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EBI News for August 18, 2021- New Tests Detect Toxic Coal Ash Particles In Soil

EBI News for August 18, 2021- The following news section contains the latest stories for the environmental industry. Including, new tests detect toxic coal ash particles in soil, acquisitions, and more!

new tests detect toxic coal ash particles in soil, acquisitions, and more!

ICF reports second quarter results

ICF (Fairfax, Va.) reported total revenue of $393 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2021, up 10.9% from the second quarter of 2020. Service revenue growth was 7.7% year-over-year to $281 million. “Year-on-year revenue increases for the quarter were broad-based across all client categories, led by double-digit growth with our government clients and commercial energy clients that together accounted for over 87% of total second quarter revenues,” John Wasson, chairman and CEO, said. Work in IT modernization, public health and social programs, utility consulting and climate change and resilience were key contributors to second quarter revenue growth. Revenue from government clients was $278 million, up 13% year-over-year; commercial revenue was $114.5 million, an increase of 6%. The total value of contracts awarded in the 2021 second-quarter was $398 million, up 41% year-on-year.


Colorado River water crisis reaches historic milestone

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the federal agency that oversees Colorado River operations, has declared a Tier 1 water shortage at Lake Mead, the river’s largest reservoir where water levels have fallen to record lows. “This is the first time in the river’s history that a Tier 1 shortage has been declared, underscoring the severity of the deepening drought and climate crisis across the West,” the conservation organization American Rivers stated. The declaration will result in reduced water deliveries from the Colorado River to Arizona, Nevada, and Mexico and trigger Drought Contingency Plans throughout the Lower Basin. The Bureau’s recently released Colorado River Basin 24-Month Study is used to set annual operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead. Based on projections, Lake Powell will operate in the Mid-Elevation Release Tier in water year 2022, and Lake Mead will operate in its first-ever Level 1 Shortage Condition in calendar year 2022. Total Colorado River system storage today is 40% of capacity, down from 49% at this time last year, the Bureau reported.


RSK secures sustainability-linked financing from Ares Management

British environmental and engineering services provider RSK Group (Helsby, UK) has confirmed a “monumental funding boost” from publicly traded Ares Management Corporation. In what RSK described as “the largest private credit backed sustainability linked financing deal ever agreed on the market,” funds managed by Ares’ European Direct Lending will serve as sole lenders of £1 billion of available debt facilities to RSK.  Funding will allow RSK to form new business lines, fuel its acquisition pipeline, invest in existing business, and refinance existing credit facilities. The new debt facilities include an annual margin review based on meeting sustainability targets. “There are very few firms like Ares that possess the scale, flexibility and sharp focus on ESG to provide a sustainability-linked financing of this kind. This financing demonstrates our deep commitment to driving sustainable business practices not just within our clients’ businesses, but also within our own,” said Alan Ryder, CEO of RSK Group.


EA Engineering JV wins USACE environmental response award

EA Engineering, Science, and Technology Inc. PBC (EA, Hunt Valley, Md.), together with its joint venture partner Bay West LLC (St. Paul, Minn.), announced that the EA-Bay West Joint Venture LLC has been awarded a Multiple Award Military Munitions Services III (MAMMS III) contract by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Baltimore District. The ordering period includes a base of five years plus two option years and a total capacity of $240 million to be shared among multiple contractor holders. The EA-Bay West Joint Venture won the contract as a Small Business and will provide a wide range of military munitions and environmental response services at defense sites and other federal sites.  


Ramboll Management Consulting expands to United States

Ramboll (Copenhagen, Denmark) announced that it started offering management consulting services to the U.S. market as of August 1, 2021. Ramboll Managing Consulting division “put a pin in the U.S. map” following its expansion into the United Kingdom in April 2021. In both cases, providing strategic sustainability consulting will be the number one priority. In the United States, newly recruited Director Blythe Chorn and team will supplement Ramboll’s 2,000 U.S. experts that already provide services in environment health science, green energy systems, advanced manufacturing and water. 


B&V to provide preliminary design of major potable water system in Nevada

Black & Veatch (Overland Park, Kansas) has been selected by the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) to perform preliminary and final design services for the Horizon Lateral, a $1.6-billion water conveyance system. The system will include approximately 27 miles of pipeline and seven miles of tunneling; two large-scale pumping stations; multiple rate-of-flow control facilities; interconnections with existing transmission laterals; and new reservoir storage for 40-100 million gallons. As a wholesaler comprised of seven local water and wastewater agencies, SNWA serves more than 2.3 million residents in southern Nevada. Horizon Lateral is the largest project proposed in SNWA’s 2020 Major Construction and Capital Plan.


New tests detect toxic coal ash particles in soil

Scientists at Duke University have developed four new tests to detect coal ash contamination in soil with unprecedented sensitivity, according to the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). Fly ash is generated when a power plant burns pulverized coal; it contains high concentrations of arsenic, selenium and other toxics. While most fly ash is captured, some particles escape into the environment and can accumulate in soil, potentially posing risks to the environment and human health. “Because of the size of these particles, it’s been challenging to detect them and measure how much fly ash has accumulated,” said Avner Vengosh, distinguished professor of environmental quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment. “Our new methods give us the ability to do that – with high level of certainty.” Doctoral student Zhen Wang, who led the study, noted: “Being able to trace the contamination back to its source location is essential for protecting public health and identifying where remediation efforts should be focused.” The NSF-funded results appear in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.


NV5 selected by USGS for geospatial services

NV5 Global Inc. (Hollywood, Fla.), a provider of compliance, technology, engineering, and environmental consulting solutions, has been selected by the U.S. Geological Survey to provide geospatial services totaling approximately $6 million to support the 3D Elevation Program (3DEP). NV5 Geospatial will perform over 20,000 square miles of lidar data collection and data analytics in Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and Alaska. The goal of the Program is to provide a national baseline of high-resolution, three-dimensional topographic elevation data across the United States for making critical decisions related to the environment, property, infrastructure, and safety.


NSF invests in research to remediate PFAS

The U.S. National Science Foundation has funded nine research projects to remediate PFAS in the environment. With more than $4.1 million in combined funding, researchers will investigate biological, chemical catalysis, photolytic and physical treatment technologies. “Once captured, their [PFAS] extreme chemical stability makes them very difficult to degrade,” said Karl Rockne, who coordinated the NSF Environmental Engineering program during his rotation as an NSF program officer. “These nine projects will employ novel, cutting-edge strategies that address the twin engineering challenges of separation and destruction and that hold high potential for developing breakthrough technologies.”


Bowman Consulting acquires McFarland-Dyer in Atlanta

Bowman Consulting Group Ltd. (Reston, Va.) announced the acquisition of McFarland-Dyer & Associates (MDA, Atlanta, Ga.). Founded in 1995, MDA delivers civil engineering, land planning, land surveying, and landscape architecture services throughout the Southeast. “This is the first of what we expect to be many acquisitions we make as a public company. We are actively pursuing numerous opportunities to invest the proceeds from our recent $52 million initial public offering and expect to close on additional acquisitions this year,” said Chairman and CEO Gary Bowman. The acquisition is initially expected to add a base of approximately $4 million of annualized net service billing to Bowman.


Geosyntec expands coastal, waterfront, and water resources services with ATM acquisition

Applied Technology and Management (ATM, Folsom, Calif.), an engineering and consulting firm focused on coastal, waterfront, and water resources projects, has joined Geosyntec Consultants (Boca Raton, Fla). The acquisition provides Geosyntec clients with greater access to experts in the United States and Dubai in coastal and inland resiliency and adaptation. “Working together allows us to provide even more robust solutions to our valued clients in coastal resiliency and adaptation, waterfront development and redevelopment, and other adjacent markets such as offshore wind, offshore pipelines and conveyances, and ports and harbors,” Geosyntec stated. Geosyntec has more than 80 offices in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia. ATM will operate as “ATM, a Geosyntec Company.” 


Long Arc Capital takes majority stake in Agile Frameworks

Braun Intertec Corporation (Minneapolis, Minn.), an engineering, environmental consulting and testing firm, announced a majority investment by Long Arc Capital LP in Agile Frameworks LLC (Minneapolis, Minn.), a company founded by Braun Intertec in 2011 to support its own clients. Today Agile Frameworks serves more than 75 top engineering firms in North America, offering a subscription-based, multi-tenant Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that automates complex workflows. “The global AEC industry is experiencing unprecedented technology enablement and acceleration, transforming workflows from job-based to integrated project delivery… as well as dramatically improving productivity and revenue capture. We believe that Agile Frameworks is the most advanced provider of SaaS solutions to the engineering services industry today,” said Tobin Whamond, Partner of Long Arc Capital.


Stantec to acquire Paleo Solutions

Stantec (Edmonton, Alberta) has signed a letter of intent to acquire Paleo Solutions (Los Angeles, Calif.), a consulting firm providing paleontological and archaeological services for the rail, transportation, water, and power and energy sectors across the western United States. Founded in 2004, Paleo Solutions’ team of more than 65 includes paleontologists, geologists, archaeologists, architectural historians, program managers, and GIS specialists. The firm has established a strong presence in supporting renewable energy, electrical generation, and transmission projects. Paleo Solutions also has offices in Redlands, Calif. and Denver, Colo.  


Montrose Environmental adds software platform

Montrose Environmental Group Inc. (Paso Robles, Calif.) has acquired SensibleIoT LLC (Little Rock, Ark.), an IoT (Internet of Things) and software platform that interfaces with air, water, and soil data sources to provide an integrated environmental solution with advanced data analytics capabilities. Terms were not disclosed. Founded in 2018 by Charles Beach, Sensible has helped private and public sector clients manage data to develop environmental insights. “In combining Montrose’s environmental solutions with Sensible’s platform, we are able to offer further integrated services and data analytics that will help our clients meet their environmental goals,” said Jose Revuelta, chief strategy officer of Montrose Environmental Group.


GM2 acquires Gordon R. Archibald

Gordon R. Archibald Inc. (GRA, Pawtucket, R.I.), a multi-disciplinary civil and environmental engineering firm since 1970, has joined GM2 (Glastonbury, Conn.). GM2 now offers a staff of 150 professionals comprised of engineers, environmental specialists, and surveyors. GRA provides planning, design, and construction-related services for public infrastructure and private development projects. “Of particular note is the expansion of our environmental and traffic engineering divisions who offer significant expertise on complex projects within Rhode Island and Massachusetts,” GM2 stated.


USGS and Saildrone gather Great Lakes data

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and Saildrone Inc. (Alameda, Calif.) have launched two un-crewed surface vehicles, or ocean drones, on a 45-day sailing mission through Lakes Michigan and Huron as part of a scientific study. The Saildrone Explorers will use acoustic technology to gather fish distribution and density data. USGS scientists will use the data to understand the effects of invasive mussels and nutrient loss in the water. Information collected will help inform sustainable management of the $7 billion per year Great Lakes fishing industry. 


McDermott awarded FEED contract for waste tire recycling

McDermott International, Ltd. (Houston) has been awarded a Front-End Engineering Design (FEED) contract from the Michelin Group in France for an innovative waste tire technology enabling large-scale production of recycled carbon black—a key ingredient in advancing the next generation of sustainable tires. This award follows a similar FEED announcement in April, which is focusing on the production of regenerated styrene to make synthetic rubber for tires. The project will be executed from McDermott’s office in Brno, Czech Republic.


Harris County receives federal funds for storm sediment removal

Harris County Flood Control District in Texas has been awarded nearly $250 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to remove accumulated sediment across eight watersheds that were deposited during flooding from Hurricane Harvey. It is estimated that more than 2.13 million cubic yards of sediment accumulated in multiple watersheds during the storm, enough to fill 213,000 dump trucks. “It will take several years to complete construction, but this award will allow us to make repairs to the drainage system and to restore the facility back to pre-disaster design, capacity and function,” said Alan Black, the District’s interim executive director. The federal cost share for this project is 90 percent.


Arcadis awarded contract to support energy transition in Germany

Arcadis (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) has been awarded a contract by TenneT for power grid expansion, providing additional transport capacities between northern and southern Germany. The contract, earned in partnership with Bernard Ingenieure, includes planning and control systems for the 130km-long 380kV grid reinforcement and grid expansion project “Fulda-Main-Leitung.” When complete, the project will transport regionally generated renewable energies into the supraregional transmission grid.

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