Monthly Archives: March 2015

March 26th, 2015

When to conduct vapor sampling

When working to get a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter through the Illinois EPA’s Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) program, an investigation of three pathways of concern must be conducted: soil, groundwater, and vapor.  IEPA has required soil and groundwater evaluations for over 20 years, but they only recently started requiring vapor intrusion assessments.

Because vapor assessments are not required for all LUST Incidents, IEPA has published a flowchart to help determine when soil gas sampling is necessary:


Gabriel’s Project Managers work with the Illinois EPA’s LUST division to determine the appropriate sampling for each specific site, including if this indoor inhalation exposure route must be investigated.

The Site Remediation Program (SRP) also requires the investigation of vapor in certain circumstances, but because the contaminants of concern vary greatly within the SRP program, they don’t have a similar flowchart established.  Each site is addressed on a case-by-case basis.

If you have any questions about vapor assessments or a specific site, contact John Polich at 773-486-2123 or jpolich[at]gabenv.com.

March 24th, 2015

DIGGER and JULIE Featured at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show

Chicago Flower and Garden Show 2015

DIGGER, JULIE, and various natural gas companies teamed up to sponsor an exhibit at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show this year to highlight the importance of calling either DIGGER (in Chicago) or JULIE (in the suburbs) before starting any subsurface work.

Gardeners need to get their utilities marked prior to digging for new trees, plants, or other large landscaping elements.  Gabriel needs to get utilities marked before performing soil borings or removing underground storage tanks (USTs) and/or contaminated soil.

Chicago Flower and Garden Show 2015 - Julie sign - web

Chicago Flower and Garden Show 2015 - Digger sign - web

Chicago Flower and Garden Show 2015 - underground pipes - web

Chicago Flower and Garden Show 2015 - underground pipes2 - web

Chicago Flower and Garden Show 2015 - program - web

Gabriel highlighted the importance of calling JULIE/DIGGER in an earlier blog post: “Who is JULIE?  And why do you call her before you dig?

March 23rd, 2015

NPR highlights Chicago’s wastewater treatment system


As part of WBEZ’s “Curious City” program, Chicago’s NPR station recently featured a segment entitled “Where Does Your Poop Go? A functional journey through the Chicago-area sewer system.

This audio story is now available online and has a companion interactive graphic about the waste treatment process.  This story focuses on residential waste, but industrial wastewater flows into the same sewer system and undergoes this treatment process by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD).

Near the end of the story –  and treatment process – these facilities produce ‘biosolids,’ a nutrient-rich organic material.

“Some biosolids that leave the treatment plant can be spread on some farmland.  These are called ‘Class B biosolids.’

If the biosolids are going to be spread in places where people could touch them – like a park or garden – they need to be processed even more.  These solids are called ‘Class A biosolids.'”

biosolids graphic

Gabriel receives some of these Class A biosolids from MWRD for use in our award-winning garden.  We’re looking forward to the approaching Springtime weather to get our flowers blooming again with the help of this organic material.

If you want to learn more about this wastewater treatment process, WBEZ is hosting a Curious City Live podcast taping at Lincoln Hall tonight, Monday, March 23rd at 7:00 pm.  This “Fecal Matters” show will be kid-friendly and features both what happens to poop at the Lincoln Park Zoo and when you flush at home.

March 19th, 2015

‘Difficult to Manage Waste Streams’ Conference

air and waste management association logo

Join Gabriel at the the Air & Waste Management Association – Lake Michigan State Section (A&WMA-LMSS) for their annual waste conference – “Difficult to Manage Waste Streams.”

During this conference, you will learn the latest information concerning waste management issues, including regulatory updates from Region 5 States.

This conference is designed for everyone in the waste industry with a special emphasis on regulatory matters and how to implement innovative solutions and proven methodologies for working with waste.  Prominent leaders from government, industry, law and consulting will provide attendees with information and insights on a wide range of topics.  Attendees will also have the opportunity to network and meet with other professionals who share similar interests.

Gabriel’s Special Projects Manager Judy Freeman will be speaking on ‘Food Waste – Problems, Approaches, & Technologies’.


Thursday, April 30th, 2015

8:00 am – 5:00 pm

Hyatt Lounge at McDonald’s Campus

2815 Jorie Blvd, Oak Brook, IL 60523


For more information, visit the lmawma.org or download the conference brochure (Waste2015).

March 11th, 2015

2014 was a Record Breaking Year for Solar Installations

seia - 20 GM solar capacity - march 2015

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), the U.S. solar market saw a 30% increase in new solar photovoltaic (PV) installations last year, from 4,776 megawatts (MW) in 2013 to 6,201 MWs in 2014.

“Without question, the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) has helped to fuel our industry’s remarkable growth. Today the U.S. solar industry has more employees than tech giants Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter combined,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO.  “Since the ITC was passed in 2006, more than 150,000 solar jobs have been created in America, and $66 billion has been invested in solar installations nationwide.  We now have 20 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar capacity – enough to power 4 million U.S. homes – and we’re helping to reduce harmful carbon emissions by 20 million metric tons a year.  By any measurement, the ITC has been a huge success for both our economy and environment.”

For more details from SEIA’s U.S. Solar Market Insight 2014 Year In Review report, visit SEIA’s website at seia.org/research-resources/us-solar-market-insight.


March 4th, 2015

Going back in history with the Pullman District

In celebration of Chicago’s historic Pullman District being designated a national monument, the Chicago Tribune has published historical photos and maps of the area.  One of their interesting maps is an interactive “now” and “then” comparison using a fire insurance map from 1901 and a current aerial photograph.


sanborn map - pullman district

Click on the map to link to the interactive version on the Chicago Tribune website


This interactive map is a great example of how Gabriel uses historic fire insurance maps as part of our Phase I Environmental Site Assessment research.  We compare the fire insurance maps for the area where our subject property is located with today’s maps, looking for any past uses of a property that may indicate hazardous substances were used previously and therefore may still be present in the soil or groundwater, or may be associated with a vapor migration or intrusion issue today.

For more information on fire insurance maps, read our earlier blog post “History of Fire Insurance Maps.”

Thanks to Dianne Crocker at EDR for the link to this map.