Specialty: Plans and implements soil and groundwater cleanup for contaminated brownfield sites
Despite a lagging economy after Sept. 11, the brownfields cleanup business is booming, said Farallon Principal Peter Jewett.
The Issaquah-based firm spent much of 2001 removing chlorinated solvents from dry-cleaner sites — and soil and groundwater across the Puget Sound are far from pressed and steamed.
“In a strip mall, dry cleaners are the draw. Everyone loves them,” Farallon said. “But the contaminants are difficult and expensive to clean up.”
The firm’s largest current project is a contaminated groundwater Superfund site just south of downtown Chehalis. Farallon is conducting a feasibility study with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and S.C. Breen Construction Co., the potentially responsible party.
New dry-cleaners filter harmful solvents and reuse them, Jewett said. Dry-cleaners that went up in the 1960s through the 1990s “dumped chlorinated solvents down a drain.”
“It didn’t necessarily work,” he said.
The investigative phase is similar to that of gas station sites, a major focus in previous years. “It’s just a matter of picking up the technology appropriate to the chemicals.”
The firm is also doing clean-up work at logging camps in Alaska.
The bulk of Farallon’s business in 2000 and previous years came through the purchase and sale of contaminated sites. As property sales lagged after Sept. 11, insurance claims have paid the firm’s bills. Farallon now often negotiates deals with clients, insurance firms and legal teams.
As for the regulatory climate, Jewett said changes to the Model Toxics Control Act last year made cleanups more specific to a site.
“It’s a good thing,” he said. “An industrial site is seen differently than a site in Mill Creek near a day-care center and schools.”
Farallon has grown from three employees in 1999 to a current staff of 24, and Jewett expects continued growth this year as contaminated sites hit the market.
“We’ve created a niche,” he said. “We’re a small- to medium-sized firm, but we have a large firm’s experience.”
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