Monthly Archive: April 2017

Earth Day, April 22, 2017

SSCI will be celebrating Earth Day tomorrow, April 22, 2017 at the Party for the Planet  at Armand Bayou Nature Center.  Earth Day is an annual event created to celebrate the planet’s environment and raise public awareness about the environment.  The day, marked on April 22, is observed worldwide with rallies, conferences, outdoor activities and service projects. The first Earth Day was in 1970.  For more information about the history of Earth Day, visit Live Science.

Party for the Planet is being hosted by Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC) Board of Trustees.  ABNC stands out as one of the largest urban wilderness preserves in the United States, providing the community with exceptional educational, recreational, and health benefits of nearby nature. ABNC is planning for the future to ensure ecosystem preservation and to educate our community about preservation and the benefits of nature.  The Party for the Planet is on Saturday evening, April 22nd includes honorary guest Senator Larry Taylor with live music by Andy and the Dreamsicles.  The evening will be topped off with a catered dinner, dancing, charitable auctions, and games.

Proposed Mold Assessors and Remediators Rules Published

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) has proposed new rules for Mold Assessors and Remediators. The proposed new rules are necessary to implement the transition of the Mold Assessors and Remediators program from the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) to TDLR.  Texas Senate Bill 202 proposed transferring Mold licensing from TDSHS to Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR) effective on November 1, 2017.

The proposed rules are published in the April 21, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 2057). The TDLR will accept comments on the proposal until May 22, 2017.  The proposed rules are available for review at TDLR Programs.

SSCI provides a variety of indoor air quality services include mold assessment and remediation.  Please read more about our services Don’t let mold make a move on your building.

 

Hidden Dangers of Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells

Oil spills consisting of crude oil or drilling “mud” are often found at oil and gas drilling sites.  Drilling fluids are captured during drilling in pits and held for later disposal. The frequency of spills and improper maintenance and disposal of drilling mud results in soil, surface water, and groundwater impacts.  Once the drilling field has been exhausted or abandoned due to economic reasons, the wells, drilling equipment, tanks, pits, gathering lines, and other equipment (as seen in the pictures above) are left behind for property owners to cleanup.

Because there are no requirements in most states for property owners to be notified about abandoned oil and gas wells on their properties, may owners and investors are surprised by contamination on their property from exploration activities.  SSCI often identifies oil and gas concerns during the performance of a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA).  The Phase I ESA process includes review of historical documentation including aerial photographs, topographic maps, tax records, deed restrictions, regulatory records, water well and oil and gas well records. Historical records are used to locate previous wells, waste pits, pipelines, and other equipment used during the drilling and development of petroleum resources.

The RRC map shows circular configuration at wells located at the Pierce Junction Salt Dome near State Highway 288 (SH 288) in south Houston (Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), RRC Public GIS Viewer). The concentric rings of wells that radiate from the salt dome are shown extending towards SH 288 and Beltway 8 (Sam Houston Parkway), just north of Pearland.  Pipelines are evident transecting the area, all of which are hazards to property developers and construction such as highway expansion and the installation of utilities.

 

Shown here is an aerial image of the Pierce Junction Salt Dome depicting the oil and gas activities in this area of south Houston in 1953 (Google Earth, 1953, Aerial Image).

 

 

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC), established in 1891, is the state’s oldest regulatory agency and through its Oil and Gas Division, regulates the exploration, production, and transportation of oil and natural gas.  Originally, the RRC was given jurisdiction over operations of railroads, terminals, wharves, and express companies. The RRC expanded it’s reach, taking over responsibility for regulating oil pipelines in 1917, oil and gas production in 1919, natural gas delivery systems in 1920, bus lines in 1927, and trucking in 1929.  Today, The RRC has jurisdiction over spills associated with the exploration, development, and production of oil and gas.   For more information, see Who Regulates Oil and Gas Activities in Texas?

With the history of oil and gas exploration dating back to the mid-1800s in Texas, it is no wonder that many developers are struggling with the hidden dangers of oil and natural gas exploration.  In 1901, Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas gushed and launched an oil boom with 4 million barrels of oil being produced that year.  Crude oil production in the US is anticipated to hit a record high of 9.53 million barrels per day in 2018.  While regulations exist today to prevent environmental impacts from drilling activities, spills and releases still occur.

SSCI has closed hundreds of waste pits and wells in marsh, swamp and upland areas in Texas and Louisiana.  SSCI’s team of professional geologists, environmental scientists, and engineers have worked on hundreds of oil and gas sites to obtain closure under remediation standards established by the RRC and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).  Remediation services in oilfields at SSCI include soil and groundwater investigation and site closures.  For more information, contact us at 800.324.7724 or at ssci@sscienvironmental.com.

Thank you for not feeding the ducks.

 

Many people enjoy feeding bits of bread to hungry ducks and geese as their children laugh, squeal, and giggle feeling as if they are part of nature.  However, Texas Parks and Wildlife warns that feeding migratory ducks at local ponds and creeks can create problems for the birds and the environment.  These problems include:

  • Malnutrition
  • Dependency
  • Disease
  • Environmental Degradation
  • Water Pollution

Artificial feeding also attracts birds to human habitats such as parking lots, fast-food restaurants, and retention ponds where they are subject to injury or accidental death.  Waterfowl are protected by natural cover in wildlife areas that provide protection from bad weather and predators such as wild and domesticated animals.  Waterfowl can become conditioned to and dependent on humans for food.  Human fed ducks and geese behave differently and are more aggressive, than these species in the wild. These birds will eventually lose their wariness of humans and won’t be able to survive without human interaction.

Families can still interact with waterfowl by viewing ducks and geese in their natural habitat.  We encourag you to learn more about waterfowl and their natural habits at places such as zoos and nature centers, which often offer feeding waterfowl.

Six things you should never feed ducks

  1. Bread
  2. Chips
  3. Crackers
  4. Cereal
  5. Sweets
  6. Moldy food
Six things you should feed ducks

  1. Corn
  2. Lettuce
  3. Peas
  4. Oats
  5. Rice
  6. Seeds

Below is a list of the top 5 birding sites in the Houston area.

  1. High Island
  2. Armand Bayou Nature Center
  3. Big Thicket National Preserve
  4. San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge
  5. Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge

 

 

 

 

A bad day of fishing is still better than a good day at the office! A great day of fishing is even better.

SSCI participated in a fishing trip courtesy of Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC) and Texas Legacy Outdoors. Captain Dwayne Green navigated the waters of Matagorda Harbor and Matagorda Bay resulting in a successful catch by Helen I. Hodges, President of SSCI.  Ms. Hodges with her catch, a Speckled Trout, is pictured with Captain Green on Matagorda Bay on March 18, 2017.

ABNC located in Clear Lake, Texas stands out as one of the largest urban wilderness preserves in the United States, providing the community with exceptional educational, recreational, and health benefits of nearby nature.  ABNC is planning for the future to ensure ecosystem preservation and to educate our community about preservation and the benefits of nature.  PARTY FOR THE PLANET, on Saturday evening, April 22nd, will include catered dinner, live music by Andy and the Dreamsicles, dancing, charitable auctions and games.  Senator Larry Taylor will be the honorary guest. For more information check back at sscienvironmental.com or visit http://www.abnc.org/.

 

 

Spring has arrived!

SSCI has a long tradition of mailing out seeds in the spring.  This year we are mailing Forget-Me-Not-Seeds (Blue – Myosotis sylvatica). Forget-Me-Not Flowers grow well in shady areas and require minimal care to flower.  Forge-Me-Not flowers grow best in damp, shady areas but adapt well to sun light.  These long-lived flowering plant product beautiful foliage year after year.  Plant in fall or spring when cooler temperatures help them get a healthy start.  Drop us a note at ssci@sscienvironmental.com if you would like to receive a package of seeds.