Specialty: Groundwater and water resources
Aspect Consulting, a new firm founded this past fall, has hit the ground running.
Formed by an employee purchase of the Bainbridge Island office of Associated Earth Sciences, Aspect has rapidly built its business while holding on to existing clients.
The firm focuses broadly on water resources.
“It turns out that groundwater is one of the key factors in land use change due to the Endangered Species Act,” said Doug Hillman, a partner at the firm.
“For a while the issue was to control flooding. Now (regulators) realize what they need to do is control the runoff,” Hillman said, noting that land use change is one of the opportunities to address the issue.
“The water resource practice also involves land use permitting,” Hillman said. “We do a lot of work with the Port of Seattle on the Third Runway project.”
Other clients include the Port of Tacoma, sand and gravel company Cadman Inc., the Quendall Terminals project in Renton and Calpine Energy.
For Calpine, Aspect worked on the water rights issues surrounding a proposed power plant in Goldendale.
In collaboration with the city and Calpine, Aspect managed to secure adequate water rights for the project. “A key step for economic growth in that region,” Hillman said.
Aspect’s ground water remediation practice tries to come up with cost-effective ways to clean up tough sites.
In many cases, Hillman said, “The sheer value of the property might not be able to fund a large scale traditional cleanup.”
Hillman said dry cleaners are an example of a difficult remediation on a small site.
“Usually dry cleaners are on great pieces of property — great commercial property.” But located near residential neighborhoods with homes with basements, chemicals from dry cleaning operations can easily seep into people’s property.
“Ultimately it’s impact to groundwater that will drive the cleanup,” Hillman said. “Treatment of groundwater is complex and costly.”
Overall, he thinks regulatory agencies are becoming more comfortable with innovative treatments that can put land back into productive use.
“The whole marketplace is getting smart — regulators, clients and the public are getting smart.”
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