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Gabriel Environment Blog

October 12th, 2016

Drug Take-Back Day – October 22nd, 2016

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The National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is coming up on October 22, 2016.  This U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) initiative aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications.

Prescription drugs that are flushed down the drain or trashed in a landfill ultimately end up polluting the nation’s waterways.  Water treatment systems are not equipped to remove medications and chemicals, so rivers, streams, and drinking water supplies can be affected.

To locate a collection site near you, visit the DEA’s National Take-Back day website:

www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/

September 21st, 2016

Air & Waste Management Association hosts its annual Air Quality Management Conference

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Join Air & Waste Management Association – Lake Michigan States Section (A&WMA) for its annual Air Quality Management Conference on October 5, 2016.

Topics include:

  • New Direction for Industry in Illinois – Alec Messina, Director, Illinois EPA
  • EPA Region 5 Priorities – Robert Kaplan, Action Regional Director, US EPA, Region 5
  • Ozone SIP Strategies
  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) changes
  • Air Policy and Program Compliance Priorities for 2016
  • Emissions Testing – Common Pitfalls
  • Meeting the PSD Permit Modeling Requirements
  • Non-Attainment NSR – Offsets: Supply & Demand

Learn more and register on the A&WMA website: www.lmawma.org

September 15th, 2016

Want to learn about future swimming plans for the Chicago River?

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Real-time water quality information by 2020. Continuous riverfront trails by 2030. Thriving ecosystems by 2040. And yes, swimming.

The first ever unified vision of the Chicago, Des Plaines and Calumet Rivers has recently been released in a publication entitled “Our Great Rivers.”

Learn more about this vision at a roundtable hosted by the Metropolitan Planning Council on Thursday, September 29th, 2016 from 12:00pm – 1:30pm at 140 S. Dearborn St, Suite 1400, Chicago.

 Speakers include:

  • Josh Ellis, Director, Metropolitan Planning Council, and the project lead for Great Rivers Chicago
  • Kim Wasserman Nieto, Executive Director, Little Village Environmental Justice Organization
  • John Quail, Director of Watershed Planning, Friends of the Chicago River
  • Arnold Randall (tentative), Superintendent, Forest Preserve of Cook County
  • Commissioner David Reifman, City of Chicago Dept. of Planning and Development

Learn more and register online at www.metroplanning.org/events/roundtable/detail/378

September 1st, 2016

Gabriel will be closed for Labor Day

In honor of Labor Day, Gabriel will be closed on Monday, September 5th, 2016.

August 18th, 2016

Join Gabriel for our annual Open House

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You are cordially invited to the annual Gabriel Open House, this year celebrating Chicago.

 Open House highlights include:

  • Chicago craft beer, plus delicious Chicago-themed food and drinks
  • Live music
  • Tours of our two geothermal systems, solar power array, award-winning gardens & rain collection system
  • Geoprobe® soil boring demos
  • Laboratory tours
  • Networking with other professionals in your field
  • Raffles, prizes, and giveaways
  • And much, much more!

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

3:30 pm  –  8:30 pm

Gabriel’s Chicago Headquarters – 1421 N. Elston Ave.

Guests are welcome!

RSVP online at gabrielenviro.wpengine.com/calendar/

Questions?  Contact Brynne at 773-486-2123.

August 3rd, 2016

Inaugural Liquid Hazardous Waste Annual Reporting Form due for Cook County on September 1st

Last year, Cook County passed the Liquid Hazardous Waste Ordinance which requires cook county sealfacilities in suburban Cook County to report their annual liquid hazardous waste generation and submit a corresponding fee.  The inaugural Liquid Hazardous Waste Annual report for the period January 1, 2016 and June 30, 2016 is due September 1, 2016.

Any facilities with less than 420 gallons of liquid hazardous waste in this time period still need to complete the form by the deadline but no fee will be assessed.  All facilities with greater than 420 gallons of liquid hazardous waste must include a $0.02/gallon fee with their report.

All liquid hazardous waste generated from July 1, 2016 – December 31, 2016 will be reported on a separate form due March 1, 2017.

For all liquid hazardous waste generated each year after 2016, the reporting period is January – December, and the annual report and fee is due March 1st of the following year.

Failure to submit this form on time may result in fines up to $10,000 for each offense.

If you need assistance completing this form, contact Gabriel’s Water Department at 773-486-2123 or waterdept[at]gabenv.com, or Steve Sawyer, CHMM, at 773-486-2123 or ssawyer[at]gabenv.com.

July 21st, 2016

Illinois UST cleanup fund authorized in state budget

Cleanup funds are again available to help tank owners in Illinois investigate and cleanup contamination caused by leaking USTs (underground storage tanks)

The Illinois budget impasse had frozen the UST Fund since July 1, 2015.  Tank owners andIMG_0260 operators pay into this Fund with every gallon of petroleum product they purchase.  The Fund is then available to help investigate and cleanup any leaks or spills from these underground storage tanks.

Tank owners had continued to pay into this Fund while Illinois lawmakers failed to agree on a state budget, but the Illinois Comptroller lacked authority to issue checks from the Fund without a state budget.

The Illinois stopgap budget passed on June 30th re-authorizes payments from this cleanup fund to be issued, clearing the way for the Comptroller to send over $20 million to tank owners for currently approved reimbursement claims.  Cleanups in process should also have access to this fund, since the budget authorizes up to $60 million to be issued from the UST Fund.

If you have any questions about the UST Fund or the cleanup process, contact Nancy Valenta at 773-617-1046 or nvalenta{at}gabenv.com.

July 6th, 2016

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Spotlight: HREC

One of the major changes to the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment ASTM standard (E1527-13) is the enhanced definition of a REC (Recognized Environmental Condition).  ASTM added the term CREC (Controlled REC), in addition to the previously defined REC and HREC (Historical REC).

An HREC property is one that was previously deemed to have potential or actual contamination, but has since undergone remediation that meets current standards of cleanup.  An HREC site is not subject to any land use restrictions.

Case Study

Gabriel was conducting a Phase I in Chicago of a former machine IEPA-logoshop. The site was identified on the regulatory database search as an SRP (Site Remediation Program) site.  SRP is a voluntary cleanup program run by the Illinois EPA.  The IEPA is authorized to issue No Further Remediation (NFR) letters to the Remedial Applicants who have successfully demonstrated, through proper investigation and possible remedial action, that environmental conditions at their remediation site do not present a significant risk to human health or the environment.

This site received an NFR letter with no use restrictions or engineered barriers required.  Since the site clean-up, the property has been unoccupied and no longer has any hazardous substances on the premises.  Therefore, the previous contamination caused by past operations of the occupant represent an HREC for the site.

If you have questions about how Gabriel determines if an environmental condition is an HREC, contact Natalie Neuman, Group Leader Assessment Services, at 773-486-2123 or nneuman{at}gabenv.com.

June 29th, 2016

Gabriel will be closed July 4, 2016

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In observance of Independence Day, Gabriel will be closed on Monday, July 4th, 2016.

June 15th, 2016

MWRD launches phosphorus recovery system

MWRD’s Stickney Water Reclamation Plant officially launched its phosphorus and nitrogen recovery system in late May.  These excess nutrients can cause algae to grow and bloom in waterways, leading to ‘dead zones’ where aquatic life cannot survive.  Chicago’s rivers lead to the Mississippi River and contribute to this hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico.

MWRD’s new phosphorus reclamation system will serve a dual purpose: removing harmful nutrients from the Mississippi River waterways and creating fertilizer that can be used on farms.

“What we have is the world’s largest nutrient recovery facility,” said Phillip Abrary, the co-founder, president and chief executive of Ostara, which installed this treatment system at MWRD’s facility. “What it does is essentially recovers the phosphorous and the nitrogen in the wastewater at the Stickney plant and coverts that into a high-grade, slow-release fertilizer that can be used for all sorts of agricultural applications.”

MWRD’s Stickney WRP is the largest water reclamation plant in the world, treating up to 1.44 billion gallons of water each day.  More stringent state and federal regulations compelled MWRD to invest in this new treatment system to remove nutrients prior to discharging into the Chicago River.

In the video below from WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight”, Ostara’s Chief Technology Officer explains how the phosphorus recovery system works at the MWRD Stickney plant:

More information about this nutrient reclamation program can be found on WTTW’s website and on Water World’s website.