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Applied Science Associates, Inc. (ASA) Announces Contract with Brazilian Oil Producer Petrobras

Posted June 30, 2008 by

NARRAGANSETT, RI – Following the world’s largest oil discovery in eight years, the South America office of Applied Science Associates, Inc. (ASA) announces a contract with Brazilian oil producer, Petrobras, that represents a more dedicated model for emergency spill support.

The Tupi Filed, located offshore Brazil Last year, Petrobras announced the world’s biggest oil discovery since 2000: the Tupi field. With the promise of expanded operations from this and other nearby reserves, Petrobras has expanded their relationship with ASA, a global environmental and technology solutions company,  to provide an enhanced support contract for emergency preparedness through dedicated oil spill modeling and response.  Many of the world’s energy producers purchase and use OILMAPTM, ASA’s oil spill modeling and simulation software.  Traditionally, OILMAP licenses are purchased by energy companies with ASA providing support, training, and software updates.  Expanding their commitment to emergency preparedness, Petrobras has commissioned a dedicated staff of ASA?s professional modelers to work on site and on-call 365 days a year.  This 2-year commitment represents a new model for both ASA and energy companies and although more costly for Petrobras, provides a more dedicated approach to spill response.

Petrobras is widely recognized as a world leader in the development of advanced technology from deepwater and ultra-deep water oil production and ASA specializes in spill model and response tools for such operations.   Petrobras is also recognized for being a large sponsor of social and environmental initiatives, and the company prides itself on its environmental responsibility and sustainability investments. A survey carried out by Management & Excellence (M&E;) acknowledged Petrobras as the world?s most sustainable oil company. Ranked first in this study, scoring 92.25%, the company is seen as a global reference in ethics and sustainability. The analysis took 387 international indicators into account, among which included reduced pollutant emissions and fewer oil leaks, lower energy consumption, and emergency spill preparedness.

“Our new arrangement with Petrobras represents a dedicated strategy by an energy company to be a world leader in their commitment to emergency readiness to minimize environmental impact in the case of an emergency spill scenario or well blowout,” says Eduardo Yassuda, who heads ASA South America.  “Poised for rapid growth, it is great that Petrobras, already a global leader in ethics and environmental concern, has entrusted ASA with these dedicated services.  Our research and development of  the OILMAP software is constantly evolving and our tools are always improving; this contract ensures that Petrobras has the latest and best spill modeling tools and service professionals that we make available.”

As part of the contract, ASA will provide their on-site scientists with OILMAP software enhancements and updates, including new high-resolution data integration, as often and immediate as the technology is developed by the Narragansett, Rhode Island, U.S. based company.

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Mike Spinale Named Chair of the EBC Human Resources Committee

Posted June 30, 2008 by

Mike Spinale has been named the new Vice-Chair of the Environmental Business Council (EBC) Human Resources Committee. The mission of the EBC Human Resources Committee is to identify human resource issues that are of interest to EBC members. Issues include but are not limited to retention, talent pools, recruiting, branding, training, compensation and development. These issues are addressed by providing objective information from up-to-date and reliable sources including HR and industry experts.
Mr. Spinale manages the Human Resources department at Triumvirate Environmental, an environmental consulting and waste management firm based in Somerville, MA. He joined the company in 2004, after working for two and half years at nonprofits, The Work Place in Boston and Families in Transition in Manchester, developing and running employment training programs and career counseling individual job seekers. Coming to Triumvirate as a Recruitment Coordinator, and in June of 2006, was promoted to lead the HR function for the company. He is an alumni of Southern New Hampshire University, where he received his B.S. in Business with a focus in Human Resources and is currently pursuing a Masters of Business Administration at the University of Massachusetts. Mr. Spinale is a member of both the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the New England Human Resources Association (NEHRA).

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Robert Delhome, President of Charter Environmental and EBC Board, Tops SBA Award

Posted June 25, 2008 by

Wilmington, MA JUNE 25, 2008 – Robert L. Delhome, President of Charter Environmental, Inc. (Charter), was recently honored by the U.S. Small Business Administration with its top award, the 2008 Massachusetts Small Business Person of the Year.

The Small Business Person of the Year award is presented annually to a small business person or persons who exemplify excellence in entrepreneurship.  Robert Delhome was judged on seven basic criteria: staying power, growth in number of employees, increase in sales/and or unit volume, current and past financial reports, innovativeness of product or service, response to adversity, and evidence of contributions to community-oriented projects.   Eva Marie D’Antuono, small business deputy, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, nominated Delhome for this award.

“Mr. Delhome has created an environment at Charter Environmental that has resulted in a highly motivated and dedicated staff that continually display a can do attitude,” said D’Antuono.  “This attitude together with their business objective of always honoring project contractual requirements and even exceeding expectations has resulted in a project delivery performance track record defined by integrity and absolute reliability.”

“I am excited to have been selected by the SBA for this award,” said Delhome. “I am grateful to the Corps for their nomination and continued commitment to small businesses. I am especially grateful to Eva Marie D’Antuono in the Corps’s Small Business Office. Ms. D’Antuono is committed to ensuring businesses like Charter achieve great success and are afforded equal opportunities for Federal contracts.”

Charter, a heavy civil and environmental contractor, was established in 1997 with two employees and $300 in seed capital. Charter specializes in marine construction, remediation, ecosystem restoration, waste management, and civil construction. Charter is headquartered in Wilmington, MA, and maintains regional offices in Lowell, MA and Eliot, ME. Charter maintains an equipment yard with more than $10 million in inventory at Eliot, ME. In addition, Charter has an affiliate company, AmeriTech, which provides waste management and transportation services. Charter services commercial, municipal and Federal clients including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment (AFCEE), the U.S. Navy, Raytheon Corp., Centex Construction, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Worcester Business Development Corp., to name a few. Charter has grown into a $31 million, 112 employee powerhouse in the industry.

Recognized by Engineering News Record (ENR) for the past five years as one of the Top 200 Engineering Firms, Charter is known throughout the industry for their dedicated and hard working staff, complete flexibility with their customers, a corporate culture that fosters good corporate citizenship, and collaboration with all project stakeholders including other contractors, the community, regulators, and their clients to create solutions that ensure quality. Charter’s continued success can also be attributed to their willingness to evaluate all practical work processes and corroborate more competitive pricing to guarantee customer satisfaction.

Before founding Charter, Delhome consulted with SCORE, an SBA resource partner, about the feasibility of his plan which has proven to be solid.  Once established, Delhome enrolled in SBA?s 8(a) Business Development Program which is intended to help socially and economically disadvantaged business owners compete in the federal procurement marketplace.   Charter graduated from the program in 2007 after having won 22 contracts worth $13 million.

“Charter Environmental has been one of SBA’s star performers,” said SBA Director Nelson.  “Bob Delhome wisely created systems and an infrastructure that can support both government contracts and private sector work so that his transition from the 8a program has been seamless.  SBA is proud to have been part of Charter’s phenomenal success.”

Mr. Delhome was honored at an awards luncheon hosted by Cape Business Publishing in Hyannis on Thursday, May 22, 2008.

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ASA Announces Computer Modeling and Mapping Technology for Catastrophic Flooding Events

Posted June 19, 2008 by

NARRAGANSETT, RI – Following the NOAA prediction for an above average tropical storm season, Applied Science Associates, Inc. (ASA) announces computer modeling and mapping technology as an effective way for planners to visualize the potential impacts from hurricanes and plan for catastrophic flooding events.

Hurricane Dean, a Category 5 storm, hit Mexico and Nicaragua last year.The approaching 2008 Atlantic hurricane season is likely to be above normal, with up to 16 named storms and up to five major hurricanes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said last week, citing climate conditions.The outlook issued by NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center calls for “considerable activity,” with a 65 percent probability of an above-normal season.

One of the challenges in hurricane forecasting is communicating the potential impacts to the public, emergency responders, and scientists.

ASA uses its Flood Inundation Toolbox to calculate flood extents based on flood elevation predictions, produce flood maps, and distribute those maps via the Web. The ability to translate NOAA forecasts into a meaningful visual product dramatically improves the communication of risk to officials as well as the public.  “By mapping the impact, storm surge, and flood zones of hurricanes and other severe storms on actual up-to-date maps and satellite images,” says ASA scientist Kelly Knee, “we can assess the risks associated with the onset, duration, and severity of hurricane flooding and storm surge events and work to reduce vulnerability.”

The Flood Inundation Toolbox is a suite of web services that allows distribution of integrated data within geographic references for environmental problems and crisis management solutions. The use of flexible open standards allows for distribution of data to web pages and email feeds, and enables strategies to distribute warnings to mobile devices, including cell phones.  The outputs from the predictions can also be imported into a variety of widely-used mapping applications such as Google Earth and Microsoft Virtual Earth to provide high resolution local context.

ASA is currently preparing a series of maps for the World Wildlife Fund representing flooding along the U.S. Gulf Coast.  These maps, covering an area from Galveston, Texas to Tallahassee, Florida, blend data from multiple sources with the USGS National Elevation Dataset.  The resulting elevation dataset is being used to assess the impacts from a Category 3 hurricane under today’s conditions, as well as for four other projected sea level rise scenarios.  The World Wildlife Fund is just one of several organizations working with ASA to look at potential storm impacts in the upcoming hurricane season.

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Trying to Make the Blacktop Greener: States working to curb pollution from road runoff

Posted June 16, 2008 by

By Beth Daley, Globe Staff – June 14, 2008

Every time it rains, a soup of chemicals washes off roadways: Brake fluid, oil, salt, antifreeze, and heavy metals from tens of thousands of cars pour off the asphalt and, often, into rivers and streams.

Until recently, this form of pollution received little attention from regulators and environmentalists, but a movement is slowly building to create what may seem a contradiction: green highways.

Two weeks ago a federal judge in Boston ruled that the Massachusetts Highway Department was violating the federal Clean Water Act and ordered the agency to better control storm water from roadways in urban areas. Meanwhile, some states are beginning to capture and filter storm water before it reaches waterways, using vegetation and porous median strips among other solutions.

“All the pollution that runs off highways is put very quickly into our waterways,” said Christopher M. Kilian, director of the Clean Water Program and the lead lawyer in the Massachusetts case for the Conservation Law Foundation, a Boston-based environmental group that sued the Highway Department. “But there are approaches we can use to stop it.”

Once, the biggest problems facing waterways such as the Charles River and Boston Harbor were obvious. Raw sewage and toxic chemicals from homes and factories stank and made stepping in the water so foul people would avoid any contact. A decades-long cleanup of these pollution sources, mandated by the Clean Water Act, has gone a long way toward restoring waterways. Boston Harbor now sparkles on many summer days, and the Charles is clean enough that a 1-mile swim is scheduled there tomorrow.

Yet these scrubbing efforts were relatively simple because the pollution could easily be traced back to its sources. Now environmentalists are focusing on a problem that is more dispersed: runoff, carrying everything from dog waste to fertilizer, from lawns, sidewalks, roadways, natural areas, and farms. It is the main reason about 40 percent of rivers, lakes, and estuaries are not clean enough to meet fishing or swimming standards, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

While it’s difficult to tease out the highways’ share of the problem, federal officials are focusing on them because so many contaminants are washed from roadways, solutions are available and straightforward, and the federal Clean Water Act requires highway departments to deal with the problem.

“Most roads have no controls at all,” said Nancy Stoner, director of the Clean Water Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council. Her group is involved in a long-running lawsuit seeking to force the EPA, which enforces the Clean Water Act, to require anyone building roads, schools, and any private construction to use specific, proven technologies to minimize storm water runoff.

There are many highway contaminants. Chloride, sodium, and calcium can accumulate on the pavement from salt and sanding operations. Ordinary wear and tear causes cars to shed oil, grease, rust, and rubber particles. Once the contaminants are washed into waterways, they can be consumed by fish, frogs, and other aquatic life, or settle in the water, contributing to contaminant levels.

The green highway movement also includes advocacy for the use of recyclable materials for pavement or the creation of wildlife crossings. But environmentalists and scientists say storm water runoff is by far the most pressing problem – and the most expensive to fix.

The solutions are hardly high-tech. The goal is to slow water running off pavement and allow it to percolate through soil, vegetation, and stones, which cleanse it before it reaches waterways. Porous road shoulders and medians allow water to migrate into the ground instead of flowing directly into storm drains and rivers. Man-made ponds and adjacent wetlands hold runoff until it can evaporate or seep through soil. Still, such solutions can be difficult in highly urban areas where space is at a premium.

Headway is being made around the country. In January, California promised to reduce runoff pollution from its freeways in Los Angeles and Ventura counties by 20 percent to settle a lawsuit the Natural Resources Defense Council brought in 1994. Two years ago, the EPA, the Federal Highway Administration, several mid-Atlantic states, and other groups formed the Green Highways Partnership to test small-scale green highway programs that can serve as national models. Maryland has constructed man-made ponds on a pilot basis to hold highway storm water so it can filter through soil more slowly. Universities from Villanova to Louisiana State are working to perfect porous pavement technology.

In Massachusetts, state highway officials say they try to incorporate storm water management when building roads or reconstructing them in urbanized areas. But in its lawsuit, the Conservation Law Foundation said the state wasn’t doing anything about runoff from the vast network of roads.

Federal District Court Judge William G. Young agreed, saying highway storm water on Interstate 190 in Lancaster was clearly contributing to pollution in a nearby waterway, as were two Route 495 sites that were polluting the Charles River. He also said the agency needs to do a better job assessing how to keep pollution out of waterways in urbanized areas. He told MassHighway to come back to him with a revised storm water management plan by the end of 2009. He praised the agency for doing a good job given fiscal and other constraints, but said “best efforts, of course, is not the standard.”

MassHighway officials said they were pleased with the decision because the judge took pains to compliment them on many of their efforts. They acknowledged that they have not initiated new storm water management technologies on roadways that aren’t undergoing any other work because of its prohibitive cost, probably hundreds of millions of dollars if storm water controls were installed on state highways in urban areas. They are now waiting for a US Geological Survey report that will help determine where and how pollution is running off highway segments so they can decide where to focus clean-up efforts.

“I think [the judge] was saying, given the breadth of our responsibility, we are doing a pretty good job,” said Highway Commissioner Luisa M. Paiewonsky. “[We are] improving a plan already underway.”

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