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

Article featured in the Environmental Business Journal (EBJ) Executive Review 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?

Greetings! The entire COLUMBIA team and I wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season with hopes of prosperity in the new year. We’d like to thank all our clients and partners who helped make 2012 such a successful year and we look forward to working with you in 2013. Sincerely, John

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.

On Monday, October 29, 2012, our CEO, John Sohl, will present Rapid High Resolution Site Characterization Using Direct Sensing Technologies during the morning session of the Midwestern States Environmental Consultants Association (MSECA) Annual Risk Assessment & Remediation Seminar. This year, the seminar will be hosted at the Marriott Indianapolis North at Keystone Crossing in Indianapolis, IN.

During COLUMBIA’s presentation on remediation focused site characterization, John will discuss the value of rapid high resolution mapping of subsurface contamination using proven, real-time investigation techniques. Today’s direct sensing capabilities enable environmental site managers to reduce the risk, uncertainty, and costs for contaminated sites while making better, more informed remediation focused decisions. Advanced state-of-the-art technologies including Membrane Interface Probe (MIP), Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF), and the Hydraulic Profiling Tool (HPT) provide valuable information for involved stakeholders to build and develop multiple weighted lines of evidence to support remediation efforts.

The 7 Biggest Myths of Direct Sensing (Part I)

Wednesday, 19 September 2012 by

After 20 years in enviromental sampling and analysis we have come to believe in direct sensing as a means of providing the most rapid and comprehensive information about the distribution and composition of soil and groundwater contamination. Ever evolving, today’s direct sensing tools for remediation focused site characterization projects continue to add a greater range of high resolution information on subsurface conditions including hydrology, lithology and contaminant distribution to support environmental liability decision.

Although direct sensing approaches are used throughout the environmental industry supporting cleanup and closure efforts, there are still several myths associated in applying these methods to site investigation and remediation projects.

There are three basic assumptions or principles we have in mind when deploying high resolution direct sensing tools with as near real time decision-making information:

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

ITRC 2-Day LNAPL Classroom Training in Novi, MI on October 16-17

COLUMBIA Technologies is pleased to sponsor the upcoming ITRC LNAPL Classroom Training course. The Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) is offering a 2-day training class from the ITRC LNAPL team on October 16-17, 2012 in Novi, MI, in cooperation with ITRC state member, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.

ITRC offers this 2-day classroom training course, based on ITRC’s Technical and Regulatory Guidance document, Evaluating LNAPL Remediation Technologies for Achieving Project Goals (LNAPL-2) to assist environmental practitioners with applying science-based solutions for LNAPL sites. The ITRC guidance was developed through the combined efforts of environmental professionals including state and federal regulators, consultants, industry, and community stakeholders. This 2-day ITRC classroom training led by internationally recognized experts should enable you to:

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 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. 

One of the most critical points to remember when developing a site closure work plan is that it simply costs too much to assess, remediate, and make decisions on information that is incomplete, inaccurate, and too late. Traditional approaches to characterizing subsurface conditions by drilling, soil sampling, and monitoring wells screened over large intervals are too incomplete to accurately deal with site heteregoneity.

Therefore, a high resolution site characterization approach is a more attractive option as it enables projects to move forward with remediation focused activities such as corrective action, free product recovery efforts, and site closure.

Let’s face it, the heterogeneity geology of a site is going to impact the migration of subsurface contamination opposed to the age old myth that it always follows the direction of groundwater. Introduction of the Hydraulic Profiling Tool (HPT) for site investigation and remediation efforts supports contaminant mapping activities to provide a greater understanding of subsurface conditions. By measuring direct pressure response, HPT develops weighted lines of evidence indicating the tight (or loose) grains and low (or high) flow zones in order to determine the migration pathways, remediation injection regions, and placements for monitoring wells. With an integrated Soil Electrical Conductivity (EC) array this tool also defines zones of lower conductivity which allows for the movement of contaminants into the subsurface.

ITRC 2-Day LNAPL Classroom Training in Boston, MA on April 5-6

COLUMBIA Technologies is pleased to sponsor the upcoming ITRC LNAPL Classroom Training course. The Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) is offering a 2-day training class from the ITRC LNAPL team on April 5-6, 2012 in Boston, MA, in cooperation with ITRC state member, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association (NEWMOA).

ITRC offers this 2-day classroom training course, based on ITRC’s Technical and Regulatory Guidance document, Evaluating LNAPL Remediation Technologies for Achieving Project Goals (LNAPL-2) to assist environmental practitioners with applying science-based solutions for LNAPL sites. The ITRC guidance was developed through the combined efforts of environmental professionals including state and federal regulators, consultants, industry, and community stakeholders. This 2-day ITRC classroom training led by internationally recognized experts should enable you to:

TOP