June 18, 2020

All About Environmental Due Diligence With Andy Brummer

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Andrew Brummer Andrew Brummer

As environmental due diligence leader, Andy has 20 years of experience providing environmental due diligence consulting services for land and power projects. He’s supported projects for developers, realtors, engineers, architects, attorneys, municipalities, and financial institutions.

“For those looking to purchase or redevelop a property, it’s very important to complete the proper environmental due diligence before closing,” says Andy. “The property may look nice on the outside but could be contaminated beneath the surface!”

Proper due diligence could include conducting a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) which consists of a site reconnaissance, historical use research, interviews, and state and federal records review. If contamination is suspected, soil, vapor, and groundwater sampling should be completed, which may lead to further environmental investigation and/or remediation.

“Proper environmental due diligence reduces our clients’ potential liability,” explains Andy. “Knowing the facts prior to development or purchase could eliminate headaches and unforeseen expenses that could arise later down the road.”

An example of a challenging and rewarding project that Andy worked on includes the redevelopment of a former foundry located in central Minnesota where the soils were contaminated with metals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), petroleum, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). The groundwater was also contaminated with trichloroethylene (TCE). The developer wished to redevelop the property into a multi-housing apartment complex with underground parking.

To add to the project’s complexity, the site was located adjacent to a river, was heavily forested, and was located on a former quarry pit containing granite spoils. “The site posed many challenges,” says Andy. “These included a large soil correction to replace the granite spoils with suitable engineered backfill, contaminated shallow fill soils located in heavily treed greenspace areas which were not easily accessible, a shallow groundwater table that was contaminated, and a trout stream adjoining the site.” 

The site was eventually cleaned up to Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) standards which included reevaluating the site, preparing an approved cleanup plan, proposing contingencies for the shallow soil contamination in the heavily treed areas, and groundwater treatment prior to discharge during utility installations. 

“We also provided additional assessments including soil vapor testing and preparing site-specific cleanup values,” explains Andy. “The site was transformed from an underutilized brownfield into a productive property that generates taxes, created jobs, and revitalized the community.”

Andy enjoys working with his team to solve environmental challenges as well as working closely with clients to help them with their redevelopment projects. When not wearing his environmental due diligence hat, Andy enjoys golfing, fishing, and camping with family and friends. 

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