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April Showers bring .... basement flooding


While this spring has been relatively dry, springtime usually brings lots of rainfall and late april and early may is typically the time of year when the groundwater levels are highest. These two factors work together to cause groundwater intrusion and basement flooding.

The problem with wet basements (aside from the actual damage caused by the water) is that each case is unique and there is no one solution fits all. For some people, installing a sump pit and a sump pump is all the is needed, for others, hiring a basement contractor will fix the problem. For recurring persistent flooding issues, a site-specific engineered solution may be what is needed.  An engineered solution can target the cause of the flooding and address it at its source.

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Norfolk can design an engineered solution to keep your basement dry throughout every spring. For more information or to speak about your specific problem, please contact Mark S. Bartlett P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 131.

Download our free wet basement/basement flooding evaluation kit here. 

Interesting Article on Water Rights


Here in the northeast, despite the unusually dry spring we are having, we live in a "water rich" climate, with around 45 inches per year of rainfall. In fact we get so much rainfall, that we as engineers are concerned with whether or not the intensity of the rainfall events for the stormwater management systems we design should be increased.  Because of our frequent and consistent rainfall, you typically don't hear much about water rights. Out west, water rights are more of an issue, particulary around the Colorado River basin, which provides the drinking water supply for several states in that area.  That being said, water rights issues can be very important in different places, which was clearly demonstrated in a recent article in Time.

The article is about the water rights to rivers when the states of India and Pakistan were created. The article provides some good perspective about the issues upstream impacts can have on downstream resources, please have a read and leave us some comments with anything you've taken away from the article: Waters wars with India and Pakistan

EPA has finalized its 2012 Construction General Permit


The US EPA issued its final 2012 Construction General Permit on February 16, 2012.  The new permit will replace the expired 2008 permit, and will be in effect until 2017.  The Permit provides coverage for new and existing construction projects that exceed the thresholds of disturbance. The permit's goal are to reduce sedimentation and pollution from stormwater runoff from large construction projects.

The original draft permit included a numerical limit for Turbidity, however that was not included in the final permit. The final permit required Best Management Practices be prescribed. A guide on how to meet the Best Management Practices is included as an appendix to the Permit.

Another change is for construction sites that discharge to impaired waterbodies (from sediment or nutrients) are subject to more rapid stabilization and more frequent site inspections. The new permit requires the preparation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan prior to submitting a Notice of Intent with EPA. The Notice of Intent must be submitted electronically, and more information can be found by visiting the EPA's NPDES Construction General Permit website.

Erosion Control resized 600

Erosion Control is necessary to prevent runoff from affecting downgradient resource areas.

Landmark agreement on Dioxins contamination cleanup


The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality recently reached an agreement with the Dow Chemical Company to clean up to 1,500 residential properites contaminated with dioxins in Midland Michigan, home of its manufacturing plant and corporate headquarters.  The agreement proposes an action level of 250 parts per trillion of dioxins in the residential soils.  The action level is set in accordance with EPA's approved risk assessment procedures, and their recent announcement setting a safe level of exposure for TCDD, a potent congener.

Soil sampling will begin in June for the project, and the program will also offer relocation support to people who rent affected homes, should the homeowner not choose to participate in the program. As an extra effort, Dow says it is also offering to purchase approximately 50 homes and lots located within the industrial and commercially zoned area noted in the cleanup agreement.

For more information of Dioxins or soil and groundwater contamination, contact Brian V. Moran, P.E. at (508) 747-7900 extension 189 or (508) 309-4793.

Information in this post taken from an article entitled "Michigan, Dow Agree on Cleanup" by Glenn Hess, on Page 7 of the February 27, 2012 edition of Chemical & Engineering News.

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