Environmental Science Case Study

The Situation: You are working as an environmental consultant and one of your largest clients has called requesting your services. Your client is interested in purchasing a large parcel of land that includes a former airplane manufacturing facility. In total there are seven major buildings on this property with minor support buildings as well. Your task is to conduct a pre-purchase environmental audit of the property and provide your client with your recommendations.  You have done all your research and scoured all the records and you are now making one last walk-through of the property with the caretaker when you notice a door on the side of what is commonly referred to as the paint hanger. The door happens to have a large, fairly old padlock on it keeping it shut tight. At first you are told it is just a side entrance to the main hanger floor, but based upon the contour of the building your better judgment does not agree.  You ask for the key to the lock and are immediately told that no one has the key. So, you get the bolt cutters and open the door. You are immediately greeted with an overwhelming vapor cloud that has the distinct scent of some form of a petroleum product. After you let the room air out, you discover a cache of ten 55-gallon drums (unlabeled), an old solvent bin with product still inside, an old tank approximately 100 gallon-sized labeled Used Oil, and a large assortment of fivegallon buckets, all without labels.


 What is your recommendation to your client?

 1. If your client is set on purchasing this property what advice shall you provide?

2. If your client assumes the responsibility for clean-up and wants you to head the clean-up effort, what are some of your first steps?


Unit VIII Scenario #4: The Street Sweeper


The Situation: You are a newly-hired Safety Analyst for a medium-sized municipality in the southeast. One day your supervisor, the Risk Manager, asks you to speak with a street sweeper operator. Apparently the operator has been complaining of severe headaches and nausea for several days now and the doctors that he has been sent to cannot find anything wrong with him. The Risk Manager believes that this operator is a malingerer but wants you to check his area out anyway. After listening to the operators’ story, you decide that you need to possibly test his work environment for the presence of toxic vapors. Upon inspection of the street sweeper itself, you cannot help but notice that the exhaust pipe for the engine is straight up on the rear decking and approximately 6-inches from the operator cab air conditioner.


 The Questions:

1. What type of sampling will you conduct and what will you look for?

2. What is the PEL of the substances that you might detect?

3. What are your recommendations? 




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