News


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.

Tips for Your Non-Profit: The Next Steps to Take After Winning a Project Bid

New Jersey Solar Energy

Understand What’s Next for Your Non-Profit After A Project Bid is Won

Non-profit organizations often look to fund projects through grants and other available resources. You put considerable effort into researching, applying for, and submitting applications with the goal of receiving the funding you need. Once you win a project bid, there are many steps you should take to assure your project goes off without a hitch.

  1. Create a plan.

Once you win a project bid, review your original proposal and create a plan of action. Include necessary tasks, target completion dates, and steps that need to happen for your vision to become a reality.

  1. Assign a project manager.

It is impossible to complete big projects without a point-person to handle incoming questions and assign tasks to necessary parties. This individual, known as the project manager, should be passionate about the project, capable of juggling many tasks, and able to hold other’s accountable for their responsibilities.

Some non-profits choose to hire a project management company to oversee and effectively manage more extensive projects. This is especially true if they don’t have anybody in-house with the right credentials or their existing employees are already overloaded with responsibilities.

  1. Identify areas that need attention.

Review your project plan and look for areas that need attention or additional resources. This can include areas that you need to conduct additional research, recruit the right individuals to handle, tasks that your organization is unfamiliar in handling, or areas that require you to understand specific regulations to remain compliant.

  1. Create policies and procedures.

There are two sets of policies and procedures your non-profit needs to create. The first set of policies and procedures are written requirements for volunteers and employees that outline steps to take to manage risk appropriately, remain compliant, how to handle certain incidents, and who to report specifics to. Outlining this information helps create a smooth process for your ongoing project.

The second set of policies and procedures are requirements and expectations for any contractors performing tasks. These can be part of any contracts you have in place and clearly state how projects should be completed, changes handled, and repercussions for not following through as stated.

  1. Track your budget.

Non-profit projects vary in size, but the larger they are; the easier it is to get off-track on your budget. Create a system to track your budget through the entire project. Take notice of any requests that are outside of your original project scope. While a change may seem small, the long-term effect may prevent you from successfully completing your project. Since you are only allotted a certain amount of funding, it is crucial that you remain in budget, so you don’t have to track down additional funding elsewhere.

  1. Communicate effectively.

Whether you are managing the project in-house or outsourcing, it is important that you meet with the project manager often to assure you remain on track for completion. Effective communication is also the best way to establish and build relationships with those involved in the day to day tasks. When you have a strong relationship, it is easier to trust the project manager is doing what is necessary, which frees your time to work on other important components of your nonprofit responsibilities.

If your non-profit is in need of a project manager or other aspects of project completion after winning a bid, contact The Entech Group today. We provide start to finish project solutions for your next engineering, environmental, and construction endeavor.