Local Pinchin Wins Employer of the Year


Employer of the Year

Christian Tenaglia and Mary Garside

A proud moment for the Sault Ste. Marie Pinchin office. Pinchin Ltd. was the recipient of the 2017 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce on Saturday January 20th, 2018. The awards ceremony was held at the redeveloped St. Mary’s Paper Ltd. mill, now the Machine Shop event venue.

Pinchin received the Employer of the Year award, demonstrating it’s excellence in creating cultures and communities through every aspect of their business. Christian Tenaglia and Mary Garside received the award on behalf of Sault Ste. Marie Pinchin office.

Looking at the other nominees up there I feel extremely happy and proud to know that Pinchin won the award with other great companies up there to share the stage with. This award is truly dedicated to all the employees at Pinchin who love to come to work everyday and give it 110%. To know that we make a place that’s worthy to come to everyday and achieve their goals makes me so proud.” Christian Tenaglia – Director of Northeastern Ontario.

Twenty-three awards were given over the evening showcasing various local businesses in both volunteerism, community and business achievements.



Legionella Found in Gatineau QC

Here is a recent story about a case of Legionella bacteria being found at the federal building (Place du Portage) in Gatineau Quebec.

Legionnaires' disease bacteria found at federal office in Gatineau

Leigionella is a pathogenic bacteria that is known to cause Legionellosis (all illnesses caused by Legionella) including a pneumonia type illness called Legionnaires Disease and a mild flu like illness called Pontiac Fever.

Legionella acquired its name after an outbreak in 1976 of a then-unknown “mystery disease” sickening 221 persons, causing 34 deaths.  The outbreak was first noticed among people attending a convention of the America Legion —an association of US military veterans. The convention in question occurred in Philadelphia during the US Bicentennial year in July 21–24, 1976.  This epidemic among US war veterans, occurring in the same city as—and within days of the 200th anniversary of—the signing of the Declaration of Independence, was widely publicized and caused great concern in the United States.

Legionella bacteria can be found in cooling towers, swimming pools, domestic water systems and showers, ice making machines, refrigerated cabinets, whirlpool spas, hot springs, fountains, dental equipment, automobile windshield washer fluid and industrial coolant.

The largest and most common source of Legionnaires’ disease outbreaks are cooling towers (heat rejection equipment used in air conditioning and industrial cooling water systems) primarily because of the risk for widespread circulation.  Many governmental agencies, cooling tower manufacturers, and industrial trade organizations have developed design and maintenance guidelines for controlling the growth and proliferation of Legionella within cooling towers.

Recent research in the Journal of Infectious Diseases provides evidence that Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaires’ disease, can travel at least 6 km from its source by airborne spread. It was previously believed that transmission of the bacterium was restricted to much shorter distances. A team of French scientists reviewed the details of an epidemic of Legionnaires’ disease that took place in Pas-de-Calais, northern France, in 2003–2004. There were 86 confirmed cases during the outbreak, of which 18 resulted in death. The source of infection was identified as a cooling tower in a petrochemical plant, and an analysis of those affected in the outbreak revealed that some infected people lived as far as 6–7 km from the plant.

Best management practices to prevent the spread of Legionnaires’ disease is to test your cooling tower water for the presence of Leigonella bacteria.  A great resource for learning more about Leionella testing and general information is at Pinchin Ltd.  They have the necessary credentials and laboratory facilities to test for the bacteria, as well as the experience and consultants skilled at managing Legionella assessment and disinfection projects.  For more information about Legionella testing you can call Pinchin at 1-855-PINCHIN or visit their website at http://www.pinchin.com.

Midwest Geosciences Group – Check it out!


Rarely do you find a good website that can provide environmental practitioners and technologists with the tools and training you need to develop your skill set. Check out Midwest Geosciences Group (http://www.midwestgeo.com/index.php) they can provide a wide range of environmental training services for all levels of learning. This site reminds me of one of my favorites like Clu-In that has a great suite of webinars on hydrogeology and fate and transport for contaminant migration…Enjoy!

Contaminated Soil Remediation – Buried Drums in Guelph

B821707274Z.1_20140903183404_000_GBF1AJ78H.4_Content[1]Its great to see the City of Guelph cleaning up a contaminated site found last September. It looks like a standard soil excavation dig and dump. No mention of a consultant being involved however the article notes some pretty good due diligence during the remediation (geophysical survey, dust control plan, ground and surface water management plan, spill response and contingency, etc.). http://www.thefountainpen.com/s/showstory?id=13971

Phase One ESA Reliance – What is it good for?

Here’s a joke for you:

Q: Why did the banker do a Phase One Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) on the used mattress?

A: So they could “re-lie” on it!

If that isn’t the best environmental consulting joke you’ve ever heard I’d be surprised!  That joke works on so many levels (don’t feel bad if you didn’t get it) and is really meant to be an analogy for what this brief article is about…”the reliance and protection that the ESA process will provide you when doing your environmental due diligence”.

I’m not a lawyer so please don’t accept this information as legal advice but use it to be better informed when proceeding with your property transactions and speak to your council about your liabilities.

We all know that a Phase One ESA is important to get done.  If done correctly, it will identify for you the presence of any actual or potential contamination on a property.  More importantly, if there is any, the Phase Two ESA will provide you the verification of the environmental quality of the land. If you are the purchaser of this work (I.e., you hired a consultant to do the Phase One and Phase Two) then you are typically provided reliance on those reports by the consultant. Meaning that if you make certain decisions, such as the purchase of a piece of land that a Phase One said was ‘clean’, and you later found out that there was contamination, you may some protection through that consultant’s insurance company if they missed something during their investigation (errors and omissions policy).

Some people may forego the Phase One ESA process all together and purchase the land outright (maybe in cash if they don’t need financing).  If they were to find out later that the land was contaminated, guess who has to pay for the clean up?  Buyer beware!  Depending on how extensive that contamination might be, it could cost you hundreds of thousands of dollars or more to remediate…good thing you saved that $2,000-$3,000 by not doing the Phase One!  This is when it would have been good to have done that Phase One and you would have either identified it before you bought the land, or have the reliance from the consultant to put them on the hook for the clean up costs if they missed something in their investigation.

In many cases involving the financing of a property, that reliance can also be transferred by the consultant to the lender to protect said lender in the event that the land owner goes bankrupt and forfeits the land to the bank (lender).  The lender wants that protection as well.  So in simple terms, having that reliance is a form of environmental insurance for everyone involved in the deal.

Something that people should know when they commission a consultant to complete a Phase One or Two ESA on a piece of land, that they should have something in writing between them and the consultant which clearly identifies insurance amounts, associated liability, and who can rely on those reports.  Quite often, and this goes back to my previous post (When Phase One ESAs Get Weird), people will have hand me down reports that might be technically valid and current, however they are not the owners of those reports, and nor do they have third party reliance from the consultant to use them for the purpose of making business decisions.  This can get complicated when trying to use them at banks to get financing, or when trying to sell that property in the future.  In addition, if you have someone else’s reports, and you did purchase some land thinking it was ‘clean’, because of those reports and without written reliance, and later find out that its contaminated, you will not have that protection…that contamination will be your responsibility.

In summary, here are some key items to consider when commissioning this type of work:

  • Always make sure you have reliance from your consultant on your ESA reports (in writing);
  • Don’t rely on old reports done for someone else (they are worth the paper they are written on if you don’t have that authorization to rely);
  • Regardless of whether or not a Phase One is a condition needed to close a deal, consider doing one to identify any potential unknown environmental liabilities you could be faced with; and
  • Always make sure your consultant is qualified and your ESA reports are done to the applicable standards (CSA or ASTM).

So, like the banker and the mattress situation, consider the Phase One process not as a condition to be met as a part of your deal, but as a form of protection and insurance to make sure your investment and business are safe.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to email me at northenvironmental@gmail.com

Pollution Fighting Plants

Here’s an interesting post from a blog referencing pollution fighting plants……


Once the plant uptakes the contaminants what do you do with the organic matter of the plant?  Do you harvest it and landfill it?  Is the organic material contaminated (it says harmless byproducts above but what are they)?  Is phytoremediation a remedial plan that is used like a barrier to prevent contaminant groundwater migration beyond where the plants are uptaking the chemicals?  Trichloroethylene (TCE) is a dense non-aqueous phase liquid (DNAPL) and will likely reside deep into the aquifer…how deep do plant root systems go that can uptake the contaminants?  Can they extend through confining layers in the subsurface and reach the confined aquifer where DNAPLs might exist?  Or are they very limited to the shallow unconfined aquifer?

Cool idea as a long term attenuation approach to remediation or maybe as a risk mitigation measure…but might not be a practical solution for fully remediating a contaminated property.

Windfarm contaminates water

Is this article about windmills or is it about contaminated water?? It’s suggesting that THMs (trihalomethanes) are in the water supply and that they were created there as a result of the ground disturbance caused by a major windmill construction project near an area where highly organic soils are found. The organics mixing with the local chlorination system and the resulting effect is the elevated THM concentrations found. I would think that if this were true that we all should be concerned about any large construction project near a potable groundwater supply under these specific soil conditions. Correct me if I’m wrong but this article doesn’t identify the location or proximity of the well head protection areas in elation the the wind farm construction activities….so it is leaving me some idea of ‘missing facts’…

It seems here that there might be a lot of assumptions being made possibly leading to finger pointing and illegitimate accusations without having going through a detailed hydrogeological assessment to confirm these findings. Nonetheless there is certainly the possibility which shouldn’t be ignored.

I like this article because it’s controversial and brings up a lot of interesting questions to think about. Where I’m from (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario) we have our third wind farm being built plus several very large solar farms. Not to mention several other large local development/construction projects being completed over the past few years. Albeit some of these large construction projects may not be within our groundwater recharge zones and have no bearing. Nonetheless over the past recent years our local water utility company has switched to a chlorination system which has resulted in significant discolouration of our water supply in certain areas of the city. Is there THMs in our water supply? Is our soil in the Sault highly organic and susceptible to causing a similar situation as found in this article? Does anyone know or have looked into this? Environmental food for thought….

World Council for Nature

Doctor claims Scotland’s biggest windfarm has contaminated public water supply with cancer-causing chemical

Backbone Mountain  - Tucker County - West Virginia
The implantation of a wind turbine causes a significant impact on the land, on nearby water courses (sedimentation etc.) and on the water supply (filtrations into the soil). This particular picture is from the US.

“The radiologist, 58, said: “I obtained test results in 2013 from East Ayrshire Council and discovered that our water had been grossly contaminated with E.coli bacteria.

“That was bad enough but I am far more concerned about the presence of THMs in the public supply.

“We are drinking the stuff now but all the medical advice is that the effects may not be seen for 10 or 20 years.”

“Last week, MSP Graeme Pearson met Scottish Water’s director of strategic customer service planning, Professor Simon Parsons, to discuss Dr Connor’s findings.

“He said: “Dr Connor has identified that higher levels of cancer…

View original post 98 more words

The first post!

When someone asks me what I do for a living I usually just politely tell them that I clean up gas stations and leave it at that…its seems like the general public has been aware of property environmental contamination long enough to understand that these types of people exist and I’m one of them.  It can be hard to explain to people what I do, its even harder to explain why I like it and how it keeps me interested…I’ve been online seeking someone or something like me that would share this same passion or at least be putting some relevant and interesting information out there about environmental engineering in a cool and exciting way to keep my attention for longer than 5 minutes.  So far no luck…in hopes of finding that special group of people I intend to put myself out there by creating these posts in order to attract some discussion and to share what I have learned with the intention to bring some insight into the industry.

Environmental engineering is a broad term used to describe a relatively niche field of work…so at this time, to be specific I will focus this blog and my posts on what I am most familiar with and what I know best…’contaminated sites and remediation’.  What I like about these projects is that they are all different.  They all tell a different story.  And at the end of the day, most of my projects usually end up in doing some good, either by helping someone out with their business goals or by cleaning up the environment, and more often than not a combination of both.

Some of the work I do also comes with a bad stigma.  There are a lot of people out there who have heard those classic environmental horror stories about businesses going broke to clean up their property…some of them might be true, most of them are exaggerated.   I hope I can shed some light on these situations for everyone, clear up that stigma, and speak the honest truth through my experiences….

I tend to write too much in general so I will keep my first blog short!  More to come…stand by…