Environmental oversight on this construction site included both clean and contaminated soil management.
Envirologic was retained by a construction management firm and its client to provide a myriad of environmental services during construction of a new 100,000+ square foot production facility. The new facility was to be located on a property adjacent to the client's existing manufacturing plant. The prospective site was previously occupied by nearly a century of heavy manufacturing. The former manufacturing buildings and associated structures were demolished in 2010, and the property had since been left vacant.
Previous environmental investigations on the site indicated industrial contaminants from former operations had been released into the ground at concentrations above State of Michigan cleanup criteria. Prior to Envirologic's involvement, the new owner of the property performed environmental due diligence through preparation of a Baseline Environmental Assessment (BEA). Disclosure of the BEA to the State provided the new owner with liability protection for cleanup of any contamination caused by the previous owners and operators.
The presence of contamination presented the owner and its construction management firm with due care obligations to ensure that the construction workers who would build the new plant and the workers who would occupy the building after it had been built were not adversely exposed to the existing contamination.
Although there was a significant amount of existing data regarding contamination on the site from previous investigations, most of the data was from outside of the proposed building's footprint. Envirologic was therefore brought onto the project to conduct a specific exposure assessment focusing on direct contact with soil and potential inhalation of contaminated vapors migrating into the air and into the finished building. This involved collecting soil and groundwater samples from borings advanced across the building footprint and assessing in real time the presence of organic vapors in soil. Analytical results from samples did indicate the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and metals in soil and groundwater.
Envirologic prepared a Construction Due Care Plan for the client, which identified the contamination within and surrounding the footprint of the proposed building, where it was likely present, and potential exposure hazards for construction workers on site. The Construction Due Care Plan also outlined Envirologic's monitoring recommendations to measure workers' potential exposure to contamination, engineering controls to abate exposures, and the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for workers during specific phases of construction.
During construction activities, Envirologic staff was present to monitor ambient air using an organic vapor analyzer to determine potential real-time worker exposure to contaminants. Envirologic also collected personal air samples by equipping select workers with an absorptive badge, which they wore for a set period of time during excavation activities. The resulting data was used to assess worker exposure and refine worker protection protocols. The Construction Due Care Plan was then updated accordingly.
Because previously undiscovered pockets of contamination could be encountered during construction activities, the client requested Envirologic to also perform weekly spot checks for potential exposure. This involved monitoring vapors with an organic vapor analyzer.
Envirologic provides a multitude of environmental services specifically designed to assist construction firms, including demolition oversight, environmental compliance, site characterization, ambient air and excavation monitoring, SESC inspections, and other relevant services. As a small and nimble firm (now an SBA-certified small business), Envirologic is able to tailor individual projects to fit clients' unique needs. Further, our staff is on call 24/7 and can provide rapid response as requested. If you have questions about our services or would like to learn how Envirologic can help on your construction project, please contact our President, David Warwick, by phone at (800) 272-7802 or by email.