Waste & Materials Management Services
EM Strategies is an environmental consulting company skilled in evaluating properties for contamination by hazardous or toxic substances. We base our findings on direct observations, sampling and analysis programs, or secondary information obtained during any given environmental investigation.
Existing federal and state environmental laws have placed substantial liability on buyers and sellers of properties contaminated by hazardous or toxic substances.
Similarly, lending institutions (or other entities with a potential interest in secured or unsecured properties who may foreclose on or otherwise assume operational control of contaminated properties) could be made financially liable for the clean-up of said properties, whether or not they contributed to the contamination or not.
Prior to the calculation of property or estate taxes, trustees and managers of estates also have a vested interest in obtaining an accurate assessment of an estate potentially contaminated with hazardous or toxic substances.
EM Strategies has the experience and technical expertise to help our clients minimize the costs and risks associated with contamination.
Environmental auditing has emerged as an important and integral part of environmental management systems.
Audits serve as a management tool to help measure a facility or company’s environmental performance against environmental regulations, as well as internal company policies and operational procedures.
In addition, environmental audits can provide a level of assurance to senior management that the activities at their facility or organization do not pose an unreasonable risk to the company or the environment.
The process can assist a corporation and its officers in limiting liability by identifying potential problems and recommending corrective actions.
The auditing process is designed to:
- Verify compliance with corporate environmental requirements;
- Evaluate the effectiveness of existing environmental management systems; and
- Assess risks from regulated and unregulated materials and practices.
Environmental audits are also typically performed prior to the acquisition of an operating business.
As part of an environmental audit, EM Strategies can evaluate a facility’s regulatory compliance status and advise corrective actions. The regulatory compliance aspect of the environmental audit includes:
- A detailed walk-through inspection of the facility;
- Review of all environmental records made available from the client;
- Review of applicable management practices, federal, state and local laws, rules and regulations, and standards; and
- Interviews with persons responsible for implementing the environmental programs on site.
Specific components of a typical EM Strategies Environmental Audit, which are based upon these elements, include:
- Summaries of the items reviewed;
- Discussion of environmental issues and audit results including historic and potential problems and noncompliance areas; and
- Recommendations for actions which would bring the facility into regulatory compliance and resolution of environmental problems.
After the initial environmental audit, EM Strategies can perform periodic audit updates to assist in keeping the facility in regulatory compliance or undertake supplemental activities necessary to bring the facility into regulatory compliance.
Property Site Assessments
A Preliminary (Phase I) Property Site Assessment is an investigation undertaken to evaluate properties for the existence, reasonable potential existence, or future potential for hazardous or toxic substance contamination.
The scope of services for a typical Phase I Property Site Assessment includes
- A site inspection;
- Review of historical information from site records and regulatory agencies;
- Preparation of a written technical report with findings of the investigation; and
- Conclusions and recommendations for further investigation, if necessary.
Although requirements for specific sites vary and individual clients may require supplemental assessment activities, minimum requirements have been established by practicing professionals and have been institutionalized in pending legislation.
Minimum standards have also been established by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standard practices for a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (E 1527-97, Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process).
Phase I Property Site Assessments do not typically include soil, groundwater sampling or analysis activities unless specifically requested prior to the investigation, – or mutually agreed upon during the course of the investigation.
If the Phase I Property Site Assessments were to reveal evidence of potential hazardous substance contamination, recommendations for further investigation (Phase II Property Site Assessment), mitigation, and/or remedial actions would be recommended in the Phase I report.
Waste & Materials Management
Regulatory Compliance and Permit Acquisition
The complex legislation makes regulatory compliance a costly and time-consuming necessity. EM Strategies and our team of professionals conduct site audits to determine whether or not a facility is in compliance with current regulations and existing permits.
Our qualified professionals are experienced in both industrial processes and environmental regulations.
Knowledge of regulations and regulatory processes allows us to assist our clients in obtaining necessary permits and developing hazardous material inventory systems. EM Strategies has successfully provided comprehensive permit acquisition services for multiple existing and proposed resource developments, as well as industrial facilities throughout the western United States.
Toxics Release Inventory Evaluation and Compliance
The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) program was implemented in 1986 under Section 313 of the Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know (EPCRA) program.
This TRI program was originally designed for the manufacturing industry (SIC 20-39). The metal mining industry (SIC 10) is part of a group of industries that has recently been added to the TRI program and that must now file reports.These reports, in the form of TRI Form Rs, are submitted to the EPA and appropriate state agencies on July 1 for the previous reporting year.
The four criteria that a facility must meet to file a TRI a Form R are as follows:
- the facility’s primary Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code is on the TRI list (which includes SIC 1041- Gold Mining and SIC 1044 – Silver Mining).
- the facility employs ten or more full-time equivalent employees in the reporting year.
- the facility “manufactures,” “processes,” or “otherwise uses” a chemical on the TRI chemical list.
- the facility exceeds the activity thresholds for a TRI chemical.
EM Strategies has the expertise to identify and prepare all information needed to complete Form Rs. EM Strategies has also conducted workshops to train company personnel in the identification of TRI chemicals and data compilation needed for the required Form Rs.
Risk Management Plans
Under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) chemical accident prevention rules (40 CFR Part 68), facilities that handle, manufacture, use, or store any specifically listed toxic or flammable substances in quantities above the specified threshold quantity in a process, are required to develop and implement a Risk Management Program.
However, many facilities are subject to the Risk Management Program requirements only because they handle, use, or store propane (or other listed flammable hydrocarbon fuels, such as butane, ethane, propylene, or methane) in a process (e.g., a single tank or several interconnected tanks) that is in quantities above the applicable listed threshold.
If these facilities are isolated from off-site public receptors (houses, schools, businesses, etc.) and have not had a serious accident in the last five years, they are likely to be subject only to the basic Program 1 requirements of the Risk Management Program.
EM Strategies can provide a manual with questionnaires and forms, as well as referenced information attachments that are specifically designed to help facilities comply with the requirements of various Risk Management Programs.
This manual provides a guide to the information collection process and data analysis necessary to determine whether each facility has any process which may be subject to the Risk Management Program (due to presence of a regulated substance [whether hydrocarbon fuel or any other regulated substance] above the current threshold quantity); and to determine whether all processes subject to the Risk Management Program are eligible for the basic Program 1.
EM Strategies would then use the information generated from the questionnaires to prepare the Risk Management Plan for the facility.