Urban Land Restoration Index: Harnessing the value of industrial surplus property for urban transformation

Industrial land owners with large surplus properties in central locations hold the key to one of the critical challenges of re-urbanization, the creation of new places with scale and critical mass. Not only does the redevelopment of such sites provide an opportunity to transform urban communities, but it will enable impaired land owners to maximize the value of their underutilized properties.

Proactive cities recognize the role that real estate can play in driving sustainable growth. In fact, many have well-established regeneration programs in place to help transform previously used or environmentally impaired land. In an effort to create rejuvenated urban landscapes that leave a lasting, sustainable heritage, developers and investors in real estate want to minimize risk and maximize returns for redeveloping environmentally stressed properties. For those that are looking for some of the best investment opportunities and trends, looking into some of the best real estate investing courses may become an advantage to have in the future. However, investing in such a big industry can be very daunting so you might not want to do it alone. Luckily, there are companies out there who can offer their investors with tax-advantaged real estate investment programs that can yield superior risk-adjusted returns. Take a look at this 1031 Exchange company and find out more.

“The future of highly competitive cities may rest within the unlocked value of industrial surplus property”

Given the clear potential for surplus properties held by industrial ?rms and public sector organizations in urban locations, what is holding back redevelopment and what can be done to more effectively bring these sites into productive use? The answer is complex. It remains a challenge to align the interests of industrial land owners, developers and city authorities, particularly where the owner may have a large portfolio of property in many cities, and when investing in regeneration is an expensive business.

Better quality information that accelerates the identi?cation of cities and sites with the greatest development potential will simplify and increase the certainty of the decision-making required. While key indicators in real estate markets provide a baseline for short-term trends affecting residential and commercial development, they don’t capture the long-term redevelopment potential of cities or the relative challenge of remediation.

The Arcadis Urban Land Restoration Index (ULRI) tackles these issues and identi?es the cities where sites are most cost-effective to clean up while providing the greatest potential for long-term uplift and returns for residential, commercial, and mixed-use development. In effect, the ULRI highlights the best locations to unlock value from surplus property with environmental liabilities in key cities across the United States.

By enabling industrial land owners, city leaders and developers to focus on common opportunities, the ULRI will help to unlock the potential of surplus industrial properties – breathing new life back into communities, creating a lasting legacy for citizens, and generating signi?cant returns from prime, underutilized land.

Oil Spill Clean-up Machine being used on plastic pollution

The Oil Response Cleaning Apparatus (Orca) uses vortex technology to suck debris directly into a receiving tank, such as the hold of a ship, unlike traditional skimmers where machinery can get jammed. The company has found that its equipment can also be used to remove plastic debris from the ocean. The Orca uses vortex technology to suck plastics out of the sea with little likelihood of jamming. A virtually clog-proof marine clean-up machine originally developed to deal with oil spills is being touted as the answer to dealing with the growing menace of plastic in the seas.

The company claims that Orca can handle floating plastic, invasive algae and other debris as well as oil.

New contract will help speed spill response times

BIMCO and International Spill Control Organisation (ISCO) have launched two new spill response contracts to make the task of arranging clean-up services following a spill incident significantly easier to negotiate in an emergency.

The two standard contracts are a first for spill response contractors. One is tailored for international use and the other is specifically for use in the United States and both are available free of charge from www.bimco.org.

The contracts have been written by a group of experts from BIMCO, ISCO, the International Group of P&I Clubs, the International Salvage Union and the Spill Control Association of America. Other partners, including ITOPF (International Tanker Owners Pollution Federation) and individual response contractors, also contributed.

Tony Paulson, West of England P&I Club, who led the drafting team, said:

“Until now, no single standard contract for the hire of specialised spill response services and equipment has been available. Harmonised terms and conditions will help speed the process of getting essential spill response equipment on site as soon as possible”.

Matthew Sommerville, ISCO added:

“Timing is critical for a successful response. To avoid delay, the contract lets the parties sign and mobilise the response while negotiations continue on rates and charges. This mea
ns that the contracts can be negotiated in a matter of minutes and personnel and equipment can get to work immediately”.

The two contracts, RESPONSECON and US RESPONSECON, contracts are designed for spill incidents and enable those involved to obtain clean-up services and hire specialised personnel and equipment without delay.

The terms and conditions are set out in standard clauses with accompanying annexes for the different parties to insert detailed descriptions of the required services and rates for personnel and equipment.



Scientists Find Supermolecule that Removes Pharmaceuticals from Water

A University of Surrey academic is leading research that has found an effective way to monitor and remove pharmaceuticals from water.

The research involves the detection and removal of pharmaceuticals in or from water, as contamination from pharmaceuticals can enter the aquatic environment as a result of their use for the treatment of humans and animals. This contamination can be excreted unchanged, as metabolites, as unused discharge or by drug manufacturers.

The research has found that a new type of ‘supermolecule’, calix[4], actively seeks certain pharmaceuticals and removes them from water.

Contamination of water is a serious concern for environmental scientists around the world, as substances include hormones from the contraceptive pill, and pesticides and herbicides from allotments. Contamination can also include toxic metals such as mercury, arsenic, or cadmium, which was previously used in paint, or substances that endanger vital species such as bees.

Professor Danil de Namor, University of Surrey Emeritus Professor and leader of the research, says preliminary extraction data are encouraging as far as the use of this receptor for the selective removal of these drugs from water and the possibility of constructing a calix[4]-based sensing devices.

“From here, we can design receptors so that they can bind selectively with pollutants in the water so the pollutants can be effectively removed,” says de Namor. “This research will allow us to know exactly what is in the water, and from here it will be tested in industrial water supplies, so there will be cleaner water for everyone.”

The research also creates the possibility of using these materials for on-site monitoring of water, without having to transport samples to the laboratory, according to de Namor.

University of Surrey co-investigator Dr Brendan Howlin says the study allows researchers to visualize the specific receptor-drug interactions leading to the selective behavior of the receptor.

“As well as the health benefits of this research, molecular simulation is a powerful technique that is applicable to a wide range of materials,” he says. “We were very proud that the work was carried out with PhD students and a final year project student, and research activities are already taking place with the Department of Chemical and Processing Engineering and the Advanced Technology Institute.

“We are also very pleased to see that as soon as the paper was published online by the European Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, we received invitations to give keynote lectures at two international conferences on pharmaceuticals in Europe later this year,” says Howlin.

Hazmat Incident in St. Catharines results major evacuation

A June 12th traffic accident on the QEW Highway through St. Catharines, Ontario involving a tanker truck carrying phosphine resulted in a hazmat response and an order by police requiring the evacuation of all persons within a 2-km radius of the incident. No one was seriously injured in the accident and no phosphine, a toxic and highly flammable gas, was released.

The QEW Highway links the City of Toronto with Niagara Falls and runs through a City of St. Catharines, a community of 133,000 people. The hazmat incident began when the truck carrying phosphine flipped over on the highway. A fire broke out as a result of the rollover and it was not immediately evident if the product in the tanker’s trailer had leaked.

As a precaution, Ontario Provincial Police coordinating with hazmat crews from the City of St. Catharines ordered closed the highway and ordered the evacuation of all persons within a 2-km radius of the incident.

Phosphine, the chemical on the tanker truck that was involved in the incident, has a DOT hazard label of 4 (health – can be lethal), 4 (flammability – burns readily) and 2 (instability – readily undergoes violent chemical changes at elevated temperatures and pressures). It is colorless gas with a disagreeable odor of fish or garlic. It is very toxic by inhalation at extremely low concentrations.

After the initial incident, a hazardous goods cleanup crew from the City of Hamilton (approximately a 30-minute drive from away) later determined “the phosphine is contained and there is no leak,” Niagara Police Const. Phil Gavin told CP24, a local media outlet.

The initial evacuation order by police was set at 1.2 kilometres (1-mile) and then increased to a two-kilometre radius to reduce the public’s risk of exposure to the phosphine gas.

“We train for this type of this thing, all of the agencies train for this type of event, and we were prepared to come to the community’s needs and their help,” said St. Catharines fire Chief Dave Wood during a media event Wednesday morning.

He said everyday there are hazardous materials and chemicals carried up and down the highways but noted legislation is strict regarding how it must be contained and what type of containers it can be shipped in.

“Unfortunately, situations do happen,” the Fire Chief said. “Accidents do happen.”

Alberta Court Orders Company to pay $3.5 million for Mine Spill

Prairie Mines & Royalty ULC (formerly known as Coal Valley Resources Inc.) pleaded guilty in Alberta Provincial Court on June 9, 2017, to two counts of violating the Canadian Fisheries Act.  The Honourable Judge C.D. Gardner sentenced the company to pay monetary penalties totalling $3,500,000.

Of the total fine, $1,150,000 of this sentence will be put into a trust to be managed by the University of Alberta to create the Alberta East Slopes Fish Habitat and Native Fish Recovery Research Fund. The remainder of the monies, $2,150,000, will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.

On October 31, 2013, a dike that was holding back a large volume of waste water at the Obed Mountain Mine failed, resulting in more than 670 million litres of contaminated water and sediment (made up of coal, clay and sand) spilling into the Apetowun Creek and Plante Creek and additionally impacting the Athabasca River.

The case was a multi-year joint investigation by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Province of Alberta.

Prairie Mines & Royalty ULC pleaded guilty to:

one count of carrying on a work, undertaking or activity that resulted in in the harmful alteration or disruption, or the destruction, of fish habitat in contravention of s.35(1) of the Fisheries Act; and,
one count of depositing or permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance of any type in water frequented by fish in contravention of s.36(3) of the Fisheries Act.

In addition to the penalties under the Fisheries Act, Prairie Mines & Royalty ULC has pleaded guilty to one count under Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act. For further information on that charge, see the Alberta Energy Regulator’s news release.

‘Leakless’ Pipeline Could Be the Safest Way To Transport Oil

As reported in the Huffington Post and the CBC, Researchers at the University of Calgary say they’ve developed a way to get oil to its destination without spilling a single drop.

Engineering professor Martin Mintchev and master’s student Thiago Valentin de Oliveira say their leakless pipeline prototype could be a near-risk-free solution — if companies are willing to shell out for the increased cost.

The proposed pipeline has three things that make it different: it’s double-layered, segmented and has real time wireless monitoring sensors embedded in each section. The inner-most pipeline would transmit the fluid, and if a leak were to occur, it would end up in the air gap between the inner and outer layers, where it would immediately be detected from a central monitoring station. The spill would be contained to one segmented section.

As pressure builds, oil will leak into the adjoining segment, tripping the next set of sensors (by filling the space between the two pipes with fluid, interrupting the connection) and giving crew even more time to respond. This gives workers multiple layers of fail safes so they have time to react, reduce pressure and fix the problem before a drop ever leaves the pipeline. By installing Flow Meters technology in complex piping systems to monitor flow, pressure and other variables, a close eye can be kept on operations to help avoid any incidents.

Double-layered pipelines are not a new idea. Mintchev told HuffPost Canada that double-walled lines were first proposed in the 1980s and are now in the public domain.

In 2015, a double-walled pipeline at Nexen’s Long Lake oilsands facility in northern Alberta spilled 32,000 barrels (five million litres) of bitumen, sand and wastewater. The pipeline was less than a year old, and was built with new technology at the time.

But, the pipeline didn’t have segmentation to contain the rupture, and its warning system didn’t detect it in time — Nexen said it may have been leaking for up to two weeks before it was discovered.

“If we could turn the time back and use the Nexen pipeline that would utilize our technology … this leak would have been prevented completely and inevitably,” Mintchev says.

Mintchev says that in the case of the Nexen spill, the pipe was filled with sensors, but they generated numerous false alarms that motivated employees to turn the sensors off, which was one of the reasons the spill went undetected for so long.

Nexen isn’t alone when it comes to having a flawed leak recognition system. A 2011 report from TransCanada on the Keystone XL’s environmental impact noted that its systems can’t detect leaks lower than 1.5 to two per cent of the pipe’s flow rate. For a pipeline that will carry 830,000 barrels of oil each day, that’s a lot.

In Mintchev and de Oliveira’s proposed pipeline, a leak interrupts the connection between sensor stations, so it’ll be immediately obvious something is wrong.

“Any disturbance in the pipeline, any earthquake, any movement, any possible sabotage, we’ll catch it at the moment it happens with this approach.”

The proposed technology would be more expensive than regular pipelines, depending on whether or not the pipeline needs to be replaced or can be modified, Mintchev says.

Here’s how the proposed costs would break down:

· Replacing an existing single-walled pipeline, segment by segment, would cost double the cost of the pipeline’s construction

· Upgrading an existing double-walled pipeline to add segmenting rings and wireless monitoring stations would add no more than 10 per cent to the cost

· Sleeving an existing single-walled pipeline with a second layer, that includes segments and monitoring technology, would increase the cost by 20 to 25 per cent

· Upgrading an underground or undersea pipeline would increase the cost by 50 per cent, and would reduce the pipeline’s flow, as the second layer would have to be built inside the existing pipeline

If oil companies start by only upgrading pipelines in sensitive areas — near water crossings, ecological reserves and towns — Mintchev says the benefits would far outweigh the costs.

Banning Dangerous Goods Shipments during Storms

The March 14th, 2017 snow storm that hit Ontario and Quebec hard and resulted in an accident on Highway 401 (the main highway between southern Ontario and Quebec) that closed the road for 30 hours because it became a hazmat incident, has resulted in a growing number of elected officials to call for some sort of action to prevent similar incidents in the future. The 30-vehicle crash killed the driver of a tractor-trailer, from which 8,000 litres of fluorosilicic acid spilled onto the highway, and sent 28 people to hospital, many for treatment for exposure to the chemical. Many of the injured were police officers, firefighters and paramedics. Long-distance truck drivers are exposed to certain health risks due to their occupation anyway, when then adding the potential exposure of deadly chemicals, this can be an extremely dangerous job indeed. See some more of the truck driver health risks here.

Fluorosilicic acid, which is listed as a dangerous good under the Canadian Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act, produces a highly toxic, highly corrosive and poisonous solution which is harmful to skin, lungs and eyes.

As reported in the The Kingston Whig Standard, the Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox and Addington Public Health’s board of governors have endorsed a city council motion asking the provincial government to prohibit the transportation of hazardous materials on highways during inclement weather. Accidents become more likely when there is a change in weather involved, and it can be more dangerous for those who find themselves in such weather. Commercial truck insurance helps to cover damages and protect drivers if such a thing were to happen.

The motion resolved that “the City of Kingston ask the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Environmental and Climate Change to consider additional safety measures, including prohibition, regarding the transportation of all Hazardous Materials during severe weather conditions.”

In New York State, all transport trucks had been ordered off the roads during the March 14th storm. Nonetheless, any professional and respected transportation services should have the awareness to make such a judgment call themselves. You would never find a full trailer load service by TS Europe running during conditions that could potentially put the life of the driver or the public at risk.

The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA), in a letter to Mayor of Prescott, the municipality near the scene of the March 14th hazmat incident on Highway 401, pointed out the trucking industry experiences approximately one spill for every 40,000 shipments it delivers. It also pointed out there are more than 2,200 commodities classified as dangerous goods – including shampoo and soap. In the view of the OTA, a ban on transportation of dangerous goods in poor weather conditions is impractical.

U.S. Study on sites contaminated by PFC

A team of researchers from Northeastern University and the Environmental Working Group recently released a report that showed that numerous locations across the United States had drinking water contaminated with perfluorocarbons.

PFCs – highly fluorinated toxic chemicals, also known as PFASs, have been linked to cancer, thyroid disease, weakened immunity and other health problems.
New research from EWG and Northeastern University in Boston details PFC pollution in tap water supplies for 15 million Americans in 27 states and from more than four dozen industrial and military sources.

EWG and the Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute at Northeastern collaborated to produce an interactive map that combines federal drinking water data and information on all publicly documented cases of PFAS pollution from manufacturing plants, military air bases, civilian airports and fire training sites.

On the map, blue circles show public water systems where PFCs were detected in public drinking water systems – the larger the circle, the more people served by the system. Clicking on a circle brings up detailed information, including contamination levels. Red dots indicate a contamination site in Northeastern’s PFAS Contamination Site Tracker. Clicking on a dot brings up detailed information and links to more information and resources from the Institute.

The map, which will be updated as more contamination is discovered, is the most comprehensive resource available to track PFC pollution in the U.S. Its release coincides with a major PFAS conference June 14 and 15 at Northeastern which will bring together scientists, regulators, activists and others to examine a class of pollutants that contaminate water, soil, and the bodies of animals and people worldwide but were little known until recently.

The map focuses on the most well-studied fluorinated compounds – perfluorooctanoic acid or PFOA, formerly used to make DuPont’s Teflon, and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid, or PFOS, formerly an ingredient in 3M’s Scotchgard. Because of their nonstick, waterproof and grease-repellent properties, these and closely related chemicals were used in hundreds of consumer products and industrial applications, including cookware, outdoor clothing, food packaging and firefighting foam..

PFOA and PFOS are known as “long-chain” PFCs because they are built around eight or more carbon atoms. They were phased out in the U.S. after information became known about their health hazards.

Despite widespread contamination and mounting evidence of health hazards, there are no federal regulations for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water. Last year the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency dramatically lowered its nonbinding health advisory level to 70 parts per trillion for either chemical or the two combined.

FLIR Announces FLIR Griffin G510 Portable Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer for Chemical Hazard Identification

FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ: FLIR) recently announced the Griffin G510 Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS), its first person-portable chemical identifier. The FLIR Griffin G510 enables military and civil responders to easily sample all phases of matter, including solid, liquid, and vapor, to rapidly identify chemical hazards in the field. The versatile Griffin G510 represents a new-generation of portable GC/MS capability, with multiple integrated sample inlets that simplify on-scene analysis and a technology core that delivers actionable, lab-caliber answers.

The FLIR Griffin G510 comes equipped with an integrated heated sample probe designed for downrange missions. When used in survey mode, it identifies vapor-phase chemicals within seconds. The split/split-less injector allows for environmental, forensic, and hazardous material sampling by enabling syringe injection of organic liquids, a first for person-portable GC/MS systems.

Featuring a nine-inch touchscreen, the FLIR Griffin G510 can be operated while wearing full personal protective equipment when in a hot zone. When a chemical threat is automatically identified using industry-standard NIST library, the FLIR Griffin G510 alerts the operator with audible, visual, and color-coded alarms. Designed to withstand harsh environments, the FLIR Griffin G510 is IP65-rated, dust-tight and spray-resistant. Long-lasting, onboard, rechargeable batteries ensure every mission receives support from beginning to end.

“The FLIR Griffin G510 is a groundbreaking chemical analysis tool that brings versatility and lab quality performance and identification to the field.” said Dennis Barket, Jr., Vice President and General Manager of FLIR Detection. “The ability to quickly identify unknown threats and confirm known hazards gives responders confidence to take immediate action, ensuring the public’s safety.”

FLIR will showcase the FLIR Griffin G510 at the International Hazardous Materials Response Teams Conference hosted by the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) June 16-17, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland, booth #1153. The FLIR Griffin G510 will be available for order worldwide in the second half of 2017 through FLIR and established distribution networks. To learn more about the FLIR Griffin G510, please visit: www.flir.com/G510

About FLIR Systems, Inc.

Founded in 1978 and headquartered in Wilsonville, Oregon, FLIR Systems is a world-leading maker of sensor systems that enhance perception and heighten awareness, helping to save lives, improve productivity, and protect the environment. Through its nearly 3,500 employees, FLIR’s vision is to be “The World’s Sixth Sense” by leveraging thermal imaging and adjacent technologies to provide innovative, intelligent solutions for security and surveillance, environmental and condition monitoring, outdoor recreation, machine vision, navigation, and advanced threat detection. For more information, please visit www.flir.com and follow @flir.