Archive for December, 2010

The Best Clients to Work With

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

by Nick Miller

I’m at the age where I have to get my eye glasses prescription changed every couple of years.  I did that two weeks ago, got the lenses and found they were worse than what I’d started with.  They’re bifocals and the near lenses forced me to get closer to the material – books, computer screen, etc. – than I care to.  I went back and worked through the problems and got a replacement pair that’s just right.  What happened?  The first time I went, I just answered the standard questions:  Better here or there?  Better number 1 or number 2?  I’d assumed the eye doctor was doing the right thing.  Little did I realize that her notion of proper reading distance was different from mine.

Common, yet unfortunate; I, the client, shouldn’t assume the expert knows what to do.  So also when I’m in the role of the expert, I don’t want the client depending on me to make all the decisions.  I want the client to ask questions, to respond to my suggestions critically.  It is clients who really get involved with the problem that are the best to work with.  Chances are, we’ll all be happier with the results if the effort was done as a partnership, not from the perspective that the expert has all the answers.

EPA Revisions to the Lead Ambient Air Monitoring Requirements

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

by Phil DeVita

On December 14, 2010 the EPA revised the ambient monitoring requirements for lead (Pb).  This action comes after the EPA revised the primary and secondary lead National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) on January 12, 2009 from1.5 ug/m3 to 0.15 ug/m3.  Separate from this, the EPA published an advance notice of rulemaking on Lead Emissions from Piston Engine Aircraft Using Leaded Aviation Gasoline in April of this year regarding possible engine emissions standards for such aircraft. 

The new requirements call for monitoring near industrial facilities with emissions greater than 0.5 tons per year (tpy) which is a reduction from the previous threshold of 1.0 tpy.  EPA is maintaining the 1.0 tpy threshold for airports, however, it did identify 15 additional airports where monitoring will be required in order to evaluate the potential lead impact from airports that emit less than 1.0 tpy.  The 15 airports are:

Airport

County

State

Merrill Field Anchorage AK
Pryor Field Regional Limestone AL
Palo Alto Airport of Santa Clara County Santa Clara CA
McClellan-Palmar San Diego CA
Reid Hillview Santa Clara CA
Gillespie Field San Diego CA
San Carlos San Mateo CA
Nantucket Memorial Nantucket MA
Oakland County International Oakland MI
Republic Suffolk NY
Brookhaven Suffolk NY
Stinson Municipal Bexar TX
Northwest Regional Denton TX
Harvey Field Snohomish WA
Auburn Municipal King WA

These airports were selected since they have characteristics the EPA believes could result in higher lead concentrations than at other airports because they have ambient air within 150 meters of maximum emissions (i.e. take-offs) and the meteorological conditions were conducive to potential higher lead impacts at nearby ambient locations.

In addition to industrial facilities and airports, EPA is requiring monitoring at non source oriented sites with populations greater than 500,000 people or more.

The additional lead monitoring must be operational within 1 year of when the rule is published in the Federal Register which is expected in the next few weeks.  For the non source sites, monitoring will begin January 1, 2012.

For our aviation clients, they should understand that these monitoring requirements will be conducted by the state agencies and not the airports.  It will be the state agency’s responsibility to come up with a compliance plan if results show impacts above the lead standards near airports.  However, EPA is limited in authority under federal law for states to adopt mitigation plans.  The agency is working with the FAA and industry to evaluate alternatives to the current use of lead in Avgas which could be used to mitigate impacts.

 

HMMH Exhibits Wind Energy Services at Community Wind Conference

Monday, December 20th, 2010

By Steve Barrett

HMMH attended the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) Community and Small Wind Conference in Portland Oregon during the second week of December.  This was our first time on the road in the “Energy and Climate” arena with our new booth which communicates HMMH’s expanding skill set including renewable energy support services.  While the annual AWEA conference, held each year in late spring, now attracts up to 25,000 attendees and has over 1,000 exhibitors, the Community Wind Conference offers a more intimate venue to meet with the wind industry’s community and residential segment.  Small wind is generally characterized by wind turbines that are under 100 kW; many exhibited at the conference were in the 5-20 kW range suitable for homes, farms, and small industry.  Community wind has a less precise definition but is typically characterized by wind projects owned by landowners with the model being Midwest farmers constructing multiple utility-scale (i.e., 400 foot tall) wind turbines and generating alternative sources of income.  Particularly in more densely developed areas like New England and coastal areas, interest in community wind projects are increasing because projects with fewer wind turbines fit more appropriately into the landscape and the benefits of the wind energy can be provided locally.  Several projects that HMMH has recently worked on in Massachusetts – Falmouth, Cohasset, and West Gloucester – all fit this model.  And because these projects are often located close to residences, they require sound studies to assess potential noise exposure from a proposed wind turbine on neighbors, which is one of HMMH’s developing areas of specialty.  While Portland was seasonally cool and rainy during our visit, the conference provided us with an opportunity to meet people working on small and community wind projects throughout the country and we hope to expand our work in this sector capitalizing on our success in the Northeast.

Celebrating Four Decades of Service: Congratulations LaVerne Reid!

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

by Mary Ellen Eagan

I recently attended the “Rewirement Party” for LaVerne F. Reid, who will be concluding her 40 years of federal service on December 31st.  I have not known LaVerne long (compared with her career), but have gotten to know her since she’s been with the New England Region of FAA’s Airports Division, and have found that I am more impressed with each interaction.  LaVerne is one of those amazing people who make me feel humble in their presence.

The thing that struck me most at LaVerne’s “rewirement” was the absolute sincerity with which every person who spoke said that LaVerne had touched their lives.  Her positive “get-it-done” attitude, respect for the dignity of each person she contacts, and sheer humanity bring out the best in those around her.

Two other real-life heroes I’ve met are Paul Farmer – founder of Partners in Health and the subject of Tracy Kidder’s book, Mountains Beyond Mountains; and Greg Mortensen – founder of Pennies for Peace and author of Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace, One School At A Time.  Both have amazing life stories and amazing books.  At the risk of going all religious on you this close to Christmas, I’ll say that LaVerne, Paul, and Greg are the kinds of Christians that I think Jesus intended us to be.

Best of luck LaVerne in the next phase of your life – I’m sure it will be rewarding for you and those around you!

”]Shovel bearers including Mayor James Ruberto, Laverne Reid of the FAA and U.S. Rep. John W. Olver break ground at Pittsfield Municipal Airport. [Source: iBerkshires 2010]

Solar Guide for Airports Released

Monday, December 6th, 2010

by Steve Barrett

I am very happy to tell you that the FAA has formally released the “Technical Guidance for Evaluating Selected Solar Technologies on Airports”, also known as the Solar Guide.  The Solar Guide is the FAA’s central reference for solar development projects.  For airports interested in exploring solar opportunities, the Guide provides information on appropriate siting, required approvals, and options for funding.  For FAA staff, it provides guidance on technical reviews of issues like glare and radar interference and what type of information may be appropriate to address those concerns. 

Over the past six months,I worked with Dr. Jake Plante from the FAA’s Airport Planning and Environmental Division to draft the Guide.  Phil DeVita and Bob Miller provided critical research and review to make sure the Guide was up to HMMH’s professional standards of quality.  Several other members of HMMH’s technical and communications staff also contributed to the final product.   I think you will find the Solar Guide to be a very easy to read document that will facilitate better communications between aviation and energy groups with a mutual interest in developing solar, as well as enhancing and streamlining the regulatory review and approval of future airport solar projects.