[Environmental Outlook]
August 20, 1998

1998 Environmental Outlook

Many environmental firms found 1998 to be a kinder year than 1997. While larger geotechnical work continued to be on the decline, the areas continued rash of development has led to an increase in environmental planning work.

Bear and salmon
Corbis Photo
The DJC's 1998 Environmental Outlook examines many of the environmental issues facing the Northwest. Dr. Brent Boger examines what he sees as a general paranoia about environmental disasters in the media and government. On the other hand, Michael Wert and Richard Myers look at the important relationship between the fate of local salmon and the well being of our entire environment.

While Superfund work is quickly becoming a thing of the past, several large projects are still in the works. A story by Mark MacIntyre of the Environmental Protection Agency looks back at the extensive work that has been done cleaning up the Bunker Hill mine in Idaho, and Thomas Boydell examines the varying success of brownfield cleanups in the area.

As always, you'll find the DJC's survey of local environmental firms to get a first hand look at how the industry is doing. You'll also find some good advice for putting together your next proposal.

You'll find these and other stories about the environment, the environmental consulting industry and environmental policy in this year's Envrionmental Outlook.

- Maude Scott, editor

Environmental Outlook 1998: Firm Survey
We surveyed 21 local environmental firms about the industry. Here's what they said.
Demand for environmental professionals is picking up
After a poor showing over the past two years, job prospects for environmental professionals are starting to take a turn upward. Many firms report recent hires, not just because of attrition, but because the overall market is improving.
Saving Northwest salmon may save us, too
When salmon are in bad shape and getting worse, the things people enjoy about Washington are also in danger.
Firms finding out that preventing pollution pays off
Soap suds and soil particles may seem penny ante as pollution sources go. But in the fast growing Puget Sound metropolitan area, small, "non-point" pollution sources add up and they all run downhill into the streams and bays where salmon are having a harder time making a living.
Beware knee-jerk reactions to salmon listing
Environmental attorney Brent Boger shares his concerns about the conjectures of some politicians and media about the state of our environment.
Norhtwest boom masks environmental slowdown
The domestic environmental consulting and engineering (C&E) business is currently undergoing significant changes throughout the U.S. in a shift brought on by fundamental market conditions.
Making MTCA clearer and more flexible
The Washington State Department of Ecology is currently working on revising the rules governing cleanup of contaminated sites under the Model Toxics Control Act.
`Green' building approach starting to put down roots
Environmentally friendly construction, or "green building" as it is often called, aims to achieve sustainability by incorporating principles, techniques and materials that conserve natural resources and improve environmental quality throughout a building's entire life-cycle.
Bunker Hill: light at the end of the tunnel
Fueled by over $20 million in federal cleanup funds this year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Morrison Knudsen Co. of Boise, and a host of other contractors and consultants are winding-up the biggest construction season ever at the Bunker Hill Superfund site in northern Idaho.
Wetlands: when construction stops monitoring starts
Goals and performance standards are established for wetland mitigation plans during the agency approval process. Many agencies require a wetland construction bond -- based on the value of a project's wetland -- to ensure that mitigation projects will be installed. Release of the bonds will only occur after compliance of the permitted wetland plans.
Why do some firms seem to win more jobs?
Oceans of water are oceans of life, too
The title of this article is the subtitle of the National Ocean Conference which was held June 11-12 in Monterey, Calif., in recognition of the fact that the United Nations has declared 1998 the International Year of the Ocean (YOTO 98).
ITOS can provide efficiency, timely spill response
Since ITOS became operational in October 1997, tug participation continues to increase in what is the largest transponder-based, vessel-assist system in the world.
How is the brownfield expirament working?
Preserving and recycling industrial land involves issues too intricate, and environmental consequences too important, to be governed by an attitude of opposition and mistrust between environmental and economic interests. A more collaborative approach is required, which is at the heart of brownfields initiatives.
Working through ESA Salmon Listings
On March 9, the National Marine Fisheries Service proposed the listing of Puget Sound chinook salmon as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. This decision, in combination with a variety of water resource management issues facing the Puget Sound region and the entire Northwest, will have far-reaching effects.
Should you be concerned about mold?
Joining asbestos, lead and PCBs, mold in buildings has captured the public's attention as a potential health hazard requiring special care.
Water recovery a hot issue for industry today
This is an unusual success story which seems to be repeated throughout industry and government. The story shows how the environment and industry can be linked in multiple ways. Yes, we are all connected.
`Downwinders' still press their case against Hanford
The largest plutonium production project in the world occurred at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, a 560-square mile manufacturing plant located in southeastern Washington.
Local sheriff helps firm clean up its act
This is an unusual success story which seems to be repeated throughout industry and government. The story shows how the environment and industry can be linked in multiple ways.
Water issues changing consultant's role
Despite the news that one out of every four environmental consulting firms has gone out of business in the last two years (according to recent trends tracked by the Environmental Information Digest), niche companies specializing in hydrogeologic science services may be able to survive because of the steepening demand for water supply.
VCP gets sites cleaned quicker, cheaper
VCP. It's an acronym with a lot of substance behind it. It stands for Voluntary Cleanup Program, and it's the name of a range of services Ecology offers to liable parties to clean up contaminated sites.
Having a healthy workplace becomes a big priority
The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration estimates that 21 million Americans work in offices, schools, factories and other buildings where indoor air pollution is a problem.
An energy revolution in your back yard
There is a lot of talk about moving to clean energy for the sake of the world's environment.
Northwest will face environmental justice issues
Legal precedents have been set in the eastern United States regarding environmental justice and are now occurring in the western United States.
California Superfund site shows what Greenfield can do
Greenfield Development began as a brainstorm between James C. Towne and George Blackstone as they sat talking in the Bellevue Club in January, 1996.
Eagle lands on newly cleaned Kent site
Kent Central LLC's redevelopment of a 34-acre former steel manufacturing facility in Kent, is on track and will result in a site cleaned up to the satisfaction of state regulators - and a new regional distribution warehouse and corporate headquarters for Eagle Hardware.
DNAPLs present a remediation puzzle
As the environmental industry and remediation technologies continue to mature and improve, and remediation companies gain more confidence in cleaning up sites, the more difficult sites are starting to be remediated.
The Internet as an environmental tool
The ability to access and share environmental information, whether internal to a company or as part of the activities associated with a regulatory agency, offers tremendous advances in developing effective environmental management systems.
This school building will also be a teacher
Visualize your old high school. Start with the exterior. Do you see a venerable expanse of brick or maybe a cement block monolith? Now visualize these terms: daylighting, site preservation, natural materials, rooms with views, flexibility and adaptability. Are you still thinking of your high school or are you thinking about an open, airy space with big windows and room to move?
Friends don't let friends drive SUVs
Every ad markets the beauty of the outdoors to appeal to prospective buyers' fantasies of escaping traffic and urban hassles. In reality, these gas-guzzling machines are hastening the undoing of the outdoors and rapidly polluting those beautiful skies.

Copyright © 1998 Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce.