In Case You Missed It: Healthy Buildings and Indoor Air Quality Webinar

Recently, Christopher Glenn of Langan Treadwell Rollo’s Oakland, CA office moderated a webinar, with panelists Jean Hansen, Sustainable Interiors Manager at HDR and Todd Arris, Senior Director of Development at Kilroy Realty, to discuss healthy building environments and indoor air quality.

Wind assisted riser completions at roof level

Wind assisted riser completions at roof level

Now more than ever, the building industry is making significant advancements in efficiency, sustainability, and technological innovations. Protecting indoor air quality from contaminants that may exist in the soils beneath buildings, as well as materials, furniture, and supplies, is critical to improving and maintaining a healthy work and living environment.

The panel discussion, sponsored by AGRION Global Network for Cleantech, Energy, and Corporate Sustainability, focused on the use of vapor mitigation systems (VMS) as a means of protection of indoor air quality for new development properties. Glenn observed that protection of indoor air quality from contaminants in soils and soil gas is increasingly important given the growing number of new developments on remediated or less than pristine land. Within the San Francisco Bay Area alone, new developments are transforming former industrial properties along the shoreline into new neighborhoods, such as Mission Bay, the site of several Langan environmental and geotechnical projects. Former military properties such as Hunters Point Naval Shipyard and Treasure Island are also undergoing remediation and are poised for redevelopment. VMSs offer protection against vapor intrusion for new development on these brownfield sites or remediated properties.

VMS Portable Monitoring Equipment

VMS Portable Monitoring Equipment

A VMS typically consists of two components:

  1. A vapor barrier that is spray-applied beneath the building’s structural slab.
  2. A venting layer beneath the vapor barrier consisting of a permeable rock layer and perforated piping to capture and vent accumulated vapors from beneath the building to the atmosphere.

A VMS doesn’t have to be costly; by focusing on passively-powered and integrated systems, an ideal VMS design can be incorporated into the existing building design framework in a cost effective and sustainable manner. For example, wind turbines can provide passive but effective suction to transport accumulated vapors through the venting layer, or the venting layer and vapor membrane themselves can also serve as a capillary break and water vapor barrier, which is typically desired in new developments – even where a VMS is not required.

As indoor air quality becomes a focus of environmental health regulatory agencies, the building industry needs to continue to identify ways to protect the quality of indoor air and support healthy building.

Completed Membrane Installation

Completed Membrane Installation

What do you think? Have you encountered indoor air quality issues?


Christopher Glenn, PE, LEED GA


We asked our environmental expert, Dorinda Shipman, PG, CHG, ENV SP…

What makes the Pier 70 project unique?

Pier 70 is a historic area in San Francisco’s Potrero Point or “Dogpatch” neighborhood. Langan has been involved with this project site on the environmental side since 2007 when we conducted shoreline sampling at what is now Crane Cove Park. Being part of the brownfield redevelopment at Pier 70 is especially interesting given its rich history in west coast shipbuilding and repair. Pier 70 was formerly home to the Union Iron Works and Bethlehem Shipbuilding; currently, BAE continues ship repair in a portion of the property. Due to the decades of shipbuilding and industrial activity, our site investigation results included soil gas, soil, and groundwater characterization, as well as human health and ecological risk assessment. This played an important role in progressing redevelopment plans. We are currently preparing a remedial action work plan for the Crane Cove Park near the shore area.  Langan has also performed geotechnical field investigation and analysis for Forest City in the shoreline development area and for Orton Development in the Pier 70 historic core.

As a whole, the Pier 70 redevelopment project will add new elements to the community and further connect the Dogpatch neighborhood to the expanding southeast bayfront. The waterfront site will include new retail, residential, office, and green spaces, while the planned historic core will include the rehabilitation of several existing buildings that are part of the pier’s unique history. One of the unique features of the Pier 70 redevelopment plan is Crane Cove Park, which is adjacent to the Port of San Francisco’s active ship repair yard, and includes the preservation of two historic cranes and the historic ship building slip-way.  Crane Cove Park is also part of San Francisco’s emerging Blue Greenway open space network that is providing connections to the waterfront from land and water along the southeast shoreline.   Overall, these planned features will revitalize this historic community and provide new focal points along San Francisco’s southern waterfront.

For more information about this project, visit the Port of San Francisco’s website by clicking here.

We asked the Principal-in-Charge of Levi’s Stadium and our geotechnical/seismic expert, Ramin Golesorkhi, PhD, PE, GE…

How did the Langan team help keep the Levi’s Stadium project on schedule?

To help keep the project on schedule and address geotechnical issues quickly, our team interacted directly with the Turner/Devcon team. To accelerate the work, the site was divided into four quadrants and treated as individual projects. This approach was applied from the very beginning of the construction process with grading and the installation of piles, and continued until the project was complete.  For us, this meant four individual drilling and pile installation crews working simultaneously, which required significant preplanning and preparation between our engineers, Turner/Devcon, and Berkel & Company Contractors, Inc., the piling contactor.

Through strategic logistical planning and real-time quality assurance evaluation, potentially problematic pile observations were addressed before the end of a shift, and often before the pile installation was complete. Quickly mitigating field issues helped keep the project moving forward on its aggressive schedule during the early stages of construction. Additionally, through our collaborative efforts with Berkel, piles were installed in a sequence that generally maximized production rates.

Congratulations to the 49ers on their new home and all those who helped make it possible!



Langan project team members attended the Levi’s Stadium ribbon cutting ceremony on July 17.




We asked our environmental project manager Peter Cusack…

What makes the Salesforce Tower project interesting from an environmental perspective?

Being part of the Salesfore TPeter Cusackower project team is an exciting opportunity for Langan and our environmental staff has been working with the owners, Boston Properties and Hines, from the early stages. We are actively providing a variety of services for this project, but the oversight during excavation proves to be the most interesting.  Excavation will be performed at two separate times.  In the fall of 2013, all the hazardous soil was excavated and disposed off-site, and the remaining non-hazardous contaminated soil will be removed in the coming months. As part of the shoring and excavation phase, load bearing elements (LBE) are currently being installed at the site and once that task is completed, the second round of excavation activities will begin. The unique excavation sequencing at the site has required constant communication between our environmental team and the contractor, Clark/Hathaway Dinwiddie, A Joint Venture, in order to keep the project on schedule.

In addition to excavation oversight, Langan prepared and submitted a Site Mitigation Plan, which was approved by the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH), completed soil and groundwater sampling, performed sampling and chemical analysis during soil handling and disposal activities, and provided project management services. Our environmental team will also prepare the required site closure report and submit to the SFDPH.  The closure report will include soil sample analytical results, all soil disposal manifests, a chronological summary of daily soil handling activities, and will request No Further Action in regards to the environmental issues for the site.


To learn more about this project and our environmental services, please contact Peter Cusack, Senior Associate, at

Chrin Interchange Transforms Lehigh Valley

mainIf anyone sees the potential for land better than a real estate developer, it’s a farmer. And few farmers possess the foresight of Charles Chrin. He acquired 800 acres of land in the Greater Lehigh Valley region decades ago, and since then has done a lot more than grow corn and soybeans.
Today the Chrin Companies ( are a series of diverse organizations that include excavation, hauling, agriculture services, and landfill operations, as well as real estate development. Charles Chrin has been the driver behind these businesses, which have helped his community prosper, but no Chrin project is more ambitious than the nationally recognized Route 33/Main Street Interchange.
“This project had been a dream for 20 years, until Charlie Chrin decided to make it real,” said AnnMarie Vigilante, the Langan Associate and award-winning traffic engineer in Pennsylvania, who is leading this transformative project. “Charlie, the local officials, and PENNDOT have truly collaborated to plan and execute this massive highway interchange that is literally re-shaping the county, bringing jobs to the area, and greatly increasing real estate values for all stakeholders.”
Langan has become a trusted consultant on the “Chrin” Interchange, which is ideally located at the nexus of Route 33 and interstate highways 78 and 80. Vigilante and the Langan team provided a host of traffic and civil engineering services on the full diamond interchange, the Main Street bridge replacement, acceleration and deceleration lanes, drainage structure modifications, grading improvements, additional ramps, and signalization of two intersections.”
“This project has really become a partnership among everyone involved,” said Gregory Elko, Managing Principal, Langan. “We are proud to support the Chrin Companies and look forward to helping future vital development projects once the interchange is completed.”
Importantly, the four quadrants that surround the interchange are already becoming major hubs for industrial development, specifically warehouse/distribution centers and large retail projects. In fact, Porsche built a state-of-the-art 130,000-square-foot facility there in 2009 and a 100,000-square-foot distribution and warehouse center for Mondelez International is under construction. There will no doubt be similar projects, as developers and companies from around the world help fulfill the vision of Charles Chrin.
Check out our construction progress pictures of the nationally recognized Route 33/Main Street Interchange project.









We asked our site/civil expert DJ Hodson…

What made the 340 Fremont Street project unique in terms of coordination and planning?

 The exciting part oImagef the 340 Fremont project for our site/civil team was implementing some of the newer City policies including the San Francisco Better Streets Plan and the Stormwater Management Ordinance.  As the project evolved, the coordination between Langan Treadwell Rollo, Handel Architects, Cliff Lowe Associates (landscape architect), Magnusson Klemencic Associates (structural engineer) and the other key design team members was critical.  Langan took the lead role in preparing the Stormwater Control Plans and Street Improvement Plans and obtaining the requisite approvals.  The interaction with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and San Francisco Department of Public Works (SFDPW) during the design process was extremely valuable, as the City did their part in being responsive.  As a result, the project obtained its Site Permit on time to meet an important project milestone.


In addition to our site/civil work, Langan also performed environmental and geotechnical services for the 340 Fremont Street development team.  When we provide this unique combination of services for a project, it makes coordination among the disciplines very convenient and reduces the coordination efforts for our clients.  We have been very successful in combining these services for several development projects in the Bay Area to the benefit of our clients.  

Finding Brownfield Funding

Langan Helps Connect Communities to Redevelopment Dollars

George Kelley, Langan’s Chairman of the Board, likes to say that “We were doing Brownfields before the term was coined!” Given the fact that it was nearly 45 years ago that Langan started supporting the redevelopment of sites currently considered Brownfields, Kelley is probably correct.

Today, Langan continues to work on Brownfield sites in every state where we operate, for obvious reasons–the firm’s suite of technical services and knowledge of the local regulatory processes are ideally suited to help any redevelopment project from due diligence to completion.

Lately in Pennsylvania, Langan is doing even more to support Brownfield redevelopment, specifically through the work of Greg Firely, Senior Project Scientist. His practice helps municipalities with Brownfield sites obtain grants that can kick-start redevelopment.

Often towns and counties are unaware that such funding exists or have limited resources to handle the paperwork required to obtain Brownfield funding. Furthermore, properly filing a Brownfield funding application can be challenging, which is why multiple towns have retained Langan to help them navigate the process.

Firely and his team at Langan track federal and state programs that have set aside money to help municipalities clean up Brownfield sites. He also consults with the towns to ensure that their applications are accurate and compliant with the requirements of the grant source. To date, Langan has helped numerous towns and communities secure approximately $15 million in funding grants, which has in turn led to the remediation and redevelopment of underutilized Brownfields into productive community assets. These redevelopments range from commercial and residential projects to industrial and community parks, all while removing environmental impacts and benefiting the surrounding community.

“One of the reasons I joined Langan is because of the firm’s dedication to Brownfield redevelopment,” said Firely. “In our business, nothing is more gratifying than helping to revitalize communities; after all, we all live, work, and play here too.” 

We asked our geotechnical expert Richard Rodgers…

What is the most challenging project you are currently involved in?

Richard Rodgers, PE, GE

We are working on several challenging and interesting geotechnical projects.  Near the top of the list has to be Phase III of the Trinity Place development under construction at 8th and Market Streets in San Francisco.  The site encompasses a footprint of about 75,000 square feet and is underlain by variable soil conditions and groundwater is at a depth of about 20 feet.  Cary Ronan (Senior Project Manager) and I have been involved in the development since 2007.  Phase I and II buildings have been completed and are fully occupied; both buildings are in excess of 20 stories and pile supported.  Phase III is being constructed adjacent to these existing buildings, will have six levels of basement parking, and will require an excavation of 65 feet.  The primary challenges are to protect and support the two existing structures and adjacent streets and provide resistance to hydrostatic uplift due to groundwater.

The permanent structure will be supported on a reinforced concrete mat with approximately 700 tie-downs to resist hydrostatic uplift.  Design considerations for the permanent structure also include the eventual construction of Phase IV immediately north of Phase III and extending to Market Street.  Current plans are for Phase IV to also have six basement levels.

A soil-cement mixed-in-place wall with lateral support provided by a combination of tie-backs and internal braces has been selected as shoring for the excavation.  Internal bracing will be used where tie-backs are impractical because of the pile foundations of the existing Phase I and II buildings.  The internal bracing affects the design and sequencing of wall and floor slab construction of the basement, which along with planning for Phase IV, required careful coordination with the structural engineer (Magnusson Klemencic Associates), general contractor (Swinerton Builders), and shoring contractor (Malcolm Drilling).

Because of the variability of the soil profile around the site perimeter, and the surcharges imposed by the two adjacent buildings, several lateral earth pressure conditions had to be considered in design of the shoring.

Trinity Place Phase 3

Langan Treadwell Rollo performed the exploration necessary and developed the pressure diagrams in conjunction with the shoring designer Brierley Associates.

Construction of the shoring began in late December and the excavation is planned to be completed by June 2014.

Case Study: Chemical and Biological Reduction of PCE by Pneumatic Fracturing and Injection of ZVI in Saprolite

This article presents a case study of the source-area treatment of tetrachloroethene (PCE) in a low-permeability formation using zero-valent iron (ZVI). Evidence of the stimulation of biological reduction processes within the treatment zone occurred. Pneumatic fracturing and injection of microscale ZVI slurry in the overburden and weathered bedrock zones was performed at a commercial brownfields redevelopment site in Maryland. A 20,000-square-foot source area impacted with PCE at concentrations greater than 15,000 g/L was treated at depths ranging from 10 to 70 feet bgs. An average ZVI dosage of 0.0024 iron-to-soil mass ratio within the overburden zone led to a 75 percent decrease in PCE mass in less than one year. For the weathered bedrock zone, an average 0.0045 iron-to-soil mass ratio resulted in a 92 percent decrease in PCE mass during the same period.  The reducing environment and hydrogen generated by the ZVI may have stimulated Dehalobacter populations, as evidenced by concentrations up to 104 cells per milliliter measured within the treatment area despite a groundwater pH as high as 9. The biological reductive dechlorination of the chlorinated ethenes explains the temporary increase in trichloroethene and cis-1,2-dichloroethene concentrations.

Click here to read the full article.

Eco Risks and Rewards: Environmental Experts Find Ways Forward

Eco RiskDevelopment, in all forms, can coexist with nature. There are, of course, examples in history that speak otherwise, but today’s developers and industrial leaders are far more environmentally conscious than in years past. At Langan, we work with such clients to assess the potential ecological risks to sensitive natural resources that may have been caused from prior site uses, and apply our technical expertise to help arrive at solutions that achieve project goals while also protecting human and ecological health.

Lofty thoughts about balancing ecological health with client objectives for site cleanup and development are always at the front of KariAnne Czajkowski’s mind when conducting ecological risk assessment studies. A Project Scientist based in Langan’s Doylestown, Pennsylvania office, Czajkowski and other scientists in the Environmental Group spend a lot of time navigating waters, hiking through forests and meadows, and slogging through marshes collecting chemical and biological data to support determinations of pre-existing or potential future ecological concerns.

“We make recommendations by carefully characterizing multiple lines of ecological evidence so that clients can make sound risk management decisions regarding how to address both the human health and ecological risk aspects of their environmental cleanup and development projects,“ said Czajkowski, who is an active member of the Interstate Technology Regulatory Council Contaminated Sediments Remediation Teams and a national support instructor for the ITRC Contaminated Sediments-Bioavailability training seminar.

Clients often state that uncertainty is a huge impediment to progress. Therefore, Langan’s ecological risk assessment services help put concerns about ecological risk in context when making decisions regarding risk management and remedy at their sites. The firm has performed countless ecological risk evaluations in many states in an effort to ensure our client’s projects are protective of our waterways, terrestrial landscapes, and associated fish and wildlife resources. Ultimately, our environmental services enable a better understanding of habitats, human and otherwise, and allow clients to reduce ecological and financial risk on their projects. And what could be more rewarding than that?

To learn more about Langan’s Ecological Risk Assessment Services, please contact Steven Ueland, Managing Principal, at


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