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EPA's ASTM E 1527 Reference on the Way out
On December 30, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formally recognized ASTM E1527-13 Phase I ESA Standard as compliant with the federal government’s All-Appropriate Inquiries rule (40 CFR Part 312). At the same time, however, EPA also permitted environmental consultants and their clients to rely on the ASTM E1527-05 standard.
Six months later, after receiving a barrage of criticism, EPA published a proposal to reverse that permission and it looks as though that proposal will prevail. The four key take-aways, EDR says, are:
- Vapor intrusion and vapor migration are not the same thing.
- There is only one current standard practice.
- Vapor migration in the Phase I ESA process is not new.
- The industry has already transitioned over.
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Time's Running Out. Register Now for the GBA Fall Conference, Oct. 23-25, in San Francisco
A great organization and great people. A great city and a great hotel. A great agenda and great speakers. More? OK! Great networking opportunities and social events. And some of the finest food and drink you'll encounter anywhere, all without limit and without additional charge! See for yourself what's in store. Not convinced yet? Check out the Top 10 Reasons to attend. And by all means, register now.
Having Fun in the City by the Bay
While you're planning your conference attendance in San Francisco, don't forget about these great activities:
- Learn about Alcatraz during the day and then see it for yourself during the Local Color Night tour, "Alcatraz Island: An Inescapable Experience," sponsored by GBA-Member Firm BSK Associates.
- Experience Sausalito: Spouse and guest registrants may embark upon a scenic 30-minute ferry ride to the charming seaport village of Sausalito. This picturesque community perched on the hillside across the bay from San Francisco offers a variety of things to see and do. Experience Sausalito's unique shops, art studios, and interesting sites. Enjoy lunch at Scoma's Sausalito, a delightful waterfront restaurant specializing in fresh seafood.
- So much great food, so little time! Make the most of it with John and Patty's restaurant recommendations.
HR DEPT.:Top 75 Cities for STEM Graduates
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage for a U.S. STEM job is $79,395, almost 71% more than the annual average wage across all occupations and industries. While that makes STEM employment desirable, it doesn't make it desirable everywhere. In fact, according to NerdWallet research, some cities are far more attractive than others, considering local average salaries ($111,746 in the San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara metro area) and cost of living. As it so happens, the San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara metro area leads the list of the top 75 cities, followed by Seattle, D.C., Houston, and San Francisco.
$1 Billion, 105-Mile "PennEast" Pipeline Proposed for NJ/PA Area
The Philadelphia Inquirer
A utilities consortium is planning to build a $1 billion "PennEast" pipeline to deliver inexpensive Marcellus Shale gas to customers in Pennsylvania and south New Jersey. The pipeline would span 105 miles, from Luzerne County to the Trenton area, to ease transmission bottlenecks that caused price spikes last winter. Because PennEast would be an interstate pipeline, the consortium could apply eminent domain to claim rights-of-way from landowners. Planning and regulatory approvals are expected to take more than two years, with construction proposed to start in 2017. The New Jersey Sierra Club and the Delaware Riverkeeper Network have denounced the project. Does your firm offer pipeline services? Is at able to offer complementary affected-citizen-outreach services? Sounds like both will be needed more and more.
Pipeline Safety Is Focus of New Tech Center in Houston
The Pipeline Research Council International is building a $10-million Technology Development Center in Houston to develop new technologies to bolster pipeline safety. The complex will feature longer lengths of pipeline, up to 700 feet, to assess tools that previously were difficult to access. Two years ago, the Council created a repository to make excavated and damaged pipeline samples available for evaluation and testing. The repository has accumulated more than 600 samples within two years, indicating just how big a problem the Council is focused on solving. The Council will move the samples to the new center.
Bring home the best of GBA conferences with content on demand — online and on DVD.
BUSINESS 101: Acquiring and Applying Client Feedback
"One underused and often misunderstood mode of questioning in the A/E/C industry — eliciting client feedback — enables your firm to assess the value you bring to the table. As strategy consultants to the A/E/C industry, we see far too many firms struggle with determining and articulating their differentiators, benefits (not features!), and value. All too often, expensive off-site meetings are held where principals, marketing staff, and others pontificate about these topics without the benefit of external data points. This is mind-boggling! If one of our primary challenges is establishing our value to command the fees we warrant (plus avoiding commoditization in some markets), then we must understand what our clients value and how they measure it." So say Ryan Suydam (Client Feedback Tool) and GBA 2014 Fall Conference keynoter Rich Friedman (Friedman and Partners) in their article, "Value: The A/E/C Industry's Biggest Blind Spot."
Call for Abstracts: Spring Conference in Miami
Have a creative idea for a presentation at the Geoprofessional Business Association (GBA) Spring Conference in Miami, FL, April 16-18, 2015? Here is your chance to share it with us. Download and send us the submission form. The GBA Conference Committee will review all submissions. The theme of the conference is "Optimizing Performance for Our Firms and Our Clients: Innovation in Practice."
For a complete list of upcoming events, click here.
That's a CoMET up There. Honest.
Quietly humming, the flying robot hovers outside the high-rise. Equipped with eight rotors, the miniature aircraft slowly whirls upward to the 11th floor. It examines the facade for damage, such as cracks, defective joints, or chipped and crumbling concrete. At a distance of two meters from the building, the octocopter scans the masonry. Also on board is a high-resolution, digital camera that takes detailed images of each part of the building. In addition, the material tester is equipped with sensors that adjust for wind gusts, maintaining stable attitudes, and avoiding collisions with the building. A dream? No! A CoMET reality happening right now.
Now Available: Practice Alert 59: Fiscal Year 2013-14 Financial Performance Survey Report; Free to Members Only
See how your firm compares to fellow GBA-Member Firms when you review this report of the results of the latest financial performance survey. If you'd like to learn how to gather these statistics for your own firm, check out the free webinar, "Benchmarking Your Firm's Financial Performance (and How To Complete ASFE's Financial Performance Survey)," in which Lee James, CPA, CMC, CBI shows you how.
Risk Reduction for Atlantic, Gulf Coasts
National Research Council
Countering the chaos that can be caused by natural disasters along the United States' Atlantic and Gulf Coasts requires a risk-management plan that incorporates a long-term view, regional solutions, and recognition of the complete array of economic, social, environmental, and safety benefits that effective risk management can provide. So says the National Research Council in a new report that defines coastal risk as the potential for storm-surge-induced flooding, wave damage, and other hazards to adversely affect human health and well-being, economic conditions, infrastructure, support services, and social, environmental, and cultural resources in coastal communities. The threat is growing. As coastal communities have become home to more people and property, the cost of coastal-storm-related losses has risen significantly. Climate change plays a major role, too, creating the added risk of sea-level rise and stronger hurricanes. Geoprofessionals have a major role to play. Read the report!
Geothermal System Design Leads to Project Success
The recently completed 252-unit, 12-building Solaire Apartments complex in Brighton, CO (20 miles north of Denver) uses 112 wells to provide 326 tons of ground-source-heat-pump heating and cooling capacity. According to the developer, the higher first costs associated with geothermal are more than offset by the savings provided, and the developer's ability to offer competitive rental rates, especially as utility rates continue to rise in the future. Power-company and municipal incentives helped make the project feasible, as did a system design that enabled design/builder developed by SMC Geothermal to offer a bid that was $2.5 million less than its closer competitor.
Do Your MSW Clients Know This? Should They?
If the municipal solid waste (MSW) currently placed in U.S. landfills each year were instead used as fuel in waste-to-energy (WTE) power plants, it would generate 12% of the nation’s electricity demand; i.e., enough power to meet the needs of 14 million homes. That’s just one of the important findings discussed in a new research report issued by the Earth Engineering Center (EEC) of Columbia University: 2014 Energy and Economic Value of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), including and Non-recycled Plastics (NRP), Currently Landfilled in the Fifty States. Another key finding: Using MSW as fuel would also prevent 123-million tons of carbon-dioxide equivalents from reaching the atmosphere each year, a benefit comparable to eliminating 23 million cars. Is there a WTE in your firm's future?
YOU'VE JUST GOT TO BE KIDDING: But Do They Eat Cracker Jack?
About 15 years ago, this column reported about new research that showed people felt much better about their work when, at random intervals, a message would pop up on their computer screens saying something like "You're doing a great job. Thank you!" The message was sent by a robot, but no matter; it provided something people want: praise and recognition. Fast forward to today in South Korea, where a professional-baseball team — the Hanwha Eagles — have installed fanbots for Eagles' fans who are unable to attend the game. The bots all hold a screen/sign above their "heads," allowing nonattendees to inscribe them from their computers, tablets, and smartphones. The robots also stomp and, according to the team, they "encourage group cheering" at "important moments."
2014-2015 GBA BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Steven D. Thorne, P.E., D.GE
(Terracon / Somerset, NJ)
Gordon M. Matheson, Ph.D., P.E., P.G.
(Schnabel Engineering, Inc. / Glen Allen, VA)
Joel G. Carson
(Kleinfelder / Omaha, NE)
Charles L. Head, P.E., P.G.
(Sanborn, Head & Associates / Concord, NH)
Kimberly F. Morrison, P.E., R.G.
(Morrison Geotechnical Solutions, Inc. / Denver, CO)
Laura R. Reinbold, P.E.
(TTL, Inc. / Nashville, TN)
Alex Sy, Ph.D., P. Eng.
(Klohn Crippen Berger Ltd. / Vancouver, BC)
Woodward L. Vogt, P.E., D.GE
(Paradigm Consultants, Inc. / Houston, TX)
7701 Las Colinas Ridge, Ste. 800, Irving, TX 75063