Problem: The St. Louis Missouri Metropolitan Sewer District owns and maintains 3,000 miles of stormwater sewers around the metropolitan area, and prior to 2012 had nearly 400 combined sewer overflows. Stormwater management and surface water quality in the city was poor and there were impending violations from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment. A consent decree was met and the Metropolitan Sewer District was obligated to spend nearly $7.5 billion on stormwater and surface water quality improvement projects. As part of this decree, they were chose to use compost-based bioretention systems for land disturbing activities that were one acre or larger.
Solution: St. Louis Compost brought in Filtrexx as a consultant to train the Metropolitan Sewer District on compost-based sustainable management practices (SMPs). The training included performance metrics and the supporting science behind these practices, how to understand and interpret lab reports, and developing compost-based bioretention specifications and engineering criteria requirements.
Success: This training lead to new standards in the St. Louis metro area. It ultimately lead to a large increase in interest in compost-based bioretention systems by the surrounding counties and municipal governments. This significantly increased the use of compost and allowed for St. Louis Compost to be the leading supplier for these applications in the metro area. The Metropolitan Sewer District moved forward in meeting critical consent decree obligations and goals with the EPA. Since 2012, nearly 2,700 bioretention systems have been installed in the region using an average of 750 cubic yards of compost per installation, totaling 2,025,000 cubic yards of compost. Additionally, the quality of the compost in the region increased as the Metropolitan Sewer District better understood specifics of compost quality while also greatly improving water quality across the metropolitan region.
Interested in working together on compost-based solutions for your city? Visit filtrexx.com for more information.
As the Marketing Manager for Filtrexx, Teele works heavily in the digital and social arenas of marketing, running the Filtrexx Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages. She also serves as writer and editor of press releases, project profiles and most recently, the Filtrexx blog. Teele attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in public relations and a Master of Science in corporate communication. Teele has worked in marketing roles for various companies around the Twin Cities before landing at Filtrexx in July, 2017.
As a risk management specialist, I was surprised to see recent environmental violation citations charged by two state Departments of Environmental Protection in the news. A homebuilder in California and a pipeline in Virginia both violated two critical risk categories – A) Regulatory Compliance Risk and B) Reputation Risk. Some may wonder how or why these events happened.
A properly functioning enterprise-wide risk management (ERM) process, if followed correctly, should have prevented both of these losses. The ERM program for either company would have identified the violations that occurred and developed a procedure to protect the company using traditional risk management techniques.
Each company will have developed their own the risk management process steps based on their business operations. Here are the basic steps briefly outlined below for a typical risk management program.
- Identify & define the risk: In both cases the compliance risks of being fined for violating environmental regulations were obvious based on the amount of the fines imposed.However, the damage to each company’s reputation is not so obvious but will impact each company by loss of contracts or loss of the sale of their products through potential customers reading press and blog reports of their violations.
- Assess the risks that have been identified: Assessing the risk basically is to determine what will be the negative impact on the business’s goals and overall financial performance if a major event occurs.Assuming that the risk of environmental regulatory violation will be a major impact on the business the next step is to develop an action plan to deal with the risk.
- Review & Control: This step is to evaluate each potential risk and determine if it is a risk that should be Assumed (self-insured), Reduced (by quality control and establishing monitoring procedures), Eliminated (quit doing) or Transferred (through insurance or contract with another firm to provide the services who will accept the responsibility that their product or service will meet or exceed environmental protection requirements).
- Monitor & Correct: This would be used with a process that would monitor job sites to make sure they follow the company’s quality control and environmental compliance procedures. Corrections to environmental infractions would be made as needed.
Rick has over thirty years of food and agribusiness industry experience. He provides industry-specific experience with an emphasis on risk identification, assessment and solution development for strategic risks, and other high-impact financial volatility risk exposures of a global food system. Rick currently serves as president and consulting practice leader of Strategic Risk Solutions, Inc. (SRSI).
Do you worry about choosing a sediment control product or practice that meets state and federal requirements? If not, you should. If you specify or install a product that doesn’t meet state regulatory guidelines and specifications, you are at risk for having to remove and replace the product on the job site (at your cost), or worse, be held liable for non-compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act and State Erosion and Sediment Control Laws, each of which can carry large fines and even the potential for jail time.
Filtrexx SiltSoxx is the only compost filter sock that meets standard specifications in all 50 states and all jurisdictional Federal Agencies. Filtrexx is the only company that regularly conducts third-party testing from a laboratory certified by the US Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance Program that utilizes state and federal agency required test methods, known as the Test Methods for the Examination of Composting and Compost (TMECC), to ensure compliance with all state and federal agency specifications.In addition, as state agencies adopt performance standards for sediment control products, Filtrexx is the only company that has conducted ASTM performance tests, performance evaluations by accredited research universities and Federal Agency laboratories, and publishes the results in publicly available peer-reviewed scientific journals.
Filtrexx follows this process to help engineers and designers minimize risk on any construction site and have the peace of mind that the products they are using are compliant with all applicable requirements and regulations – no matter where they are across North America. This process is also designed to raise the transparency, product quality, and product performance of the erosion and sediment control industry through leading by example. Care about clean water or just plain sleeping well at night? - Make sure Filtrexx products are on your job site.
Dr. Britt Faucette, Ph.D., is an Ecosystem Scientist, CPESC, and LEED AP. He earned his Ph.D. from the Odom School of Ecology at the University of Georgia where he researched soil-water-plant performances of various BMPs used in soil erosion and stormwater management applications; served as a state specialist in storm water management, organics recycling, and pollution prevention programs; and served as an adjunct professor. Britt coordinates research, design, and training services for the stormwater and organic materials management industries and serves on technical committees and boards with ASTM, GRHC, CCREF, and IECA. In 2008 he was awarded the annual USCC Clean Water Award. Britt has authored numerous peer-reviewed and popular press publications and popular press articles, two books, federal and state specifications, and has been awarded nearly $500,000 in research grants.
As I write this today, I am sitting at my home office in New Bern, North Carolina. As you may recall, New Bern was front and center in the national news for the destruction from a 10’ storm surge caused by Hurricane Florence. The devastation is great. Seeing all the belongings people have piled high along the curb after feet of water destroyed their things is heartbreaking. Marinas were destroyed with countless boats sunk and others carried hundreds of feet upland. Many say, “That’s what you get!” when you live on the water. You have to understand, New Bern is about 30 miles inland on the Neuse River… not exactly on the coast.
What does this have to do with Filtrexx? It got me thinking about creating resilient structures both along the shoreline and in the flood plain. What do resilient structures look like? Most people see homes raised in the air to allow the water to rush under the house, or adding flood doors in crawl spaces to allow the water to move through without destroying the home. With shorelines, we can stop placing bulkheads along the shoreline which transfers the wave energy to unprotected areas. The surge is higher than the top of the shoreline structures that allow the wave energy to remove the soil from behind the bulkhead, causing a total collapse of the structure.
Living Shorelines have proven themselves time and time again to help absorb the wave energy, helping to reduce the energy that would normally erode the bank. Bioretention systems can help reduce stormwater volume to prevent flooding and dam failures. Compost filled SiltSoxx do not fall down. GreenLoxx wall systems help to absorb water, not repel it like hard structures.
The bottom line is real: sea levels are rising. We will see more storms and they will be more damaging, as the structures built years ago cannot stand up to these storms. Among the devastation, we have an opportunity to rebuild new structures that are more resilient than the ones destroyed.
As we begin to plan for recovery and designs are proposed, ask yourself one thing: Is this structure resilient and am I planning for tomorrow? I will certainly be keeping this question in mind, especially as I participate in the upcoming National Summit on Coastal and Estuarine Restoration and Management in December. I’m honored to be speaking at this summit, and I look forward to learning from others as well on new ways we can build resilient shorelines.
We are lucky that Filtrexx has a full team of experts ready to help you design and implement the most suitable living shoreline solution for your specific project – please don’t hesitate to reach out.
Jeff Opel has 30 years of experience in the natural resources industry. Many of those years were served as District Manager of several Soil Conservation Districts in Maryland.As District Manager Jeff was responsible for advancing new and innovative sediment and erosion control technology used during the construction process. Jeff also administered the State of Maryland’s Living Shoreline program in several Counties in the state and participated in the development of several stream restoration projects. New advanced technologies used included the use of Flocculating agents to increase the efficiency of existing sediment control techniques. Jeff also created designs for multi chamber sediment basins incorporating bio filters to increase trapping efficiency. It was at this position that Jeff became familiar with Filtrexx which was used with great success. Since leaving the government service after 20 years Jeff ran a field office for a civil engineering firm in Delaware, as well as several landscape companies, before coming to Filtrexx. With Filtrexx Jeff has worked in business development for the mid-Atlantic, and in Technical Sales support for the Southeast region. Presently Jeff represents Filtrexx as the Southeast Regional Sales Manager and is actively developing Filtrexx initiatives related to stream restoration and living shorelines.