Environmental services

SSCI Job Timeline: Culvert Construction

SSCI provided maintenance activities to a damaged culvert owned by an HOA located in Dickinson, Texas (Site) where existing articulated concrete blocks (ACBs) were uplifted and separated during a Hurricane Harvey.  This caused the subgrade to be eroded and a large hole to form at the base of the culvert. SSCI was able to mobilize quickly and efficiently to solve the problem.  The work involved designing a new, more effective culvert layout that would significantly reduce erosion during large rain events.

The following construction services were also completed during the remediation:

  • Pumping of standing water in the washout area;
  • Replacement of soil and re-grading of subgrade slope;
  • Salvage and placement of ACBs onto subgrade;
  • Placement of inlet and piping;
  • Paving of high-flow areas in the culvert to reduce erosion.

A final post-repair visit to the Site was conducted to ensure the satisfaction of the HOA and replace ACBs in an aesthetically pleasing pattern. The HOA continues to work with SSCI on other detention pond, erosion, and maintenance activities.  SSCI finished the work ahead of schedule even after being impacted by weather-related delays.

League City Historical Society Dinner-2018

SSCI was in attendance at the annual League City Historical Living History Society’s Dinner;  this year’s theme was “The Great War” (World War I). The Society is a non-profit organization that promotes and preserves the history of League City, Texas. It’s annual Living History Dinner is a fundraiser SSCI has supported for over a decade; proceeds benefit historical society projects like the “One-Room School House” and the West Bay Area Common School Children’s Museum. This year, the Silent Auction featured fine art by local artists, basket prizes and vintage architecture items; I won a special pet gift basket that included grooming services, shampoo and pet treats.
It was a sight to behold at Butler’s Courtyard as Historical Society members dressed in period costume, and the historical guest speaker Jeffery Hunt spoke as a soldier of the 36th Infantry Division (Texas National Guard). Mr. Hunt reminded us of the values created in the past, and what Americans have overcome as a state and as a country to get where we are today. The guest speaker closed thoughtfully from a WWI soldier’s point of view by asking the audience to remember what a great tragedy The Great War was, and his hopes that the devastation caused in its wake would not be repeated in the future. The audience was left to reflect on the fact that World War II would begin just 21 years later. For more information please visit the LCHS website:http://leaguecityhistory.org/

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

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.

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.

SSCI: Hazardous Materials Manager for SH 288 Toll Lanes Expansion Project

SSCI began work on the State Highway (SH) 288 Toll Lanes Expansion Project in Harris County providing hazardous materials management and emergency response in July 2016. Since that time, SSCI has assisted in construction activities, hazardous material handling and disposal, and in managing environmental hazards associated with the project. Construction activities have taken place in the early morning hours before rush hour traffic and in the middle of the night.  We’ve been there to see it all.

The project consists of expanding three major interchanges within a 10.3-mile stretch from US Interstate 59 (US 59) to the Harris County line at Clear Creek. The completed project will provide direct accessibility to the Texas Medical Center and relieve traffic congestion on SH 288.  The construction of new toll lanes will connect Sam Houston Parkway (Beltway 8) and Interstate Highway (IH) 610, and includes the construction of new tolled lanes, direct connectors, an Electronic Toll Collection System, utility adjustments, and adjustments of existing lanes.  Construction began in October 206.

 

Visit Drive288 for information regarding the construction activities and lane closures.

 

 

Environmental concerns for the project were identified in the Environmental Assessment prepared for SH 288, US 59 to CR 60, Harris and Brazoria Counties, prepared by the US Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) in April 2013.   The project area is located with an highly urbanized community south of Houston.  The Environmental Assessment was a comprehensive review of the construction project and any impacts on the environment including but not limited to socioeconomic impacts, environmental justice, wildlife, vegetation, soils, threatened and endangered species, fish habitat, water quality, noise, air quality, floodplains, coastal zones, cultural resources, and hazardous materials.  Several hundred potentially impacted properties were identified in the immediate vicinity of the expansion project. Further investigation included soil and groundwater sampling to depths greater than 60 feet below ground surface in specific construction areas.  Ultimately, the FHWA determined that a significant impact to the human or natural environment would not be created by the proposed project.  

SSCI’s role in the project has been to provide construction oversight regarding potential hazardous materials identified during the performance of the Environmental Assessment. These hazards have included asbestos and chemical compounds in soil and groundwater.  Our team of professionals have developed a Soil Groundwater Management Plan working closely with the Drive 288 team and TxDOT.