Environmental Services

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Taking the Lead in Green Building

This Friday marks World Environment Day, organized by the United Nations. It has been recognized since 1974 with a different theme each year. In 2020, the focus is on biodiversity. As the U.N. notes, “World Environment Day offers a global platform for inspiring positive change.” That message aligns perfectly with our firm’s commitment to leave a lasting, positive impact in the communities we serve. Ultimately, that collective impact can benefit the world at large....

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From the Bank of the James River

Bioremediation Offers Innovative Solutions for Pharmaceutical Contamination

Modern medicine and pharmaceutical advances have been indispensable to improving quality of life for hundreds of millions in the United States. However, in recent years, pharmaceutical compounds have become a significant group of environmental pollutants. These compounds could pose risks to human health and have adverse environmental effects....

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Draper Aden Associates Celebrates Sustainability and Environmental Stewardship

Earth Day: an environmental phenomenon that began on April 22, 1970 and continues to this very day. An estimated 20 million Americans, approximately 10 percent of the country’s total population at the time, gathered in cities and towns on that late April day to demonstrate for a more sustainable environment. It has and continues to attract support from all corners of American society....

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Brownfields Grants Awarded to Greater Williamsburg Region

This brownfields project – which includes City of Williamsburg, James City County, and York County – enables these localities to assess sites, particularly abandoned or run-down ones, for hazardous substances. Additional use of the federal funds includes conducting environmental site assessments and planning for site clean up and redevelopment actions. Sri Nathella, PE, Environmental Program Manager, will lead our firm’s partnership with GWP and our role in managing the grant’s implementation....

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Earth Day: The VCU Rice Center

Creating a lasting, positive impact through engineering, surveying and environmental expertise is at the very core of what we do at Draper Aden Associates. With today being Earth Day, we wanted to highlight a past project that perfectly encapsulates that lasting, positive impact, especially when it comes to enhancing the environment. In 2008, Draper Aden provided civil engineering, design, and construction administration services for the VCU Rice Center. The Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences sits on a 343-acre property in Charles City County, Virginia, and is home to many natural resources and wildlife. When the property was donated by Mrs. Inger Rice, she requested that the building needed to make the most of green design elements. The Rice Center is situated on a hill overlooking the James River and takes advantage of natural day lighting as well as natural shading from the surrounding tree canopies. Draper Aden incorporated a number...

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Emergency Preparedness – Be Safe, Not Sorry

On August 7 and 8, 2017, Safety, Health, and Environment (SHE) professionals from Virginia and the Carolinas participated in the 16th annual Environmental, Energy, Health, and Safety School sponsored by the North Carolina Manufacturers Alliance (NCMA) held at the North Carolina State University (NCSU) McKimmon Center in Raleigh, North Carolina. Draper Aden Associates, an NCMA Business Partner, coordinated the “Special Topics” classroom sessions, including a two-part session on Emergency Preparedness.   Most of us along the Atlantic Coast think about hurricanes when we hear “emergency preparedness”, and rightly so! We are now in the middle of hurricane season. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted 14 to 19 named storms in 2017 and two to five of those could become major hurricanes.   Every business, small or large, should plan against natural hazards such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. But even on a clear day, unexpected incidents could cause your company hardship....

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Strategies for Success with Environmental Regulatory Relations: Part 3

We’ve been discussing strategies for better relations with environmental regulators. We talked about building positive relationships in Part 1 and communicating our interests in Part 2. In this article, we focus on the process and not the people to achieve a desired outcome.   STRATEGY NO. 3 Focus on the process, not the people. Management Consultant, Edwards Deming said, “A bad system will beat a good person every time.” Any number of competent people can make the same mistakes when using a faulty or cumbersome process. Likewise, if we dismiss the regulatory process and focus solely on the regulatory personnel, we may overlook the root cause of difficulties when navigating a complex bureaucratic system. Consider the regulator’s perspective. Industry advocates or public watchdog groups often challenge their decisions. The regulator is held responsible when environmental problems occur (i.e. Why did you issue that permit? Why didn’t you shut them down?). They anticipate the worst possible...

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Strategies for Success with Environmental Regulatory Relations: Part 2

We’ve been discussing strategies to help your business have better relations with environmental regulators. Almost every business interest has some environmental impact, which means you probably are regulated by your local or state environmental agency, or maybe the US EPA directly. We talked about building positive relationships in Part 1. Now we want to think about the best way to communicate with regulators to achieve a desired outcome.   STRATEGY NO. 2 Communicate your interests, instead of stating your position. Most people will argue a point based on what they want (their position) instead of why they want it (their interests). The classic example to illustrate this concept is the story of two sous chefs arguing over a single orange in the kitchen. Each is adamant that they need a whole orange for their individual recipes. When the Executive Chef asks why each needs a whole orange, the first chef says their recipe calls for...

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Strategies for Success with Environmental Regulatory Relations: Part 1

Does your business affect the environment? Perhaps you need a permit. Maybe an inspector visited your site and discovered violations. No doubt you have found yourself in the company of federal, state, or local regulators. Sometimes those interactions go well, sometimes… not so much. Environmental regulatory issues can be dreadful affairs, but they don’t have to be. In this three-part series, we will explore useful strategies to help achieve a favorable outcome.   STRATEGY NO. 1 Build positive relationships with regulators and your surrounding community. Bob Burg’s now famous relationship-building principle known as the “know, like, trust” factor is a sales concept that can apply to regulatory relations too. The basic principle is that people do business with people they know, like, and trust. Of course, we are not selling to regulators, but it is a transactional relationship, such as receiving a permit or negotiating a penalty. How well we are known, our likeability...

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What I’ve Learned About Bioretention: Part 2

Read Part 1 of this post here. 2. Bigger is not better Like most everything we design, when big things fail, they fail in a big way. Bioretention works best in applications where the drainage area to an individual cell is less than about a quarter acre. Larger bioretention areas are more likely to fail due to erosion because of larger flows, creation of low spots due to variations in the surface, and clogging of the surface layer. This can be avoided by dividing the area into multiple cells with smaller drainage areas. [caption id="attachment_6401" align="aligncenter" width="770"] Larger basin divided into three cells[/caption]   The largest bioretention area I know of is an example of this. Designed by others, it collects runoff from several acres at a highway rest stop. The measures designed to evenly distribute incoming flow have been overwhelmed by large flow rates, the engineered soils mix layer does not drain quickly enough, and...

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