EBJ News: January 3, 2018

Global Recycling Industry | China’s new environmental standards challenges global recycling industry

The global recycling industry faces major disruption as China began enforcing its National Sword policy on January 1, banning 24 types of solid waste, including various plastics and papers, and setting tougher standards for contamination levels. The ban is designed to crack down on pollution by preventing garbage from entering the country. China, which has used recyclables from around the world to supply its manufacturing industries, notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) about the ban in July. More than $5.6 billion in scrap commodities were exported from the United States to China last year, according to The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), which said that the draft standards would lead to extensive disruptions in global supply chains because they are not in line with globally recognized ISRI specifications and lack specific guidance for exporters. ISRI noted in recent comments to the WTO that “Extra time is required for recyclers to fully understand China’s changing scrap import regulations and to make the necessary changes to comply with these new rules.” According to an article on Bloomberg, China has begun buying new plastic to replace the recycled scrap, and U.S. chemical makers “are rushing to find markets for millions of tons of new production amid an industry investment binge.”

For more information on the impact of the global recycling industry as well as the solid waste market size and company profiles visit our Solid Waste Management Industry Report page.

EA Engineering awarded NOAA contract for environmental restoration

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology Inc. PBC (EA, Hunt Valley, Md.), has been awarded a contract by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to provide environmental restoration services for the northern U.S. Atlantic and Great Lakes regions. The contract has a base of 5 years and an estimated value of $9,975,000. EA will perform environmental services in both tidal and non-tidal environments in support of habitat restoration and environmental programs for the NOAA Office of Habitat Conservation-Restoration Center.

McDermott and CB&I to combine in transaction worth $6 billion

McDermott International Inc. (Houston) will buy Chicago Bridge & Iron (CB&I, The Woodlands, Texas) in a stock transaction to create a vertically integrated onshore-offshore company offering engineering, procurement, construction and installation. McDermott will own approximately 53% and CB&I 47% of the combined company, which will have revenues of approximately $10 billion. The enterprise value of the transaction is estimated at $6 billion. “Customers worldwide increasingly seek a single company that can offer end-to-end solutions, and the combination of McDermott and CB&I responds to these evolving customer needs by creating a leading vertically integrated company,” said David Dickson, president and CEO of McDermott. CB&I provides technology and infrastructure for the oil and gas industry, and McDermott provides integrated engineering, procurement, and construction for upstream field energy developments. CB&I acquired The Shaw Group in 2012: Shaw had previously acquired The IT Group, itself a serial environmental industry acquirer, Stone & Webster and other companies with environmental industry ties.

IEA reports fossil fuel subsidies decreased 15% in 2016

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the estimated value of global fossil-fuel consumption subsidies decreased by 15% to $260 billion in 2016, the lowest level since the IEA started tracking the subsidies 10 years ago. Analysis in IEA’s new World Energy Outlook 2017 showed that for the first time the largest share of global subsidies that benefit fossil fuel consumption went to keep electricity prices artificially low (41% of the global total), ahead of oil (40%) and natural gas. But while the figure for fossil-fuel consumption subsidies may be coming down, it remains much higher than estimated government support for renewable energy in power generation, which amounted to $140 billion in 2016.

EPA settles with carbon black manufacturers

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) have announced a settlement resolving Clean Air Act claims by the United States and the states of Kansas and Louisiana against carbon black manufacturer Columbian Chemicals Company (Marietta, Ga.). The company has agreed to install and operate an estimated $94 million in pollution control technologies; pay civil penalties of $650,000; and perform environmental mitigation projects valued at $375,000. The settlement resolves claims that Columbian failed to obtain permits and install appropriate emissions reduction technology at its two carbon black production facilities in Kansas and Louisiana. Production of carbon black creates large amounts of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and particulate matter. The settlement came as DOJ and EPA announced settlements with two other carbon black production companies: Sid Richardson Carbon and Energy Company and Orion Engineered Carbon LLC.

Associated Engineering acquires NOR-EX Engineering

Associated Engineering (AE, Edmonton, Alberta) has acquired NOR-EX Engineering (Kamloops, B.C.), adding capabilities in ice engineering and disaster recovery services. Associated Engineering is an employee-owned consulting firm with more than 900 staff in 21 offices across Canada that offers planning, engineering, environmental science, and landscape architecture. “Together, we will continue to provide services to help communities and businesses to build and maintain critical infrastructure and improve resiliency in the face of a changing climate,” AE said.

ECS acquires River Valley Testing

Engineering Consulting Services (ECS, Chantilly, Va.) announced the acquisition of River Valley Testing Corp. (RVT, Neenah, Wis.), whose offices will now become the Central Wisconsin Offices of ECS Midwest LLC and a member of the ECS Group of Companies.  Founded in 1988, ECS offers geotechnical engineering, environmental consulting, construction materials testing, and facilities engineering and has over 50 offices in the United States. RVT was established in 1990 and specializes in geotechnical engineering, construction materials testing, and environmental engineering and has offices in Green Bay and Neenah, Wis. “As we evaluated possible firms that could help take us to the next level, ECS was hands down the best cultural and professional fit,” said Alex Barker, president of RVT.

Trinity Consultants acquires U.S. air quality specialist

Environmental consultancy Trinity Consultants Inc. (Dallas) has acquired environmental consultancy QSEM Solutions (Fairfield, Ohio) for an undisclosed amount. QSEM is focused on air quality compliance, permitting and control services for industrial clients in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and southeast regions of the United States. Eastern region managing director of Trinity Consultants Mike Remsberg said of QSEM: “They are a veteran group with a unique mix of process knowledge combined with emission control and environmental compliance expertise. We look forward to combining our skill sets and services to broaden offerings to our clients.” Trinity Consultants also announced it is seeking an environmental consultancy or services firm in the United Kingdom with private-equity backers.

Stantec announces $13 million contract with Denver Water

Stantec (Edmonton, Canada), along with primary subcontractor AECOM (Los Angeles, Calif.), has been awarded a $13 million design services contract by Denver Water for the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project in Boulder County, Colo. The project aims to increase system reliability and resiliency to meet the needs of the Denver Water service area’s more than 1.4 million residents. The project will raise the height of the existing dam and will be designed to prevent water shortfalls during droughts or other weather-related events such as wildfires; it will also provide mitigation and enhancement projects that the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has determined will deliver a “net environmental benefit.” Craig Harris, leader of western WaterPower & Dams for Stantec, said, “The Gross Reservoir Expansion Project not only protects customers’ water needs now and in the future, but it will help preserve Colorado’s natural environment.”

For more information on the impact of the global recycling industry as well as the solid waste market size and company profiles visit our Solid Waste Management Industry Report page.

NV5 acquires Skyscene to provide higher resolution mapping

NV5 Global Inc. (Hollywood, Fla.), a provider of professional and technical engineering and consulting solutions, has acquired Skyscene LLC (San Diego, Calif.), an aerial survey and mapping company that provides flight services using drone technology. Initially the cash acquisition is expected to add $5 million to NV5’s operations. Integrating NV5’s LiDAR (light detection and ranging) mapping technology with Skyscene’s unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flight services positions NV5 as one of the leading UAV LiDAR aerial mapping service providers in the nation, NV5 said, noting that UAV LiDAR provides higher resolution mapping and more cost effective services than manned aerial vehicles or traditional survey methods.

For more information on the impact of the global recycling industry as well as the solid waste market size and company profiles visit our Solid Waste Management Industry Report page.

CEC selects Willdan for $6.3 million grant to research energy efficiency

The California Energy Commission (CEC) has awarded Willdan Group Inc. (Anaheim, Calif.) a grant to demonstrate emerging energy efficiency technologies through the Electric Program Investment Charge (EPIC). These technologies will be demonstrated at the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) headquarters facility in Diamond Bar, Calif. to test scalability in the larger California commercial market. The project, which has $4 million in CEC EPIC funding and $2.3 million in match funding, will last three and a half years and once completed is expected to improve efficiency at the SCAQMD facility by over 20%. “This project is an opportunity for Willdan to demonstrate the value and impact of clean energy projects, and to overcome the challenges of implementing new technologies in existing buildings,” said Tom Brisbin, Willdan’s CEO.

For information on the impact of the global recycling industry as well as the solid waste market size and company profiles visit our Solid Waste Management Industry Report page.

SCS Engineers to assist in redeveloping brownfield site

SCS Engineers (Pleasanton, Calif.) and SCS Field Services, the construction division of SCS, have begun work on a design-build agreement with the City of Union, Calif. The agreement provides for the maintenance, assessment, permitting, potential remediation and construction of the former Pacific States Steel Corporation plant site. The 16-acre site, closed and capped in 2006, is in the downtown transportation hub of Union City. “The project will help determine the best use of this part of the City’s downtown transportation hub,” said Joe Miller, an SCS vice president and project director for the project.

For more information on the impact of the global recycling industry as well as the solid waste market size and company profiles visit our Solid Waste Management Industry Report page.