Thursday, March 12, 2009

thank you

I do a lot of complaining in this space, but I’d like to take a minute to thank some very important people.

The residents who live near contaminated sites and let environmental folks have access to their property.

A large portion of the population would rather have nothing to do with an environmental investigation. If they let someone onto their land, the environmental folks may find a problem. If there’s a problem, then it becomes part of public record and may impact property values. A smaller number don’t want anybody on their land, for any reason.

But we can’t control where the contamination has gone. If we have a groundwater problem, the plume may travel for long distances, causing potential drinking water contamination and indoor air problems in basements. We try to put wells in public places, like sidewalks. But if a plume goes through a residential neighborhood with relatively large lots, the best sampling locations may be on private properties.

With this in mind, I’d especially like to thank the folks who have been talked into/agreed to have monitoring wells installed on their property. Unlike sediment or soil samples, a well is a permanent fixture. If you have a monitoring well, it may be unsightly (although often we’ll try to put a flush-mount well into the grass so all you see is a concrete pad), and it also assures that you’ll have environmental folks come poking around your property on a semi-regular basis. Samplers try to be considerate, but there are bound to be times when someone drops the ball in contacting homeowners, and then you get someone knocking on your door, asking if they can traipse around your yard, um, this afternoon.

So to all the folks who are gracious enough to let us into their yards and sometimes their kitchen, thanks. You’re making a big difference in an environmental investigation, and with your help, a site may be better characterized and therefore cleaned up as thoroughly as possible.

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