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Triantafilis J.,University of New South Wales | Terhune C.H.,University of New South Wales | Terhune C.H.,Environmental Resources Management Inc. | Monteiro Santos F.A.,University of Lisbon
Environmental Modelling and Software | Year: 2013

The alluvial clay plains of the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) have been extensively developed for irrigated agricultural production. Whilst irrigation has brought economic prosperity, there have been isolated environmental impacts. This is because the plains were formed by a system of ancient streams (i.e. prior stream and palaeochannels) that are characterised by coarse textured sediments and which are susceptible to deep drainage. To improve irrigation efficiency and natural resource management outcomes, information is required to characterise the connectivity of prior stream channels with underlying migrational channel deposits (i.e. palaeochannels). One option is the use of electromagnetic (EM) induction instruments which measure the apparent soil electrical conductivity (σa - mS/m). In this paper, we describe how σa collected using a next-generation DUALEM-421 and an EM34 can be used in conjunction with a joint-inversion algorithm (EM4Soil) to generate a 2d model of electrical conductivity (σ - mS/m) across an irrigated cotton growing field located on Quaternary alluvial clay plain in the lower Gwydir valley of NSW (Australia). The results compare favourably with existing pedological and stratigraphic knowledge. On the clay alluvial plain the accumulation of Aeolian and cyclical salt in the root zone and depth of clay alluvium are discerned by the DUALEM-421 and EM34, respectively. In addition, the approach is able to resolve the location of buried migrational channel deposits (i.e. palaeochannel) underlying the clay plain and the connectivity of these coarser sediments with a prior stream channel. Quantitatively the best correlation between estimated σ and measured soil properties, was found to be greatest when the DUALEM-421 and EM34 data were jointly inverted and when predicting EC1:5 (r2 = 0.61). © 2013 Elsevier Ltd.

Naghibi A.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
World Environmental and Water Resources Congress 2016: Watershed Management, Irrigation and Drainage, and Water Resources Planning and Management - Papers from Sessions of the Proceedings of the 2016 World Environmental and Water Resources Congress | Year: 2016

Measured and estimated hydrologic data are key to development of watershed assessment tools including hydrologic, water quality, and water balance models. Although, it is recognized that uncertainty in hydrologic data undermines the reliability of such models, water resources practitioners still do not or cannot adequately incorporate data uncertainty in model calibration and validation. Disconnected and decoupled data collection, analysis, and modeling processes are the primary reason why data uncertainty is neglected during calibration and validation. This work investigates the impacts of data uncertainty on hydrologic analysis and modeling results. An example project is used to demonstrate how the characterization of data uncertainty can inform the data collection, data analysis, and modeling processes. Main sources of data uncertainty (e.g., field measurements, rating curve development, and time-series development) are reviewed, and a discussion is provided about how these uncertainties can be characterized. This work acknowledges that sources of data uncertainty and appropriate methodologies to characterize and reduce uncertainty are case-specific and therefore does not recommend one methodology over another. However, it provides a list of considerations for identifying and characterizing the most critical sources of uncertainty. © ASCE.

Hamel R.P.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
Air and Waste Management Association - Guideline on Air Quality Models 2016: The New Path | Year: 2016

On October 1st, 2015, EPA announced that the 8-hour ozone NAAQS was being reduced from the current 75 ppb standard to 70 ppb. While the update to the standard is significant, especially to those areas already in non- Attainment with regard to the current ozone NAAQS and also to those where monitored backgrounds are currently above the new limit of 70 ppb, the more onerous development with regard to ozone impacts is the proposed revision to Appendix W that would require major sources applying for a PSD permit to assess the impacts on ozone and secondary PM2.5 formation. EPA now contends that advances in photochemical models such as CAMx and CMAQ, as well as the widespread availability of more powerful computers, have made it feasible to assess the impact of individual sources on the formation of these secondary pollutants. This is a significant change in approach to these pollutants that have long been thought of as regional and handled by addressing the sum of regional and upwind emissions rather than studying the potential contribution of a single facility. EPA proposes a two- Tiered approach for assessing the impacts of these pollutants: Tier 1 would involve using known relationships between precursor emissions and a source's impacts to qualitatively assess the impact on ozone formation. Tier 2 would require a more detailed analysis and could involve application of a photochemical grid model to determine the impacts. In order to aid in the determination of which Tier an application would fall under, EPA intends to pursue separate rulemaking to establish Model Emission Rates for Precursors, or MERP's. A MERP would represent a level of emissions of precursors that is not expected to contribute significantly to concentrations of ozone or secondarily-formed PM2.5. The future rulemaking would also define what conditions require a Tier-1 analysis vs. a Tier-2 analysis. Impacts in excess of the ozone MERP's, once defined, would likely require a Tier-2 analysis, which could require potentially time consuming and expensive photochemical modeling. This paper will review the proposed methodology for assessing the impacts of single-sources on these secondary pollutants and the potential costs and complications of doing so. In addition to the current proposed changes in approach, the new rulemaking around MERPs and the further definition of what criteria will be used to determine the level of analysis required will be discussed.

Wright N.H.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE E and P Health, Safety, Security and Environmental Conference - Americas 2015 | Year: 2015

New dimensions of environmental loss and escalating liabilities following Macondo have catapulted environmental risk to a key feature on the corporate balance sheet. Forecasting expected losses of critical environmental functions, which underpin society, is setting new challenges insurance underwriters and scientists. A critique of recent case histories will be presented to illustrate the latest dimensions of future risk needs. International operators wrestle with the dollar value of reputational risks of uncharted frontier areas with sensitive marine ecosystems which affect both stakeholder confidence and the stock price. Governments now recognize the criticality of managing environmental capital and services when dealing with new energy concessions in sensitive coastal zones. International efforts to develop "state of the art" techniques to quantify the spectrum of ecosystem services will be presented together with a critique of how readily these can be factored into decision making. Advances in global geographic information systems and satellite imagery illustrate the unprecedented future opportunities to measure ecosystem functions and changes. A series of case histories will illustrate cutting edge approaches to dealing with oil spill risk for offshore assets revealing environmental resource risk exposure, risk reduction, consequences and future liabilities. The criteria used to determine "environmental damage or loss" are fundamental to our approaches to corporate risk management. Our understanding of the role of factors such as: biodiversity; ecosystem robustness; recoverability; habitat uniqueness; species population status and life cycles in the sustainability of ecosystem services will be reviewed and reveals fundamental gaps in knowledge. The global efforts being made to place $ values on the world's natural capital and ecosystem life support services will be summarised. A pioneering approach to due diligence of investments, planning, new concessions and oil spill risk assessments will be presented. Insights will be given on the latest techniques for mapping environmental resources and services in integrated GIS systems on the web, which will provide an "ecosystem health thermometer" making damage to ecosystem services visible to stakeholders. Operators' future "licence to operate" will depend in part on utilizing ecosystem service approaches and values to address stakeholder sustainability and values concerns. Copyright 2015, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Levesque J.C.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
PeerJ | Year: 2015

Ladyfish (Elops sp) are a common and economically valuable coastal nearshore species found along coastal beaches, bays, and estuaries of the southeastern United States, and subtropical and tropical regions worldwide. Previously, ladyfish were a substantial bycatch in Florida's commercial fisheries, but changes in regulations significantly reduced commercial landings. Today, ladyfish are still taken in commercial fisheries in Florida, but many are also taken by recreational anglers. Life-history information and research interest in ladyfish is almost non-existent, especially information on age and growth. Thus, the overarching purpose of this study was to expand our understanding of ladyfish age and growth characteristics. The specific objectives were to describe, for the first time, age, growth, and recruitment patterns of juvenile ladyfish from the east coast of Florida (USA). In the Indian River Lagoon (IRL), annual monthly length-frequency distributions were confounded because a few small individuals recruited throughout the year; monthly length-frequency data generally demonstrated a cyclical pattern. The smallest were collected in September and the largest inMay. Post-hoc analysis showed no significant difference in length between August and May, or among the other months. In Volusia County (VC), annual monthly length-frequency distribution demonstrated growth generally occurred from late-winter and spring to summer. The smallest ladyfish were collected in February and the largest in August. On average, the absolute growth rate in the IRL was 36.3 mm in 60 days or 0.605 mm day-1. Cohort-specific daily growth rates, elevations, and coincidentals were similar among sampling years. Cohort-specific growth rates ranged from 1.807 in 1993 to 1.811 mm day-1 in 1994. Overall, growth was best (i.e., goodness of fit) described by exponential regression. On average, the absolute growth rate in VC was 28mmin 150 days or 0.1866 mm day-1. Cohort-specific daily growth rates were significantly different among sampling years; however, the elevations and coincidentals were similar. Cohort-specific growth rates ranged from 1.741 in 1994 to 1.933 mm day-1 in 1993. Mean ladyfish growth was best described by linear regression; however, natural growth was explained better by exponential regression. In the IRL, the corrected exponential growth equation yielded a size-at-age 1 of 156.0mmSL, which corresponded to an estimated growth rate of 0.4356mmday-1. In VC, the corrected exponential growth equation yielded a size-at-age 1 of 80mmSL corresponding to an estimated growth rate of 0.2361mmday-1. © 2015 Levesque.

Hawkins S.C.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
30th Center for Chemical Process Safety International Conference 2015 - Topical Conference at the 2015 AIChE Spring Meeting and 11th Global Congress on Process Safety | Year: 2015

Over the past two decades there have been numerous industrial accidents which have brought the effectiveness of Occupational and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Process Safety Management (PSM) Standard and Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Accidental Release Risk Management Planning (RMP) Rule under review. On August 1, 2013, President Obama, largely in response to the explosion at the West Fertilizer Company in Texas, signed an Executive Order mandating that the relevant agencies "improve the safety and security of the chemical industry in the United States".1 As a result, both OSHA and EPA have recently requested information on sweeping new proposed changes for both the PSM and RMP regulations. This paper will examine OSHA's and EPA's proposed changes in the context of how they can be harmonized and streamlined by utilizing the basic concepts of the Center for Chemical Process Safety (CCPS) Risk Based Process Safety (RBPS) guidelines and CCPS Vision 20/20 themes. As such, the paper will outline a suggested path forward for U.S. regulations that incorporate the basic CCPS Vision 20/20 tenets to establish rules that are harmonized with leading generally accepted global Process Safety practices. Copyright © (2015) by AIChE All rights reserved.

Mitchell R.E.,Environmental Resources Management Inc. | Parkins J.R.,University of Alberta
Ecology and Society | Year: 2011

This paper provides a synopsis on social indicators as relevant to cumulative effects assessment and land use planning. Although much has been done to better understand the social dimensions of environmental assessment, empirical work has been lacking on social indicators that could be used either as measurable inputs or outputs for cumulative effects assessment and land use planning in different kinds of communities and regions. Cumulative effects models currently in practice often fail to address deeper issues of community and regional well-being. Against this gap, social scientists are being asked to make reliable generalizations about functional, measurable relationships between certain social indicators and land use change or scenarios. To address this challenge, the Alberta Research Council held a two-day workshop in 2005 with social scientists. The workshop resulted in a list of prioritized social indicators that could be included in cumulative effects modeling/assessments and land use planning. The top five social indicators included population growth rate, education attainment, self-assessed quality of life, equity, i.e., distribution of benefits, and locus of control. Although consensus on social indicators and social thresholds for cumulative effects models was not reached, the insight gained from the workshop will help inform future cumulative effects assessment and land use planning. © 2011 by the author(s).

Simmerman J.A.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
Society of Petroleum Engineers - SPE Americas E and P Health, Safety, Security, and Environmental Conference 2013 | Year: 2013

Since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, industries and businesses have made significant security improvements in many areas of critical infrastructure protection. This has been especially true of the oil and gas industry. Business continuity and the national security paradigm in which we live have dictated security improvements especially in critical facilities. Coupled with new security regulations mandated by federal and local governments such as the Maritime Transportation Security Act (MTSA) and the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS), the oil and gas industry has made significant upgrades to security. Copyright 2013, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Butts D.B.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
2nd International Conference on Upstream Engineering and Flow Assurance 2014 - Topical Conference at the 2014 AIChE Spring Meeting and 10th Global Congress on Process Safety | Year: 2014

With the continued differential between diesel and natural gas costs, onshore well operators have been working to convert both drilling rigs and hydraulic fracturing pumps to utilize natural gas as fuel. Associated with this conversion is a change in the risk profile that may not be fully recognized or understood in the field. Risk management philosophies and assumptions need to adjust to the difference in hazard characteristics between the fuels, as well as the variety of delivery methods. Specific topics will include: • Motivations for fuel conversion and the differences in scale for rig power, natural gas substitution on diesel hydraulic fracturing pumps, and dedicated natural gas powered hydraulic fracturing pumps. Risk mitigation and field training requirements may not fully accounted for in investment decisions. • Scale of conversion and location specific availability drives natural gas sourcing, which can then drive personnel risk and well pad layout issues depending on whether the gas is sourced from local wellheads, pipeline, Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), or Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG). Separate Simultaneous Operations (SIMOPS) issues can arise based on the specifics of each sourcing method. • Associated risks need to be appropriately managed in a manner that involves the personnel directly exposed. And there is a need to ensure that well sites which did not previously present a threat to surrounding activities do not become a threat due to either direct risk from the fuel conversion itself or from escalation risks not previously of concern.

Thomas A.O.,Environmental Resources Management Inc.
Society of Petroleum Engineers - 1st SPE African Health, Safety, Security and Environment and Social Responsibility Conference and Exhibition 2014 - Protecting People and the Environment: Getting it Right for the Development of the Oil and Gas Industry in Africa | Year: 2014

Sustainable remediation has been defined as 'the practice of demonstrating, in terms of environmental, economic and social indicators, that the benefit of undertaking remediation is greater than its impact and that the optimum remediation solution is selected through the use of a balanced decision-making process'. Sustainable remediation has emerged as a significant area of interest for the management of contaminated land and water for regulators, industry and practitioners in Western Europe, the USA and Asia Pacific. It seems likely that sustainable remediation will develop into a key policy and practice consideration in future years. The application of sustainable remediation principles to the management of upstream oil and gas legacy related impacts have not been explored to date. This paper attempts to define sustainable remediation in the context of onshore upstream O&G operations, demonstrate how sustainable remediation principles could be applied within the context of existing best practice guidance and explore the opportunities that sustainable remediation may bring as well as the barriers that may exist to its implementation. The primary conclusion is that where existing regulations are absent or incomplete sustainable remediation can offer an improved framework for the management of contaminated land issues that results in solutions that are protective of human health and the environment, inclusive of the views of local stakeholders and is transparent and robust. Where regulations do exist then sustainability should be considered in the context of what is practically achievable. Sustainable remediation can be a driver for improved engagement with stakeholders that can result in locally acceptable solutions that maximize the benefits to local society as well as acting as a catalyst to drive innovative technical solutions. It is recommended that the application of sustainable remediation to upstream oil and gas sites should be examined more closely with a view to developing sector specific guidance and best management practices that promote the incorporation of sustainability and that the procedures for management of contaminated land associated with upstream operations draw on best practices from other parts of the oil and gas sector and contaminated land management as a whole. Copyright © 2014, Society of Petroleum Engineers.

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