Environmental Permits & Audits
Assessment, Remediation & Closure
Biological Evaluations & Wetland Delineation
Rapidly increasing environmental regulations are a challenge to all types of industrial facilities. The sheer number of detailed requirements makes it difficult to achieve compliance.
W&M can assist you with audits designed to meet EMS/ISO 14001 auditing requirements, corporate standards, and document non-compliance issues through the TCEQ/EPA audit privilege. W&M has experience conducting environmental compliance audits at a variety of industrial facilities.
Regulatory Applicability Screening (RAS) is valuable service that provides our clients with a list of regulatory categories ranging from Air, Water Supply, Wastewater, Stormwater, Waste, and a variety of other environmental reports. W&M regulatory experts provide the client with a report that outlines the gaps and potential corrective actions that could be undertaken to eliminate those gaps.
The RAS process begins with an information gathering meeting to understand the nature of the facility. Then one of our environmental experts will conduct a walk-through of the facility to determine regulatory applicability and potential compliance gaps with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as well as state and local regulations in the areas of hazardous and non-hazardous waste generation; chemical storage; Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure (SPCC); Storm Water Pollution Prevention (SWP3); wastewater discharge; air emissions permitting; and water supply permitting. This comprehensive program includes a Site visit, interviews with Site personnel, and a review of readily-available Site records. A final report of the findings and potential compliance gaps can be provided in a written format or an in-person presentation.
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SPCC Plans are required for any bulk storage facilities that have an aggregate aboveground storage capacity greater than 1,320 gallons or a completely buried storage capacity greater than 42,000 gallons. W&M has licensed Professional Engineers (PE) and staff that can prepare SPCC plans, design engineering controls, and other Best Management Practices as required under 40 CFR 112.
Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWP3) are designed to prevent violations of surface water quality, groundwater quality, and sediment management standards and prevent adverse impacts to receiving water by controlling peak rates and volumes of storm water runoff. SWP3s typically aim to implement and maintain best management practices (BMPs) that identify, reduce, eliminate, and/or prevent the discharge of storm water pollutants.
W&M can facilitate compliance with state and federal requirements for both industrial and construction operations by:
- Preparing your SWP3
- Identifying effective BMPs
- Engineering design of structural controls such as drainage controls, storm water interceptors or treatment systems, erosion control, etc.
- Conducting employee training
- Performing routine inspections and monitoring
Leaking petroleum storage tanks (LPST) can create environmental hazards and pose significant liabilities to the owners of such tanks.
W&M Environmental Group is a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) Registered Corrective Action Specialist (RCAS), and W&M professionals are registered as PST Corrective Action Project Managers (CAPM).
We have extensive experience investigating and resolving issues associated with LPST sites. We have been involved in each of the steps involved in obtaining regulatory closure at LPST sites from initial tank removal through final closure.
Many LPST releases can be addressed using risk-based approaches, without the need for physical remediation. Let the experienced professionals at W&M Environmental Group save you time and efficiently handle your leaking petroleum storage tank issue.
W&M Environmental Group has developed a reputation for cleanup and closure of contaminated properties in Texas. W&M has closed over 130 sites through TCEQ remediation programs such as the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), Leaking Petroleum Storage Tank (LPST), Innocent Owner/Operator Program (IOP), and Corrective Action. We have also worked on EPA/TCEQ Brownfields projects and Superfund sites along with the TCEQ’s Dry Cleaner Remediation Program (DCRP).
W&M utilizes risk-based closure strategies as much as possible, resorting to active remediation options when risk-based corrective action is not sufficient to address contaminated environmental media. W&M understands the nuances of working through TCEQ regulatory programs and has built an excellent relationship working with TCEQ case coordinators and senior managers to get projects closed.
In Texas, most contaminated sites are subject to the technical regulations under the Texas Risk Reduction Program (TRRP) or Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) rules. Programs regulated by TRRP include VCP, IOP, DCRP, and CA, while PST rules and regulations apply to LPST cases. W&M has extensive experience with both TRRP and PST sites.
Voluntary Cleanup Program
The VCP has become one of the preferred options for real estate sellers/buyers seeking to clean up contaminated properties, obtain regulatory closure from TCEQ, and obtain financing. The VCP operates under the TRRP rules and regulations. For real estate deals, the VCP has become the “gold standard” because the TCEQ issues a certificate of completion for all media, all chemicals of concern, and all current and future land owners. For liability protection, closure through the VCP is tough to beat.
For sites in the VCP, the applicant is required to investigate and cleanup their site in a “voluntary” manner unlike other programs that are driven by the state. Since the TCEQ is giving the applicant a release of liability for all contaminants and media, the investigation requirements for a VCP case are typically more rigorous. Another key item associated with the VCP is that the TCEQ has a set time period of 60 days to review reports and respond to submittals.
W&M works with our clients to investigate, complete the required VCP documents to TCEQ, manage the project, work with the TCEQ as a client advocate, remediate impacted media as necessary, and obtain the closure certificate as quickly and efficiently as possible. To accomplish this, we consider and utilize all of the tools available in the program, such as plume management zones, municipal setting designations (MSDs), aquifer classification such as low yield (Class 3 Groundwater), use of Site-specific background calculations, Tier 2 cross-media calculations for metals, etc. W&M has used the VCP to close a wide range of sites which were later redeveloped as either residential or mixed use properties.
Leaking Petroleum Storage Tank Program
Leaking tank cases are handled by the TCEQ through their PST Division using well-established regulatory guidance. The Texas PST is a comprehensive regulatory program for underground storage tanks (USTs) and to a lesser extent above-ground storage tanks (ASTs). W&M is a TCEQ PST Registered Corrective Action Specialist (RCAS), and W&M professionals are registered as PST Corrective Action Project Managers (CAPM).
W&M has extensive experience in the project management, investigation, reporting, remediation (impacted soil and groundwater along with NAPL abatement), and assistance with obtaining No Further Action letters. W&M staff has worked with many of the LPST case coordinators over the years and met with senior agency staff to work through issues. W&M is involved in each of the steps required for regulatory closure of LPST sites.
Innocent Owner/Operator Program
The innocent owner/operator program of TCEQ provides liability relief for contamination from an off-Site source to parties that have not “caused or contributed” to the contamination. In other words, the IOP can be useful if your property was impacted by an off-Site business such as a dry cleaner (typically perchloroethylene [perc] and its degradation products), service station (gasoline range compounds) or industrial facility with VOCs and metals. W&M has worked on numerous IOP cases and received IOP Certificates for our clients. Some cases may prove to be difficult and this is where we shine. W&M has the expertise to work through issues with the TCEQ such trace concentrations of contamination in the soil and/or absence of an off-site source.
Corrective Action Program
Corrective Action is a remediation program at TCEQ that operates under the rules and regulation of the TRRP. This program is similar to VCP but is not always voluntary, typically focuses in on a specific affected area or release, and does not have a time frame for review of documents and response letters. Also the Corrective Action program issues a No Further Action letter to the Responsible Party at the end of the process and not a Certificate of Completion. It is our experience that Corrective Action is a good program for industrial facilities especially if they want to target a specific area of concern, contaminant or media (e. g., metals in the soil) rather than all contaminants and all media. For real estate transactions, Corrective Action is typically not our preferred option.
Dry Cleaner Remediation Program
The Texas DCRP is a state lead program for dry cleaning facilities and properties with dry cleaners (e. g., strip centers). The TCEQ manages the projects, using contractors to complete investigations and sampling, and pays for all costs less a deductible amount paid by the facility owner or operator. W&M has a working knowledge of the program and can assist you with the DCRP application.
In our opinion, DCRP is a good option if you want to put your property into a lower cost/long term regulatory program where the state is paying for the assessment, monitoring, remediation, and ultimately closure. However, the program is typically slow moving. Unlike VCP, the DCRP does not have a review time table, the program has a limited budget, does not use the MSD as a risk-based option, and sites are prioritized based on periodic TCEQ scoring. High priority sites are addressed first, while lower priority sites may have little or no activity for many years. DCRP site closures have historically been slow and since the DCRP does not allow the use of an MSD many of these cases have not been closed.
A Biological Evaluation (BE) is commonly used to assess the likelihood that a proposed project may effect State and Federally-listed threatened and endangered (T&E) species and is often the predecessor of a full Environmental Assessment (EA).
The BE also includes an assessment of the likely impacts to proposed (candidate) species, State-listed sensitive species (proposed, sensitive, and T&E species collectively referred to as PETS species) and natural communities likely to be affected by the proposed action (i.e., utility construction).
W&M has conducted BEs for governmental agencies, not-for-profits, and for commercial businesses.
The W&M Environmental staff is experienced in vegetation and wildlife surveys for environmental assessments (EAs), prairie restoration, wetland determinations, and other habitat evaluations. We have prepared and reviewed environmental protection plans (EPP) to meet the SmartGrowth requirements of the Town of Flower Mound, Texas.
W&M staff have years of experience in prairie restoration and regularly volunteer at restoration sites across the State of Texas. As an additional account of our dedication to our profession, the Plano and Austin offices maintain gardens that provide fresh produce to our staff.
W&M offers a variety of wetland delineation services and permit or compliance assistance. W&M’s wetland determination services range from a simple determination to state whether wetlands exist on a property to the identification and marking of wetland boundaries. More importantly, we can provide the documentation to demonstrate whether wetlands on your property are subject to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jurisdiction, and provide consultation whether a permit is required for work that may affect wetlands.
For projects that impact wetlands (Waters of the U.S.) where the Corps of Engineers has jurisdiction, we can assist in the preparation of the appropriate permit documents to allow work to be completed in compliance with Federal and State law. When a project requires mitigation of wetland impacts, we can assist you in the acquisition of wetland bank credits or in the design of new or restored wetlands.
Watch our webinar on Defining US Waters and Wetland Permitting below.
Wetland mitigation is the process of replacing or restoring wetlands. Mitigation has become an important part of the process of issuing permits under Section 404.
W&M Environmental Group has extensive experience handling wetlands and getting the proper permits needed. If wetland mitigation is required, W&M is adept at finding the right solution for your site whether it is purchase of wetland bank credits or designing and implementing your own mitigation plan. W&M can also perform monitoring of wetland mitigation projects, if required.
W&M is experienced in securing the right wetland permit for your project. We have maintained good rapport with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers districts serving Texas, Louisiana, and elsewhere.
Our portfolio covers permits for commercial development, residential development, oil and gas infrastructure, and transportation projects across the South and Midwest. We have attentive staff to handle large or small projects. Put our experience to your advantage.