors certified by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) and the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). Environmental Consultant Jamison Clarke is among them.

ONE’s recent work in erosion and sediment control has largely been at solar sites under construction in Virginia and North Carolina, as well as at mineral sands surface mines.

Businesses that do not meet compliance with these regulations risk a stop work order being put into place if the Erosion and Sediment Control Plan or Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is not being followed and there is a risk to natural resources.

ONE serves as third party auditor to ensure that nothing is overlooked that could lead to a potential violation.

For Clarke, that means boots on the ground for thorough weekly visits to the solar sites where construction continues. This entails examining the perimeter of the site, observing the control measures in place, and making sure they are operating correctly. Silt fence, for example, prevents sediment from running off the property, but if a rip, tear or hole damages the fencing, sediment can leave the property and pollute waterways.

Clarke also inspects sediment traps and basins that capture sediment-filled runoff water.

“We ensure that control measures are operating effectively and as intended in order to avoid any release of sediment from the site that can threaten our natural resources.”

Large scale storm events affect erosion and sediment control. During the wetter months, the challenges increase to keep erosion minimal.

“When we have heavy rain, erosion and sediment control is a top priority,” Clarke said. “That’s why it is crucial for us to make sure that control measures onsite are operating as intended so that the site is ready and able to handle the significant rainfall and runoff that these storms produce.”

Dry weather is another variable. Extremely dry conditions can produce excessive dust. Water trucks are needed to dampen the roads onsite to prevent sediment from becoming airborne.

Clarke’s weekly visits almost feel like hikes. “You see a good amount of wildlife,” he said. “You get some grueling exercise as well. I’ve had run-ins with turkeys, deer, otters and a fair amount of snakes. I keep snake gaiters around my legs in dense vegetation or along waterways.”

Clarke works closely with inspectors from different localities who make biweekly visits for their own inspection. Corrective actions are addressed prior to an official visit to prevent construction delays or other unintended consequences.

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.