United Consulting offers comprehensive environmental services, including Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments and Vapor Intrusion/Risk Assessments as well as Brownfields, contaminated soil or groundwater testing, asbestos and lead-based paint surveys, and wetland and stream bank delineation and permitting. Additionally, we conduct Hazard Evaluations and Analysis in conjunction with the Georgia State Board of Education Standards.

Environmental site assessments are conducted to assess past and present land use practices, site operations and conditions, and to identify the potential presence of hazardous substances (including hazardous wastes and/or petroleum products) on or adjacent to the Project Site, which could impose an environmental liability on the Project Site.

United Consulting has conducted over 4,000 Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs) through-out the USA for local and national clients. Most ESAs are completed in accordance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “All Appropriate Inquiry” Rules1, dated November 1, 2005 (Rules), and the general methodology of ASTM-1527-13 Standard for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments. These scopes do not include testing or surveys, such as for lead, asbestos, mold, endangered species, vapor intrusion, radon, wetlands and other non-scope issues. United Consulting can conduct any of the above surveys if desired. United Consulting also conducts ESAs according to other scopes, such as Wal-Mart, Fannie Mae, Home Depot and other companies’ customized scopes. Conducting a thorough Phase I ESA can find problems early, allowing for remedies, before site acquisition.

1  The All Appropriate Inquiry were required in the re-authorization of Superfund and were promulgated in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations, part 312 (40 CFR 312) dated November 1, 2005, and referred to as AAI Rules.

Environmental site assessments are conducted to assess past and present land use practices, site operations and conditions, and to identify the potential presence of hazardous substances (including hazardous wastes and/or petroleum products) on or adjacent to the Project Site, which could impose an environmental liability on the Project Site.

Phase II Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) entail sampling and testing for potential contaminants. It can encompass a wide variety of potential contaminants in different sampling media including soil, groundwater, surface water, or soil vapor. A Phase II ESA should always be based on the site-specific findings discovered in a Phase I ESA.

United Consulting’s Phase II ESAs include:

  • Soil, Groundwater, and Surface Water Sampling, Testing, and Analysis
  • Buried Drum and Tank Detection and Location
  • Evaluations of Contamination Detections to Regulatory Levels
  • Groundwater Monitoring Well Installation
  • Independent Chemical Laboratory Testing
  • Environmental Services Reporting with Recommendations

A Brownfield is a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. It is estimated that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S.  Georgia has followed the lead of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in promoting the re-development of properties that are contaminated (or perceived to be contaminated), through the Hazardous Site Reuse and Redevelopment Act (HSRA).

United Consulting has used Georgia's Brownfield Act to assist developers and municipalities buy/sell contaminated properties. The HSRA provides exemption for qualified buyers from groundwater remediation and third party liabilities for past releases. Specific steps and actions are needed, which United Consulting can perform for you.

United Consulting can prepare the Brownfield (BF) application. This is commonly a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) for soil contamination. We can implement the CAP, and then prepare the Compliance State Report (CSR) at the conclusion to obtain the environmental Limitation of Liability (LOL) from the State. We have done this successfully for numerous HSI and non-HSI properties, and currently have many more in the Brownfield Program (BFP). Many with legal assistance, as needed.

This process can be applied to any contaminated property, not just industrial facilities. Contaminated commercial properties can benefit from this Act, including gas stations and dry cleaners. The LOL also passes to future buyers and includes not being required to remediate groundwater, not being subject to change in environmental regulations, and protection from third party liability.

United Consulting can assist with:

Major Component

  • HSI Notification
  • BFP Application
  • CAP Preparation
  • CAP Performance
  • CSR Preparation & EPD Interaction

Support Action

  • RQSM Calculation
  • RRS Calculation
  • Extent Calculation - Site Investigation
  • Remedial Estimates

Read more about brownfields here.

Volatile chemicals in the soil and groundwater can volatilize and migrate upward and penetrate building foundations and slabs as vapors. These intrusive vapors can accumulate inside the building to potentially harmful concentrations.

The chemicals don't have to have originated on the site you are looking to purchase/lease. A nearby site could be the culprit. Furthermore, the contaminated site may have already been "cleaned-up," but vapors still may present a problem. 

Due to concerns about vapor intrusion into nearby buildings, a number of states have "re-opened" previously "closed" sites where clean-up has already been completed. Furthermore, a number of property owners have been sued for not properly addressing this pathway. You should make sure that you evaluate this pathway before you purchase property near contaminated, previously “cleaned-up” properties.

United Consulting can help you:

  • Identify the potential for vapor intrusion through Phase II Environmental Assessments, including soil, groundwater, and soil gas sampling.
  • Conduct site-specific vapor intrusion assessments using computer modeling techniques to evaluate specific toxic harm risk and advise whether mitigation measures should be considered.
  • Prepare designs for vapor intrusion mitigation systems. United Consulting has designed such systems for buildings ranging from small retail (Verizon Store) to large, multi-family complexes.
  • Conduct site monitoring to evaluate the effectiveness of installed vapor intrusion mitigation systems.

Read more about vapor intrusion here.

United Consulting offers a wide range of ecological-based services including wetland and stream delineation, protected species surveys, vegetation and habitat evaluations, permitting, mapping, watershed assessments, and monitoring. We have over 15 years of experience providing these services around the southeast.

These services can be provided as needed for compliance with local, state and federal regulations, such as Sediment and Erosion Control Rules, Development Ordinances, the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act. Often, compliance with these rules is required prior to development plan approval.

United Consulting can conduct field investigations to identify habitat communities, rare, unusual, or protected species, wetlands, or other sensitive natural resources. We can map the various communities or features using our GPS equipment, providing data layers that can be integrated into CAD or GIS files. Our protected species and ecological assessments include background research as well as on-site field surveys to identify potential critical habitat and threatened or endangered species. We can also coordinate species relocations, habitat restoration and enhancement, or ‘take’ permits. We can conduct detailed aquatic ecology evaluations to include analysis of water quality, stream morphology, fisheries, and aquatic macro-invertebrates. United Consulting can also coordinate with the necessary Federal, State or Local agencies and prepare the permit or evaluation documents needed for project review.

Lake/Pond Services:

  • Wetland Field Delineations
  • State Waters Determinations
  • Nationwide Permitting
  • Section 404 Individual Permitting
  • Stream Buffer Variance Permitting
  • Regulatory Agency Consultation
  • Wetland and Stream Mitigation

GPS Mapping

  • Watershed Assessments
  • Pre/Post Development Surveys
  • Sediment Evaluations
  • Sediment and Erosion Control Inspections
  • Water Quality Testing

Protected Species

  • Habitat Surveys
  • Vegetation Mapping
  • Endangered Species Surveys
  • Species Relocation
  • Habitat Management

Other Ecological Services

  • NEPA
  • GEPA
  • Environmental Assessments
  • Environmental Impact Statements

United Consulting has over 20 years of experience providing a full range of wetland and stream evaluation services. We have successfully completed hundreds of projects in the Southeast requiring various levels of wetland services. These services include field delineations, permitting, mitigation planning, and mitigation implementation and monitoring.

The current Federal wetland regulations often require site evaluation and permit coordination with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE). Evaluation and compliance with these wetland regulations should be handled during the early planning stages to reduce impacts on site development and minimize time and monetary losses. The current regulations can require prior review and approval for even very minor disturbances to wetlands and streams. United Consulting’s continual consultation with the USACE and review of the Federal Register and Public Notice reports enables us to keep up with the frequent changes in the regulations. In addition, state and local regulations concerning the protection of streams and other aquatic resources (state waters) can be more limiting than the federal regulations. Early identification of these areas reduces design and permitting costs.

United Consulting conducts field investigations and delineations for wetlands and other jurisdictional waters of the U.S. utilizing the USACE 1987 Wetland Delineation Manual. The 1987 manual outlines the currently accepted federal method for the delineation of wetlands. For an area to be classified as a wetland, the area must exhibit characteristics that satisfy criteria within the following three parameters: a dominance of wetland vegetation, physical evidence of wetland hydrology, and indications of hydric soils. Other jurisdictional waters of the U.S. include areas such as; lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. The limits of the jurisdictional waters are flagged in the field and can be field located using GPS Technology.

Upon completion of the field delineation, United Consulting will coordinate with the project surveyors and planners to evaluate potential disturbance to the wetlands and other jurisdictional waters, which are regulated by the USACE through Section 404 of the Clean Water Act. Under most conditions, the disturbance and placement of fill material in these areas requires prior authorization from the USACE. The current federal wetland permit program allows for minor impacts to occur to jurisdictional waters of the U.S. The use and applicability of the permits is dependent upon the type and size of the proposed activity. United Consulting will prepare and submit the appropriate permit documents for review by the USACE. If mitigation is required to off-set the proposed impacts, United Consulting will prepare the mitigation plan, implement the mitigation, and monitor the long-term conditions of the mitigation area. We also provide field identification of state waters and frequently consult with local jurisdictions concerning this issue. State and local regulations typically restrict development within certain distances from state waters. We can prepare or assist with the preparations of the variance application, which is required to obtain approval for encroachment into designated state water buffers.

United Consulting offers GPS (Global Positioning System) mapping services to provide better accuracy in locating site features. This mapping can be used to locate streams, wetlands, bore holes, monitoring wells, trash piles, and other important features identified on a site.

United Consulting owns two GPS units capable of sub-meter mapping accuracy. Our Trimble GeoXT can provide real-time sub-meter mapping accuracy with typical accuracies of ranging from 1.5 to 3 feet. Our Trimble GeoXH mapping units use H-Star Technology to provide sub-foot corrected mapping accuracy. Mapping accuracy of the GeoXH is more variable and is dependent on tree cover, but can provide accuracy of 0.3 foot. Data from these units can be downloaded to a computer, and exported as either a CAD, GIS, or text file.

United Consulting typically uses its GPS equipment to provide timely and accurate mapping of wetland and stream systems. This mapping typically saves time and money over conventional survey methods. We can normally provide a map of our findings within 1-2 days following completion of the field work, versus 2 weeks or more for a typical survey crew. The field data is downloaded, exported as a CAD file, and then over-laid onto the survey provided by the client.

As with any GPS system, there are some limitations. The GPS is a mapping quality system and does not replace conventional surveying when survey quality accuracy is required.

United Consulting performs sediment surveys on lakes and ponds in order to determine depths and volumes of soft sediments. Our survey techniques allow us to quantify total sediments as well as new sediment deposition.

If you will be starting a project with a lake or pond nearby, you should consider conducting a Lake Sedimentation Survey for your protection; disagreements leading to lawsuits are becoming more frequent. Lake sediment surveys provide valuable data concerning sediment loading and deposition within impoundments. This data is typically used to evaluate impacts on aquatic systems from upstream development activities. The survey results can provide baseline data prior to land disturbance activities, which can be used for comparison with later survey results, or can also provide data concerning potential impacts that may have occurred during construction activities and can be important in assessing the overall health of an aquatic system.

United Consulting can perform sediment surveys utilizing either a conventional depth probe or ground penetrating radar. Transects are established across the lake and the sediment depths are measured across each transect. The transect data is then used to develop cross-sectional profiles of the lake bottom, showing the water depth, depth of soft sediment, and the depth to the hard bottom. The sediment depth data and profiles can then be used to calculate sediment volumes. In addition, by collecting core samples of the soft sediment, we can typically determine the volume of any recent sediment that has been deposited in the lake. United Consulting has applied this technique on small ponds and larger lakes, for developers, homeowners associations, and individual property owners.

United Consulting has significant experience with surface and groundwater systems, including water quality and quantity evaluations, as well as flow assessments. For many environmental programs, water quality is of significant importance.

Industrial facilities have very stringent water quality requirements, for protection of their equipment and their end-products. Water sampling and testing can be performed for trace metals, suspended sediments, and trace organic constituents. These tests, and particularly the latter tests are significant for environmental assessments of properties.

Surface and groundwater services are focused on site development, permitting and assessment. United Consulting has assisted with many clients with proper closure of their UST systems, including communication and documentation with the State EPD UST Program office.

Our services include:

  • Rainfall - Runoff analyses
  • Hydrogeologic System Assessment
  • Routing
  • Stream Quality Assessment
  • Pumping Tests
  • Aquatic Habitat Evaluation
  • Infiltration Testing
  • Spillway Design
  • Well Head Protection Evaluation
  • Site NPDES Permitting
  • Dewatering System Design
  • Storm Water NPDES
  • Groundwater Monitoring Plans
  • Sediment Assessment
  • Age Dating
  • Sampling and Analysis
  • Source Identification
  • 404 Programs and Permits
  • Transport Analyses
  • Wetland Evaluation and Mitigation
  • Geochemical Assessments
  • Surface Water Pollution Prevention Plans

Computer models are essential tool in citing and environmental investigations. Descriptive and prescriptive decision-making models can yield short-term cost savings, while avoiding long-term cost over-runs. United Consulting has developed versatile capabilities in modeling of surface water flow and groundwater flow/transport models. We use models developed by various federal agencies for flow, contaminant transport and chemical changes, including:

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Models

  • MENTEQ
  • PHREQUE
 

U.S. Geological Survey Models

  • MODFLOW
  • MOC
  • Bioscreen
  • Bioplume
  • SUTRA
 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Models

  • HEC-1
  • HEC-2
 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

  • Dambreak
  • HEC-2
 

Conducting an Environmental Site Assessment is a crucial part in understanding what has happened at a UST site. The Site Assessment provides answers to such questions as how far has the release traveled and what is the hydrogeology of the site.

An underground storage tank system (UST) is a tank and any underground piping connected to the tank that has at least 10 % of its combined volume underground. The federal UST regulations apply only to underground tanks and piping storing either petroleum or certain hazardous substances.

United Consulting’s Underground Storage Tank services include:

  • Sampling
  • Testing
  • Closure Reports
  • Initial Site Characterization
  • Corrective Action Plans – parts A & B
  • Remediation Design
  • Risk Assessments

The greatest potential hazard from a leaking UST is that the petroleum or other hazardous substance can seep into the soil and contaminate groundwater, the source of drinking water for nearly half of all Americans. A leaking UST can present other health and environmental risks, including the potential for fire and explosion.

Air Quality in the buildings where we work can in many cases directly impact our health.  “Sick Building Syndrome” can make employees sick, costing you in absenteeism, lost productivity, and lost profits.  Increasingly, employee and occupant lawsuits claiming personal damages from poor air quality, or other “sick building” characteristics, further impact the bottom line and the quality of life at work.

Our scientists, engineers and industrial hygienists combine to solve problems relating to mold and IAQ issues arising from poor building design or build-out, improperly working HVAC systems, and other concerns. We provide a comprehensive package to assist you in ensuring mold remedial efforts are done properly. Using state-of-the-art technology, we are able to measure and document formaldehyde, pesticides, bacteria, mold, mildew, gases, pollutants from outside air, and inadequate make-up air.

Indoor Air Quality Services

Specialists can assist you in optimizing the environment that you and your employees work in, providing you with a healthy environment that could have a major impact on the health of your business.

United Consulting offers the following:

  • Indoor Air Quality Monitoring Programs
  • Planning and implementation
  • Cost and information-effective monitoring
  • Commercial and industrial
  • Remediation and Corrective Active Planning
  • Planning and implementation of pollutant source control
  • Removal of potentially hazardous materials
  • Ventilation improvements
  • Installation of air cleaners
  • Transaction screening
  • Phase I and Phase II assessments of primary pollutants of concern
  • Radon, Lead-based paint and asbestos inspections by certified professionals
  • Chemical specific air samples
  • Spore, bacteria, etc. sampling

Mold and Moisture Services

Mold can be found almost anywhere, and can grow on virtually any organic material as long as certain amounts of moisture and oxygen are present.  Mold has been here as long as humans and is part of the natural ecosystem of our planet.

Recently, illnesses linked to toxic mold and building contamination have resulted in lawsuits with damages awarded in the multi-million dollar range. Legal damages are not the only worry.  Property damage can also cause major expense, and remediation that does not address the root problem can equal recurring damages and repeated expense.   Property transfers are now in many states governed by disclosure laws surrounding mold.

Our comprehensive services include:

  • Diagnostic Assessment – Visual assessments, moisture assessments, and sampling assessments are offered.  HVAC system review and odor sources are included as an integral part of each assessment type.
  • Microbial Sampling – Sampling for mold can determine the viability of mold, the spore counts of mold, or the growth potential of mold spores in the air.  Advanced testing for chemicals produced by some mold is available for certain scenarios.
  • Remedial Specification Creation and Remediation Oversight – Develop remediation specifications for remediation contractors to make sure your remediation job is done correctly. We also offer remediation oversight, to monitor remediation activities for compliance to specifications.
  • Post Remediation Testing – One of the most important parts of a mold remediation project is ensuring that it was done properly at its conclusion.  We offer post remediation verification testing to provide legal evidence of a successfully completed project.
  • Expert Witness and Litigation Support – CIHs are the choice of those in the legal and insurance professions to provide expert testimony and advice regarding mold issues.

United Consulting provides support to industrial and manufacturing facilities for the acquisition of permits necessary to meet construction, operation, safety, environmental, and remedial needs. This includes the analyses, testing, and designs to support a wide variety of activities. When necessary or desired, United Consulting works with plant, corporate, or designated consulting personnel to provide information necessary to prepare permits in cost effective manners. United Consulting can help industries with the identification, monitoring, control, and permitting for their air emissions, including:

  • Regulatory Changes and Compliance Programs
  • Emission Inventory
  • Source Testing
  • Engineering Control and Design
  • Numeric Modeling Of Emission
  • Atmospheric Monitoring
  • Air Quality Audits
  • Air Pollution Control
  • Emission and Perimeter Monitoring
  • SIP Construction Permit Preparation
  • 112r Program Development And Support
  • Community Action Plans
  • Process Safety Management
  • Industrial Hygiene
  • Air Sampling and Analyses
  • Regulatory Representation
  • Process Design
  • Air Quality Impact and Risk Assessment

If you are planning a renovation or demolition of a building constructed or significantly modified, it may contain asbestos. EPA regulations under National Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAPS), 40 CFR 61, Part M require you to know the extent of asbestos in your building prior to the start of work.

Asbestos-containing building materials such as flooring mastics, linoleum mastics, and roofing tars can still be used in construction today. Only certain asbestos-containing materials such as, fireproofing have been banned by EPA. Asbestos-containing flooring tile is, and can still be imported from outside the U.S. and used in buildings.

Our services include:

  • Surveys
  • O&M Programs
  • Abatement Designs and Specifications
  • Management Plans (for school systems)

Download the EPD Project Notification From.

United Consulting collects representative samples of painted surfaces and submits the paint chip samples for laboratory testing by Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS). In addition, we have personnel trained in the use of XRF equipment to detect lead-based paint, and can utilize this method, if needed. United Consulting will provide written documentation that testing has been performed according to regulations currently in effect.

Our lead-based paint survey services include observations as to the condition of the paint, and whether any paint chips appear around the exterior of the building. A report of the findings is prepared, and will document the components, which contain lead paint above the HUD action level of 1.0 mg/cm². if lead is identified, United Consulting can conduct additional testing of the soil around the buildings, and TCLP tests, to determine if elevated levels of lead are present in the soil as required by HUD. If elevated lead concentrations are detected, we can assist with remediation activities to remove lead-impacted soils.

Our services include:

  • Initial Surveys
  • Delineation Surveys
  • Remediation Design
  • Clearance Sampling

United Consulting has extensive experience with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and their Environmental requirements, having successfully completed over 90 DCA-type Environmental Assessments over the last 10+ years. DCA has their own stringent Environmental Manual, which exceeds the standards of the conventional ASTM standards for Phase I Environmental Assessments. United Consulting served on the DCA Environmental Committee, and met with DCA representatives about proposed, onerous provisions for the Environmental Manual.  The DCA subsequently adopted some of our recommendations, for the developers benefit.   United Consulting has also provided training for some of the DCA staff regarding federal wetland Rules, State Waters Rules and procedures, as well as training for vapor encroachment and general Phase I “recognized environmental conditions.”

The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of Policy Development and Research first developed a Noise Assessment Guidelines (NAG) manual during the late 1960’s.  This manual provides information and procedures for assessing the amounts of noise generated by aircraft, roadways and railways (noise sources) near proposed publically funded developments.  The manual was updated in 1991 and more recently HUD has developed a website day-night average sound levels (DNL) calculation tool.  Based on the manual and HUD website DNL Calculator, suitable noise levels, expressed in dB, are determined by outdoor DNLs.  The DNL value is the 24 hour average sound level in decibels, which is obtained after a 10 dB penalty is added for nighttime (10 pm to 7 am) noises.  Several Noise Assessment Locations (NALs) are selected for each site based on the developments proposed location of buildings and outdoor recreation areas.  The DNLs for the individual sources are then summed for each NAL to define the total DNL.

To determine if a site is “Acceptable”, DNL values are calculated based on various noise levels generated by noise sources, their respective distances from the site and the hours of operation.  The Georgia Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Guidelines are slightly different from the HUD defined distances.  Additionally, when the information is available, HUD recommends that projected noise levels for 10 years into the future be utilized in the calculations.  Information for these assessments is gathered from the Georgia Department of Transportation, nearby railways and airports.

The DNL values are determined by the site’s exposure to noise sources.  After the DNL values are calculated, the manual further states that a site will fall under one of the following three categories:

  • ACCEPTABLE:  The DNL levels do not exceed 65 dB. In this category, the noise exposure may be of some concern, but common building constructions will make the indoor environment acceptable and the outdoor environment will be reasonably pleasant for recreation and play.
  • NORMALLY UNACCEPTABLE:  The DNL levels are over 65 dB but do not exceed 75 dB.  In this category, the noise exposure is significantly more severe; barriers may be necessary between the site and prominent noise sources to make the outdoor environment acceptable; special building constructions may be necessary to ensure that people indoors are sufficiently protected from outdoor noise.
  • UNACCEPTABLE:  DNL levels consistently above 75 dB. In this category, the noise exposure at the site is so severe that the construction cost to make the indoor noise environment acceptable may be prohibitive and the outdoor environment would still be unacceptable.