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In September 2016, the New York State Department of Health issued an emergency regulation requiring all school districts state-wide to test their water for lead contamination by Oct. 31. Working seven days a week, the WSP USA hazardous materials and industrial hygiene (HazMat/IH) team collected thousands of samples at New York City and state schools to meet the deadline.
“If schools do not open or our projects are in the newspaper, that usually means we have failed our clients and ourselves,” said Craig Napolitano, WSP industrial hygiene and hazmat services lead.
Such is the fast and demanding pace of the HazMat/IH industry throughout the New York/tri-state region, where requests for sampling, oversight and design on an emergency or urgent basis are common.
“This work supports the capital budgets of our clients and is often a critical first step in the pursuit of a planned project,” Napolitano said. “We receive work on a consistent, albeit rush basis, supporting other disciplines or when an unexpected incident—such as an asbestos release—occurs on-site.”
The emergency nature of these projects can present significant technical and logistical challenges, and when work in public spaces such as schools, subway stations and public spaces is required to ensure the safety and health of the occupants, there is an added pressure to perform.
“The type of work that we do—indoor air quality, air testing, lead-based paint testing—has a real impact in the public spectrum,” Napolitano said. “Knowing we play an integral part in large public projects, often before any work is done, helps our group cope with the high-pressure turnaround of our industry.”
WSP + Louis Berger Advantages
The coming together of WSP and Louis Berger presents the cumulative client portfolio with several key advantages in the efficient and effective delivery of services.
WSP’s Hazmat/IH work crosses many market sectors and often requires multidisciplinary expertise. Integration of the technical team provides clients with 26 full-time additional cross-trained staff with a greater capacity to respond to the spectrum of client needs, expanded capabilities in the industrial hygiene discipline, which rounds out the team’s service offerings, and the addition of high-end equipment that enhances WSP’s execution.
“The integration of WSP and Louis Berger creates a comprehensive team,” Napolitano said. “A successful Hazmat/IH program begins and ends with the client; working hand and hand to understand and fulfill their needs. Having a deep and knowledgeable team to cater to any project or request is essential.”
'Respond and Perform'
The values and goals of the WSP HazMat/IH team revolve around providing individual clients and communities with expertise and hands-on service tailored to their unique needs, to achieve compliance and improve health and wellbeing in their workplaces and public spaces.
“The WSP HazMat/IH team performs environmental/IH studies and investigations for a range of clients, such as the New York City Transit Authority, New York City School Construction Authority and New York City Department of Design and Construction, to name a few,” Napolitano said.
Each agency presents specific issues that often require an understanding of the specialized responses needed to address and mitigate the situation successfully.
“We have to respond and perform,” Napolitano added. “But to be a true resource to our clients, we have to understand how the industry is evolving. We keep a finger on the pulse of emerging Hazmat/IH issues and regulations (such as Silica), so we can help our clients interpret and implement new standards and how they apply to them.”
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