Case Studies

Case Study I. Environmental Site Assessment

Our Client: Trans Pacific National Bank, San Francisco, California

The Challenge: A rancher owned several properties and wanted to consolidate the mortgages on all the properties with a single SBA loan. Multiple properties required a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment on an extremely short time line. The properties were located in remote areas, and there were multiple oil and gas well sites on each property that had to be surveyed for possible contamination. The customer was working with the lender to provide the required documentation and the results of the assessments were time-critical.

Our Approach: A GPS was utilized via a laptop computer using Google maps to assist in locating the properties, and several properties were extremely difficult to locate. This also occurred during the government shut down, making access to the government web sites such as the EPA and the Department of Agriculture, which contained location information impossible. Additionally, the New Mexico Environmental Department web site and information systems were also having problems.

Our Solution: Much of the work was completed prior to arriving on the site. Regulatory research was completed, aerial photographs were reviewed, site locations were plotted on Google Earth, and routes were planned. It was discovered that two of the counties, one in New Mexico and one in Colorado had GPS sites containing maps of oil wells and water wells (Usually, we look at local Graphical Information Sites and aerial photos to plot wells on aerial maps when available.). San Juan County, NM, and La Plata County, CO both had excellent GIS sites that provided water well, oil well, and GPS information. Rio Arriba County in New Mexico had no GIS site, so we contacted the local agencies by phone to obtain information about the well name, when the wells were drilled, and to what depth. These maps were of great value in locating the well locations as well as the properties.

The Results: The reports were delivered on time to the customer, and the loan package enabled him to obtain the SBA loan and consolidate all of the properties under one financial institution at a single and favorable interest rate.

Case Study II. Environmental Field Services

Our Client: CH2M Hill/Environmental Protection Agency, Grants Chlorinated Spill Project (GCSP) Superfund site, Grants, New Mexico

The Challenges: A key initiative was to provide site civil services for the installation of conveyance piping and associated infrastructure to facilitate the completion of an in situ thermal treatment system (ISTT) to reduce and/or remove the contaminant(s) from the groundwater and affected soils. This effort centered on removing contaminates from the soil and groundwater, and preventing further water contamination and future threat to the city’s water supply. The contamination containing chlorinated solvents at concentrations greater than EPA drinking water standards or maximum contaminant levels (MCLs). The presence of chlorinated solvents was a result of past releases from nearby dry cleaning operation. The GCSP site was a mix of residential and commercial property with a main highway dissecting the work area. Also a portion of the work area served as a parking lot for the dry cleaning facility. The dry cleaning business needed to stay operational, per agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency and CH2M Hill. The highway is also the main route to the hospital in the area, and therefore the city of Grants and New Mexico D.O.T mandated that during construction one lane must remain open at all times.

Our Approach: Our engineers determined that the project was time-sensitive and required absolute precision in planning and work schedules, since CH2M Hill/Environmental Protection Agency had set a number of very aggressive project thresholds and milestones that were required to meet funding requirements. This necessitated simultaneous multi-crew tasking for the project to meet the deadlines. Therefore, the drilling rig crews, construction crews, environmental personal, electricians, plumbers and others worked together as a single functional team.

Our Solution: A comprehensive plan was developed by AES in conjunction with CH2M Hill and other supporting contractors. Design changes also became necessary as conditions warranted, such as the realignment of conveyance pipe lines to accommodate new placement and elevations. We developed new work processes to assure timely delivery. The completed configurations were tested for reliability and optimal performance. Following the system implementation and successful contaminate removal, the structures were disassembled and removed from the site. The removed steel pipe was decontaminated and recycled. Finally, the site was returned to its original condition, and monitoring wells were installed in the area to monitor and analyze the underlying water supply.

The Results: This program reduced the number of conflicts between the businesses in the area, and kept the highway open for continued travel as required by City and DOT officials. (Duplicated from above) The remedy is expected to be protective of human health and the environment upon attainment of the soil and ground water remedial goals (the remediation goals have already been meet). The project was on time and within budget.

Case Study III. Environmental Site Assessment

Our Client: Standard Solar, Inc., a Rockville, Maryland Enterprise

The Challenge: This company wanted to install solar banks on a certain property and needed to assure that the property itself was environmentally safe. This needed to be assessed in a week to meet a critical deadline for a loan for the purchase of the solar equipment.

The property, located in in Las Vegas, New Mexico, required a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment on a short time frame. Las Vegas and most of New Mexico had a large snow storm that covered the ground making the surface difficult to view.

Our Approach: Research work prior to the site visit was performed – we looked at historical environmental records of the property and those adjacent to it. Current and past aerial photos were obtained from a firm that provides fee-based research information and reviewed before performing the site reconnaissance.

Our Solution: A survey was performed on the property by a registered surveyor who had surveyed the site when the property was dry. He was interviewed as well as the owner of the property. This information in conjunction with the Site Reconnaissance revealed adequate information about the site to complete the Report.

The Results: The reports were delivered on time to the customer, and the assessment deemed the property as having no environmental impacts.

Case Study IV. Utility Construction

Our Client: National Park Service, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Alamosa, Colorado

The Challenge: The mission was to install new sewer lines and septic tanks while keeping the park open to both visitors and staff. Moreover, there was great concern on the part of the National Park Service that there would be environmental damage and also to the beauty of the park. All of our imported backfill required to be washed in order to removal all foreign/non-native seed and vegetation. The National Park Service also wanted to keep tree loss from the construction to an absolute minimum.

Our Approach: Our engineers determined that we needed an innovative and flexible work plan to align the new sewer lines so that the imperatives above were met. There had to be a true partnership between AES and the National Park Service to implement methodology to change alignments.

Our Solution: A comprehensive plan was developed. Key initiatives included developing processes where sewer line alignments could be moved, while still keeping the line elevations correct to maintain the required flow. We identified which trees and vegetation could withstand construction activities near their root systems, and also realigned sewer lines and manholes to accommodate new placements. After the new system was in place we removed the current septic tanks and leach fields.

The Results: This program reduced the tree loss to one evergreen tree and one deciduous tree. Some sewer lines were placed underneath walking trails, and after construction the trails were reconditioned for use. Boulders that were dug up during construction were used as natural barriers at the edge of parking areas to keep automobiles from encroaching on to park property. All systems are fully operational 5 years later, and the look, feel and integrity of the park was not compromised.

Case Study V. Hazardous Waste Management

Our Client: City of Hagerman, New Mexico Environment Department, Eberline, Hagerman, NM

The Challenge: The City of Hagerman discovered a shed which was used to store outdated or unused chemicals used by the science departments for various schools over several decades. The chemicals included flammables, oxidizers, corrosives, water-reactive and other toxic chemicals. This situation posed a potential harm to the environment and public safety due to chemical instability and incompatibility. The potential mingling of incompatible chemicals or disturbed chemicals can cause explosions, fire and/or the release of toxins.

Our Approach: We worked with the City, the New Mexico State Police and the New Mexico Environment Department to safely and securely enter the site, and to properly identify, inventory and segregate the chemicals to minimize the risk to the environment and to the safety of the community.

Our Solution: AES experts developed a comprehensive waste management program to properly characterize, segregate, profile, package, label, manifest, transport and dispose of the accumulated hazardous waste.

The Results: We provided the customer with a prompt, effective, cost efficient service to economically comply with the requirements of the Local, State, and Federal regulators. The community was able to rid itself of chemicals which had the potential to cause fire and the release of toxins which could have harmed both the public and the environment.

Case Study VI. Utilities Construction

Our Client: National Park Service, Chaco Canyon National Historical Park, Chaco Canyon, New Mexico

The Challenge: The mission was to rehabilitate and realign the original sewer lift station while keeping the wastewater system operational for staff and visitors. Lift stations are designed to move wastewater from lower to higher elevations, particularly where the elevation of the source is not sufficient for gravity flow and/or when the use of gravity conveyance will result in excessive excavation depths and high sewer construction costs. Of great concern was maintaining the integrity of the historical and cultural nature of the park, so we needed to keep excavations to a minimum during the construction process. We also needed to install new propane lines and telephone conduit system to the staff housing.

Our Approach: We designed a detailed and innovative plan for alignment of the propane line and data conduit, such that the placement of sewer lift station and elevations of building were not compromised. The lines into and out of the system could not vary because of the existence of archeological artifacts and deposits in certain areas of the site. The National Park Service required archeological monitors to be at all locations being excavated (Archaeological monitoring assesses the presence or absence of archaeological artifacts in areas that are being excavated.).

Our Solution: A comprehensive plan was developed. Key initiatives included developing processes to dictate how alignments could be moved, while maintaining clearance through areas where artifacts were present, and then realigning the lines and data boxes to accommodate the new placement.

The Results: Archeological monitors, park staff and AES technicians partnered closely to assure that artifacts such as pottery chards, burn pits and arrowheads were not compromised. AES was able to complete the project with minimum intrusion and even discovered and preserved an old pit house at the lift station construction site. We also successfully realigned the lift station while assuring that the wastewater system remained operational throughout the process.

Case Study VII. Chemical Decontamination – Mercury

Our Client: U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico

The Challenge: A 1.2 meter telescope contained a leaking mercury bladder which is designed to support the telescope’s mirror. Areas on and around the telescope and certain areas in the storage room were contaminated with mercury, rendering the telescope unsafe to handle and the storage area unsafe for occupancy. Exposure to personnel and the ensuing potential liability were a significant concern.

Our Approach: We prepared a site specific Health and Safety plan to identify the hazards and the appropriate PPE that was needed. We performed initial mercury monitoring with a properly calibrated Jerome meter and assessed the components of the telescope to identify likely pockets of mercury. This enabled us to determine the most effective way of collecting the mercury and methods for reducing and removing residual mercury vapors.

Our Solution: Our specialists identified the appropriate level of PPE for respiratory protection, and collected and containerized all visible mercury. We used the Jerome meter to identify areas of contamination which were not visibly apparent, wiped down the surfaces with the appropriate solvent and disassembled the telescope to access pockets of mercury contamination. After this, we collected and containerize all mercury and mercury cleanup materials for proper disposal.

The Results: We were able to identify, isolate and confine all areas within the telescope that contained mercury, and perform final surface mercury monitoring and clear the telescope for shipment. Final mercury monitoring verified that the atmosphere was safe for human occupancy, and documented final monitoring results in a Final Report prepared for Air Force personnel.

Case Study VIII. Remediation Services

Our Client: KinderCare, Rio Rancho, New Mexico

The Challenge: A fire extinguisher containing potassium bicarbonate was dropped and the handle broke off, releasing its contents and contaminating two wings (approximate square footage was 3000sf) of the facility. The daycare was shut down and the children sent home until a cleanup could be completed. KinderCare was proactive and called AES right away. The challenge was to remediate 2 wings of the day care prior to allowing the children back into the day care the next day. This included the cleaning of all walls, ceiling, flooring, furniture, books, toys and any and all other contents.

Our Approach: AES saw that we needed to operate around the clock to complete the cleanup in the timeframe that the customer needed.

Our Solution: AES utilized 2 teams to complete the cleanup. One team began the cleanup at 6:00pm and worked until 4:00am when the second team took over to complete the cleanup activities by 8:00am. The area was HEPA vacuumed to remove the gross contamination and then triple washed. The first wash was with biodegradable detergent (Simple Green), the second wash was a deodorizer/disinfectant/sanitizer (Odoban), and the third and final wash was a wipe down using a damp cloth.

The Results: Taking this approach, AES was able to complete the cleanup before the start of business the next day. The area was inspected and cleared by the daycare management. The customer was able to reopen and return that day and resume their usual activities on schedule.


CH2M HILL would like to express our thanks to Advanced Environmental Solutions, Inc. (AES) and particularly, Sam Houston, Site Superintendent, for your work on the above referenced project as a subcontractor to CH2M HILL.
Jeffrey Minchak
I have worked with Advanced Environmental Solutions, Inc. (AES) for nearly 15 years on various environmental projects in New Mexico and Texas. I have always been very satisfied with their job performance and their ability to respond even on very short notice.
Gary Henderson
Environmental Resources Management

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