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Monthly Archives: May 2014

May 28th, 2014

HUD Adopts E1527-13 for all Phase I Requirements

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has updated its guidance documents for the Office of Housing and Federal Housing Administration (FHA) to require the latest ASTM standard (E1527-13) effective May 16, 2014.  This change affects several guidance documents throughout Office of Housing/FHA, including, but not limited to, the Multifamily Accelerated Processing (MAP) Guide, the Condominium Project Approval and Processing Guide, Handbook 4600.1 REV-1, Section 232 Mortgage Insurance for Residential Care Facilities, and Handbook  4615.1, Mortgage Insurance for Hospitals.

HUD specifically details the addition of the term CREC (Controlled Recognized Environmental Condition) and inclusion of vapor to the migration pathway as important reasons to require ASTM E1527-13.

“The new CREC definition will result in some environmental conditions being listed as CRECs if they have been remediated to restricted levels, as opposed to an unrestricted or de minimis level, and will be a great tool for Office of Housing/FHA staff to assess whether the site is appropriate for residential use,” stated Carol Galante, Assistant Secretary for Housing – Federal Housing Commissioner.

If you have any questions about the new Phase I standard, contact Natalie Neuman (nneuman[at]gabenv.com or 773-486-2123).

May 21st, 2014

Gabriel’s Solar Energy Production Increased 282% in 2013

 

Photo Sep 05, 4 48 11 PM

With our expanded solar array, Gabriel produced 24,150 kWhs of solar energy in 2013 – an increase of 282% over our 2012 production levels.  In early 2013, we brought an additional 126 photo-voltaic panels online to bring our total to 162 PV panels (total capacity = 42,000 watts).

 

We saved approximately 40,300 pounds of CO2 with our solar energy last year (when compared to traditional energy sources).  With the additional capacity, we saved the equivalent of:

EPA - combined co2 and greenhouse gas savings

 

Visit our Picasa page to see more photos from the solar panel installation.

 

May 16th, 2014

Celebrate Chicago Craft Beer Week!

chicago craft beer week logo 2014Gabriel loves beer.  We especially love beer brewed by our craft beer clients. We are proud to partner with several breweries around Chicago to assist them with their environmental responsibility and sustainability initiatives.

We help our craft beer clients with:

  • Environmental permitting
  • User Charge sampling, analysis and reporting
  • Wastewater testing
  • Treatment system consulting

As you enjoy Chicago’s Craft Beer Week (May 15th – 25th), be sure to sample beer (or cider) brewed by some of our favorite local brewers, including: Goose Island Beer Co., Revolution Brewing, Half Acre Beer Co., Temperance Beer Co., 5 Rabbit Brewing, Virtue Cider, Pipeworks Brewing and Argus Brewing.

Gabriel staff will be attending various Craft Beer events, including Micro-Waste Micro-Brew, an evening focused on sustainability within the brewing industry (hosted by The Beer Bistro, featuring reps from Goose Island Beer Co, Seven Generations Ahead, and National Resources Defense Council) on Wednesday, May 21st (8:00pm – 10:00pm).  Tickets are still available for this event, and all attendees will receive a commemorative glass, a Chicago Craft Beer Week T-shirt, and the opportunity to drink rare beers from Goose Island Beer Company.  Proceeds from the event benefit the non-profit Seven Generations Ahead.

 

To find out more about the 500+ Chicago Craft Beer Week events, visit chibeerweek.com.  Life is short – drink good beer.

May 14th, 2014

Phosphorus Testing Now Available During User Charge/Continued Compliance Sampling

MWRD is currently studying phosphorus wastewater concentrations and investigating adding it as a required analytical parameter under the User Charge or Continued Compliance ordinance to comply with stricter overall limits mandated by IEPA effective January 1, 2014.  They have recently sent out a letter to industrial facilities in its service area asking for volunteers to help determine the amount of phosphorus discharged by industry.  MWRD currently estimates that 60% of the phosphorus that ends up in its waste treatment plants comes from domestic waste; 10% from products used in the home; and 30% from commercial and industrial use.

Gabriel is now offering to add phosphorus testing to User Charge and Continued Compliance sampling to help our clients establish a baseline for each facility’s current phosphorus discharge.  This analysis can be added at a nominal rate to scheduled sampling events.  By learning about current phosphorus levels, our clients can be proactive and prepared for upcoming MWRD regulations regarding phosphorus limits.

Infographic source: EPA

Excessive phosphorus and other nutrients lead to increased algae growth and decreased oxygen levels in rivers, streams and other watersheds.  In the Mississippi River Basin (including Chicagoland waterways), this phosphorus and nitrogen pollution has caused a 5,840 square mile “dead zone” in the Gulf of Mexico where plants and fish cannot survive.

Contact Antonio Tabacchi at atabacchi[at]gabenv.com or 773-486-2123 if you want to add phosphorus testing to your upcoming sampling or to learn more about MWRD’s volunteer program.

May 8th, 2014

Illinois Seeking to Ban Microbeads

Illinois may become the first state to ban microbeads in beauty products.  These tiny balls of plastic have been used in scrubs and toothpastes for additional exfoliation.  Once these microbeads go down the drain, however, they end up in local sewer systems and ultimately into rivers and lakes.  Scientific studies in Lake Michigan have found tens of millions of the little plastic particles.

The microbeads absorb pollutants and chemicals in the water, and then are eaten by fish who cannot distinguish them from proper food.  Scientists are now studying if the toxins from the microbeads make their way up the food chain to the humans eating these same fish.  Approximately 65 million pounds of fish are caught in the Great Lakes each year.

The Illinois Senate has already unanimously passed a bill which would ban the manufacture of products containing microbeads beginning December 31, 2017 and the sale of such products as of December 31, 2018.  The Illinois House has hearings scheduled for next week and is expected to vote on the bill during its Spring session.  Governor Quinn has stated that he will sign the bill once it comes to his desk.

Some environmental groups are dismayed at the long implementation for the ban.  Industry groups, however, state that the additional time is necessary to redesign, test, and implement substitutes in their products.  Several larger personal product companies such as Johnson & Johnson and Unilever are already working on eliminating microbeads from their products.  They are testing natural alternatives such as ground seeds, nuts, sugar and salt crystals, all of which are biodegradable.

UPDATE:  On May 22nd, 2014 the Illinois House amended and passed the microban bill unanimously.  It now goes back to the Senate for concurrence.

UPDATE 2:  On June 8th, 2014, Governor Quinn signed this bill into law, making Illinois officially the first state to ban microbeads.

“Banning microbeads will help ensure clean waters across Illinois and set an example for our nation to follow,” Quinn said. “Lake Michigan and the many rivers and lakes across our state are among our most important natural resources. We must do everything necessary to safeguard them.”

The new law bans the manufacture of personal care products containing microbeads by the end of 2017, the sale of personal care products and the manufacture of over the counter drugs by the end of 2018, and the sale of over the counter drugs by the end of 2019.

May 2nd, 2014

Strack & Van Til Celebrates LEED Store

LEED silver certificationOn April 22nd, Gabriel joined Strack & Van Til to celebrate their first silver LEED certification at their Cedar Lake, IN grocery store.  At this Earth Day event, the first 100 shoppers received reusable grocery bags and other eco-friendly products, including giveaways from Gabriel.

LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.

Gabriel is proud to be one of Strack & Van Til’s LEED partners for this innovative store.  We assisted our clients by conducting LEED air quality sampling and analysis.  Strack & Van Til achieved their Silver Certification by using sustainable site development, increasing energy efficiency, decreasing water usage, and maintaining indoor environmental quality.

“Companywide, we’re trying to reduce our energy stamp. It makes sense now to spend the extra money,” said John Ritchie, director of facilities for Strack & Van Til.

Strack - LEED Silver

To learn more about how Gabriel can help with your project’s LEED certification, contact Bill Gray (bgray[at]gabenv.com) or John Polich (jpolich[at]gabenv.com).

More information about Strack & Van Til’s LEED-certified store is available at:

www.newswiretoday.com/news/141861/

www.nwitimes.com/business/local/strack-van-til-opens-cedar-lake-store/article_9089dbec-9703-5399-a154-9cc2598374ff.html

More information about LEED certification is available at www.usgbc.org/leed

Photo credit: Northwest Indiana Times

Photo credit: Northwest Indiana Times