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.

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.

Environmental Terms Decoded

environmental-decoder-ring

We all know the feeling well.  Technical jargon getting in the way of thorough understanding of a relatively simple matter.  In this post, technical terms and assumptions made by many in the environmental services field are explained.  The explanations provided may not be the formal definitions from Webster’s dictionary yet they will clarify the implications of such terms.

REC: Recognized Environmental Condition.  This is an indicator of environmental liabilities that may be associated with a property or site.  Like saying, “The finding may not be entirely bad, but it’s generally not something you want.”

Down-gradient: In the path of contamination travel should contamination exist.  Up-gradient and cross-gradient are safer zones.

Plume: Contamination zone.  Usually in the shape of a skewed, deflating hot air balloon.

Vadose zone: Unsaturated zone of the ground above the water table.

Screen: Determination made by taking known contamination information and assessing its proximity and likelihood of affection onto a property or site, i.e. vapor encroachment screen, without actually taking and analyzing samples.

Railroad Ties: Beams soaked in tar’s cousin, creosote.  Probably carcinogenic to humans per IARC (International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Coal ash and cinder: Loaded with toxins like lead and arsenic.  Think about it.  Mother nature didn’t exactly set out to make toxin-free coal when she was compressing billions of pounds of organic matter.

1978: The year paint got the lead out.  As well as the year the motion picture Animal House was released.  So all in all, a good year.

1980: Pac-Man was released and when new homes built no longer contained asbestos-containing materials.  Take that, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde.

Heavy Metal: Not just a music genre of youth rebellion, but compounds regulated by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  Top offenders are known the RCRA 8: Arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver.

Old Thermostats: Mercury harbors.

Ready-mix concrete plants: Can shove the pH of water runoff to sometimes harmful levels.

LUST: Bad for monogamy, even worse for groundwater.  Stands for Leaking Underground Storage Tank.

LAST: The easier-to-spot version of LUST.  Stands for Leaking ABOVEGROUND Storage Tank.

SOx: Professional baseball teams and, to a more harmful extent, sulfur oxide emissions.  And yes, SOx emissions have a cap unlike the salary of major league baseball teams.

Fireworks Displays: Perchlorate groundwater contamination waiting to happen if not adequately covered.

PAHs: Not the latest social media acronym (Party at Hal’s, Please Allow Hours until response).  They are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.  Geometrically, flat PAH molecules can slip right into the rungs of the DNA ladder, causing mutations and malignant tumors.

Dry Cleaners (Processing facilities): Let’s just put it this way, dry cleaning facilities with the chemical perchloroethylene, PCE, are lumped together with landfills as far as environmental implications.

Chlorinated: Anything chlorinated (or otherwise halogenated) typically ratchets up the regulation, effects and fines.  Halogens are very chemically reactive and effective at turning perfectly safe chemicals into fire-breathing monstrosities for the environment.

Hypoxic Zone: The oxygen-depleted “dead” zone of a body of water.  Usually created from the effects of too much fertilizer or plant nutrient in runoff.  Hypoxic zones cannot sustain most aquatic life.

Contact PE2 today for a better understanding of the environmental liabilities existing in your industry, and how to address or avoid them.

Save Productivity & Time: Outsource Sampling

Industrial sampling

You have an industrial permit.  We understand.  You have a department to oversee compliance of that permit.  Even BETTER!  But in looking at the finer details, there can be onerous sampling and testing requirements in your industrial permit.  That’s okay, you’re willing to comply.  After all, compliance keeps your operations in motion and is environmentally conscious as well as socially conscious.  But sampling water, soil or emissions doesn’t exactly bring in revenue.  Plus, if a sampling event is missed, there could be penalties.

We at Pfefferkorn Engineering & Environmental, LLC completely understand and are here ready to help.  Our team of professionals and technicians can oversee the sampling and analysis requirements of your industrial permit.  Compliance is important to you but that doesn’t mean your staff has to spend valuable time and resources collecting samples and coordinating analysis.  When you really add it all up, one has to set a calendar reminder, tediously collect runoff or soil samples at the appropriate locations, ensure the samples are properly prepared in the appropriate container, label each sample, preserve each specimen according to the method to be performed, log the sampling activity, and deliver or ship the samples to an accredited laboratory, as well as interpret analytical results.   Sheesh.  Somewhere in there your team has productions deadlines to meet and orders to fill.

Let Pfefferkorn Engineering & Environmental, LLC save you and your team time and resources as well as add peace of mind to your permit compliance.  Contact us today for sampling and testing services.

 

LID= Low-Impact Development

LID

The concept of storm water management under Low-Impact Development (LID) is fairly simple: it’s based on how nature handles rainfall in an undisturbed environment of meadows and woods. Nature works with simple concepts such as rainfall interception by the branches of a tree, which slows the velocity of a falling raindrop, which then lands on a soft bed of decaying organic matter on top of the soil. The organic layer further allows the rain to filter in and around the matter and then infiltrate into the undisturbed solid surface.

Kate Pfefferkorn Mansker tells us “There have been wonderful demonstrations of rain gardens and permeable pavement and great showcase pieces of fully functional low-impact development systems. The process of making these ideas more mainstream has had some success and a number of failures. The technology, design and implementation strategies for LID systems have ranged from fully functional to downright ugly. Each system must be designed with the specific site characteristics in mind and implemented by experienced crews or at minimum under the guidance of specialists who have worked with LID systems.

LID systems like any technology are undergoing intervals of improvement, and more and more people are learning how to best select, design and implement these sustainable features. Experimental LID systems has taught us that it takes a lot of care and thought to recreate nature.”

Want to have your soil tested to see if a LID is a good idea for you? Contact Pfefferkorn Engineering and Environmental to get in touch with an expert.

 

 

PE&E Throws Back Starfish

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Once upon a time, there was a woman who used to go to the ocean to do her writing for Pfefferkorn Engineering and Environmental. She would walk on the beach every morning before she began her work writing about civil engineering and construction in Kansas City, South East Kansas and surrounding areas. Early one morning, she was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.

 
Off in the distance, the woman noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the woman could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the woman called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

 
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”

 
The woman replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”

 
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”…adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)

 
Pfefforkorn Engineering and Environmental (PE&E) believes we can all make a difference. Changing the small things on a daily basis and committing to recycling and bettering the environment can lead to a sustainable building community. We do not automatically assume that a structure needs to be completely scrapped. Rebuild, re-use, re purpose can bring efficient environmental results. The team at Pfefferkorn Engineering & Environmental embrace sustainable methods and green infrastructure for development projects.

 
Contact us for your engineering assessment. Together we can throw a few star fish back into the water.