Port of Bellingham Site Approaching Major Milestone

This month one of Aspect’s environmental projects moves one step closer to realizing its redevelopment vision.

The Port of Bellingham Commission is preparing to sign a master development agreement (MDA) with Dublin-based Harcourt Developments at the end of March. The agreement will allow Harcourt to start work on the first 18.8-acre piece of a contaminated Bellingham waterfront site that was formerly home to a Georgia-Pacific pulp and tissue mill.

In close collaboration with the Port of Bellingham and Ecology, Aspect’s technical and regulatory strategies have contributed to speeding the cleanup in conjunction with redevelopment of the Brownfield site. Over the next year, we will be designing and overseeing the cleanup action planned for this portion of the site.

Pending Commission approval, the MDA represents a major milestone for the Port, the City of Bellingham, and the Bellingham community where Aspect has set roots with a new office.

 Click on this link to a Bellingham Herald article about the MDA.

Inspiring the Next Generation of Environmental Consultants

For an interdisciplinary WWU course focused on the Science and Management of Contaminated sites (SMoCS), Aspect’s Steve Germiat gave budding environmental consultants a “real life” experience in the MTCA cleanup process.

Steve first joined the class and Ecology staff on a rainy Saturday morning at an industrial waterfront site, viewing and discussing Aspect’s K-C Everett Mill RI/FS project that the class is using as a case study.  The following month, dry in a warm classroom, Steve walked the students through the MTCA cleanup process in general, while introducing soil and groundwater sampling methods, data analysis/presentation, and remedial technology options.

In addition to the exciting scientific and technological challenges of environmental remediation, Steve addressed the more mundane nuts and bolts of a consultant’s role and the skills and attributes that enable a consultant to excel. 

About SMoCS

In collaboration with Washington State Department of Ecology Toxics Cleanup Program, WWU’s Huxley College of the Environment (Huxley) offers undergraduate students a course series in the Science and Management of Contaminated sites (SMoCS). The SMoCS series includes three courses that build knowledge of the contaminated site cleanup process in Washington State with an emphasis on how scientific investigations are conducted, use of the technical documents associated with cleanups, the roles of different parties in cleanup decisions, and enhanced professional skills.  For more information on the program visit http://faculty.wwu.edu/harperr3/SMoCS.shtml.

Tim Flynn Advises Proposed ASR Legislation

As hydrogeologists, we understand the variable and sometimes finite nature of groundwater sources and importance to promote water storage opportunities in the State. We study storage alternatives – including Aquifer Storage and Recovery (ASR) – to help our clients meet municipal and industrial water supply needs. In assessing the feasibility of ASR with Washington clients, we have experienced firsthand the challenges and uncertainties in designing, permitting, and funding projects.

Casual conversation after an OCR advisory group meeting led Senator Jim Honeyford, (R-Sunnyside), to turn to Aspect’s Tim Flynn for technical insight in drafting a senate bill designed to help streamline the ASR permitting process.  Tim testified to Committee on behalf of SB5018 in late January. He has since been collaborating with the Department of Ecology to clarify the technical and regulatory issues and streamline the ASR permitting process.

Read a Yakima Herald article about Sen Honeyford’s bill and Tim’s support of the legislation.


Dan Haller to Speak on Water Rights

Aspect’s Dan Haller will join state Ecology and Fish and Wildlife folks in a panel discussion on mitigation strategies at an upcoming Water Rights Transfers Seminar. Designed to provide practical information of vital interest to most water right holders, the annual seminar is being held November 13 and 14 in Seattle.  For the complete agenda and registration information see http://www.theseminargroup.net/seminar.lasso?seminar=14.wamWA

Aspect Summer BBQ!

Once again, Aspect celebrated summer by combining our three loves - steak, lobster, and yard games. Those of us in our Seattle office battled ferry lines and Seahawks football traffic to meet at beautiful Bainbridge Island’s Fay Bainbridge Park.

In addition to the 150lbs of lobster and the endless tri-tip steak, our crew brought four homemade cornhole sets and Kubb, a classic Scandinavian yard game. Beanbags were flying through the air until sundown. Last, and certainly not least, there was a pony!

Meet Aspect's Newest! Project Scientist Jason McCormick

Aspect welcomes project scientist Jason McCormick to our Yakima Office team!

Bringing a wealth of water rights and project management experience from his most recent position with Washington Water Trust (WWT), Jason’s water rights knowledge will further deepen our growing water practice.

Prior to WWT, Jason worked with Dan Haller at Ecology in the Office of Columbia River where he was involved in the Kennewick Irrigation District pump exchange, City of Roslyn, Quad Cities, permit writing, and GIS mapping of approximately 1,200 Columbia River surface and ground water rights.

Jason is a native of eastern Washington with roots in the towns of Brewster, Tonasket, Yakima, and Zillah. He graduated cum laude from CWU with a BA in Geography and Land Studies and a focus on water resources and physical geography.

A true Northwesterner, Jason spends his off hours pursuing steelhead and salmon with a fishing rod in hand, hunting, hiking, and backpacking with his family.

Aspect Team Joins the Friendly Crowd

For the fifth year, Aspect hosted a group at the Seattle Sounders annual 'friendly' match with Europe's top teams. This year it was the Tottenham Hotspur FC. The Aspect fun started with an extra friendly spread of snacks in our Pioneer Square office located in the shadows of the soccer pitch. We then enjoyed the game where the Sounders made it an exciting match by twice taking the lead. The Hotspurs, using two penalty kicks, salvaged a 3-3 tie.

Making Room for Floods and Fish

As a recent sponsor of ASFPM (Association of State Floodplain Managers) national conference held in Seattle, Aspect had the opportunity to join 1200 national floodplain managers to learn about pilot improvements in flood risk management and national policy.  The conference theme “Making Room for Floods and Fish” perfectly encapsulated floodplain management’s twin goals of habitat restoration/preservation and infrastructure rehabilitation/preservation.

Grounded in geotechnical principles, Aspect’s geotechnical practice specializes in floodplain management support and the associated infrastructure – such as culverts, roads, pipelines and bridges – that local flooding most impacts.


The Aspect sponsored Vuelta Grande water project in Guatemala was completed last week with water lines installed to approximately 40 homes.  For homes located at higher elevation above the water line several additional taps were installed and community pilas built. 

Aspect funded this project through making, donating, and giving each other items and experiences. See our previous post about the project.

For more information on water supply projects in the mountain villages of Guatemala, visit: http://www.handsforpeacemaking.org/clean-water

Seahawks 2014 Superbowl Parade!

View From Second and Jackson

9-10 am: Crowds gathering

We are hunkered down here . . .hope we have enough provisions to see us through the day . . . ‘cuz if we go out, it’ll be hard to get back  . . . cell service spotty at best . . .

11-12 am: Waiting for the parade
It's not a seahawk or any bird perched right outside the window . . .

12-1 pm: Still waiting . . .
View from the roof . . .

1-2 pm: More waiting . . .
still no sign of live Seahawks – or a parade . . . crowd thickens . . . inside watchers get restless waiting . . .

1-2 pm: Everyone loves a parade . . .

2-3 pm: After the parade has passed . . .View to 2nd and Jackson

A Gift of Water

43 families in the small mountain village of Vuelta Grande in northwest Guatemala will turn a tap and have water pour from a faucet in their home for the first time.  In the spirit of holiday giving, Aspect funded both the pipeline from a spring source into the village, and pipes and spigots in each home.

At the annual company holiday party, staff contributed to the project by buying raffle tickets for themselves or as a thank you to a fellow worker. Lucky raffle winners went home with Aspect staff-made gifts and experiences including mountain cabin weekends, a waffle breakfast at work, private yoga instruction, knit caps, bicycle tours of Skagit Valley or Vashon Island, a watercolor painting or an oil change.

For more information on water supply projects in the mountain villages of Guatemala visit: http://www.handsforpeacemaking.org/clean-water

Water Rights Ready for Certification?

Moving a water right from permit to certificate is the final step in the water right permitting process. Certification secures the water right for a needed water supply. With increasing demand for limited water resources, the surety certification provides can be critical.

To make the process quicker and more efficient, the Washington State Department of Ecology established the Certified Water Right Examiners (CWRE) program. Beginning August 2013, CWRE are authorized to conduct proof examinations for water users to support Ecology decision-making on issuance of water rights certificates.

Four Aspect staff were among the first to be certified as CWRE by Ecology.  Tyson Carlson, Dan Haller, Bill Sullivan and Breean Zimmerman are qualified to conduct the proof examinations needed to receive a certificated water right for permitted use. With CWREs in our Seattle, Wenatchee and Yakima locations, Aspect is available to support water right permittees across the state.

For more information on Ecology’s CWRE program visit:


Earth Day 2013: Mulching for the Duwamish

Workdays Aspect is focused on environmental restoration and protection of our region’s earth and water. But our environmental and community engagement doesn’t end Friday at 5. Environmental stewardship permeates our off-hours –- as it did on a recent Saturday when Aspect staff shouldered shovels and pitchforks for a Duwamish Alive!-sponsored Earth Day project at T-107 / Herring’s House Parks.

Joining 95+ fellow volunteers from Women in Environment (WIE), Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, and other groups, Aspect helped remove sod and spread mulch to prepare park areas for the installation of native plants. The two lower Duwamish shoreline areas provide public access at one of the last oxbows remaining from the original river. The historic marsh/channel previously had been filled and developed as an industrial site, but restoration in the early 2000s removed industrial debris and contaminated soil, and restored intertidal habitat.

The 13,000 square feet (sf) of invasive plants removed, 8,000 sf mulched, and 125 native plants installed for Earth Day by Aspect and others will help maintain this section of the restored river for years. The 13 bug bites, 8 blisters, 4 bruises and 2 sore backs on Aspect staff healed in days.

A New Goal for Stormwater Management in Seattle

The City of Seattle has set a new goal for stormwater management in the city. Relying on “green” stormwater technology--including bioretention swales, rain gardens, stormwater cisterns, pervious pavements and green roofs--it is the City’s goal to manage 700 million gallons of stormwater annually with green stormwater infrastructure (GSI).

ell aligned with this initiative, Aspect’s core commitment to earth+water sustainability has been reflected in our staff’s position at the forefront of the green stormwater “revolution” in Seattle and across the West Sound. 

From the geotechnical design of Seattle streets, to GIS analysis of geologic areas to support GSI for the Rainwaise program, to the development of infiltration-specific soil parameters for the design and development of Theater Commons and Donnelly Gardens (recently certified by SITES), Aspect staff have been helping develop the framework for long-term regional sustainability. 


ACEC Washington Best in State Silver Award Winner: Riverside Property Cleanup

Mark Sadler (2nd from right), City of Everett, joined Aspect project team members at the awards banquet.

Mark Sadler (2nd from right), City of Everett, joined Aspect project team members at the awards banquet.

For our technical guidance on the Riverside Property Cleanup, Aspect received a Best in State Silver Award for Social/Economic Sustainability at the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC) Washington 2013 Engineering Excellence Awards banquet on January 18.

The cleanup of the 90-acre Riverside property on the Snohomish River in Everett was conducted collaboratively through a public-private partnership between the City of Everett and Kimberly-Clark Worldwide - the Riverside Environmental Team (RET). With the RET relying on the technical analysis to drive the process, Aspect's deep understanding of MTCA regulatory requirements and strategic application of cleanup design and engineering steered the comprehensive cleanup of the former industrial property.

Aspect worked with the RET and Ecology to develop an efficient, focused approach and practical, cost effective engineered solutions that went beyond conventional industrial cleanup. Employing innovations including backfilling with available dredge sands and installing a subsurface drain system for use in groundwater treatment, Aspect oversaw a cleanup program of complete soil removal and active groundwater treatment that resulted in non-detect contaminant levels and six No Further Action (NFA) determinations for soil and groundwater.

Achieving unrestricted cleanup standards at the former Sawmill site preserved opportunities for a full range of future redevelopment options, not limited by capped contamination or deed restrictions.

The project was previously recognized with a 2011 Association of Washington Business (AWB) Environmental Excellence Award for Kimberly-Clark.

Aspect Consulting in Action: Now on Google Street View!

It's a point of pride in this modern age, isn't it? Getting captured by one of Google's roaming car cameras is a badge of honor we'll wear proudly.

Aspect staff can be found onsite at remediation and monitoring projects state wide. Remediation engineer Eric Geissinger was captured--monitoring the Air Sparge/Soil Vapor Extraction (AS/SVE) system at the Dolarway site -- by a roving Google street view camera in Ellensburg.

The jury is still out on how worried we should be that Eric will leave Aspect to pursue a career in modelling.

Dan Haller Speaks at Washington Water Law Conference

Aspect’s Dan Haller spoke at the Water Law in Washington conference on August 27 in Seattle, WA.

In a session on New Tools in Water Resource Management, Dan discussed how the Washington State Department of Ecology uses the Washington Irrigation Guide to determine water duty and extent and validity of irrigation water rights.