Blog & Recent Projects

Scott Pieper Joins COLUMBIA Technologies as Operations Manager

Posted by admin on Jun 16, 2017 9:44:00 AM

 COLUMBIA Technologies, an industry leader providing High-Resolution Site Characterization services throughout North and South America is pleased to announce Scott Pieper as rejoined its team as Operations Manager.  In his new role,  Pieper will directly oversee field operations including all direct sensing and certified mobile laboratory services throughout the Americas.

Pieper brings 35 years of environmental project management, spill response, site remediation, and hazardous materials management experience to our team.  He has operated throughout North and South America across all of the platforms that COLUMBIA Technologies operates.  His experience includes the operation and maintenance of certified mobile environmental laboratories, high-resolution characterization tools including the Membrane Interface Probe, the Hydraulic Profiling Tool, and Laser Induced Fluorescence systems.

"While Scott has a lot of field experience, what is more exciting to us is his team leadership and strong customer support.  We can count on Scott to find the correct, safe solution when difficult situations arise," commented John Sohl, CEO.

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Tags: COLUMBIA Technologies, High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC), Mobile Labs, News

High-Resolution LNAPL Assessment at Persistent Former Retail Station

Posted by John Sohl on May 23, 2017 1:11:35 PM

COLLABORATIVE TEAM EFFORT HELPS MONETIZE THE COST OF LNAPL CLEANUP FOR TDEC

COLUMBIA Technologies was selected by PM Environmental to support a high-resolution assessment of a former retail gas station with persistent LNAPL contamination.  The goal of the assessment was to evaluate for the Tennessee Department of Environment & Conservation the impact of better information on monetizing the cost of long-term correctives action at these types of sites.  The site is one of 246 remaining "difficult to resolve" sites in Tennessee and is typical of the many of over 16,000 remaining Leaking Underground Storage Tank sites in the U.S.  The project involved a careful review of historical documents, cleanup activities, and extended field activities after hours and at night.   

Detailed information gained through this effort delineated an extensive amount of residual gasoline within difficult soil conditions highlighting the need for careful consideration of remedial alternatives.  The team employed the guidelines of the ITRC Technical and Regulatory Guidance for Evaluating LNAPL Remedial Technologies for Achieving Project Goals.  

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Tags: COLUMBIA Technologies, High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC), LNAPL, News

Should Site Assessments Be Conducted Through Traditional Sampling, Groundwater Monitoring Wells, or Direct Sensing Methods?

Posted by John Sohl on May 16, 2016 10:15:10 PM

 It is safe to say that 99% of all site assessments are either conducted through traditional sampling, groundwater monitoring wells, or direct sensing methods. As a leading site investigation partner to environmental consultants throughout North America and Hawaii, COLUMBIA Technologies specializes in soil and groundwater contamination assessments.

Since 1999, we have completed over 750 site assessments for some of the most discriminating clients including oil companies, government agencies, commercial real estate owners, developers, as well as architectural and engineering firms. Throughout all of our testing and experiences to date, we believe that using a comprehensive High Resolution Vertical Profiling approach seems to be the most cost-effective and accurate method to assess a contaminated site. This consists of direct sensing technologies to delineate the vertical and horizontal extent of the contamination to pinpoint the location. Once this information is known, following up with confirmation soil and groundwater samples would take place to validate the contaminant of concern.

The direct sensing technologies may cost more up front, however they assure that accurate information is being collected to move forward with designing remediation plans. In addition, our patented real-time data services platform, SmartData Solutions®, is able to produce high resolution visualizations through a secured website for online review of project data.

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Tags: High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC), Laser Induced Fluorescence, Membrane Interface Probe, News, SmartData Solutions®

Data Needed to Drive Success in EPA's Shift to Performance Based Contracting (PBC) for Superfund

Posted by John Sohl on Apr 28, 2015 4:03:01 PM

 John Sohl, COLUMBIA Technologies' CEO, attended the 8th Symposium on the Design and Construction of Hazardous Waste Sites hosted by the Philadelphia Post of the Society of Military Engineers (www.samephildelphiapost.org). The focus of the symposium was how to incorporate performance based contracting into the environmental restoration of complex sites covered by the nation's Superfund Program.

John's key take-a-ways from the symposium were:

  • The remaining Superfund sites are extremely complex. Successful restoration will be driven by detailed characterization built upon multiple lines of evidence and the best available science and technologies.
  • Successful participants in future cleanups will be characterized by highly collaborative teams with aligned goals, risk, and reward.
  • Information will drive clarity and successful communication with all stakeholders involved in the restoration efforts. Even after restoration efforts begin, there will be a continuing need for adaptive management using data-driven performance metrics.

The PBC contracts will be procured across multiple EPA regions in three major groups: Design Environmental Services (DES), Remediation Environmental Services (RES), and Environmental Services and Operations (ESO). Procurements will be open to both large and small businesses. The new contracting acquisition framework is being handled through EPA's Office of Superfund Remediation Technology and Innovation (OSRTI) (http://www.epa.gov/superfund/partners/osrti/) and FedBizOpps (www.fbo.gov).

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Tags: High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC), News, SAME

COLUMBIA Technologies Presenting at the Second International Symposium on Bioremediation and Sustainable Environmental Technologies

Posted by admin on May 15, 2013 9:22:17 PM

 On Wednesday, June 12, 2013, our CEO, John Sohl will present Leveraging Advanced High-Resolution Site Characterization Best Practices to Plan, Target, and Enhance Bioremediation Efforts during the Innovative and Developing Processes and Protocols platform session of the Methodologies for Planning and Evaluating Bioremediation track. This year, the Second International Symposium on Bioremediation and Sustainable Environmental Technologies will be conducted June 10-13, at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville Riverfront Hotel in Jacksonville, FL. The Symposium is organized and presented by Battelle, and conference sponsors are other organizations active in site investigation and remediation.

Attending John's presentation,   Leveraging Advanced High-Resolution Site Characterization Best Practices to Plan, Target, and Enhance Bioremediation Efforts,  you'll learn about:
  • The effectiveness of leveraging high resolution site characterization (HRSC) approaches which permit involved stakeholders to significantly reduce the risk, cost, and uncertainty in support of in-situ bioremediation (ISB) efforts
  • Case examples where high resolution data mapping contaminant distribution has effectively supported targeted bioremediation efforts
  • Weighted lines of evidence to measure mass contaminant distribution, identify transport and permeability zones, and establish water quality parameters for improved ISB efforts while significantly reducing the cost of remediation activities

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Tags: COLUMBIA Technologies, High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC), John Sohl, News

Resurgent Petrochemical and Manufacturing Industries Spur Solid Growth for COLUMBIA Technologies

Posted by admin on Jan 24, 2013 2:47:52 PM

Article originally featured in the Environmental Business Journal (EBJ) Executive Review 2013 Issue, Volume XXVI, Number 1, 2013

 Columbia Technologies, LLC (Baltimore, MD), is a global provider of high-resolution direct sensing and mapping technologies, such as the membrane interface probe (MIP), laser-induced fluorescence (LIF), and the hydraulic profiling tool (HPT), for application in contaminated site characterization. Founded in 1999, the 17-employee company has successfully completed approximately 1,000 high-resolution site characterization surveys throughout Mexico, Canada, and 45 of the 50 states, including Hawaii, serving oil companies, government agencies, commercial real estate owners, developers, and architectural and engineering firms. John Sohl is the company’s CEO.

EBJ: What kind of year was 2012 in terms of revenue growth and profitability for your firm?

John Sohl: It was a good year. We had 20% revenue growth, and roughly 30% growth on the profit line. We had a good, solid set of projects that contributed to growth and profits.

EBJ: What client sectors and regions provided the best opportunities, and what factors were driving those opportunities? Any shifts in the sectors you’re serving?

J.S.: For what we do, the clients that are engaging in more complex projects, where the site characterization and remediation challenges are significant, that’s where we get our best match in terms of value proposition. They often tend to be petrochemical clients and manufacturers.

We did see a good amount of work in the Midwest, which has offered good growth through the resurgence in the economy. General Motors, Ford, and other manufacturers are trying to resolve issues with the assets on their books. I think we’ll see more and more positive impacts when cheap natural gas affects the petrochemical and manufacturers. These clients did do well.

There were no dramatic shifts in our client base. We maintain a fairly broad base, and we’re active in both the industrial sector and the Department of Defense (DOD) market. In the commercial market, if there has been any kind of shift, it’s been by reaching out beyond our traditional borders. In 2012, we’ve done a couple of projects in Hawaii. We have a partner in Mexico, and we’ve done some work in Canada, so we’re exporting our work on a regular basis.

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Tags: COLUMBIA Technologies, High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC), John Sohl, News

The 7 Biggest Myths of Direct Sensing (Part II)

Posted by admin on Oct 3, 2012 1:07:12 PM

We hope you enjoyed our last blog post, The 7 Myths of Direct Sensing (Part I) outlining the three basic assumptions or principles we have in mind when deploying high resolution direct sensing tools, defining high resolution and direct sensing tools, and disclosing the first three myths related to site characterization projects.

Below are four additional myths related to detection levels, remediation programs, cost of direct sensing, and the need for real time data with the corresponding truths.

Myth 4: The detection levels of direct sensing tools like the Membrane Interface Probe (MIP) are not low enough

If you’re going off the basis that the contaminant levels at your site are too low for direct sensing tools, you’re probably should ask yourself do I really only have 10 ppb and if so, why do I still have 10 ppb? Direct sensing tools for contaminant profiling are first and foremost source area characterization tools.

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Tags: Direct Sensing, High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC), Hydraulic Profiling Tool (HPT), Membrane Interface Probe-Hydraulic Profiling Tool, Membrane Interface Probe (MIP), News, Site Characterization

ReLASC 6th International Seminar Characterization and Remediation of Sites Impacted by Hydrocarbons - Mexico City

Posted by admin on Sep 15, 2012 12:01:14 PM

COLUMBIA Technologies recently supported the Sixth International Seminar on Environmental Characterization and Remediation of Sites Impacted by Hydrocarbons - 2012 in Mexico City, Mexico. The seminar was hosted by Rede Latino Americana de Prevenção e Gestão de Sítios (ReLASC) in partnership with PEMEX Refinery and Ecoterra Servicios Ambientales.

On Friday, September 14, COLUMBIA presented Rapid High Resolution Site Characterization Using Direct Sensing Technologies. With local teaming partner, International Products and Organic Solutions (IPOS) on Saturday, September 15, COLUMBIA provided a hands-on demonstration displaying how these advanced tools can be applied to a wide range of contaminated sites.

For more information contact:

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Tags: High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC), LNAPL, News, Mexico

For COLUMBIA Technologies, Success in the Global Market is about Commitment and Execution

Posted by admin on Jul 24, 2012 10:43:13 PM

Article originally featured on Tradeology, the official blog of ITA (International Trade Administration)

Doug Barry is a Senior International Trade Specialist in the Trade Information CenterU.S. Commercial Service within the International Trade Administration. 

 
John Sohl, owner of Columbia Technologies, conducting training for partners in Mexico

John H. Sohl III is founder of Columbia Technologies, a Maryland company that maps underground pollution from large manufacturing facilities, oil terminals, pipelines and military bases. The company is a client of the Baltimore Export Assistance Center.

Barry:  How do you map underground pollution?

Sohl:  Mapping involves deployment of sensor technologies that track leakage and migration of pollutants.  Following analysis by our technicians, customers can make decisions on risk assessment, disposition of the property and proper cleanup actions.

Sohl:  I started the company about 15 years ago after doing similar work in the U.S. Navy.  I was always intrigued with the application of sensors and three-dimensional mapping of components, and that’s the approach we brought to the industry.  The world really is getting flat and many of our clients are global industries that have footprints both in the U.S. and North America as well as the globe.  So once we’ve established a good working relationship and reputation with those firms, they sought to bring us into other parts of the globe.

Barry:  So your initial market entry strategy was to piggyback on clients here in the U.S. and ride them into new markets.

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Tags: High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC), John Sohl, News, Brazil, Mexico

Lessons Learned About The Role of LIF-UVOST® in Determining LNAPL Distribution

Posted by John Sohl on Feb 14, 2012 9:55:26 AM

 Since 2008, our team at COLUMBIA Technologies has supported site managers in evaluating petroleum contamination at 125 and growing projects using direct sensing or imaging tools. These projects include a wide-range of application from gasoline and diesel fuel retail stations to Superfund sites, as well as petroleum terminals, petroleum storage facilities, pipeline terminals, railyards, oil refineries, complex underground storage tank (UST) sites, military installations, and truck refueling facilities. These sites have spanned across 28 states in the United States including Hawaii, and multiple provinces in Canada. One primary technology deployed at these sites is the Laser Induced Fluorescence, specifically LIF-UVOST® to determine the LNAPL distribution at these facilities. These experiences have provided us with a number of lessons learned about accurately, rapidly, and cost-effectively characterizing these sites using this technology. 

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Tags: High Resolution Site Characterization (HRSC), Hydraulic Profiling Tool (HPT), LNAPL, News