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Terra-Petra takes on Michigan Methane

May 9, 2011

Apartment Complex with methane vent risers installed after construction has been completed

Terra-Petra’s VP│GM Justin Conaway and Registered Civil Engineer John Conaway recently returned from a business trip to Taylor, Michigan — located just outside of Detroit. A large Mid-West property investment and management firm was in the process of acquiring an apartment complex development in Taylor when the issue of methane gas was brought up. Apparently the entire project was constructed over an old dump/landfill and the buildings had been retrofitted with a passive venting system and monitoring wells after construction was completed. Recent monitoring at the site, however, showed some levels of methane in the soil that made the banks uneasy.

The banks began recommending more methane mitigation measures be taken which costs in excess of $200,000 per building,  a potential “Deal-Killer” to our client. Terra-Petra was contacted by the property management firm for our expertise in the methane gas field. Shortly after discussing the project over the phone Terra-Petra was retained by this same firm to review the methane monitoring at the site to date and to design an alternate cost-effective solution that would prevent against methane intrusion into the buildings. We recommended that a site visit be conducted to be able to completely understand how we would design this methane mitigation system.

After visiting the site, sitting down with our client and reviewing all the monitoring data we came to the conclusion that the existing buildings were not under any immediate danger from methane gas intrusion.  In our opinion, with the addition of some simple and inexpensive mitigation measures, steps could be taken to assure that the buildings would never be in danger from methane intrusion again. As you can imagine, our client was very happy to hear this! We felt that this approach would also satisfy the State of Michigan’s “Due Care” program, and we met with the program director at the State of Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), Redevelopment and Remediation Division (DEQRR) as well as the Air Quality Division (AQD) to discuss it.  Both parties at the DEQRR and AQD Divisions were in agreement with our approach and requested specific data be collected for verification. We are now in the process of preparing work plan to be submitted to the DEQ for concurrence before we move forward on the next phase of this project, site assessment.

Our client now feels that the methane is not a “Deal-Killer” and is moving forward with the acquisition of this property based on the information that Terra-Petra provided. More to report as the project unfolds.

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