June 18th, 2015

Takota was a sad dog. A former race dog, the greyhound now lived in a small yard, and his owner, Les Tibbals, couldn’t find a fenced-in area big enough for him to really run. Then Helen Hodges, president and CEO of SSCI, offered use of the fence-lined land around a one-acre detention pond that the company maintains in Webster, Texas. In exchange, Les is cleaning up trash on the site and has offered to mow. Now the detention pond isn’t just protecting against flooding and downstream erosion. It’s become a new track for Takota to race around. After getting used Read More »

May 28th, 2015

If your company maintains a total aboveground oil storage capacity of greater than 1,320 gallons, or a total underground oil storage capacity of greater than 42,000 gallons located where there is a “reasonable potential” for a discharge to reach navigable waters, your company is subject to Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasure (SPCC) regulations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires SPCC plans in an attempt to prevent oil from entering navigable waters and adjourning shorelines, which can have a costly impact on the environment and your financial bottom line. Of note: Aboveground storage containers with a capacity of 55-gallons or Read More »

May 11th, 2015

The federal government requires all companies that have hazards in the workplace – and who doesn’t? – have a proper Health & Safety Plan (HASP). Every company that has more than 10 employees is required to have at minimum a written Emergency Action Plan and Fire Prevention Plan. For more hazardous activities, OSHA requires companies to have their own individual hazard plan. For example, if employees are working more than six feet above the ground for any reason or any duration, your company must have Fall Protection. HASPs set a standard for employees to follow and work by and allow Read More »

March 31st, 2015

Since the passage of the Superfund Cleanup Acceleration Act of 1998, anyone interested in selling, buying or financing a commercial property is encouraged or required to have an environmental site assessment (ESA) performed to uncover evidence of environmental site contamination. To obtain Innocent Landowner status, the buyer must assure that the Phase I ESA meets the specific requirements  of ASTM E1527-13: Standard Practice for Environmental Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process. If there’s indication of contamination, a Phase II environmental investigation is used to determine the presence, or absence of, petroleum products or hazardous waste in the subsurface of Read More »

February 26th, 2015

Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers jointly proposed expanding the interpretation of “isolated wetlands.” The proposed rule is designed to clarify issues raised in Supreme Court decisions that created uncertainty over the definition of jurisdictional waters under the Clear Water Act (CWA). The proposed changes would expand the range of waters that fall under federal jurisdiction. If the broadening of the definition happens, developers will see increased regulation of properties with isolated wetlands. Some previously “exempt” properties will require permits and more acres of mitigation might be required for full development. Read More »

October 6th, 2014

On June 30, 1989, SSCI specialized in closing nonhazardous oilfield waste pits in Louisiana, a business model that took advantage of a government mandate that those pits be dealt with. The next day, Helen Hodges took over and expanded our services to include consulting and a range of environmental remediation activities. That kicked off a thriving 25 years for SSCI. Helen, who’d run small businesses enterprises since she was in grade school, brought both technical and business expertise. She had earned her bachelor’s degree in physical sciences from San Jose University, a master’s degree in chemistry from the University of Idaho and Read More »