Environmental Issues Related to Construction Projects
CE/EA/EIA Categorical Exclusion (CE): completed to demonstrate that an area being considered for development does not warrant an EA or full EIA. Environmental Assessment (EA): completed for an area being considered for development that has limited environmental value Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA): required when a Subject Site or area has significant environmental valuesAll assessments typically include: -Land use -Faulting -Wetlands -Endangered species -Noise -Socioeconomic Impacts -Historical/Archaeological Resources
CE/EA/EIA Required by Regulatory Agencies -Federal Highway Administration (FHA) -TxDOT -Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) -Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Required to meet U.S. Council on Environmental Quality requirements under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)
PermittingWhat? Corps 404 Wetlands Permitting (Clean Water Act) -Wetlands Delineation and Ordinary High Water Mark Drawings -Soil Test Pit Data Sheets -GPS coordinates in UTM to 1-meter resolution Corps Section 10 Bridge Permitting for Navigable Waters (Rivers and Harbors Act) USCG Section 9 Bridge Permitting for Navigable Waters (Rivers and Harbors Act) Section 9 & 10 Permitting Typically Include: -Location Map -Plan & Elevation View of Bridge -Section 401 Water Quality Certification from TCEQ -Coastal Zone Management Certification from GLO if in a mapped Coastal Area -Approved Environmental Document (Categorical Exclusion, EA/FONSI, EIS)Why? -Ensure wetlands maintain their surface water purification and wildlife habitat capabilities -Ensure navigable waters maintain their proper flow dynamics and accessibility to vessel traffic
Phase I & II ESAs Phase I ESA – an assessment, resulting in a report, which is prepared for a real estate holding, typically involved in a transaction, which identifies potential or existing environmental contamination liabilities. The process, content and preparation of a Phase I assessment are governed by American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process (ASTM Designation: E1527-05) Phase II ESA – usually initiated as a result of a recommendation coming out of a Phase I ESA if conditions are found to exist which indicate the potential for environmental contamination to exist on a Subject Site. Although content of a Phase II ESA is governed by the findings of the Phase I ESA, Phase II ESAs are governed by (ASTM) Standard Practices for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase II ESA Process (ASTM Designation: E1903-97, Re-approved 2002)
Phase I & II ESAs Most often required by lending institutions (banks) to protect their investment in a property transaction May be requested by a seller as a pro-active attempt to satisfy the buyer and prove that the Subject Site has no liabilities. Most buyers will however want their own agent to do an assessment as well, at least as confirmation of what the seller is telling them Most often requested by a buyer to satisfy their lending institution and for their own peace of mind
Phase I ESA• Records Review: most commonly subcontracted by the Environmental Professional(s) responsible for conducing the Phase I ESA, to an Environmental Data Base Firm who maintains databases of government required reporting, historical photos, historical maps, etc.• Site Reconnaissance: by an Environmental Professional• Interviews: with owners and occupiers, regulators • Report Preparation: typically addresses both the underlying land as well as physical improvements to the Subject Site; however, techniques applied in a Phase I ESA never include actual collection of physical samples or chemical analyses of any kind. • Excluded from the scope of Phase I ESAs are: asbestos- containing materials (ACM), radon, lead based paint, lead in drinking water, wetlands, cultural and historic risks, industrial hygiene, health and safety, ecological resources, endangered species, and indoor air quality
Phase II ESA• Intrusive investigation: to identify and determine the nature and extent of potential contamination. It normally follows a Phase I investigation where site conditions or history of use and/or neighboring lands, or age of facility suggest potential for impaired conditions• Boreholes, Test Pits and/or Wells: to provide a representative coverage of the area of concern. Groundwater monitoring wells may also be installed to analyze water quality. Subsurface conditions including soil stratigraphy, groundwater evaluations, flow, direction, and gradient, as well as depth to bedrock may be determined during such investigations. Based on the results obtained during the subsurface investigation programs as well as other available information, site sensitivity assessment is conducted in order to identify legislation or guideline requirements.
Phase II ESA• Laboratory characterization of soil, groundwater, air and materials is completed in addition to assessment of the physical properties of subsurface environments and contaminants. Chemical constituents are analyzed and compared to applicable Environmental Regulations and Standards. If exceedances are found, zones of contaminated soils or groundwater are delineated and quantified.• Possible effects on human health and safety and the natural environment are researched as well as potential migration pathways, possibility of off-site impacts and chemical stability.• Recommendations of alternative remediation technologies as well as timing and costs can be included.
Operational Issues• Tank Removal and other Remediation Activities: based on the findings of Phase II ESAs.• Stormwater Management: Usually based on a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP or SWP3) which is required under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) its Texas counterpart, TPDES.• Waste Management: No specific plan required routinely, however many regulations exist, particularly around hazardous waste handling, storage, transport and disposal, and of course, in retroactively cleaning up sites contaminated with hazardous wastes under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The USEPA has a lot of guidance on managing wastes on its website.• Auditing: The USEPA encourages self- policing and has incentives for self discovery, disclosure, correction and prevention of violations.
Columns in a high-end condominium complex were heavingdue to soils expansion caused by water absorption. Crackingof walls and floors was occurring from the first to third floors.The water source was not known but was suspected to be oneof four things: 1) aboveground pool with known cracks allowing leakage 2) below-ground sanitary sewer line from the complex 3) on-site storm water detention basin 4) nearby bayou suspected of causing saturated soils from high water events
Drill 12 borings to 20 ft to evaluate soil geotechnical properties Install piezometers to establish groundwater levels near potential water sources Evaluate groundwater chemistry to identify probable water sources
HCPID needed geotechnical and environmental services for aroadway expansion project that included laneadditions, bridge widening, and drainage improvements.Drainage improvements consisted of conversion of roadsideditches to culverts.
Lane expansion and detention pond geotechnical studies Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments Historical/Cultural Survey, including archaeological pedestrian and excavation surveys Threatened and Endangered Species Survey Wetlands and Water Bodies Delineation and Corps 404 Permitting Geophysical Surveys Waste Management and Health and Safety Plans Third-Party Contractor Quality Assurance Monitoring for construction materials and hazmat handling
METRO was entering into negotiations with a sellerfor a key tract to be used for the Intermodal Terminalas part of its light rail expansion program andneeded expert witness testimony related to thenegative impacts on valuation caused by hazardousmaterials on the tract. The presence of the hazmatlimited development options for foundations, i.e.slab on grade versus structural foundations.
Phase I ESA Phase II ESA Supplemental Phase II ESA Geotechnical Study Expert Witness Litigation Support Investigation Derived Waste Management
The City of League City needed to stabilize theslopes of Robinson Bayou and also wanted toconstruct a hike and bike trail along the high bankof the bayou. Geotechnical and environmentalstudies were required to support the projectdesign and environmental permitting tasks.
Geotechnical Study Historical/Cultural Resources Survey Threatened and Endangered Species Survey Wetlands and Water Bodies Delineation Hydrogeomorphic Modeling and Wetlands Functional Assessment Stream Functional Assessment USFWS and TPWD Section 7 Consultation Wetlands Mitigation Plan Bid Specifications Review Corps 404 Permitting
Project SummaryThe City of Orange wanted to develop a boardwalk along a stretch ofthe Sabine River that has an oxbow meander loop that is no longer theprincipal flow centerline for the river. Geotechnical and environmentalstudies were required to support the project design and environmentalpermitting tasks.Scope of Work Geotechnical Study River Flow Velocity Study