Today, businesses face strict environmental regulations from a complex web of federal, state and local government bodies. As such, you must ensure that you are optimally supported by your environmental remediation services provider. Having the right provider is critical to quickly and cost-efficiently completing your developmental projects and maximizing revenue and profit margins. To greatly improve your odds of hiring the right environmental remediation services company, evaluate the following seven criteria:
1. Geographic Reach and Location
While this may seem a fairly obvious criterion, it’s importance cannot be overstated. Having a service provider local to your site means that you will receive expedited services when you need them. Moreover, in-person meetings are critical throughout projects, as they bring out nuanced details and help to develop site-specific details that can be the difference between success and failure.
2. Experience, Education and Licensure
Staff experience and education greatly impact all phases of an environmental remediation project. You should look for a firm to offer up teams that include (at a minimum) geologists, hydrologists and OSHA-certified technicians. Additionally, a few years’ experience is not sufficient. The learning curve is long in environmental remediation. Consider some of the basic licensing requirements by The State of New Jersey, including the following:
- A bachelor’s degree or higher in natural, chemical, or physical science or an engineering degree in a discipline related to site remediation from an accredited institution of higher education;
- At least eight years of full-time professional experience in the field of site remediation, of which at least five years shall have occurred in New Jersey and at least three years shall have occurred in New Jersey immediately prior to submission of the application.
- A minimum of 5,000 hours of relevant professional experience within New Jersey over the five years immediately prior to submission of the application that is of a professional grade and character that indicates the applicant is competent to issue an RAO
- Has completed a Board-approved course on the State’s rules and regulations concerning the technical requirements for site remediation no more than three years prior to submission of the application;
- Produced, or participated in producing, workplans and/or reports for each phase of the site remediation process; and
- Knowledge of and experience with meeting the Department’s administrative requirements including, but not limited to, requirements pertaining to submittal of forms, regulatory and mandatory timeframes, applicable fees, presumptive remedies, remedial action permits, and public notification.
When it comes to licensing, make sure the environmental remediation services firm is certified in the specific services you currently need and may need in the future. Towns and municipalities require you to provide vendor proof of licensure in order to grant you a permit for project work, and they will not grant permits without the proper certifications.
3. Quality and Responsiveness
Quality environmental remediation can mean the difference between your next project’s success and utter failure. This is why you should perform due diligence regarding the reference clients a potential provider offers you. Go beyond the reference clients and investigate their failed project information on your own, avoiding the temptation to contact just those references most pleased with a firm’s work.
A firm’s level of responsiveness will become evident as you explore their posturing toward you and the service timing guarantees they offer. Do they provide you with a dedicated account person who is knowledgeable and quick to return your communications? Do they promote emergency services? Do they have the right relationships with institutions to gain the full support you need to react fast to unforeseen situations?
The answers to these questions, and evidence of how they answered the call for previous clients, should help you determine their response capabilities.
4. Breadth of Services
Consider the four phases of the site remediation process: preliminary assessment, site investigation, remedial investigation, and remedial action. Your service firm should have deep experience implementing the regulatory, scientific and technical portions of each phase. Ask yourself if they can investigate, design and implement well enough to succeed.
The following services should be standard offers with any environmental remediation services firm:
- 7x24x365 emergency response
- Hazardous waste management
- Groundwater remediation
- Soil remediation
- Industrial cleaning
- Tank removal
- Mold remediation
Environmental remediation projects tend to last longer and cost more than organizations plan them to. Depending on pre-project assurances by your organization and the level of injury and damages caused by the environmental damage, you run the risk of losing millions of dollars of unanticipated liability. Therefore, you will want to be certain that your service provider has more than just the bare minimum of insurance coverage and actually has enough insurance to protect your investment. That means having millions of dollars of coverage in the following coverage areas:
- General liability
- Automobile liability
- Workers compensation
- Contractors pollution
- Errors and omissions
- Umbrella/excess liability (the largest of all)
6. Financial Stability
You want to know that your call will be answered and that the appropriate high-quality services will be there when you need them. You also must finish what you start when it comes to environmental cleanup. These are the two greatest reasons for ensuring that your services firm is financially stable. You should review the available financial reports and also request that they provide you with their most recent balance sheet, paying particular attention to their short-term items that impact cash flow (longer term if you plan to use them for an extended period of time).
Start-up companies and fly-by-night business models are great in the mobile app and gaming markets, but they are not acceptable in the environmental services market. This is the time you want to play it safe and only consider service companies with long, well-established track records of success. Anything less than 15 years of proven success with hundreds of clients is simply not worth the risk to your business.
There are many things to consider when partnering with an environmental remediation services provider. But if you adhere to these seven core criteria, you will greatly increase the chances that you will partner with the firm that best suits your organization’s needs.
Contact us if we can be of assistance.