Tales from the Trenches
Regional Land and Water News You Can Use
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April 2013                                   Issue 14  

Phase I ESA Standards Evolving  

ALWI has earned a reputation for providing rapid and cost-effective Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs). The scopes of our Phase I ESAs are governed by the EPA and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). The present ASTM Standard (No. E 1527-05) guides how we perform Phase I ESAs and directs that we follow standard protocols to identify "Recognized Environmental Conditions" (RECs).


RECs, as defined by ASTM, "...are not intended to include
de minimus conditions that generally do not present a material risk of harm to the public health or the environment. De minimus conditions may be considered those that generally would not be the subject of an enforcement action if brought to the attention of appropriate government agencies."

Some environmental firms regularly conclude the presence of RECs, possibly owing to an abundance of caution in protecting the firm from perceived liability for an omission.  A few environmental firms may use an REC finding as a vehicle to recommend and execute additional work (i.e., a Phase II ESA). ALWI prides itself on basing its interpretations on incontrovertible facts, strict adherence to ASTM definitions and placing the interests of our clients first.


The ASTM Standard for Phase I ESAs undergoes periodic changes to reflect evolving trends in both the technical and legal environmental risks associated with property ownership and use. An updated ASTM Standard is expected to be released later this year. ALWI remains abreast of these evolving changes to provide its clients current and compliant Phase I ESA services.

ALWI In the Global Community 

Well drilling

ALWI is proud to be supporting an initiative of the non-profit organization Engineers Without Borders, with a specific project located in Kenya. We are helping to plan the development and installation of a community supply well for a rural village presently lacking a safe and sanitary water supply. Our support includes well design and construction advice.  


On April 15, 2013, we presented guidelines to project volunteers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Mark W. Eisner, PG, spoke on matters of hydrogeology, well design, scoping and managing the driller's contract and field methods to help ensure a cost-controlled yet successful outcome in terms of both drought-level capacity and sanitation. We will be continuing to provide advisory support for the project as it advances to the implementation stage.  


The Kenyan initiative is not our first pro-bono project. In recent years we have aided MDE in drafting new groundwater allocation regulations for certain municipalities and we have supported the Home Builders Association of Maryland by providing expert legislative testimony in connection with certain proposed bills. We always are pleased to donate our time and expertise for worthy causes on a selective basis, as our availability and resources allow. 

A New Tax on Rain? Well, Not Exactly   

Living and working within the Chesapeake Bay watershed has its benefits as well as its costs.  The perks of the "Land of Pleasant Living" are not without strings attached, including bearing the cost of Bay cleanup and restoration efforts.

The 2012 MD legislature passed an act mandating the collection of stormwater fees from certain counties (generally located along and near the Baltimore-Washington Corridor). Recently these counties have passed local laws and ordinances mandating fee collections based on a combination of fixed-fee-per-property assessments for single family houses and a pro-rated per-square-foot-of-impervious-area assessment for other types of improved properties.

Critics and pundits have been crying foul, asserting that the fees are tantamount to a tax on rain. Little doubt exists than urban stormwater runoff is a major contributor of Chesapeake Bay pollution, and we at ALWI support the fees, provided that the proceeds are used for Bay protection and restoration programs.

In some circumstances and jurisdictions, the use of certain Best Management Practices (BMPs) in stormwater system design may reduce exposure to these new fees. 
We would be pleased to answer your questions regarding BMP applicability, stormwater fees and Bay issues in general. 
In This Issue
Phase I ESAs Evolving
Kenyan Water Well
A Tax on Rain?
MEDA Conference Panelist
Recent & Upcoming Presentations
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MEDA Conference

Maryland leads the nation in research and technology development, but economic growth in these sectors continues to depend on adequate water and sewer infrastructure.

The Maryland Economic Development Assn. (MEDA) is focusing its upcoming 2013 Conference on this and related agenda items. Mark W. Eisner, PG has been invited to present on water availability in Maryland. 

Mr. Eisner also will sit on a panel of water experts discussing the relationship of water to economic development in general and to specific current and future economic development projects, such as the cooling needs of computer equipment in high-technology facilities such as data centers.  
 Recent & Upcoming Events



Presentation on Well Planning & Design for Kenyan Water Supply Project; Engineers Without Borders, Univ. of Maryland, Baltimore County, Catonsville, MD, Apr. 15, 2013.


Service on Water Expert Panel & Presentation on Raw Water Availability, Maryland Economic Development Association Annual Conference; Cambridge, Maryland, April 29, 2013.


Public Workshop on Source Water Protection Recommendations For Barton, Frostburg, Lonaconing, McHenry, Midland & Mountain Lake Park; Garrett County, Maryland,    May 15, 2013. 


Presentation on Protecting Unconfined Aquifers from Effluent Contamination; National Environmental Health Association Annual Conference; Washington DC; July 9, 2013.


Presentation on Novel Theories of Source(s) of Nitrate Contamination Affecting a Rural Town & Its Supply Wells; National Environmental Health Association  Annual Conference; Washington DC,  July 10, 2013.

About Us -

Advanced Land and Water, Inc. is a hydrogeological and environmental consulting firm with extensive Mid-Atlantic regional experience in water supply and wastewater disposal. Our water supply experience extends to both groundwater and surface water and includes exploration, development, permitting, management and protection of both new and existing supplies. Our wastewater services include soil classification and suitability evaluations, percolation tests, spray and drip irrigation studies, infiltrometer tests, groundwater mounding calculations and nitrate loading assessments. We also provide a diversity of GIS mapping, environmental and other specialty consulting services.