What Does an Environmental Consulting Company Do?
The Environmental Protection Agency was established by President Nixon in 1970, due to growing concerns about our impact on the environment. The EPA is in charge of creating and maintaining national standards that involve using laws and regulations to protect human and environmental health.
Okay, so, how does that impact you? The truth is, whether we are talking about the private or public sector, we often need services that are regulated by the EPA or similar local agencies.
If you own a business or a home, you may need the services of an environmental consulting company. An environmental consulting company is a middle man between our client and the governing agencies. A good environmental consulting company helps protect your wallet from fines and future expenses while working to promote environmental health.
In this article, we will explore some of the services that an environmental consulting company can carry out.
The EPA didn’t ban asbestos in construction until 1989. Before that, asbestos was the most widely used construction material. This is due to the fire resistance and organic strength of the naturally occurring mineral. Asbestos can be found in vinyl floor tiles, ceiling tiles, brake lining, clutch pads, roofing shingles, cement, and more.
If you live or work in a building that was built pre-1989, there is a legitimate chance there may be asbestos in the construction materials. However, asbestos is only a cause for concern when it is being disturbed and made to be airborne.
When asbestos is disturbed, it releases fibers into the air that are then breathed in by your lungs. The damage asbestos does to your body doesn’t happen overnight – it takes years.
If a material that is slated to be removed in your building does test positive for asbestos, you’ll want to work with licensed professionals who can remove the asbestos safely and in accordance with any local or federal law.
A dry well is a great way to collect stormwater runoff and redistribute it into subsurface soils. Dry wells are common in places with heavy rainfall (Hello Oregon!), as you don’t want inches upon inches of rain collecting in your yard.
But when you install a dry well, you want to make sure it’s done right. Amateur mistakes can disturb the regional aquifer if you dig too far into the earth.
Plus, dry wells need to be registered properly with the state and can require annual sampling as part of a compliance check. Sampling is especially important if your business handles chemicals or petroleum-based products.
While a dry well construction sounds simple, it is redirecting water into subsurface soils. You don’t want that to happen if the water has any unsafe contaminants.
Heating Oil Tanks/Underground Storage Tanks
Heating Oil Tanks use oil to heat homes or buildings. We recommend heating oil tanks are decommissioned and, if possible, removed completely. This is because underground tanks generally have an engineered life of 20 years. With some of these tanks being in the ground since the early 1900s, they are likely to be leaking. They can pollute the soil, contaminate groundwater, and serve as a constant fire hazard.
Obviously, decommissioning a heating oil tank or underground storage tank isn’t something you’re going to do yourself. And it isn’t something you should just outsource to anyone.
A professional environmental consulting and remediation company can work to properly (and safely) decommission and, potentially, remove an underground storage tank.
Nothing really makes people cringe like a possible mold sighting in their homes. The truth is, mold is a common problem that can be easily remedied and then prevented by monitoring the amount of moisture in your building.
When we see mold, we usually see it in attics, basements, or crawl spaces. These are areas that we often ignore, letting undetected moisture build up over time, leading to mold growth.
Mold sightings can signal a larger problem. You don’t want to see mold, follow a DIY mold clean-up Youtube video, and call it a day. Removing mold is trickier than just wiping it up with a rag and throwing it in the trash. Proper ventilation is of utmost importance. A certified mold remediation/removal consultant will be able to identify the proper ventilation required and install it.
Or, what if you don’t see mold, but you’re living or working in a place with high moisture levels, and you or the other inhabitants are starting to display side effects of having a mold allergy?
Environmental consulting companies offer mold inspection and mold removal services that get to the root of the problem and remove any traces of mold from your home or business.
Septic Tank Maintenance
Septic tanks are used in rural areas (or in locations that can’t be connected to the main sewage system) to break down and purify sewage from your home or business.
As you can imagine, this is an important process that needs to be done correctly. Septic tank leaks or clogs are not only expensive to fix, but they can be detrimental to the environment. You don’t want your waste or sewage leaking out into the soil, or pumping back into your home.
Sometimes the issues are caused by user error (that is, you’ve flushed something down the pipes that you shouldn’t have, like baby wipes, diapers, and/or cigarette buts). Sometimes septic tanks break down over time due to wear and tear or growing roots.
Either way, an environmental consulting company can help keep your septic tank in working order.
. . .And More!
The list above isn’t exhaustive. Environmental consulting agencies work to keep businesses and home-owners from breaking local or federal environmental laws.
When it comes to something like mold or asbestos removal, you might think, with a little bit of internet research, you can handle the job yourself. The truth is these items are regulated, to some degree, by the EPA because they can be bad for you and the environment.
Larger issues, like decommissioning a heating oil tank or registering a dry well, obviously require a professional. By getting a professional environmental consulting agency to work on your behalf, you can make sure your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed, keeping you away from expensive fines and reducing your impact on the environment around you.
Need assistance with an issue you didn’t see covered above? Reach out to us at Alpha Environmental and let us know how we can help.