Environmental 101: Finding The Right Consultant

For real estate deals, the standard process for evaluating environmental risks is to conduct a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) followed by a Phase II Investigation when a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC, suspected contamination) is identified. Typically, the first question a consultant receives when a Phase II is recommended is “how much?” followed by “can you do it cheaper?”  These are fair questions and I ask them myself with my CPA, handy man, painters, mechanic, etc. The big challenge for W&M is balancing the Phase II scope of work with costs. The bigger the scope (e.g., number of samples, chemical analyses, etc.), the higher the price will be.  Sure it would be nice if we could collect one “magic sample” but such a sample doesn’t exist.  I like to compare the sampling process to playing the board game Battleship.  We can make some educated guesses but don’t really know
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We Get Projects Done! Better, Stronger, Faster…

Where I work, our Mission Statement is “We Get Projects Done”.  The implication is one of speed, in that the project gets finished in a timely matter.  For a long time we relied on gut feel for the speed of the project completion. We have now developed an equation to quantify the velocity (or time for completion) of a project. Estimating the project velocity can give the project team a fair estimate of the days it will take to complete the project based just on the project budget. There are many factors that can alter a project’s schedule, weather, regulatory demands, client changes, etc.  So this tool was not designed to be anything but a rough estimate of the potential time needed based solely on the budget. EQUATION: Project Velocity (days) = Budget (in dollars) +1737.3 / 173.65 For example, a $10,000 project would be expected to be completed in
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Remediation and VCP Closure of Gun Range

The Tri-City Firing Range, located in Plano, Texas (Site), has been utilized for police officer training purposes since its construction in the 1980s. Lead was identified in the soil on the property and sediments of an adjacent creek bed. W&M entered the Site into the TCEQ VCP, conducted soil and groundwater sampling to delineate the impact, developed the required VCP documents, completed limited soil excavation and off-Site disposal, and received final closure through the VCP.

On-Site sampling identified shallow surface soil impacts and only limited impacts to the sediment in the creek. No groundwater impact was identified at the Site. Once the Site was delineated, W&M developed a Response Action Plan (RAP) that was approved by the TCEQ and quickly completed by excavation and off-Site diposal. W&M determined that the Site could be closed under Remedy Standard A with and alternative cleanup level utilizing a transport model to verify determine a Tier 2 Protective concentration Level and thereby increasing the cleanup level from 15 mg/kg (State background for soil lead) to 500 mg/kg. This process allowed W&M to perform less remediation and, thereby, substantially decrease the remediation costs associated with this project. The project was completed on-schedule and on-budget even when additional tasks were requested by the City of Plano.

Phase II Investigation Completed

A Phase II Investigation completed at the W. Church Street property owned by the city of Grand Prairie indicated a release had occurred from the underground storage tanks formerly located on the property. Subsequently, a Leaking Petroleum Storage Tank (LPST) investigation was completed by W&M which demonstrated that, although gasoline constituents were present in groundwater above TCEQ Action levels, there were no unacceptable risks to human health or environmental receptors. The LPST case received closure from TCEQ in August 2011.

During the investigation it was discovered that the leak had migrated into the adjoining property. The property owner qualified as an Innocent Owner/Operator as defined by TCEQ since their property had been impacted from the gas station release and activities at the adjoining property did not contribute to the plume. The City agreed to voluntarily obtain an IOP certificate to the benefit of the adjoining property since it had been impacted by a release from City-owned property. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Environmental Services for TCCD Downtown Fort Worth

W&M conducted Phase I ESAs and Phase II investigations of several properties owned by various industries, including TXU Energy Company in Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas. The properties are located in an area being redeveloped by the Tarrant County College District (TCCD) for their downtown campus. The area is heavily developed with a number of industries and potential sources of contamination including several landfills, two power plants, a lead smelter, former gasoline stations and a residential community. The TCCD campus is considered an anchor for the downtown redevelopment project known as the Trinity River Vision.

The Phase I and Phase II ESAs indicated that the Site had been impacted by VOCs and metals. As a result, W&M completed the Innocent Owner/Operator Programs (IOP) application, conducted soil and groundwater sampling, worked with the TCEQ case coordinator, and completed the IOP report documentation (namely the Site Investigation Report or SIR). The sampling and data evaluation by W&M clearly demonstrated to the TCEQ that the Site had not "caused or contributed" to the contamination and the Site was subsequently granted Innocent Owner Certificates (IOC) for several properties. Other contaminated properties were granted closure through the VCP after submitting the appropriate Affected Property Assessment Reports (APARs) and conducting additional investigation or remediation.

The Sites were issued the appropriate regulatory closure certificates and the properties are currently undergoing development. The downtown campus and the Trinity River Vision are considered very important developments for the future of downtown Fort Worth. The project was completed in a timely manner and within the proposed budget. W&M’s expertise with the TCEQ at similar IOP and VCP sites was very helpful in the successful completion of this project.

Burlwood, LLC

W&M Brownfields assisted investors in the acquisition of a contaminated property in downtown Dallas, through a limited liability corporation, at a discounted price. A Municipal Setting Designation (MSD) application and other environmental services were provided to the investors in return for equity in the property. The property was leased to a neighboring manufacturer to provide income to the investors while awaiting full regulatory closure. This property is currently for sale.

Dallas Housing Authority

The W&M staff has worked with the DHA to remove a leaking PST, evaluate paint samples for lead-based paint (LBP), conduct Phase II Investigations, and evaluate/close site through the TCEQ VCP. W&M is currently working with the DHA to close their maintenance facility through the TCEQ VCP. The facility was impacted with an on-site leaking PST (LPST) and off-site chlorinated solvents (co-mingled plume). W&M has also worked with DHA to assess and remediate their former Superfund site.


W&M has a long history of working with AT&T on a wide range of projects dating back to 1998. Our work with AT&T has included Phase I ESAs, Phase II Investigations, removal of PSTs, closure of LPSTs through the TCEQ PST program (reimbursable and non-reimbursable sites), site remediation, and use of soil vapor extraction (SVE) as a treatment method. W&M has successfully worked with AT&T to become one of their prime contractors in Texas and surrounding states.

Greenway Investment Co.

W&M has had a long-term relationship with Greenway (local real estate developer) to perform a wide range of environmental projects including Phase I ESAs, Phase II Investigations, asbestos inspections, remediation projects, and site closures through the TCEQ VCP and Innocent Owner Program (IOP). Our work has included several challenging sites such as the former Exide battery facility on Motor Street (part of City of Dallas Brownfields project), former Alcatel facility in Richardson, and Gaston Avenue property (former dry cleaners that was granted a Municipal Setting Designation [MSD] by the City of Dallas). The MSD was utilized to close the site without long-term and very expensive groundwater remediation. W&M designed the response actions at this site and assisted the client with bidding support and contractor selection. W&M has closed a number of Greenway sites.

City of Plano

W&M has worked with the City of Plano on several projects beginning in 2000. Our work with the city has included Phase II Investigations, removal of a PST, and remediation/closure of the Tri-City (Plano, Richardson, and Garland) gun range. The gun range was impacted by lead and was entered into the TCEQ’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP). W&M completed the VCP documentation, decontaminated the gun range, and remediated impacted soil. We utilized Tier II calculations to increase the cleanup concentration for soil lead and substantially decreased the costs for excavation and off-site disposal. This site has received a Final Certificate of Completion from the TCEQ.