Environmental Assessments / Permit Compliance


Environmental Assessments

Ignorance is not always bliss. Federal, state, and local regulations often require monitoring to ensure permit compliance, such as water quality sampling, pumpage reporting, and flowmeter calibration. Our Water Resources team can help collect accurate data and report it promptly so our clients remain in good standing. In the case of commercial real estate transactions, many lending institutions require prospective purchasers to perform a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) to help qualify for Landowner Liability Protections under federal law. Our team performs Phase I, and follow-up Phase II, ESAs quickly and economically so our clients don’t buy more than they anticipated—like contamination and costly cleanups.

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What We Provide

Phase I ESAs are often required for commercial real estate transactions in order to identify Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) associated with the current and historical use of the property. RECs include hazardous substances and petroleum products, even under conditions in compliance with laws. A Phase I ESA also assesses nearby sources of contamination and their potential to impact the subject property. Our Phase I ESAs comply with the latest ASTM E1527 standard and include a search of state and federal records, review of historical use information, site reconnaissance and interviews. We endeavor to meet clients’ time and cost needs without sacrificing quality.

If a Phase I ESA identifies potential contamination on a property, a Phase II ESA may be conducted in accordance with the ASTM E1903 standard. A Phase II ESA investigates the presence of hazardous substances and/or petroleum products on a site through field sampling and lab analyses. We can formulate sampling plans and identify the most relevant contaminants of concern to economize the scope of investigation. Our team is trained in soil, surface water, and groundwater sampling techniques in accordance with Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), so our clients can have confidence moving forward.

The State’s NDPES program requires industrial and municipal permit holders to maintain stormwater management programs (SWMP) to monitor impacts of stormwater discharges from the site. Our team works closely with manufacturers, municipalities and community development districts (CDDs) to develop and implement these monitoring programs. We have strong working relationships with local, state, and federal regulators and can expertly and efficiently carry out monitoring requirements. Our team can identify major outfalls, collect water quality samples for laboratory analysis, and evaluate the results. We also assist NPDES construction activity permit holders with site inspections of their best management practices (BMPs) required by their permits.

Most large projects—residential development, agriculture, industrial—hold water use permits from the State’s water management districts (WMDs). These permits commonly include conditions requiring periodic data collection and submittal to the WMDs. We routinely perform these data collection and reporting services for homeowners associations, CDDs, golf courses, resorts, agricultural operations, and government entities throughout Florida. Common monitoring requirements include monthly pumpage, water level monitoring, water quality monitoring, water use accounting method calibration, and reporting collected data to the WMDs. We collect and report these data accurately and timely, and notify our clients beforehand if we observe something that could trigger permit compliance issues.

Filter marshes have become a popular and effective method of providing water quality treatment in an aesthetically pleasing setting. By diverting surface water flow through a series of planted areas, pollutants tied to sediments settle out of the water column while the vegetation up takes nutrients in soluble form. Managing these systems effectively requires careful water quality monitoring to allow for optimal pollutant removal efficiency. Our team has firsthand experience in monitoring and maintaining these systems. From managing water levels and flow to performing water quality sampling and evaluation, we have the knowledge to assist clients with effective filter marsh operation.

Water use permits for allocations over 100,000 gpd often require documentation of a reliable, repeatable water use accounting system. Permit conditions require “calibration” of accounting methods at regular intervals. This often consists of checking flowmeter accuracy, or calculating flow through closed pipes or open channels. Periodic verification checks are necessary to confirm water use is reported accurately to the water management district or other regulatory agencies. Our team of water resources professionals is manufacturer-trained and approved by the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) and Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) to verify flow measurement methods.

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) requires governments to reduce nutrient discharges to water bodies deemed “impaired” with respect to certain water quality parameters. To meet nutrient removal goals, the FDEP develops a Basin Management Action Plan (BMAP) and assigns stakeholders in the basin nutrient removal quantities. The stakeholders then determine what can be done to reduce excess nutrient discharges for BMAP “credits” toward their goal. Our team has analyzed nutrient removal efficiency of several types of stormwater treatment systems, as well as the effects of septic system removal projects. Our experience helps us advise clients on practical and economical BMAP projects to maximize nutrient removal credits.

Environmental Assessments Projects

Environmental Assessments Team

Laura Brady-Herrero, CE

Director of Water Resources & Environmental Services / Principal Ecologist

Laura joined the firm in 2000 and serves as director of the firm’s environmental consulting and water resources team, providing project management and oversight of large-scale public and private sector projects. As a principal ecologist, she continues to conduct:

  • State and Federal wetland jurisdictional determinations
  • Protected species surveys
  • Habitat and species management plans
  • Coordination and permitting with:
    • - The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)
    • - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)
    • - FWS Biological Assessments and Biological Opinions
    • - Wetland/listed species mitigation proposals and mitigation monitoring
    • - Environmental Resource Permit and Federal Dredge and Fill applications
    • - Follow-through to permit issuance and post-permit compliance.

She is also an FWC Authorized Gopher Tortoise Agent, Federal Aviation Administration Qualified Airport Wildlife Biologist, and FWS qualified caracara observer with over 2,000 hours of caracara survey experience and 45 nests found to date.

Tim Denison

Environmental Scientist

Tim joined Johnson Engineering in 2003 as an environmental scientist. He currently manages water quality monitoring projects for our water resources group. Tim has developed project specific water quality monitoring programs for several of our clients including Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), Lee County Natural Resources, Collier County Stormwater, Hendry County, Lee County Port Authority (LCPA), and City of Bonita Springs. His current projects involve testing best management practices (BMPs), total maximum daily load (TMDL) monitoring, stormwater runoff characterization, flow monitoring, and calculating pollutant load reductions. Tim is proficient in Florida Department of Environmental (FDEP) Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for surface water/groundwater sampling, is active in the Florida Stormwater Association (FSA), and has presented project findings at a variety of stormwater conferences. He has also been published in Florida Scientist. In addition, he has completed the Environmental Site Assessment Standards for Commercial Real Estate course and has 5 years of experience providing Phase I and Phase II ESA services for our clients.

Jordan Varble, PE

Water Resources Engineer

Jordan joined Johnson Engineering in 2015 and is a Professional Engineer in the company’s Water Resources group. Jordan earned his Master of Science in Civil Engineering from Colorado State University in 2011 and Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Missouri S&T in 2009. Jordan’s experience as an engineer includes regional watershed modeling, surface water design, hydraulic pipe modeling, Class I deep injection wells, construction inspection, well design, regulatory permitting, technical report writing and engineering due diligence. He currently manages engineering projects relating to water resources, bringing projects from conceptual ideas to physical reality.

Alec Piironen, PG

Professional Geologist

Alec joined Johnson Engineering in 2022 and is a professional geologist in the company’s water resources group. He is responsible for performing hydrogeologic investigations, water resource assessments, Class I deep injection well permitting and mechanical integrity testing, water management district water use permitting, Florida Department of Environmental Protection permitting, and environmental due diligence. Additionally, Alec joined Johnson Engineering with a combined 6 years of experience working as a geologist/engineering technician with other Environmental Consulting Firms, where he worked on a variety of landfill construction and monitoring, contaminate investigation and remediation, and environmental compliance projects.

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