HUGE Milestone for Small Business

The hard-working team at Pfefferkorn Engineering & Environmental is taking a moment to CELEBRATE.  We crossed a huge threshold as a small company.  For TWO years now our signature compass and pencil hallmark has represented top notch engineering and environmental service for the Kansas City region and beyond.

“To look back and see how far we’ve come is incredible.  We continually see new growth opportunities and are fired up to pursue them.”  – Kate Pfefferkorn-Mansker, PE

Our portfolio is now packed with specialty structural design, custom stormwater management solutions, traffic design improvements among other fine services.   It goes beyond deliverables.  The peace of mind from solid technical support is what our clients expect and appreciate most.  The team is poised for growth and ready to meet the needs and challenges of current and future clients.

Contact PE2 today to set up a consultation.

Mound Discussions

 

The tension is building.  The pressure is on.  The ball team gathers at the pitcher’s mound to discuss clutch strategy.  If you find yourself upon a mound, take a note from the ball diamond defense.  If you do not know what is under the mound, find out.  Stop the operations.  Huddle the team.  Get a plan.

Mountain out of Mole Hill

Mounds are artificial hills, seemingly random against the landscape.  Mounds can be harmless piles of dirt, compiled from an offsite development.  They can also be historically sensitive burial grounds.  Do not proceed with purchase or operations involving the mound until further review.  This activity now requires a permit and approval.  See your local or state historical society for information.  And if you are really unlucky, mounds can be covered piles of waste from a bygone factory, read: hazardous material.  We simply cannot make this up.  So who has the liability of said mound?  The material generator?  Nope.  The prior owner?  Wrong.  If you guessed the owner, you are correct.  Owner as in the current owner.  At best this waste is a pollutant or contamination.  At worst, it is leaching toxic compounds into the groundwater and onto the neighbor’s property or waterway.

Let’s Huddle

Do not proceed with purchase or operations involving a mound unless you are confident of what (or who) is buried there.  Hopefully nothing but dirt.  Though if you do not know, ask a city official with access to historical records or knowledge.  Try the state agencies if necessary.  If all else fails, try an environmental engineer who can decipher historical occupancy records.  Up until modern regulations, guess where waste went?  In. the. GROUND.  Yup.  Quite commonly, too.   Want to know another red flag?  Beware of any property whose value is SIGNIFICANTLY lower than other comparable properties.  Contact PEto huddle up with you on the mound.

Heat Island: No Vacation

 

An urban heat island is a populated area than is warmer than its surrounding less congested areas.   Think of all the heat energy ricocheting from pavement and structures, structures to pavement.  This effect is noticed more on calm days with less wind.  Furthermore, the temperature difference usually is larger at night.  Heat islands are also more apparent during the extreme hot or cold periods.  Heat waves are highly covered by local media as a safety precaution.

 Steamy

Heat islands can technically occur anywhere when conditions are ripe for it.   Think about a dry, bowl-shaped piece of geography.  Go there to get your sweat on or film a sports drink commercial.  Interestingly, rainfall is typically greater downwind of cities, partially due to the urban heat.  However, not all heavily populated areas have a distinct urban heat island.

 Don’t Touch My Grass

Large stretches of vegetation and water offset some of the heat energy though this is not always possible to incorporate in some urban areas.  Further development and improvement, however, provides a great opportunity to vegetate and exploit water resources.  Urban planners are actively incorporating and preserving vegetation.   Heat mitigation is one of the many benefits of natural vegetation in urban areas.  Stay safe this summer as the temperature rises.  Seek out your local waterway or oasis.

Pond Power

pond-power

A momentous but understated advancement in human civilization was when we got serious about sanitation.  And by sanitation, we mean handling sewage.  Thank you, Roman Empire, for modern plumbing.  Separating living space and water from human waste areas was very effective.  Sanitary lagoons and septic systems are natural biological reactors where human waste decomposes.  That is the intent anyhow.  And intent is a just a hope that can fall flat without well thought out design.  Many factors like soil type, capacity, sizing, temperature all play a part in a designer’s final lagoon plan.  Even if one wanted to skimp on lagoon and septic design, most municipalities have authority to enforce defined standards.   Partner with PE2 to get an experienced designer to cover your lagoon and septic needs.

Ripple Effect

PE2 knows the biology, ecology, physics, dynamics, chemistry, economics and yes, even aromatics of smart lagoon and septic design.  Additionally, this service adds to our mission to provide services that sustain.  The cycle of limited resources like water becomes more important with each generation.  What used to be called the Federation of Sewage Works Associations in 1928 eventually became the Water Environment Federation in 1991.  Let’s-make-this-work engineering replaced not-in-my-back-yard mentality.

Smart Design for Smart Development

Pfefferkorn Engineering and Environmental understands you would rather think about other things than sewage details.  We have you covered.  Whether you are looking to develop land or add capacity to an existing development, PE2 can design for your lagoon and septic needs.

Heavy Metal Goes Mainstream

heavy-metal-horns

Each year a water quality report is issued from water providers.  Sometimes called a Consumer Confidence Report.  The lead contamination encountered in Flint, Michigan’s water system sparked awareness of the dangers of metal contamination.  Lead has well documented effects on the human health.  But most would be hard pressed to name another metal associated with adverse effects, much less identify the maximum allowable limit in waste or drinking water.

Pronounced “Rick-Ruh”

Since 1976, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) became federal law regulating the disposal of solid waste and hazardous waste.  RCRA has identified the top metals of concern.  These metals are known to cause adverse health and/or environmental effects.  They are arsenic (As), barium (Ba), cadmium (Cd), chromium (Cr), lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), selenium (Se), and silver (Ag).  This list is commonly referred to as the RCRA 8.  Some of these are classified as heavy metals, others earth metals, transition metals or metalloids.    How did a precious metal like silver make the list?  After all, silver is commonly found in our homes and jewelry collections.  Silver is not so friendly, even toxic, to aquatic life.  Metallic surfaces in general are good catalyst sites and sometimes in high concentrations leading to detrimental activity for aquatic systems.

Surf and Turf

The RCRA 8 metals can be present in soil and groundwater and some are naturally present in certain soil conditions.  For instance, limestone is typically accompanied by barium to some degree.  Soil tends to act as a filter for groundwater and many contaminants adhere to sediment.  When contamination is assessed, it is common for the RCRA 8 heavy metals’ presence analyzed and quantified, particularly if the prior or current site activity is known to involve the listed metals.  The EPA has set the maximum allowable limits of waste containing the RCRA, ranging from 0.2 ppm (mg/L) for mercury up to 100 ppm (mg/L) for barium.  The Safe Drinking Water Act has also set targets for some of these constituents.

Partner with Pfefferkorn Engineering & Environmental, a trusted environmental firm that can properly assess if testing for the RCRA 8 is necessary on your site or operation.

Birthday Gratitude

 

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It is with utmost gratitude that we at Pfefferkorn Engineering and Environmental reflect on the past year and look forward to the coming years.  PE2 has had many successes and learning opportunities in the last twelve months.  Our brand has continued to grow and strengthen with each completed project.  We thank our tremendously talented, dedicated and professional staff for persevering and looking out for our clients.  Special appreciation also to our repeat clients to continue to partner with a reliable professional organization.

What a Year!

In the last year we have designed specialty bridges, modeled storm water runoff, assessed sites for environmental liabilities, inspected massive road construction operations, tested soil, concrete and asphalt materials in the field and continued to support the communities in which we serve.  We are honored to have served growing municipalities, successful contractors and private developers.  In addition we are humbled to have partnered with other professional service providers to accomplish great endeavors.  In the coming year we look forward to serving an even wider geography with increased services from our environmental department as well as continuing to add certifications benefitting our clients.

Attitude of Gratitude

THANK YOU to the tremendous clients who continue to engage our services and to the people who make up our bright organization.  You continue to improve and impress.  Happy Birthday, PE2!  We are excited to serve our current and future clients for many more years to come.