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Dangers of Toxic Dumping in Residential and Commercial Areas

Why Toxic Dumping is so Hazardous

Across the country and even the world, the toxic dumping of hazardous materials is all too prevalent. The materials of toxic dumping can take all sorts of forms—poisonous chemicals from manufacturing, the waste from a city septic system, runoff from automotive garages and gas stations, and more. Toxic dumping encompasses all sorts of hazards, including liquids, solids, sludges containing contaminations ranging from those that are chemical, those that are filled with radiation, or those that are simply toxic. With such a wide umbrella, the toxic dumping issue is one that poses many potential risks to public health, the environment, and general well-being.

Proper storage of hazardous waste

Hazardous waste is a common byproduct of activities deemed necessary for modern life—it’s created at farms, industrial facilities, laboratories, hospitals, construction sites, and more. The existence of hazardous waste is not the issue, as various environmental oversight agencies (such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, as well as state departments of environmental protection) mandate how the waste is to be handled and what designated facilities are appropriate for housing the waste. Typical hazardous waste facilities store the waste underground in adequately sealed containers or using best practices for containment, and eventually those sites are closed off and used for other purposes—such as brownfields suitable for commercial or industrial use or reused greenspace.

Where is toxic dumping a threat?

Unfortunately, hazardous material is not always contained in the way it should. Some sites of toxic dumping were created before 1976, when the Environmental Protection Agency first started regulating hazardous waste. However, other sites of toxic dumping occur simply because people skirt the laws and choose to engage in illegal toxic dumping—sometimes out of ignorance, but more often because illegal dumping is more convenient and significantly cheaper than proper storage.

However, the act of toxic dumping is not always a matter of an act of malice. In fact, one of the most common forms of toxic waste contaminating soil and water comes from the agricultural industry where pesticides get spread when storm water causes runoff to carry the chemicals to commercial and residential areas both near and far. As a result, regulations regarding toxic dumping are critical to protect people everywhere, not just those who might be near more obvious hazardous waste threats like industrial sites.

Toxic dumping is a critical issue because of the health threats they pose. Being exposed to such hazardous materials can result in any of the following issues:

  • Chemical carcinogens in hazardous materials can cause cancer
  • Contaminants can make their way into groundwater, thus making the drinking water unsafe
  • Mercury is commonly a component of hazardous materials, exposure to which can cause mercury poisoning

What can be done about toxic dumping?

The first step is to prevent toxic dumping from occurring in the first place, which is where government regulation and enforcement is key. But outside of that, once toxic dumping occurs, and land, soil, or water are contaminated, then it becomes critical for trained professionals to go to the site and take soil samples. Through testing these samples, experts can determine the exact makeup of the contaminants and identify how to clean it up.

Our Team

With over 25 years of experience as Environmental Consultants, you can trust in the Entech Group in addressing your needs in response to toxic dumping, from soil sampling to investigating illegally dumped materials to ultimate cleanup. Our team members have the qualifications to complete your environmental engineering jobs the right way.

Get in Touch

Our competitive turn-key solutions and environmental consulting services will assist your business to obtain its desired results in the most efficient and professional manner. Call us today for a consultation at 800-571-8661.

Why Repurpose Property Damaged by Environmental Impact

The Benefits of Repurposing Property Damaged by Environmental Impact

The concept of taking an existing or old and abandoned property and repurposing it from a brand new use, also known as adaptive reuse, is a practice that is becoming increasingly common in today’s world. Such adaptive reuse provides a clever and exciting way to leverage valuable plots of land that might have otherwise been left unused because they were considered too much of an environmental hazard.

Environmental impacts, such as flooding causing contaminated soil or groundwater or older buildings that came with chemical hazards like asbestos, can leave a property (either the building or the plot of land itself) with a perception that it is now worthless and unusable. However, it is the clever and insightful property developers who will realize the potential benefits of repurposing these types of properties that have experienced damage from environmental impact.

Former industrial properties that now sit idle due to environmental hazards are known as brownfields. These brownfield properties, by some reports, number in the hundreds of thousands in the United States. Beyond that, many properties end up becoming vacated and abandoned after natural disaster, namely flooding, storms, or other environmental impacts that bring with them contaminated soil and water that posing health risks to those who use them. These type of environmental hazards often come with a reputation that the properties are now unusable or not valuable. Some specific negative impacts that such damaged properties can bring to their owner and the surrounding community include the following:

  • Negative impacts to the local economy
  • Restrictions on the regions potential for population growth
  • Depression of property values for surrounding properties
  • Increase to local crime rates
  • Extra costs to local governments, and thus the local taxpayers, to address each of the other negative effects and liabilities

 

However, many of these negative impacts are more an issue of perception than reality. In fact, the repurposing of such land can be renovated and rehabilitated for new uses. While such repurposing is not entirely simple, the potential new uses can be especially beneficial to a property owner or community as a whole and include concepts like urban agriculture, woodlands, or parks and recreational facilities. These environmentally focused reuses for land also serve to provide benefits like improved storm water management practices, reduced air pollution, a reduction in urban heat islands, and even just an enhancement to the appearance of the neighborhood.

While environmental impact might otherwise leave a property with the perception it is unusable, proper environmental and construction management services can turn such properties from liabilities into assets. When the environmentally damaged properties get rehabilitated and cleared of their environmental hazards, the repurposed building can often be one of the dominoes that spurs redevelopment and economic revitalization.

When older properties come attached with natural environmental hazards and concerns, such as chemical contaminants associated with gas stations, dry cleaners, or older buildings with lead based paint and asbestos, these are all the type of problem that can be addressed with proper rehabilitation strategy and environmental management and construction experts. For any owners or developers seeking to repurpose property that has undergone any number of environmental impacts, addressing the environmental hazards is an important part of the process when assessing budgets and construction costs. But those risks can be mitigated with proper due diligence from environmental experts, so environmental hazards are minimized and addressed, while all proper environmental regulations and best practices are met.

What the Entech Group can do for you

Partnering with the Entech Group will ensure that environmental redevelopment and repurposing projects are completed quickly, efficiently, and properly. The Entech Group is experienced in the rehabilitation of land and property for any sort of purposes and is dedicated to assisting clients through our environmental and construction management services. Contact the Entech Group today to discuss your environmental repurposing needs.

Handling the Decontamination of Soil and Water After Flooding

Avoid the Hazards of Contaminated Soil and Water

Flooding is becoming more of an issue today than it had been in decades, due to increased rates of urbanization (and associated impenetrable land surfaces), decreased biodiversity in rural areas, and general increase in extreme weather events that cause flooding. Floods cause not only terrible damage to property through mold, wood rot, and disintegrated wall boards, but floodwaters also bring along mud, soil, insects and other small animals, and even refuse. These parts of floodwaters invading a property often bring with them water contamination and soil contamination, defined as any substance (chemical, mineral, or otherwise) in the water or soil that exceeds naturally-occurring levels and puts people using that water or soil at a health risk. Knowing how to handle the decontamination process one flooding, one of the leading causes of water pollution as well as soil pollution, is integral to ensuring your property remains environmentally safe and healthy.

Soil contamination

When floodwaters bring a degree of soil contamination, a number of different decontamination techniques can be deployed by environmental and construction management companies:

  • Contaminated soil can be directly removed, however taking this approach can be extremely costly and time intensive, not to mention the issue of finding a safe location to which the contaminated soil can be moved.
  • One of the best mitigation strategies for soil contamination is using the selective deployment of certain types of plants that have a knack for extracting specific chemical contaminants from the soil, which gradually reduce the soil contamination until it is safe for humans. This technique is known as phyto-remediation, while mushrooms (myco-remediation) or even bacteria (bio-venting) can also be used by experts in the field.
  • Environmentally impacted soil can also be put through stabilization, which is when chemicals are added to the soil that bind with the contaminants and form minerals that are not harmful to health.

Water contamination

Depending on the type of water contamination, the dangerous contaminants brought to groundwater bodies can pool at the top or sink to the bottom of the water, slowly dissolving in and contaminating large bodies of water used for drinking or other necessary purposes. As groundwater can represent the only clean water source for many localities, the decontamination of these causes of water pollution are critical and can be achieved in a number of ways.

Before the water decontamination process happens, though, water contamination must be detected and measured. This process can be accomplished through well drilling, though this practice is fairly slow and expensive, and generates contaminated soil that must be disposed of properly. Alternatively, direct push technology uses large vehicles equipped with hydraulic rams and/or percussion equipment to push metal tubes deep into the ground for testing and collection of samples.

After determining the level of water contamination, environmental management services can deploy a few different decontamination strategies:

  • Thermal treatment can be used to heat contaminated groundwater to the boiling point of the contaminant so the harmful substances are converted to gases, which subsequently move through the soil to be absorbed by activated carbon or even boiled to the point that they are broken down into completely harmless elements. This type of soil heating can be accomplished through electrical resistance or steam injection.
  • Contaminated water can also be accomplished with the treatment of chemicals that degrade the contaminants chemically into harmless substances, such as carbon dioxide and water.

What the Entech Group can do for you

Partnering with the Entech Group will ensure that environmental cleanup projects are completed quickly, efficiently, and properly.  The Entech Group is experienced in the decontamination of soil and water after floods and is dedicated to assisting clients with our environmental remediation projects from start to finish. Contact the Entech Group today to discuss your environmental remediation needs.