Inspiring Burgeoning Environmental Consultants

For an interdisciplinary WWU course led by Dr. Ruth Sofield and focused on the Science and Management of Contaminated Sites (SMoCS), Aspect’s Steve Germiat and Kirsi Longley gave budding environmental consultants a look at what life and work is really like for professional environmental consultants.

To complement the students’ landfill RI/FS case study, Kirsi presented Aspect’s recent RI/FS work at a landfill in western Washington. The presentation focused on the scope of the investigation, the findings, including how volatile contaminants can transfer between landfill gas and groundwater, and how the findings were developed into recommendations for remedial alternatives.  In addition to the scientific and technological challenges of environmental remediation, Steve and Kirsi addressed the nuts and bolts of a consultant’s role in the MTCA cleanup process, and the skills and attributes that enable a consultant to excel. Looking back on the presentation, Dr. Sofield said “Students benefit so much from interactions with Steve and Kirsi.  To actually learn from a practitioner and see that classroom material has real application changes how students think about and participate in their education.  It changes a lot for the students, including their intended career path.”

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.

Aspect Staff Volunteers Design and Muscle for new Rain Gardens at Carnation Elementary School

Over this past summer, Aspect’s Owen Reese was invited by Stewardship Partners to provide pro bono design for a pair of rain gardens at Carnation Elementary School. The project is part of a long-standing partnership between the Snoqualmie Tribe and Stewardship Partners to plant and promote native species and educate communities on water quality protection. The goal of this demonstration project is to improve infiltration, replace non-native vegetation, and create wildlife habitat. The rain gardens will infiltrate runoff from approximately 6,500 square feet of the school’s roof.  

This fall, several Aspect staff, along with volunteers from Stewardship Partners and Carnation Elementary School, gave a Saturday to prepare the rain gardens for planting by shoveling dirt to create the final shape of the rain gardens and place 4 tons of river rock to line the conveyance channels. It was great fun and a good workout!

The school kids will be planting the rain gardens in a few weeks, incorporating native plants selected by the Snoqualmie Tribe as culturally significant.

Aspect in the DJC: Weighing Ecology’s New Cleanup Guidance for Petroleum Sites

In a guest article in the Daily Journal of Commerce, Aspect’s Steve Germiat weighs in on the vision and the reality of the Washington State Department of Ecology’s new “model remedies” guidance for cleaning up petroleum-contaminated sites. This guidance proposes a kind of “pre-approved” shortcut to site cleanup. Steve goes into both the vision and the reality of this new (to Washington State) cleanup concept and its implications for site owners and developers. 

READ IT HERE.

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.