Offering diverse and comprehensive services makes OTO both a viable one-stop shop, and a team who can support your established group of design and construction professionals. Our scientists and engineers have experience on projects ranging in size, technicality, scope and budget, and we’re ready to collaborate on your next project.
The safe management-in-place and/or removal of building materials that contain asbestos is one of OTO’s core specialties. Understanding and planning of both stabilization and removal projects can make all the difference in maintaining project safety and predictable costs. We also strive to minimize disruption to your business and other indoor activities. OTO designs asbestos projects around your specific needs, never losing sight of public health and safety.
OTO’s has a proven ability to successfully handle a vast array of asbestos related tasks like minor renovations, public assisted housing rehabilitations, emergency asbestos abatements, and asbestos soil remediation projects. And, with long-term relationships with asbestos regulators at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and Division of Labor Standards (MassDLS), OSHA, and EPA, as well as with asbestos remediation contractors, OTO has built and maintained a solid reputation in asbestos consulting.
The following are just some of the Asbestos Consulting services OTO offers:
Vapor intrusion (VI) occurs when chemicals that are ‘volatile’ (meaning they readily vaporize) migrate from impacted soil or groundwater into soil gas. Two common examples of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are constituents of gasoline and the dry-cleaning solvent tetrachloroethylene (PCE). Inhalation of VOCs is the primary pathways of human exposure to these chemicals in the environment. Therefore, vapor intrusion is an important component in environmental regulations, assessment, and consulting.
Vapor intrusion can be a complex problem to solve and is a common problem at dry cleaners, industrial facilities, gasoline stations, and Brownfields. A relatively small area of impacted soil or groundwater can create an issue if present under a building. However, mitigation can be very cost effective when included in the design and construction of new buildings. OTO’s scientists and engineers have decades of experience working with vapor intrusion challenges in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and under the federal Superfund and RCRA programs.
Our focus is on finding the most cost-effective and practical solution to cut off exposures that both meets our clients’ goals and satisfies regulatory requirements.
Below are some of the Vapor Intrusion assessment services, and potential Mitigation options.
VAPOR INTRUSION ASSESSMENT Services:
Brownfields Redevelopment embodies the “green philosophy” where repurposing a previously developed property for a new use is a better alternative than developing pristine land. Often such redevelopment projects can utilize typically unavailable funding sources that can synergize a project’s funding to a critical mass, making previously uneconomic projects, profitable. OTO helps make this attractive alternative real by working with owners, developers and stakeholders to solve the legacy problems that often come with site redevelopment by combining our knowledge of regulatory flexibility, risk assessment, soil management, and remediation.
Brownfields Redevelopment projects include construction of new buildings or building additions, and refurbishing of existing buildings and commonly cross over and involve many OTO abilities. Geotechnical considerations are critical to foundation design, and new foundations adjoining existing often historic structures pose special challenges. Old buildings frequently contain hazardous building materials including asbestos, lead paint, and PCBs in specialty coatings and caulking. OTO can assist in a multitude of service areas, helping to streamline the critical beginning phase of the project.
Three of the big questions for Brownfield site development are:
The Transfer Act and Connecticut Remediation Standards (RSRs) are regulations that govern the notification, investigation, and cleanup of certain Connecticut properties that are sold or transferred. The CT Transfer Act and RSRs pertain to properties with histories of hazardous waste generation or land use history (dry cleaners, auto body shops for example).
The standard of care for Transfer Act assessments requires a detailed investigation of the environmental condition of the property. The RSRs impose stringent numerical standards to the site, but also contain various options such as environmental land use restrictions for reducing the amount of remediation required, based on limiting potential exposures to site contaminants. Taken together, the RSRs, Transfer Act, and supporting guidance documents fill bookshelves.
Each OTO Transfer Act project is guided by one of our Licensed Environmental Professionals (LEPs). OTO focuses on understanding conditions from our client’s perspective. We then craft a technical approach that respects client needs and also achieves regulatory compliance. We are not in business to sell specific remedial technologies or patented investigation. Instead, we incorporate knowledge of those techniques and independence of choice, guided by sound engineering and project management skills.
CT TRANSFER ACT SERVICES:
Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) are one of the first steps in conducting due diligence. Issues below the surface, such as soil or groundwater contamination, are typically hidden to the casual observer. Yet financing lenders, investors, sellers and buyers are well motivated to identify and understand these potential risks. OTO’s extensive experience with environmental engineering and consulting lends itself to being able to conduct ESAs to industry standards and we know how to obtain and assess important information quickly and efficiently.
When contamination issues are identified in an ESA, OTO has designed, installed and operated remedial systems at residences, schools, commercial buildings, gasoline service stations, airports, within industrial developments, and at construction sites (e.g., dewatering systems). OTO has the capabilities for feasibility analysis, pilot testing, cost estimating, permitting, full-scale installations, evaluating and upgrading existing remedial systems, system operation, maintenance and optimization, project management and reporting, and remedial system shut-down and removal.
OTO’s environmental engineering team has extensive design and hands-on operations and maintenance experience of various types of remedial systems and technologies. We are not tied to any specific vendor or technology. Rather, we work to identify a site-specific approach that will reduce risks to public health, safety and the environment. Below are some Remediation Design options.
REMEDITION DESIGN SERVICES:
Since our founding in 1994, one of OTO’s core service abilities has been performing geotechnical engineering and consulting throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. Offering a wide array geotechnical and civil engineering skills and services OTO provides solid value to our clients’ projects.
Our geotechnical engineering services have included studies for schools, hospitals, commercial buildings and industrial developments, contractor support services (including the design of earth support and construction dewatering systems), and the installation and monitoring of construction instrumentation systems. We conduct viability research using both published documents and by reviewing our own database which spans over 25 years.
Collaborating with project teams and cultivating our own employees in the geotechnical field, we provide recommendations and alternatives that specifically address each individual project’s needs. Below are some of the Vapor Intrusion assessment services, and potential Mitigation options.
Simply stated Industrial Hygiene (IH) is the science of protecting and enhancing the health and safety of people both at work and in their communities. And because in our daily environments many people may encounter health hazards (some obvious, some hidden) the goal of industrial hygiene is to identify the significant workplace risks and develop systematic management strategies to control or eliminate the risks, whether they are chemical or physical hazards.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) falls under the IH umbrella and constitutes a large portion of OTO’s knowledge base. Many circumstances can cause indoor air degradation. Among these are inadequate fresh air being drawn into a building, excess moisture in building materials (leading to odors and mold), or prior use of harmful building materials.
OTO takes a resourceful approach to Industrial Hygiene, based on our hygienists’ many years of experience working inside both manufacturing companies and consulting firms. Likewise, we find that each IAQ problem requires careful consideration of numerous factors: building systems, construction materials, water sources, possible hazardous materials and other site-specific features. After narrowing down potential sources of IAQ problems, we use on-site assessment and sample collection to develop a base of environmental data and provide recommend steps to restore healthier air quality.
From developing a sound and applicable evaluation strategy to providing workplace training addressing specific hazards, OTO provides clients with comprehensive IH services. When practiced soundly, good industrial hygiene benefits both businesses and their employees by protecting the health and well-being of workers and enhancing the workplace environment.
INDUSTRIAL HYGIENE SERVICES:
The Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP) provides significant relative flexibility in approaches and timing when managing contaminated soil and/or groundwater. Working with our clients, we craft a technical approach that achieves regulatory compliance and respects client needs.
Here at OTO, we incorporate knowledge of those techniques as needed and always remain guided by sound engineering and project management skills. And, as an added bonus, because many MCP remediation projects take place during the earthwork phase of construction projects we can creatively combine our geotechnical engineering expertise with our remediation AND risk assessment capabilities to produce MCP compliance solutions that are cost-effective and meet client needs.
OTO staff includes several registered Massachusetts Licensed Site Professionals (LSPs). An LSP is involved with the management of every MCP project. Our in-house ability to complete challenging site specific Method 3 Risk Characterizations means we routinely review MCP projects proposed by others to assess whether less costly compliance alternatives are available.
OTO focuses on understanding our clients’ perspectives, needs, and goals when managing MCP projects. With established credibility and creative thinking, we use the flexibility afforded in the regulations to our clients’ advantage while maintaining regulatory compliance. Learn more about the services below or other MCP service options!
There has been an increasing awareness of the past use of PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) in a variety of building materials such as caulks, sealants, and mastics. In the United States, PCBs have not been used in building materials for about 40 years, but because one of the purposes of using PCBs was to extend the life of building materials they are still present in many buildings constructed or remodeled between approximately 1940 and 1970. In their pure form PCBs are oily liquids. But, when an ingredient in building materials, they cannot be seen, smelled or otherwise detected.
Although PCBs in building materials have not been shown to cause harm, once discovered in these materials their continued use in a building is sometimes considered to be subject to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The laws and regulations governing the use and cleanup of PCBs are long and complex, even by federal government standards.
OTO is adept at the assessment and remediation of PCBs, and we have the skill set to assist in the identification and communication of risk and the degree of hazard posed by PCBs. Proper risk communication is often a vital tool in helping school systems and other institutions avoid expensive and frequently unnecessary remediation.
OTO provides a variety of construction support services to assist owners, design professionals, developers, and contractors during projects. Our approach to construction support includes elements crucial to project success such as identifying project goals and constraints, and collaborating with the team to provide effective, efficient, and creative solutions. Understanding that one size does not fit all when it comes to construction support, we tailor our services to meet the project’s specific needs.
We conduct pre-construction building damage surveys, and implement geotechnical instrumentation and construction monitoring programs, and also provide support to contractors by designing temporary earth support and construction dewatering systems. Also, recognizing that accurately capturing details is vital to project logistic management, we provide observation and documentation of various construction activities including monitoring subgrades for shallow foundations, deep foundations, and ground improvement quality control.
From start to finish, OTO has the capabilities to be responsive and adaptable, providing our clients with consistency and credibility for successful projects. Below are some of the Construction Support services that we offer.
CONSTRUCTION SUPPORT SERVICES:
With a diverse team of employees, OTO provides civil engineering support that can be performed concurrently with our geotechnical studies and/or as stand-alone services. This includes assessments and various testing to determine the permeability of soils and in-situ infiltration rates for use in design of stormwater control systems, septic systems, and recreation sports fields. Some of our most requested test methods are:
OTO provides landfill monitoring services and inspections to meet State and local guidelines including the Massachusetts Soil Waste Management Regulations (310 CMR 19.000). Offering services that include landfill assessments, post closure landfill monitoring, and third party inspections, we routinely perform activities such as landfill gas monitoring, groundwater and surface water sampling, assessment of water quality parameters, and landfill cover inspections.
With OTO’s experience with landfill assessment and consulting, we’re able to help you maintain your landfill site while remaining in compliance with State and local regulations. Below are some of the Landfill Inspection and Compliance services we offer.
LANDFILL INSPECTION & COMPLIANCE SERVICES:
Successfully managing on-site soils and/or surplus soils during construction is a significant cost and schedule consideration for development projects. Understanding that the potential effects of urban fill, chemically impacted soils, asbestos containing soils, lightly “tainted” soils, and even natural soils can significantly increase costs during construction is crucial. And implementing up-front assessment and planning is critical for both site and project health. OTO provides soil management and permitting support to clients to help navigate the difficulty in dealing with common and costly issues from landfill soil disposal, the recycling of petroleum impacted soils, to finding accepting soil processing facilities.
Finding the right soil management solution requires understanding applicable government regulations and/or standards, how construction projects operate, and the availability and processing criteria of soil processing facilities. Our understanding of both the regulatory requirements (i.e. permitting) and the construction process provides great value and allows us to work with the design team and owner to define effective options for soil management based upon: the project type, site location, the soil’s chemical and physical properties, and budget and schedule constraints. In addition, by developing Soil Management Plans, OTO works with processing facilities by establishing acceptance criteria for soil reuse at their locations.
The recommended approach for soil management and permitting may be simple or multifaceted but knowing that OTO can provide support at any point, but particularly during most impactful early stages of design, has benefited our clients throughout the years. The following are some of the Soil Management service we offer.
SOIL MANAGEMENT SERVICES:
Radon gas becomes problematic in enclosed spaces (homes, schools, businesses) where it can build-up. And while a common misconception is that there are radon “hot” zones in our country, the truth is that radon can be found in every state, county, and town.
Radon is a radioactive gas that forms when radioactive metals (uranium, thorium, or radium) break down, or decay, naturally. Because these metals are found in soils, rocks and groundwater worldwide, people everywhere are always exposed to it. Yet radon gas cannot be smelled, seen, or tasted.
The alarming fact is: RADON IS THE SECOND LEADING CAUSE OF LUNG CANCER (second only to cigarette smoking). Furthermore, smoking actually increases the risk of lung cancer by up to 10 times. And it’s been established that, for both non-smokers and smokers alike, the higher the radon levels and/or the more exposure you have to radon gas the greater the risk.
The American Association of Radon Professionals (AARST) has worked with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for decades to improve public awareness and establish proven testing and analytical methods. In addition AARST, pairing with the National Radon Proficiency Program (NRPP), also strive to ensure professionals receive certifications for radon testing, and design and installation of radon mitigation systems. Through specific training, annual continuing-education requirements, and radon proficiency exam results the AARST-NRPP organizations help ensure OTO’s clients receive credible and quality control-driven testing and results.
The EPA, CDC, American Lung Association, and other governmental and healthcare authorities recommend every home gets tested. Both governmental and private lending institutions are requiring more often that testing be conducted as a condition to receiving funding for real-estate transactions, institutional improvements, and subsidized housing renovation projects. Additionally, federal organizations like the U.S. Department of Housing for Urban Development (HUD) are in the process of stepping up their requirements for testing protocols, professionals who conduct radon testing, and radon mitigation contractors and systems.
The really good news is that OTO certified professionals, following AARST-NRPP and EPA standards, are able to provide clients with each step of radon testing and reporting requirements by developing the testing approach, performing the on-site testing, and submitting final documentation that include results, recommendations, and quality control measures and calculations. Proficient in single-family, multi-family, and large structure (apartment buildings, schools, and businesses), our team is here to help you with your radon testing needs.
For RADON TESTING SERVICES:
Robert Kirchherr, CSP
Christine Arruda, CIEC
The excitement of giving new life to a building, whether a centuries-old mill or not-so-old commercial structure, is typically tempered with renovation or demolition project realities. Luckily, OTO has over 25 years of experience providing clients with hazardous building assessments which not only are a regulated requirement for some materials (i.e. asbestos, lead-based paint, etc.) but also are a necessary health and safety step for everyone from occupants to the project design team and contractors.
While the word “hazard” may sound alarming, in this case it is associated with a number of common building materials or contents that may require trained personnel for testing purposes, specific analytical methods for identification, and/or specialized handling for removal and disposal. The range of products can include asbestos containing materials, lead-based painted surfaces, refrigerants (from cooling systems such as refrigerators or air conditioners), mercury-containing items (such as thermostats), and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) containing products (like those found in older florescent lighting ballasts). The key is that, while when properly maintained these materials do not present a substantial risk or hazard, when disturbed during renovation or demolition activities the risk increases.
Our team of trained and licensed professionals are able to handle each aspect of performing in-depth hazardous materials assessments. Maintaining open communication with our clients is the just the beginning and allows us to develop sound evaluation strategies and testing plans. Collaborating with design teams we’re able to conduct on-site assessments, develop abatement and demolition specifications, and also provide abatement and/or building demolition project monitoring and oversight. And, with our experience and relationships with federal and state authorities (EPA, MassDEP, OSHA, etc.), we’re able to help ensure projects maintain compliance with applicable standards and regulations.
Cost-effectiveness and quality drives our approach and process, and OTO maintains our reputation and credibility by balancing the bigger-picture perspective with the attention to detail required to make development projects a success. And, truth be told, we find pride in being part of hazardous building materials assessments as they afford us the opportunity to see into the past, actively create change in the present, and contribute to the future of our community and infrastructure. Below are some of the Hazardous Building Materials Assessment services that we offer.
HAZARDOUS BUILDNG MATERIALS ASSESSMENT SERVICES: