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Frequently Asked Questions

O'Reilly, Talbot & Okun Engineering Associates

Q. I’ve had a release of oil at my home and am being told I may need to hire a Licensed Site Professional – what does that mean and why do I need one?

An LSP is someone who not only is trained and licensed by the State of Massachusetts, but has years of documented experience in helping homeowners navigate the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP). The MCP is a body of regulations designed to address releases to the environment of oil or other hazardous materials, with the goal of protecting both humans and the environment alike. LSPs are knowledgeable with the many aspects and time-constraints involved with the MCP. As a consultant, LSPs work together with homeowners and regulatory officials at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to safely bring releases into compliance.

OTO offers homeowners and commercial clients alike the knowledge to maintain MCP Compliance. We also offer additional services that fall under MCP compliance like Vapor Intrusion Assessment & Mitigation where we can assess your home for potential indoor air quality impact from oil or hazardous materials releases.

Hiring an LSP is not only required in many cases, but is also the smart choice to help foster a cost-effective solution.

If you’ve had a release from an above or underground storage tank, we’re here to help. Please call today at 413-788-6222.

Q. But, what if I live in Connecticut and had an underground storage tank oil release?

OTO’s Licensed Environmental Professionals (LEPs) are ready to help you in Connecticut as well! Like LSPs, LEPs are consultants trained and licensed by the State of Connecticut to help clients navigate the Connecticut Remediation Standard Regulations (RSRs). The RSRs, like the MCP, look to protect our environment and people when oil or hazardous materials are released.

So if you’re in Connecticut and are faced with safely responding to and remediating your home or business, give us a call to learn more about how we can help you. You can also visit our Connecticut Transfer Services & LEP Services page.

Q. I’ve been contacted by a Regulatory Agency (such as the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards, OSHA, etc.) about a possible or actual regulation violation – what do I do now?

The first step is to contact an organization, like OTO, to determine which professionals are able to help you through the language and potential implications of what you’ve received. We have Licensed Site Professionals (LSPs) and Licensed Environmental Professionals (LEPs) for Massachusetts and Connecticut environmental regulations, respectively. Our LSPs and LEPs as well as the rest of our team of environmental professionals (including a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager and Risk Assessor) are able to support you through the response process and additional investigations, testing, or compliance actions when needed.

We also have a Certified Safety Professional (CSP) who’s able to help you understand and navigate responses to federal organizations like Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and/or state agencies whose goals are to protect employee and/or public health and safety.

Because responses to regulatory agencies in the event of potential or actual violations are time-based, reaching out to the professionals at OTO is critical. And, although assisting clients meet those deadlines as cost-effectively as possible is a paramount goal for both us and clients alike, helping ensure the health and safety of our workforce and the public is paramount.

If you’ve received notice of a potential or actual regulatory violation, be sure to contact us at 413-788-6222.

Q. My design team let me know that we’ll need to perform a geotechnical study to determine if we can build the new wing or even a stand-alone structure to supplement our facility. What will this involve?

Our Geotechnical Engineering services include performing soil testing services in the location you’re looking to build. The data we can collect about soils is vital to letting you and your team know the strength of the soils, or what potential hazards or concerns will need to be considered. And in the event the site conditions are not optimal, we’re a team of problem solver engineers who can provide creative, alternative designs or ground improvement recommendations to help move your project forward.

Give us a call at 413-788-6222 to learn more about some of the services OTO offers, such as Geotechnical Engineering, Construction Support & Oversight, Civil Engineering Support, and Soil Management & Permitting.

Q. I thought asbestos was banned from being used or that buildings constructed or renovated after a certain date meant I didn’t need to be concerned about asbestos. What is asbestos and why do I need to be aware of it?

Asbestos is a naturally occurring fibrous mineral found in certain geologic formations throughout the world that’s been used for thousands of years. It’s fire resistant, generally impervious to chemicals, has a high tensile strength, and is a poor electrical conductor.

But it’s actually during the industrial age that asbestos became much more widely used in numerous building materials world-wide. And, after sustained and widespread use it was established that personnel who worked with and had significant exposure to asbestos fibers were at risk for respiratory diseases. Asbestos has since been identified as a cancer causing material (carcinogen).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have established environmental and safety regulations for the management and removal (if needed) of asbestos containing materials. But, this includes bans on only some of the specific applications of the product (such as thermal systems insulation or TSI and spray on fireproofing).

So, although some uses of asbestos have been banned, it can still be found in many buildings and materials and providing these materials are intact and in good condition and are not being disturbed, they are considered generally safe.

If there are plans for renovation or demolition, or if an event has caused damage to the asbestos containing materials, the use of specific work practices and engineering controls should be implemented by trained and licensed personnel and can be achieved by hiring EPA trained and state licensed Asbestos consultants and abatement contractors.

OTO has the trained and licensed Asbestos Inspectors, Project Monitors, Management Planners, and Designers to suit each level of asbestos consulting needs. And, although we don’t handle the removal of asbestos containing materials, our involvement at each stage is necessary and in many cases required to ensure federal and state regulations, as well as quality abatement work is completed.

Interested in learning more about Asbestos? Take a look at our Asbestos Consulting Services page, or better yet call one of our consultants or 413-788-6222 today to learn more!

Q. Does OTO work only in Massachusetts?

Actually, the short answer is no – for over 25 years OTO has worked throughout New England, and in New York. As a matter of fact there are several projects, ranging from regulatory consulting work to long-term Site soil remediation projects which brought our team across the country to states including California, Arkansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

Basically, we at OTO are always looking to expand our horizons by meeting new people and working in different locations. It’s part of our philosophy that by making ourselves available for more opportunities, we’re able to continue enhancing ourselves and our communities.

Have a project in mind that OTO can contribute to? Check out our Service Areas (describing only some of what we can offer) and/or call us at 413-788-6222 today to discuss the possibilities!

Q. Does OTO work on only commercial or residential projects, or both?

OTO has conducted many types of work for commercial, industrial, municipal, institutional (including health care and educational facilities), and residential clients. Our ability to work in these varied settings has enabled us to much better understand the concerns of the different parties we encounter, and to develop responses and results that satisfy everyone to the best extent possible.

We don’t lose sight of how we too are people with homes, families, and workplace responsibilities. Having the skills to effectively communicate and work with other homeowners, business owners, management personnel, employees, and regulatory officials is something we continually strive to achieve, each day.

Is there a project you have that OTO may be able to help with? We’d love to explore the possibilities with you! Please call 413-788-6222.

Q. What do I need to do to hire OTO?

The process is quite easy!

First step is to reach out to us so we can discuss your needs, and the needs of your project. There are actually times when we’re able to offer suggestions over the phone that may help you determine if hiring consultants like OTO is actually needed.

For the times you do need professional consulting services like those we offer, the working relationship with you will include the following:

    Each of our proposals is crafted to include a well-defined Scope of Work based on our understanding of our initial conversation with you. The proposal will also provide our budget or Estimated Costs (either Time and Materials or Lump-Sum based) based on OTO’s schedule of fees. When needed, we can coordinate and provide the additional services of sub-contractors (drilling, excavating, laboratory, etc.), whose costs will also be conveyed in our proposal to you. Also, when unforeseen or additional conditions or project requirements arise, we’ll provide the communication and supplemental proposal(s) as needed.

    As an integral part of the proposal process we’ll also include our Terms and Conditions of Engagement (T&Cs). In keeping our T&Cs balanced, simple and clear, we seek a fair distribution of responsibilities and risks between ourselves and our clients.

    The proposal will be the written agreement between you and us when you indicate your acceptance by signing, and returning a copy to us.

    Billing (or invoicing) for our work is typically conducted on a monthly basis. Larger projects will likely cover several billing cycles. However, for smaller or more concise projects, you may expect to receive one invoice. In either case, the invoices will present what is owed, based upon our proposal and pre-determined T&M or Lump-Sum billing basis.

    While this may sound like a no-brainer, we want to emphasize the paramount importance of maintaining open communication with you prior to, during, and after a project is completed. Because we pride ourselves and our body of work on providing high quality consulting and design services, we know that wouldn’t be possible without your help. It’s natural for questions to arise and for project obstacles to be uncovered during our time working together. By keeping lines of communication open, we strive to put our best foot forward and to be responsive to your needs and the needs of the project. We know that communication is key to have a successful and productive working relationship, and project.


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