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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TCEQ Updates To The Texas Risk Reduction Program (TRRP)

We just received the following from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

We are pleased to announce the TCEQ updates to the Texas Risk Reduction Program (TRRP) Tier 1 Protective Concentration Levels (PCLs) are now available.

You can access these tables using the link:

We are releasing the 2015 PCL table update as a single Microsoft Excel workbook with each table on a separate worksheet. We are also releasing the updates as a print only Adobe Acrobat portable document format (PDF) file. The Excel file and the PDF file each contain PCL tables 1 through 10 and the supporting tables in the following order:

• Summary of Updates
• Table 1 – Tier 1 Residential Soil PCLs
• Table 2 – Tier 1 Commercial/Industrial Soil PCLs
• Table 3 – Tier 1 Groundwater PCLs, Residential and Commercial/Industrial
• Table 4 – Tier 1 Residential Total Soil Combined PCLs
• Table 5 – Tier 1 Commercial/Industrial Total Soil Combined PCLs
• Table 6 – Tier 1 Individual Residential Soil PCLs
• Table 7 – Tier 1 Individual Commercial/Industrial Soil PCLs
• Table 8 – Tier 1 Individual Residential and Commercial/Industrial Groundwater PCLs
• Table 9 – Individual Risk-Based Exposure Limits (RBELs), Residential
• Table 10 – Individual Risk-Based Exposure Limits (RBELs), Commercial/Industrial
• Toxicity Factors
• Chemical/Physical Properties
• Organic Carbon-Water Partition Coefficient (Koc) Values for Ionizing Organic COCs as a Function of pH
• Gastrointestinal and Dermal Absorption Fractions (ABSGI and ABD.d Values)
• 2011 List of Updates

The PCL tables updated in November 2014 were the most recent tables prior to this release. A guide to the correct interpretation and use of the Tier 1 PCL tables can be accessed at the following link:

SSCI Supports Armand Bayou Nature Center (ABNC)

One of SSCI’s favorite charities has some fun yet educational activities for the holiday school break in the Clear Lake area.  Check out their winter schedule of events here:  ABNC Calendar

ABNC was founded based on the conviction that an educated, involved community is vital to the preservation of our natural environment.  ABNC has two missions:  provide environmental education to the public and act as the steward of the 2,500 undeveloped acres under its care.  ABNC receives no regular government funding and relies on foundation support, contributions from business and industry, dues, special project funding and the goodwill of the public for financing.  We hope you will visit Armand Bayou Nature Center to learn more.


Chrystal Fretwell Joins SSCI Houston

Environmental Scientist Chrystal Fretwell has officially joined the SSCI Houston team this December. CF Ms. Fretwell began her internship at SSCI in May of 2015 during her final year at the University of Houston-Clear Lake and continued to contribute as an Environmental Technician after the completion of her internship.  During her time at SSCI, she has become proficient in Phase I Environmental Site Assessments (ESAs), Records Search with Risk Assessments (RSRAs) and natural resources and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance projects.  Ms. Fretwell has served as a key team member in various locally and federally funded projects.  She has assisted in the performance of Affected Property Assessment Reports (APAR) under the Texas Risk Reduction Program (TRRP), and other groundwater sampling and remediation projects.  Her sampling experience includes ground water, asbestos, and lead-based paint, as well as, soils related to spill clean-ups, remediation and petroleum storage tank properties.

When Ms. Fretwell is not working hard at the office, she is competing in barrel races all around Texas and Louisiana!  Ms. Fretwell has been competing in barrel racing since she was 10 years old, and after her long days at the office she enjoys spending time taking care of her horses.

Congratulations Chrystal Fretwell on receiving your Bachelors of Science degree in Environmental Science of Biology!

Throwback Thursday to SSCI’s Teamwork Builds Results

“A strong team that is focused on quality work and innovative but proven methods can build partnerships that produce results on time and within budget.  Separation Systems Consultants, Inc. (SSCI), professionals in environmental management and field remediation, is just that kind of team.  And we’d like to be part of your team for success.”

These words were written a few decades ago but are still just as true today.  To read more:  SSCI – Teamwork Builds Results (printable version)



Detention & Retention Pond Inspections


The greyhound Takota is a former race dog who needed space to run! Takota is shown here running laps in a three-acre detention pond in Webster maintained by SSCI.

Read more about Takota in SSCI’s blog: A doggone good deed,

Separation Systems Consultants Inc. (SSCI) would like to remind you that the time is fast approaching to have your annual Detention/Retention Pond Inspection renewed to comply with your City’s Stormwater Enforcement Policy.

Retention Pond image

SSCI has worked with many Detention and Retention Pond owners in the City of Webster, the City of Clear Lake, and other municipalities on understanding and following the respective Stormwater Enforcement Policy. Our services include a pre-inspection, clean-up/problem consultation (if desired), a final inspection and a Professional Engineer’s seal, if applicable. This process allows you to become familiar with the components of detention pond “upkeep” that are required by the applicable city’s guidlines and policies.

Our Detention and Retention Pond services are detailed on our website at:

Call or e-mail us for more information.

Utilizing TCPN Contracts

Advantages of Utilizing a Contract with The Cooperative Purchasing Network (TCPN):

  • Do you ever use Buy Boards or Cooperative Purchasing Networks for your Products and Services?
  • Do you know you have the option of using SSCI’s TCPN Contract?
    • It is free of charges to you.  No fees.  No dues. 
  • Why you might choose the TCPN option?
    • State & Federal Laws “Strongly Encourages” participation in Purchasing Networks & Buy Boards.
    • TCPN is mandated to follow all State Procurement Laws & Regulations.  Audited by State Controller’s Office twice/year.
    • Saves time & money (“Soft Costs”) in the Procurement Process.  Eliminated bidding process, associated expenses, and delays.  Shortens delivery time.
    • A TCPN Contracts means you communicate & deal directly with the Vendor.
    • TCPN handles all the paperwork and assures full compliance by the Vendor under the Contract.
    • TCPN eliminates duplication of efforts, particularly in Purchasing, Risk Mgmt, and Project Mgmt Depts. Helps entities operate efficiently & economically.
    • TCPN is ISO 9001/2000 Certified Procurement Process for Goods & Services. 
  • Why Choose SSCI?
    • Quality of Service – SSCI has been screened & registered by TCPN and the State(s) as a certified licensed Vendor. 
    • Level of Service – No low bids from unscrupulous “fly-by-night” vendors.  You know exactly what you will be receiving.
    • No change orders accepted without a modification to the existing Contract.
    • SSCI is a State Certified WMBE, HUB, and DBE.
    • You are awarded a Best-Value Contract based on quality, performance, satisfaction and pricing.
  • SSCI is a Registered & Certified TCPN Provider
    • SSCI has been registered and certified as a Quality Services Vendor/Provider continuously since 2002.  We have been in business for over 25 years.
    • TCPN Vendor Contract #: R5068.  We are Registered and Certified in 37 States across the Country.
    • SSCI prices are “leveraged”.  Pricing has been reduced for large quantity discounts.  You receive the same prices as the largest Buyers.  SSCI prices are guaranteed annually.
    • SSCI is a Licensed Engineering Firm in Texas and Louisiana. We are a Registered and Licensed Environmental Consulting, General Contracting, Construction, Fueling System, and Environmental Contracting firm. 
    • SSCI is a TCEQ Licensed Contractor for UST and Corrective Action Services.

30TH ANNIVER SEAL-2016SSCI – Why Use TCPN (printable version)


League City Historical Society Living History Dinner

In September 2015, SSCI team members attended the League City Historical Society Living History Dinner at the Walding Station in League City, Texas.  The League City Historical Society’s annual fundraiser offers the opportunity to spend an evening with a famous “figure in history”.  This year the nationally known Larry Marple from Ohio provided an informative and entertaining portrayal of the Colonel Theodore Roosevelt.  Mr. Marple played the role of Col. Roosevelt riding along with his Rough Riders as they headed to Cuba to fight for Cuban Independence.

20150912_220431 (1)SSCI’s President, Helen I. Hodges, serves on the Board of Directors for the League City Historical Society (LCHS) as well as most of SSCI’s employees serve as members of LCHS.  SSCI’s LCHS members attended the Living History Dinner and were greatly amazed by the event.  The venue was full of fascinating antiques from a huge antique fire truck to old time barber chairs.  A Silent Auction was held during the event auctioning off a wide selection of items provided by many contributors ranging from baked goods to paintings.  SSCI attendees were intrigued to learn about Col. Roosevelt’s life journey. During the audience interaction, Mr. Marple’s knowledge as Col. Roosevelt was dramatically put to the test.

Mrs. Theresa Abell with SSCI said, “The man definitely knew his stuff! Intense questioning from the audience livened up the details as well as his thoughts behind decisions he’d made as our President.  I was thrilled to realize that we share the same birthday, October 27th. Definitely an event I would recommend to all and a big ‘thank you’ to LCHS for providing us this unique experience of history! I’d give it a ***** (5 stars).”

Overall, SSCI gave the performance two thumbs up and anxiously awaits The League City Historical Society’s next event “Ghosts of the Past” Genealogy in a Cemetery.  The event will be held Saturday, October 31, 2015 come rain or shine to deliver fun and enlightening tales of the genealogy of the Pioneer Family of Gordy. Surnames include Gordy, Derrick, McFaddin, Rakestraw and Frost.  The tour includes West Bay Common School Children’s Museum, 210 N. Kansas Street, and continues with a short drive to Fairview Cemetery.

For more information and tour times for this event, please call the Museum at 281-554-2994 or chairperson, Deborah Gammon at 281-334-4950.


From left to right: Theresa Abell with SSCI, Jo Drake Keim with SSCI, Helen I. Hodges with SSCI, Larry Marple as Theodore Roosevelt, Dan Tibbals with SSCI, and Timm Mull with Hodges Ranches.

Throwback Thursday to SSCI’s July Barbecue

ranch and horses

The Hodges’ Ranch

Throwback Thursday to SSCI’s barbecue where the SSCI Houston office celebrated Mr. Dan Tibbals’ recent achievement of passing the Professional Geoscientist exam and begun the planning of SSCI’s 30th birthday celebration.  SSCI employees and their families were invited to enjoy the beautiful summer day at the Hodges’ Ranch in Santa Fe, Texas on July 12, 2015.

 “It was a great opportunity to meet each other’s spouses and children -those people we know so well from conversations with co-workers, but not in person,” said Ms. Jo Keim.

Children petting the horses at the SSCI barbecue.

Activities at the ranch included feeding and grooming horses, rounding up the cows, an overview of the ranch operations, horseback riding, feasting on various delicious food dishes, and swimming in the Hodges’ pool.  The afternoon highlight was brought by a demo of a remotely controlled quadcopter with a camera which performed fun aerial stunts while providing visual aerial views of distant ranch pastures.

At the end of the day, SSCI’s employees agreed that the gathering was a great way to get together and socialize, and that more 30th year anniversary planning sessions are in order!

Don’t let mold make a move on your building

Like the rest of us, mold loves Houston. The warm, humid climate makes our city as natural a home for molds as it is for the energy industry.

At normal levels, mold is harmless. There are lots of types of molds that grow outdoors as well as indoors like inside your home and office building. The problem comes when moisture problems inside those structures cause mold to grow beyond normal levels.

“Normal levels” is a subjective term – even the government has yet to place regulations on what constitutes as natural levels or unhealthy levels.

If mold levels grow beyond minimum levels, the indoor air may become laden with mold spores at concentrations that are hundreds to thousands of times greater than outside. Contact with those high levels of mold spores, especially particular types such as Stachybotrys, can cause infection, allergies or toxic responses. Those little fungi can even cause structural damage to buildings.

Indoor mold infestation

Indoor Mold Infestation on Walls

How to prevent mold from growing

But no worries, there’s good news! You can proactively prevent mold from appearing – never mind becoming a problem. Here’s how:

  • Take a look around. Routinely inspect your property for mold. Where there is moisture, there could be mold. Be sure to give a deep inspection to the following areas:
    • Restrooms
    • Kitchens
    • Garages
    • Window seals
    • Water fountains
    • Ice machines
    • Around plumbing or water heaters
Mold Growth Around Piping

Mold Growth Around Piping

  • If you find mold, kill it. Small, moldy areas can be cleaned with bleach and water. Larger areas may require professional mold remediation.
  • Reduce the moisture.
    • Keep humidity levels below 60%, preferably 30-50%, by using an air conditioner or dehumidifier.
    • Do not carpet “moisture prone” rooms such as bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchens.
    • Fix leaks immediately in plumbing, roofs, windows and other similar areas.
    • Install ventilation fans in restrooms/bathrooms.
    • Vent dryers to the outside of the building.
    • Take care of any water damage within 48 hours. The quicker water-damaged materials are dried out, the less severe the property damage. Remember, even small spills can foster mold growth.
    • Keep your foundation as dry as possible by sloping drainage away from the foundation.
  • Have heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems routinely inspected and maintained. Change the filters monthly. Consider using a high-efficiency filter and have the system professionally inspected annually. Ensure the inspection includes the air ducts, vents, drip pan, condenser, etc.
  • Mold inhibitors. Use cleaning products and paints that contain mold inhibitors.
  • Clean. Dust furniture, vacuum floors and clean kitchens and bathrooms weekly.

If you utilize these tips, you can out maneuver mold!

Need help?

Large mold-removal jobs might require a contractor to take care of the problem. That’s where SSCI comes in. Or we can help you create and implement strategies to prevent mold from forming or growing. Just give us a call, 1-800-324-7724.

Report: 2014 the hottest year on record

It’s getting hot in here.

On July 16, the American Meteorological Society released the 25th annual State of the Climate report . That report says 2014 was the Earth’s warmest year on record based on four independent global datasets. And Climate Central reports that 2015 is even hotter.

According to the AMS report, new records were set by rising levels of land and ocean temperatures, rising sea levels and increasing accumulations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. As the El Niño–Southern Oscillation warmed up near the end of the year, so did several regional climates. That effect is expected to continue throughout 2015, Climate Central says.

The State of the Climate report was compiled by NOAA’s Center for Weather and Climate at the National Centers for Environmental Information and was based on contributions from 413 scientists from 58 countries.


The report’s climate indicators show patterns, changes and trends of the global climate system. These include various types of greenhouse gases, temperatures throughout the atmosphere, ocean and land, cloud cover, sea level, ocean salinity, sea ice extent and snow cover.

Other highlights from the report:

  • Atmospheric CO2 concentrations increased by 1.9 ppm in 2014, reaching a global average of 397.2 ppm for the year. This compares with a global average of 354.0 in 1990.
  • Europe experienced its warmest year on record, with more than 20 countries exceeding their previous records. Africa had above-average temperatures across most of the continent, Australia saw its third warmest year on record, Mexico had its warmest year on record, and Argentina and Uruguay each had their second warmest year on record. Eastern North America was the only major region to experience below-average annual temperatures.
  • Global sea level was keeping pace with the 3.2 ± 0.4 mm per year trend observed over the past two decades.
  • The 91 tropical cyclones in 2014 was well above the 1981-2010 average of 82 storms. The 22 named storms in the eastern/central Pacific were the most to occur in the basin since 1991.