Environmental Remediation Estimating and Cost-Effective Remedial Solutions

Quantifying environmental liabilities, both in cost and timeline, is paramount to making informed business decisions. Whether the aim is to negotiate purchase price for a targeted acquisition or to understand and appropriately budget for continuing obligations related to a release to the environment, an accurate investigative and remedial estimate is crucial. A verbal estimate or “back of the napkin” approach can result in a high margin of error. The negative effect is often unanticipated spend and longer timeframes to achieve closure goals, which may also have business disruption consequences.

John Yang, Senior Vice President, Site Investigation & Remediation
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Mitigate environmental liabilities

RPS specializes in cost-effective, practical solutions for mitigating environmental liabilities designed to be aligned with our clients’ business goals.

In connection with environmental due diligence reviews, RPS’ business-oriented professionals help investors, owners, and other stakeholders understand environmental liabilities as a whole. We evaluate costs associated with corrective actions to address known or potential contamination issues, as well as resolve regulatory compliance deficiencies.

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Site clean-up evaluation and analysis

Site clean-up evaluation includes a review of existing environmental reports to assess the nature and extent of future clean-up requirements. Current and historical information is used in conjunction with risk analytical models to develop separate low, moderate, and reasonable worst case cost estimates for each corresponding site closure scenario. RPS relies on realistic assumptions to provide a range of reasonable costs and a probability of occurrence for each scenario, resulting in a well-documented basis for an overall expected value. This methodology is consistent with the industry-standard ASTM E2137 assessment protocol for estimating monetary costs and liabilities.

RPS can prepare estimates for both capital investment and operating costs for a wide array of remediation scenarios, including a cash-flow analysis over an appropriate time period to help clients prioritize risks and expenditures. In addition, we can evaluate financial reserves for environmental matters, asset retirement obligations, and investor disclosure obligations, if appropriate.

Identifying environmental risks

Hazardous chemicals are ubiquitous in today’s urban and manufacturing environments. This, however, does not mean that costly remediation is required when contamination is encountered. For toxic risks to exist, the following exposure sequence must be present:

  • A toxic contaminant must be present
  • A sensitive receptor(s) must be present, and
  • A completed exposure pathway must exist that allows the substance to potentially impact the receptor(s) at a dose that may cause a health or aesthetic concern.
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Without the presence of all three of elements, environmental risks do not exist. With over 25+ years of experience in the environmental risk management business, RPS is commonly tasked to interrupt this exposure sequence to facilitate the closure and redevelopment/reuse of contaminated sites with little to no active remediation. Our seasoned professionals secure cost-effective risk-based site closures within reasonable timeframes by eliminating or mitigating the potential exposure pathways to impacted media. In many cases, we make use of existing or proposed site structures (such as paved parking surfaces, sidewalks, landscape islands and building slabs) as engineering controls to eliminate exposure pathways to contaminants. We have proven over and over that the use of these “barriers”, coupled with the creative use of institutional controls is an effective strategy to preserve asset value and secure a “No Further Action” designation with minimal additional capital investment. When active remediation cannot be avoided, our team has deep expertise and a nationwide network to assist with timely and efficient solutions.

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