SSCI Environmental

Founded in 1986, SSCI specializes in enhancing the environment through its sound solutions approach. “Getting the job done is priority number one, not prolonging our participation,” says Helen I. Hodges, President and CEO.

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SSCI News

2018 SSCI Company Picnic

 

SSCI’s Annual Company Picnic was good, clean fun for our employees, their families, and friends. Every year the SSCI team gathers like family at Hodges’ Ranches for home-cooking and camaraderie. The occasion also gave the SSCI team a chance to get to know our newest team members on a more personal level. Office interactions become easier when employees find something in common with one another, and working relationships benefit by the acceptance of employees and their respective families It humanize those we see around the office and pays tribute to a more traditional form of social networking.The SSCI team and their respective families all came together in the relaxing environment, and the favorite activities among the kids included swimming and feeding horses.  Today, companies that organize family events are more likely to retain employees by investing in time spent with them outside of work to cultivate loyalty to the organization. In other words, the atmosphere creates a feeling of recognition and appreciation for employees and unites people with the company brand instead of chaining them to it. Like other contemporary businesses, SSCI  embraces this tradition, and the future remains bright.

SSCI in Support of Armand Bayou EcoCamp

Educating the public on the importance of conservation efforts is key, and what better place to start than with our community youth. As a parent, I learned that teaching kids starts at home, and environmental awareness is very important as Earth’s population continues to grow and spread. I chose to enlighten my two children at Armand Bayou Nature Center’s Summer EcoCamp. They loved it so much last year that they wanted to participate again this year.  Armand Bayou Nature center provides for children ages 4-13 programs that encourage observation, problem-solving and creativeness in the natural setting of the wetlands. ABNC EcoCamp gets kids outdoors to demonstrate how wetlands affect humans and animals by featuring hands-on activities like seining at the bayou, pond dipping, and scat identification, which is very entertaining to school-age groups. My kids enjoyed the seining most of all because they caught a snail and made it their group mascot for the day.

Wetlands along coastlands, like here in the Galveston area, are one of the most productive ecosystems on Earth because it provides a wide variety of food, nutrients, and shelter to a wide variety of indigenous plants and animals, as well as migratory birds, but public knowledge needs to be increased. Wetlands function as a giant water filter, extracting harmful pollutants from the water that flows through them.  When it rains, wetlands help prevent flooding of rivers by holding onto excess water like a sponge; during a drought, wetlands provide water to surrounding areas to keep the trees and animals alive. Wetlands are also “Biological Supermarkets” because they support so much animal and plant life that are unique to this ecosystem. Humans are impacted by wetland functions in many ways; for example, they recharge underwater aquifers, a large source of the potable water we use and drink daily.

Environmental programs, such as those at ANBC, provide a fun and educational foundation to act locally, and think globally. If you are interested in sending your child to EcoCamp or would like more information,

please visit their website:http://www.abnc.org/education/summer-ecocamp.html

SSCI Will be Celebrating Earth Day, April 21, 2018

SSCI will be celebrating Earth Day on, April 21, 2018 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 21st with live music by Andy and the Dreamsicles.  The evening will be topped off with a catered dinner, dancing, charitable auctions, and games.

New Emergency Preparedness Training Requirements for Hospitals

The implementation date for the new training requirements is November 15, 2017.  The new rule establishes national emergency preparedness requirements that include adequately planning for disasters that fall on a continuum between disruptive to disastrous.  The new regulations apply to healthcare providers, including hospitals, critical access hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, and long-term care facilities.  To find out more, please follow this link to Occupational Health and Safety magazine.  https://ohsonline.com/articles/2017/11/01/cms-emergency-preparedness-training.aspx

If you need assistance with assessing your training needs or if you are looking for a training provider, please contact SSCI at 800-324-7724 or visit our website at www.sscienvironmental.com or SSCI-HEALTH-SAFETY & TECHNICAL TRAINING_201509.

TIPS Consulting and Other Related Services Award

SSCI has been awarded a contract with The Interlocal Purchasing System (TIPS) care of Region 8 Educational Service Center.  SSCI’s contract extends through 2020!.  SSCI’s TIPS profile provides contract information and a listing of our services.  Our services include, but are not limited to, environmental site assessments; soil and groundwater investigations; asbestos/mold/lead surveys and abatement and management services; soil and groundwater remediation, risk-based assessment modeling and evaluation; engineering assistance and oversight; construction services; environmental compliance audits; hazardous and non-hazardous waste disposal; and natural resource assessments and investigations.

The Interlocal Purchasing System, better known as TIPS Purchasing Cooperative, began in 2002 as a small regional cooperative of the Region 8 Education Service Center (ESC).   Region 8 ESC is one of twenty Education Service Centers located strategically across the state of Texas.  The ESC’s serve primarily as intermediate education agencies bridging the gap between the Texas Education Agency and the more than 1,000 public school districts and charter schools located in the state.  TIPS is now a national operation. The Interlocal Purchasing System currently serves entities such as state and local governments and non-profit organizations, including but not limited to:

  •         K-12 school districts
  •         Charter Schools
  •         Private Schools/Daycare Centers
  •         Colleges and Universities (State and Private)
  •         Cities/Municipalities
  •         Counties/Parishes
  •         Churches
  •         Charitable Organizations
  •         State Agencies
  •         Emergency Services Districts
  •         Other entities with legislated purchasing/bidding requirements

Total Eclipse, August 21, 2017

On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a total eclipse will cross the entire country, coast-to-coast, for the first time since 1918.  Check out when you’ll be able to see the solar eclipse at NASA.  NASA is sharing information on safe eclipse viewing with community centers, and citizen science projects are developing.  If you can’t watch Monday’s total solar eclipse, don’t worry. Another one will be visible in the U.S. in 2024.

According to NASA, the following materials should never be used to view a solar eclipse:

  • sunglasses of any kind
  • color film
  • medical X-ray film
  • smoked glass
  • floppy disks

 

The only way to safely view the Sun – eclipsed or not – is to either project or filter the Sun’s rays.  The pinhole projector is a quick DIY project.

You Need:

  • a long cardboard box or tube
  • scissors
  • duct tape
  • aluminum foil
  • a pin or a thumbtack
  • a sharp knife or paper cutter
  • a sheet of white paper

What to Do:

  1. Cut a rectangular hole at the end of the box. You can tape 2 boxes together to make a long box. The longer the box, the larger the projected image.
  2. Using the scissors, cut out a piece of the aluminum foil slightly larger than the rectangular hole. Make sure the foil is completely flat and not crinkled.
  3. Tape the foil over the rectangular hole in the box.
  4. Use the pin to poke a tiny hole in the center of the foil.
  5. Tape the sheet of paper on the inside of the other end of the box.
  6. Stand with your back toward the Sun. Place the box over your head with the pinhole towards the Sun. Adjust your position until you see a small projection, a reversed image, of the eclipsed Sun on the paper inside the box.

Using a Tube?

If you are using a long tube or taping 2 tubes together, cut the end of the tubes and tape the foil with a pinhole on 1 end. On the other end, tape a piece of white paper over the end of the tube. This will act as the screen. Close to this end, cut a rectangular hole using the knife. This will be your viewing window.

With your back toward the Sun, point the end with the foil toward the Sun, angling the tube along the Sun’s rays. Look into the tube through the viewing window until you see a reversed image of the eclipsed Sun on the screen.

 

SSCI Awarded Contract with HGACBuy

SSCI has been awarded the Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery contract with HGACBuy.  HGACBuy has established contracts with firms to provide professional planning, consulting and interim recovery services in the areas of Homeland Security, Disaster Preparedness and Recovery, Emergency Response and All Hazards Planning, Continuity of Operations and Recovery Services, and FEMA programs. SSCI’s services under the contract include Environmental Assessments, Asbestos Containing Materials Services, Emergency Response, Construction and Remediation, Oilfield Services, Wetlands and Ecological Services, and Storm water Management.

HGACBuy is an award-winning, nationwide government-to-government procurement service operated by the Houston-Galveston Area Council. Beginning in 1975, HGACBuy assembled a team of experienced professionals, who, collectively, offer more than 150 years experience to members.  HGACBuy is active throughout the United States and provides nearly 6,000 members with 36 major categories of products and services from more than 800 highly qualified contractors. Entities eligible to participate in HGACBuy include:

• Municipalities, Cities, Counties and State Agencies
• Councils of Government
• Schools, School Districts, Colleges, Universities
• Hospitals, Hospital Districts
• Emergency Medical Services and Services Districts
• Volunteer Fire and Rural Fire Departments
• Prevention Districts
• Special Law Enforcement Jurisdictions
• Judicial Courts and Districts
• Emergency Communications Districts
• Utility Districts (MUDs, WCIDs, Irrigation)
• Authorities (Airport, Port, River, Water, Toll Road)
• Not-for-Profit Corporations [501(c)3] providing government functions and services

SSCI has a long standing relationship with many public sectors clients and is pleased to be part of the HGACBuy team of consultants who are ready for any emergency, or natural disaster. SSCI provides services under the Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery, which include:

• Emergency Operations and Response
• Contingency and Risk Assessment
• Hazard Identification
• Training and Consultants
• Emergency Preparedness/Safety Equipment

For more information regarding HGACBuy Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery please click and download HGACBuy Information.

 

 

City of Houston Experience and Certifications

SSCI Environmental has recently renewed our certification as a City of Houston Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE).  SSCI also holds the City of Houston Women Business Enterprise (WBE) and Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) certifications.  SSCI has worked successfully with the City of Houston on projects as a prime and as a subcontractor for many years.  These projects include Asbestos Surveys and Mold Assessments, Asbestos Air Monitoring/Abatement, Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), and Phase II ESAs. SSCI provided Professional Environmental Consulting Services, General Environmental Services, and Asbestos and Lead Program Services.  More information regarding these project is provided below.

SSCI has conducted multiple Asbestos Surveys and Mold Assessments. These projects involved analysis of bulk samples of suspect Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) using Polarized Light Microscopy (PLM) as well as analysis of air and surface samples to determine the presence of mold, and identify the type of mold present. All the information gathered from analyzing samples is presented in a technical report. SSCI is a Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS) certified Asbestos Management Planner Organization and all work is performed under an Individual Asbestos Management Planner.  Services have also included conducting Asbestos Air Monitoring/Abatement in accordance with Texas Asbestos Health Protection Rules (TAHPR). A TDSHS inspector was present and inspected the work place, monitored air conditions, collected air samples for phase-contrast microscopy (PCM) analysis, and provided clearance of the work place.

SSCI conducted Phase I ESAs in accordance with the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) Standard Designation E 1527-13 including All Appropriate Inquiry (AAI). The Phase I ESAs conducted by SSCI included detailed historic reviews of each site (aerials, topographic maps, city directories, fire insurance maps, chain-of-title, interviews), environmental setting reviews, thorough property inspections, and regulatory database reviews (federal, state, local, tribal) to identify recognized environmental conditions.  Services have also included performance of Phase II ESAs to determine whether historic operations in connection with a property had affected soil and shallow groundwater. All field activities were conducted in accordance with SSCI’s Health and Safety Program and under the supervision of a State of Texas licensed Professional Geoscientist. The Limited Phase II ESAs consisted of soil and groundwater sampling, analysis, and a detailed report presenting findings and recommendations in accordance with the Texas Risk Reduction Program.

We are pleased to continue our relationship with the City of Houston and look forward to many more years of service.

City of Houston Certification is also accepted by the following agencies:

  • METRO
  • Port of Houston Authority
  • Houston Independent School District
  • Houston Community College
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Houston Housing Authority
  • Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
  • Texas Department of Transportation
  • Airport Transportation Agencies Statewide

To learn more about DBE certification, visit the City of Houston Office of Business Opportunity.

Hazards of Invasive Zebra Mussels

Zebra Mussels have been positively identified for the first time at Lake Travis in Central Texas.  Zebra Mussels are an invasive species originating from eastern Europe and western Russia. A single adult female zebra mussel can produce up to one million larvae each year that cannot be seen by the naked eye, causing infestation to occur before a sighting. Zebra mussels attach to any hard surface in the water including submerged infrastructure, piping, watercraft, and even native mussels. Currently, there is no known way to eliminate zebra mussels from entire lakes without harming native species and colonies, and are expensive to remove from surfaces. With infestation occurring rapidly due to the swift reproduction rate, zebra mussels require large amounts of plankton to survive, depriving other species of food.

First discovered in Texas in 2009, zebra mussels have now infested 11 lakes including Belton, Bridgeport, Canyon, Dean Gilbert, Eagle Mountain, Lewisville, Randell, Ray Roberts, Stillhouse Hollow, Texoma, and, as of June 22, Lake Travis in Austin, Texas. Lake Travis is upstream to Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake making infestation to the downstream lakes inevitable.  Zebra mussels damage boats, plug water systems, and sink navigation buoys.  Millions of dollars are spent each year controlling, cleaning, and monitoring zebra mussels.  Zebra mussels have a high rate of filtration which leads to an increase in water clarity and decreases beneficial phytoplankton like diatoms and green algae.  Water temperatures increase and the depth at which light penetrates the water increases negatively impacting organisms at deeper water depths.  Zebra mussels also feed on zooplankton and will smother an existing colony of native mussels.

It is important to take safety precautions to prevent spread of the invasive species to other lakes. Boaters are required by law to drain all water from their boats when leaving or approaching public water. This includes sailboats, kayaks, canoes, etc. It is important to inspect the watercraft after use and remove any attached vegetation, mud, or unknown objects. All compartments of the boat must be dried, including the exterior, for at least a week. If it is not possible to leave the boat outside of water for a week, the boat should be washed using high pressure soapy water. Transporting zebra mussels, knowingly or unknowingly, is illegal and first-time offenders can be fined up to $500.  For more information about the invasive species in Texas, visit texasinvasive.org.