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Newsroom - April 2017
Questions? Call Us 314-997-7440
Due to recent litigation regarding the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) revised Underground Storage Tank (UST) regulations we want to update and remind our clients about the regulations that went into effect on October 13, 2015. The changes represent the first revisions to USEPA UST rules since they were enacted in 1988, and apply to tanks that hold petroleum or hazardous chemicals.
Some changes go into effect on October 13, 2018; however, some specific changes were set to go into effect immediately. These changes will affect some installations, repairs, and reporting requirements at current UST facilities.
What Are the Changes?
Some changes currently in effect:
- Ball float valves replacements must be with an automatic shut off flapper valve or an overfill alarm system.
- Operators must notify the regulatory agency at least 30 days in advance of switching to blended fuels containing greater than 10% ethanol, greater than 20% biodiesel, or when compatibility can be an issue for other regulated substances.
Some changes with an implementation date of October 13, 2018:
- Monthly walk through inspections of UST facilities must be performed. Currently the rule allows for quarterly inspections.
- Spill bucket testing for tank tightness at three year intervals (not previously required).
- Inspection of overfill prevention equipment at three year intervals.
- Training of UST Operators into A/B and C classes.
What Does This Mean for Illinois UST Operators?
Illinois UST operators will have to follow both the current Illinois regulations and the USEPA regulations until the Illinois regulations are updated. These updates are in progress at the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM) and are expected to have the same deadlines as the USEPA.
Also in Illinois, enforcement of the existing operator requirements has changed. A new Notice of Violation (NOV) for specific Operator Certification deficiencies began being issued on April 1, 2016. Instead of the 60 day compliance period that was previously allowed for correcting violations, this new Operator Certification NOV will lead to immediate red tagging of USTs at the facility when any of the listed violations are found. According to the OSFM, UST NOVs will continue to have a 60 day compliance period.
How About Missouri UST Operators?
Missouri’s UST regulatory program has “State Program Approval” from the USEPA, which allows the state to continue to use its own regulations as long as it updates the regulations and obtains approval by the USEPA within three years of the new USEPA regulation.
Currently, Missouri is in the preliminary stages of the rulemaking process, and USEPA rules are not in force. However, the proposed Rule Changes are being provided to the public in the following document: Proposed Changes to Missouri UST Regulations. Details of some of these proposed changes are also provided in its most recent newsletter: August 2015 MDNR UST Newsletter.
Ask Us If You Have Any Questions!
The first step in compliance is understanding the rules and regulations. Geotechnology continues to monitor these technical and regulatory changes on behalf of our clients. For a more detailed explanation of the USEPA rule changes and how they are different from the 1988 rules you can contact us or visit https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-07/documents/regs2015-crosswalk.pdf.
Chapter 17 – What is so Special about it?
Chapter 17 of the International Building Code (IBC) – and thus almost all adopted State and Local jurisdictions Building codes – relates to all Special Inspections. The “Special” connotation can throw some for a “loop”. Simplified, Chapter 17 Inspections can be defined as Third Party Tests and Reviews requiring “Special Expertise”. These are construction reviews and construction materials testing that the jurisdictional Building Department will not be performing; however, the Building Department will require that the reviews/tests are performed in order to issue an Occupancy Permit for the project at the conclusion of construction.
It’s a bit of a Mystery….
We are often asked to help interpret the Special Inspections portion of the Building Code. Sometimes it is difficult to understand exactly what will be enforced on the Code, but actually the tables within the Code are specific as to types, frequencies and referenced standards for reviews and tests required for the listed Special Inspections. These can be looked at as the default required Inspections of the building being permitted. These types of construction (concrete, masonry, structural steel, etc.) are also referred to as life safety items of the building construction. The Designer of Record (usually the Structural Engineer or Architect) can increase or decrease these if they feel that is appropriate based on the level and type of construction. However, the Plan Examiner can accept or reject those changes or may request a reason for requiring less Special Inspections than what is listed in the Code for typical construction.
For example, if a project requires Special Inspections for the structural masonry, the Code provides the frequency that grouting is to be reviewed and what items are reviewed during grouting, as well as the allowable construction tolerances. The Code provides our scope. Our role, as the Special Inspector, is to coordinate with the Contractor and provide the Inspector with the Special Expertise to review the work. The appropriate reports are sent to the Design/Construction Team. The completion of the Special Inspections will allow the Special Inspector to issue a final summary letter of the Final Report of Special Inspections (the required reports may vary by the individual Building Departments). This Final Report will meet one of the requirements for issuance of an Occupancy Permit.
How do we help you solve the “Mystery of Chapter 17”
Geotechnology, Inc. performs Special Inspections consistent with Chapter 17 of the IBC. We are well versed with the requirements and can review your Statement of Special Inspections in order to submit the inspection report to the Building Department who is reviewing your plans and issuing your project’s permits.
Contact us for more information.
Natural Systems Consulting
Are you considering a new development or improvements to an existing development? Depending on the size and location of your site, you may benefit from natural systems consulting services. Should your site possess water features that might be considered Waters of the United States (WOUS), the development may require Section 404/401 permitting. WOUS include waterbodies such as streams, ponds, and wetlands that are protected by the Clean Water Act (CWA). Under Sections 404 and 401 of the CWA, the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and state natural resource agencies, respectively, maintain jurisdiction over the filling and dredging of WOUS, including wetlands.
Since 1991, Geotechnology has been offering natural systems and wetlands consulting services to guide clients through the regulations and to provide cost-effective, ecological solutions for their project sites. These services assist clients on projects from initial due diligence delineations and biological surveys, to final monitoring of mitigation areas. Through our years of experience with projects of varying complexity, we’ve established excellent relationships with regulatory agencies including the USACE, various state natural resource agencies and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). We can assist with wetland and WOUS delineations, Section 404/401 permit applications, alternatives analysis, public notice comment responses, stream or wetland mitigation plans, and mitigation monitoring.
Endangered Species Consultation
Additionally, we provide threatened and endangered species consultation, including bat habitat assessments. In recent years, a fungal disease called white nose syndrome, has killed millions of bats in North America. As a result of the spread of the disease, USFWS has been looking more closely at potential bat habitats, including small stands of trees that may be used by bats for roosting or foraging. Should your development require tree removal, you may need a bat habitat assessment and USFWS consultation to facilitate site permitting.
For more information contact us!
St. Louis, Mo. (March 17, 2016) – Geotechnology, Inc., a leading provider of geotechnical and environmental engineering, geophysics, water resource management, materials testing and drilling services, has announced that Craig Kaibel has been promoted to Group Manager of the St. Louis Geotechnical Group.
Kaibel has been with Geotechnology since 2004 and most recently has been a Senior Project Manager. He has extensive experience across a wide spectrum of civil and geotechnical engineering projects, including project design, construction observation and management, supervising field explorations and investigations, collecting field data, and the nondestructive testing of drilled shafts and driven piles for bridge construction.
In his new role, his leadership responsibilities will include staff management, client management and development, as well as senior technical review.
“Craig has been a technical leader in deep foundation testing, and has also been instrumental in managing much of the Missouri Department of Transportation work,” said Geotechnology’s St. Louis Branch Manager Joel Weinhold. “In addition to delivering exemplary service and maintaining relationships with satisfied clients over the last few years, Craig has taken on a larger role within the geotechnical group. His roles have included mentoring and scheduling the field staff as well as being a valuable resource for the St. Louis soils laboratory.”
Kaibel is a graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology, where he earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Geological Engineering.
Geotechnology, Inc. has expanded our design services for projects that have solely geotechnical elements. Geotechnology now offers services that can include: preparation of plans & specifications, bidding assistance, construction review, administration for landslide stabilizations and other entirely geotechnical projects. Examples include:
- Landslide stabilizations
- Earthwork buttresses
- Slope reconstruction with benches and underdrains
- Stabilization with driven or drilled piles or drilled piers
- Stabilization with retaining structures
- Stabilization with deep soil mixing or other ground improvement
- Retaining Structures
- Cantilever drilled pier or soldier pile walls
- Tied back drilled pier or soldier pile walls
- Mechanically stabilized earth walls
- Shoring walls
- Cantilever, internally braced or tied back sheet pile or soldier pile walls
- Soil nail walls
Geotechnology continues to assist our clients and their projects with characterization of site surface and subsurface conditions, and development of design and construction recommendations for site grading, drainage, structure foundations, retaining walls, environmental assessments and abatement monitoring.
For additional information, please contact your trusted advisors at Geotechnology via Joel Weinhold in St. Louis, Matt McQuality in Kansas City, Pat Donovan in Memphis, Keith Pryse in Cincinnati, Lee Czor in Lexington or Ted Vogelpohl in Erlanger.
Thank you to our clients, employees, and industry partners for making 2015 another successful year for Geotechnology. We are proud of our past accomplishments and the role we have played in our clients’ success. However, we are focusing on the future and how we can improve as a company. We have established three focus points for improvement in 2016: geographic expansion, safety leadership, and service enhancement.
Geographic Expansion: Geotechnology acquired the assets of Thelen Associates inAugust 2015, increasing our staff by 50% to almost 300 employees and adding substantial equipment, facilities and boots on the ground in Kentucky and Ohio. At the beginning of 2015, we also established satellite offices in Mississippi and Arkansas. As a result, Geotechnology enters 2016 with 10 offices in 8 states: MO, KY, TN, KS, OH, IL, MS and AR. This expanded geographic reach allows us to better serve clients in the Midwest, Midsouth and throughout the heartland. As clients, you rely on Geotechnology having the right specialty operators and equipment in reasonably close proximity to your projects. Thus, our geographic expansion is critical to more efficiently and effectively serve you. Some of the projects we are working on include the Archgrounds transformation in St. Louis, MO, the Mountain Parkway in Eastern KY, Lenexa Logistics office park in Lenexa, KS, new Baptist Hospital in Oxford, MS and Miami University’s Athletic Performance Center in Oxford, OH.
Safety Leadership: Geotechnology’s safety program is growing alongside our expanded operations. Safety is a core value of Geotechnology and is our highest priority. In January 2015, we selected Joe Darmody for the fulltime position of Corporate Risk Manager. Joe has the full authority and responsibility to implement safety and risk management tools to enhance the safety of our workforce. He is supported by a robust safety committee with representatives from each branch office and me. Each branch has a safety coordinator who leads the safety efforts in their respective offices. In late 2015, Geotechnology established a new safety logo to clearly identify the company’s commitment to safety. On January 4, 2016, employees in each of our offices participated in a Safety KickOff and placed their signatures on banners that read: “I am Committed.” Those banners now hang prominently in each office. As clients, you expect us to be safe on your projects and at your facilities, and we are committed to exceeding that expectation each and every day in each and every task.
Service Improvement: Geotechnology has focused on client service for all 31 years of our existence, and we continually seek to improve. Part of that effort to improve has been to seek direct feedback from our clients. Client responses to surveys in 2014 and 2015 indicate that 99% of our clients were happy with our services and 97% would utilize us again. While encouraging, we are not satisfied with those results and are actively working to improve our service to you. As part of our strategic plan, we are enhancing the project management and client relationship skills of our staff. We are also working to improve our client communication tools, including field data reporting and easier to read reports. Most importantly, we need to understand your objectives and work together to develop and execute an appropriate scope of services. Finally, we are expanding the services offered at several of our branches to include environmental, geophysics and deep foundation testing. If you have ideas about how Geotechnology could improve, please call me at 3149977440 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued confidence in Geotechnology. Let’s make 2016 great!
Ed Alizadeh, P.E.
President and CEO
If you would like to request information about any of our other services or book a Brown Bag Lunch, Contact us here >>
Having a full-time roofing inspector on-site during an a roofing installation is a preventative measure that helps clients reduce the risk of leaks and the damages associated with improper installations.
An improperly installed roof can be very costly. Potential damages and financial loss resulting from a roof that has not been constructed in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations can include: water damaged warehouse product, retail stock, office furnishings, or electronic equipment; reduction in productivity during repairs; health risks and environmental remediation due to mold growth; premature failure of roofing materials due to lack of fastening, application, or ponding water; and energy loss due to poorly placed insulation. Geotechnology provides roofing inspection services for a variety of roof types. These include: EPDM (synthetic rubber); TPO (thermoplastic olefin or polyolefin); Built-up (multi-layer felt); Modified Bitumen; Metal; PVC (polyvinyl chloride); and CSPE (chlorosulfonated polyethylene). Our roofing observation and inspection services are typically provided on a full-time basis. With this level of service, our representatives observe construction activities for proper material placement and water tightness to avoid potential leaks. Full-time inspection can also mitigate risks of voiding the manufacturer’s warranty for roofing materials. For example, mold will not be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. Other items that will void a manufacturer’s warranty include materials not being delivered in the original packaging; use of non-specified materials including fasteners, adhesives, and insulation; and materials installed on a roof that is not 100 percent dry. Full-time roofing services include observation of decking, insulation of fasteners and spacing, placement of membrane and flashings, inspection of metal coping and flashing, and inspection of saddles and crickets. Daily reports are produced documenting daily installation procedures and materials and may include a percentage of roofing completed in a day and number of roofers on-site.
Recent Geotechnology roofing inspection project experience includes:
General Motors Assembly Plants in Wentzville, Missouri and Kansas City, Kansas, CenterPoint Intermodal Facility in Kansas City, Missouri and Amazon’s new warehouse in Lenexa, Kansas.
For additional information, please visit geotechnology.com or contact your branch’s CMT Manager: Jeff Klein, P.E. in St. Louis, MO; Justin Donovan. in Memphis, TN; Luke Heuerman in Fairview Heights, IL, Steve Damron in Overland Park, KS, Matt Barker in Erlanger, Kentucky, Lee Czor, P.E. in Lexington, Kentucky or Doug Fields in Cincinnati, Ohio . If you would like to request information about any of our other services or book a Brown Bag Lunch, contact us here.
Geotechnology was selected by CityArchRiver 2015 Foundation to perform the precondition visual surveying and baseline vibration monitoring for upcoming St. Louis Arch grounds (Jefferson Memorial) construction work. The purpose of this project is to establish and implement a vibration monitoring program to assist in protecting various structures in the vicinity of planned CityArchRiver demolition and construction activities. Historic Eads Bridge is situated north of the project area. Constructed in 1874, the bridge carries both highway and rail traffic across the Mississippi River. The Eads Bridge is connected to a Metro tunnel structure consisting of two parallel arch sections generally with block walls and a brick arch roof. Both structures are considered historic and of concern for construction-related damage.
Geotechnology performed a precondition survey using photographs and video-recording at select street and bridge locations and determined the locations for crack gauges to be monitored during construction. This work was performed along operational Metro tunnel and bridge rail lines at night so as not to impact Metro’s operations and required specialized Metro Tier I and II training.
Construction vibration limit guidelines were developed based on location, background levels and structure condition. Locations for crack gauges to be monitored during construction were determined. Protocols for measuring and reporting construction vibrations, as well as stop-work and response plan requirements, were developed. During construction multiple vibration monitors will be set near the structures of interest. Vibration monitoring will be performed during demolition of the garage, rock removal and drilled pier installation, in addition to other intermittent construction activities. The vibration monitors will be remotely connected to a text alert system in the event that vibration levels approach or exceed the specified limits.
To learn about other services provided for the CityArchRiver project, please visit geotechnology.com or contact your branch’s CMT Manager: Jeff Klein, P.E. 314-997-7440 in St. Louis, MO; Justin Donovan, 901-353-1981 in Memphis, TN; Luke Heuerman, 618-345-4811 in Fairview Heights, IL or Steve Damron, 913-438-1900 in Overland Park, KS.
Geotechnology’s Geophysics Group has recently purchased new borehole natural gamma, spontaneous potential (SP), and resistivity tools, in addition to an acoustic televiewer (ATV). With these borehole geophysical tools we provide valuable data for advanced geologic projects requiring evaluations such as stratigraphic profiling, joint/fault analysis, water resource/water production evaluations, contaminant migration mapping, and rock strength assessment.
The ATV (QL40-ABI) allows us to image detailed features on the inside wall of bedrock core holes. Now we can ascertain in situ widths of solution features and the presence of void-space or in-filling material. In addition, we can accurately determine the attitudes of planar features that intersect the corehole. Now we can plot and analyze the orientation of fractures between different borings or at different levels within borings. (The areas depicted in blue on the adjacent figure represent clay filled partings and the red lines depict bedding planes and joints).
SP and resistivity logs are collected using a QL40-ELOG tool. The ELOG records four resistivity measurements (at electrode spacings of 8”, 16”, 32” and 64”), SP and single point resistance (SPR) in a single pass. This data is useful in groundwater studies to determine water production depths, aquifer thickness, water quality and permeability.
We use another tool, the QL40-GR, to record the natural gamma radiation emitted from geologic formations. This is a great tool for detecting clay and shale layers.
Geotechnology has a long history of providing valuable borehole geophysical data for our clients and we continue to develop our capabilities by acquiring new equipment. These new borehole geophysical tools allow for even better borehole correlation with our surface geophysical data.
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