Site Soil Evaluations

Before You Build: The Importance of a Site & Soil Evaluation

Whether you’re a commercial developer looking to expand your business or an individual hoping to build your dream house, one thing is certain: you’re going to need a site & soil evaluation before you build.

While most people have heard of site & soil evaluations, many don’t know what they are or why they’re important. To help you understand the importance of this vital step, we’re going to walk you through the nitty gritty of this key environmental service.

What is a Site & Soil Evaluation?

The quality of soil on a given site can vary greatly, and these variations will affect how the site can be used and what amendments, if any, must be made. A site & soil Evaluation is one of the first steps toward obtaining any permits, which is why they so important at the beginning of a project.

What Do Site & Soil Evaluations Review?

There are seven site and soil properties we evaluate before any project can begin. These properties are:

  • Soil texture (the amount of sand silt and clay in the soil)
  • Permeability (the rate at which water enters and passes through the soil)
  • Depth of soil to bedrock
  • Slope (the steepness and length of the slope specifically)
  • Shrink-swell of the soil (this involves changes in volume based on the wetness of soil)
  • Water table (the depth at which water occurs in the soil both seasonally and permanently)
  • Flood hazards (the frequency that the site is inundated by flooding)

If you are interested in evaluation of the following two site and soil properties, please contact Applied Resource Management for further information:

  • Erosion hazard (the amount of topsoil currently on the site, and the potential for future loss)
  • Surface runoff (the rate at which water flows off the site, based on slope, permeability, and texture)

Each of these properties will have a huge impact on your project, and knowing where you stand on these issues can help you plan and budget accordingly.

What is the Process Like?

At Applied Resource Management, we begin site & soil evaluations by conducting a preliminary review to determine options and potentially followed by a soils mapping valuation of the entire subject property, leaving no stone unturned. This includes initial soils evaluations, mapping and design recommendations for wastewater disposal areas, and soils maps sealed by a North Carolina Licensed Soil Scientist. An anticipated but approximate long term acceptance rate (LTAR) in gallons per day for drip field design and coordination with design/planning team for maximizing site development is included. For some properties, a lot layout evaluation is an option. The time it takes to complete the evaluation depends on the depth, location, and availability of an approvable soil formation.

How Can ARM Help?

Applied Resource Management’s Soils Division at Applied Resource Management is staffed with highly experienced and well-trained individuals, who focus on facilitating residential and commercial property transfers and transactions. Working with our soil scientists is a crucial step that will give you an accurate understanding of your property and any issues it may have, expert advice on regulatory requirements, a detailed view of the project impacts, and required documentation for and help securing necessary permits.

If you’re about to embark on a development project, your first step should be to contact Applied Resource Management. We’ll make sure you get off on the right foot and that your project is successful from beginning to end.

Ways to lower your air conditioning bill

5 Ways to Lower Your AC Bill This Summer

The temperatures are rising, the days are getting longer, and off in the distance we can hear the sweet siren of the ice cream truck. This can only mean one thing—summer is officially here! As we all know, summers in North Carolina are hot and humid, which means air conditioning is pretty much a necessity. While cranking up the AC and enjoying the cool air is lovely, it can also put a strain on your wallet. This is a shame, mostly because it means there’s less cash for beach trips and new bathing suits! Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of ways to keep your energy costs down this summer. Give them a try and reap the rewards!

1. Turn up your thermostat when you’re away.

Some people believe that it uses less energy to maintain the same temperature constantly, but this myth has been debunked! For the most savings, keep your home a few degrees warmer when you’re at work, and then turn it down to a cool 78F when you get home.

2. Use ceiling fans to keep the room cool.

Turning on the ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat about 4F without feeling any change in temperature. But remember to turn off the fan when you leave the room—while fans will keep a person cool by creating a wind chill affect, they don’t actually lower the temperature in the room. Keeping them on when no one is using them is a waste of energy!

3. Embrace your outdoor grill.

Summer is ideal barbeque weather, and it’s not just because of the hot dogs and hamburgers. Grilling outside means you can avoid turning on your oven or raising the temperature with a hot stovetop. If the weather isn’t cooperating, opt for fresh salads and sandwiches, or let your microwave do the heavy lifting.

4. Cover your windows.

We love a sunny day as much as the next person, but if you want to keep your home cool, it helps to keep the sun out. For a quick fix, close your curtains, blinds, and shades. If you want to take window coverings to the next level, invest in solar screens or window films. These products can keep up to 70% of solar energy out of your home and will pay for themselves by the time fall rolls around.

5. Install a geothermal cooling system.

Geothermal energy is an effective way to cut down on energy costs, especially in the summer—you could save between 30% and 70%! While installing a geothermal system might seem like a lot of work, the long-term benefits are worth it. Homes with geothermal energy systems are also eligible for certain tax breaks, which means you could be enjoying a 30% tax credit next spring. If you’re interested in exploring geothermal energy as a way to lower your air conditioning bill, contact Applied Resource Management today and learn more about our full range of geothermal well drilling and loop system installation services.

We hope this post has given you some cool ideas for keeping costs down this summer. For more tips on saving energy and living a green life, like us on Facebook. In the meantime, have a great summer!

Best-Ways-to-Dispose-of-Waste-Water

Wastewater: What It Is and How to Handle It

The environmental professionals at Applied Resource Management offer many services that are integral to the smooth execution of home and business-related projects. Some of our services include performing due diligence during property acquisitions, inspecting sites for hazardous substances, and obtaining various permits.

One of our most important services is helping our clients deal with wastewater and stormwater treatment and removal, a process that is vital to a healthy world and thriving population. We can’t exist without water, so taking steps to ensure we treat this precious resource in a responsible way should be a priority no matter what project you undertake.

What is wastewater, anyway?

First, a brief definition. Wastewater, for those who aren’t sure, is any water that has been adversely affected by the impact of humans. This can include any combination of activities from domestic to industrial to agricultural. Basically, if the water has been tainted or changed by humans, it must be treated or disposed of in a safe and responsible manner. This keeps wastewater from upsetting the natural balance of the environment, not to mention spreading pathogens and diseases to humans and animals.

Treatment and disposal—in that order.

Before wastewater can be disposed, it must be treated. Federal, state, and local regulations prohibit the disposal of untreated water into storm drains and surface water, and those who break this law will face hefty consequences. Only after the water has been neutralized can it be returned to the environment.

Some types of wastewater, such as sewage, can be handled by the government in larger urban areas, through municipal wastewater treatment centers. Septic tanks can also help take care of wastewater. In rural areas septic tanks often do this work, so it’s important to ensure that your system follows current guidelines and is working to the best of its ability.

Yes, you CAN recycle water!   

When most people think of recycling, the picture paper, plastic, and aluminum. They don’t usually think of water, but it’s also a resource that can and should be reused when it’s safe to do so.

Some types of wastewater can be reused. For example, gray water—that is, water from bathroom sinks, bath tub shower drains, and clothes washing equipment—can be used in gardening, agriculture, and landscaping, as long as it’s not being consumed by humans. (Using all natural and biodegradable cleaning and personal care products is a good idea if you plan to recycle your water at home.) Another type of water that can be reused is water that has been run through a building’s cooling process. Again, this water shouldn’t be consumed or used for bathing, but it can be reused in other ways.

Need help navigating the world of wastewater?  

If you need help removing wastewater or applying for and procuring any of the required permits, contact Applied Resource Management today. Our professionals can help complete projects of any size in a safe, legal, and environmentally-friendly way. Together, we can help the earth, your business, and each other.

Geothermal Versus Air Source Heat Pumps

Geothermal HVAC vs. Air Source Heat Pumps 

At Applied Resource Management, we’re big believers in geothermal energy. Because of this, we get a lot of questions about geothermal. Is it really that much better than a traditional air source heat pump? Is it worth updating your current system? How do these two heating and cooling systems really compare?

To answer these questions and shed some light on the benefits of geothermal heating & cooling, we’ve put together the following post that pits geothermal (water source) against traditional (air source) heat pumps. See how they stack up, then decide which one is right for you. And remember—if you choose geothermal, Applied Resource Management can help install it in your home or business.

Source

Geothermal heating & cooling utilizes never-ending solar energy stored in the shallow earth to modulate your inside air temperature. It is heat that is available, renewable, consistent, and hidden just below the surface of the earth. Air source heat pumps, on the other hand, inefficiently collect air from the extremes of summer and winter, struggling to squeeze coolness from the dog days of August and heat from frigid January nights.

Efficiency

Geothermal heat pump systems are more energy efficient. Even in the coldest winter, they operate between 300% and 600% efficiency, while an air source heat pump only reaches 175% to 300% efficiency, even when the weather is milder. This is a great benefit for your wallet as well as the planet!

Cost

While air source heat pumps are cheaper to install initially, they have about half the life expectancy and efficiency. Geothermal energy will offer a lower price tag in the long run. This is a case in which a little patience can yield big savings. If you plan to move in the next few years, you may be tempted to install an air source heat pump to save money. We still recommend going geothermal, as a geothermal system can increase the value of your home.

Maintenance

All the components of a geothermal heat pump are indoors or underground, which protects them from the elements. Air source heat pumps, on the other hand, require an outdoor unit, which will need to be cleaned regularly in order for it to run efficiently. This takes time and energy. The lovely sea air we enjoy so much locally will also do considerable damage to an outdoor condenser unit, reducing the life expectancy to around +/- 8 years. A geothermal condenser has a 30 year life expectancy. In the case of damage caused by salt air, debris, storms, or vandals, the help of a professional is likely required.

Taxes

Buying and installing an Energy Star-qualified geothermal heat pump means you may be eligible for a 30% federal tax credit. There is no similar tax credit for air source heat pumps.

We hope this post helps you narrow down your choices as you consider heating and cooling solutions for your home! To learn more about geothermal energy, or to schedule a consultation and installation, contact Applied Resource Management today.

Tips for Living a More Environmentally Friendly Life

5 Easy Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

At Applied Resource Management, we pride ourselves on being environmental professionals. Our services help businesses succeed and individuals thrive, while still protecting the earth that we all share. That’s why we’re excited to spend Friday, April 22nd, celebrating Earth Day.

Founded in 1970, the mission of Earth Day is to celebrate the planet, encourage others to build a healthy, sustainable environment, and protect the Earth for future generations. Saving the planet is a big job, but no action is insignificant. Even small changes can have a big impact!

To help you have fun while saving the world, we’ve put together five fun and easy things you can do today to help spread the love this Earth Day. Remember, we only have one planet. Let’s treat it right.

1. Visit a State Park.
North Carolina, where Applied Resource Management is based, has a great state park system. It doesn’t matter if you prefer recreation areas, lakes, trails, the ocean, or the mountains—the Tar Heel State has it all! If you’re on the coast, check out the native carnivorous plants at Carolina Beach State Park, and if you feel like trekking to the mountains, reserve a spot at Mount Mitchell State Park. The hardest part will be choosing which park to visit first!

2. Be Safe with Electronic Waste.
As technology changes our lives, it also changes our landfills. More than 50 million tons of electronic waste (known as “e-waste”) is tossed each year, and only a quarter of that is recycled. The next time you upgrade your smartphone, buy the latest Kindle, or splurge on a skinnier laptop, make sure you dispose of your old electronics in a responsible manner by taking them to an e-waste recycling facility.

3. Plant a Garden. 
Growing your own groceries is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint (your food doesn’t have to travel across the country to get to your table) and it will also encourage you to eat healthier (let’s just say it’s not easy to grow Oreos and Twinkies). If you get really into gardening, consider installing an irrigation well to keep your water bill down. If you don’t have space for a garden, you can also make an effort to shop at markets and support local farmers in your own community.

4. Just Say No to Junk Mail.
Did you know over 100 million trees are cut down each year to produce junk mail? That’s a terrible toll on the earth, and all for a bunch of credit card offers, catalogs, and advertisements you didn’t even want in the first place! The official Earth Day website has some great tools for cutting junk mail out of your life. Pledge to receive less junk mail today, and create a greener lifestyle for your family and home.

5. Install a Geothermal System.
We may be biased, but at Applied Resource Management we think one of the best things you can do for your home and for the environment is to install a geothermal energy system in your home. This is an energy-conscious way to provide heating and cooling in your home, and will also save you money in the long run! If you’re interested in this option, contact us to learn more.

We hope these tips inspire you to live a green life, on Earth Day and every day! For more environmentally friendly tips, like us on Facebook. Happy Earth Day!

How to Identify a Wetland

Wetlands Delineation: What It Is And Why It Matters

One of the very important services that Applied Resource Management offers is Wetlands Delineation. Wetlands are common in all areas of the United States, but they’re especially prevalent on the North Carolina coast. Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, being aware of wetlands on your property is an important part of the building and remodeling process, environmentally and legally. If you ignore wetlands and/or don’t secure the proper permits, you could damage the environment and even face a hefty fine! Luckily, our Soils Division can determine whether and where wetlands exist on a property, keeping your project on track and in line with local and national regulations.

What is a wetland?

According to the US Army Corps of Engineers and the US Environmental Protection Agency, a wetland is defined as any area that is inundated or saturated by so much surface or ground water that it supports animal and vegetable life. These saturated areas known as wetlands can include swamps, marshes, and bogs.

Why are wetlands important?

Wetlands are unique ecosystems where certain plants and animals are able to survive and thrive. In other words, if you alter the wetland you could be damaging and possibly destroying these delicate ecosystems. Without the presence of these wetlands, we risk upsetting the natural ecosystem resulting in a degraded environment. This is bad news for plants, animals, and humans, too due to increased pollution, flooding issues, and sedimentation of our waters.

What does a wetland look like?

Wetlands are as diverse as the plants and animals they support. Here in southeastern North Carolina, where Applied Resource Management is based, wetlands often take the shape of marshes and tidal wetlands. Environmental professionals can identify a wetland by testing the soil and identifying the types of plants that are growing in the area. Wetlands plants are uniquely suited to growing in saturated soil, and their presence can be a sure sign of a wetland. This is why it’s easiest to identify a wetland during the growing season.

You’ve got a wetland. Now what? 

If there is an area on your property—residential or commercial—that seems to stay wet, then it’s important to take action before moving forward with any proposed projects, remodels, or expansions. If wetlands are present, don’t worry—your project isn’t doomed! You’ll simply have to take some extra steps, including securing the necessary permits, to move forward in a responsible manner. Permits can include wastewater, CAMA permits, Jurisdictional Determinations, nationwide permits, and local county permits. Once these permits have been granted, you can continue your project in a safe and responsible manner.

While this process can be confusing and time-consuming, the help of an experienced environmental professionals, such as Applied Resource Management, can help. Contact us today and together we’ll ensure that the path you take is the right one.

Irrigation Systems and Installation

The Benefits of Irrigation Wells 

As environmental professionals, Applied Resource Management fields all sorts of questions from our clients. Lately, we’ve received an uptick in interest about irrigation wells. This isn’t too surprising, since irrigation wells are a great choice for your home or business. If you’ve been considering an irrigation well, or if you simply want to learn more about this environmentally-friendly and convenient option, this blog post is for you.

What Is an Irrigation Well?

First things first: an irrigation well uses water from your well to power a variety of systems that distribute non-potable water, such as sprinkler systems, animal waterers, geo systems, and feeding ponds, among others. Some companies use water from a shallower depth, since it won’t be used for human consumption, as a way to cut corners and avoid regulations. At Applied Resource Management, however, we drill into the rock aquifer regardless. This allows us to carry a never-go-dry policy, as shallow wells are prone to failure during drought seasons.

What Are the Benefits of Irrigation Wells?

Irrigation wells have many benefits for all areas of your life, including your home, your wallet, and your environment. Here are just some of the perks you’ll enjoy thanks to an irrigation system:

  • Lower utility bills. Because well water is free, you don’t have to worry about a sky-high water bill in the summer, when your lawn, garden, and outdoor plants need extra water to stay green and healthy. While home owners will often see some savings, for commercial enterprises, such as farms, an irrigation well is practically a necessity. Reliable access to affordable water can make or break an industry, and an irrigation well is one way to ensure that your agricultural business succeeds!
  • Avoid unexpected price hikes. Because you’re using your own water from your own well, you don’t have to worry about blowing your budget on unexpected price surges. Free is free.
  • Healthy, clean water. Well water doesn’t contain chlorine or other chemicals. This is especially good news for those of us with gardens or farms, who prefer to eat organically, or who want to at least know exactly what is in the water they’ll eventually consume. 
  • Groundwater is a renewable resource. Better for your wallet and better for the environment? It sounds too good to be true, but trust us—this is the real deal! 
  • Increase in property value. All the benefits we just listed are great for you, but they’re also wonderful selling points if and when you decide to put your home on the market. This is a great way to rationalize the upfront cost of installing an irrigation well. By spending a little extra now, you’ll reap the benefits for years and years to come. In Pender County, you’ll get your return on investment in one year. In New Hanover County, it will take 1.25 years, and in Onslow County, 1.5 years. 
  • A time saver. Time is our most precious commodity, and if you have a large lawn, an impressive garden, or a farm, then watering it by hand can be anything from annoying to impossible. An irrigation well simplifies the process and can even be set to run by a timer. Instead of thinking about watering your property, you can focus on enjoying it instead!

Ready to Install an Irrigation Well?

If you’ve decided that this is the year you finally install an irrigation well, contact Applied Resource Management. We offer well drilling services from experienced professionals who will ensure your project is held to the highest standards. In the meantime, like us on Facebook for more green living tips and the latest environmental news.

Water Supply Studies for All Size Properties

Water Supply Studies: One Service, All Sizes

If you’re reading this, chances are you already know Applied Resource Management is southeastern North Carolina’s go-to source for environmental services. What you might not know is that our services are scalable, which means we can help individuals and organizations of any size. In today’s post, we’ll be discussing water supply studies, and how they can be useful to you, no matter how big or small your needs may be.

Small

If you are a homeowner, then a water supply study is an important tool in ensuring the health of you and your family. If you have a private well, it’s even more important to get your water tested, as there is no government agency to do this for you. A water supply study can ensure that the water you use for drinking and bathing meets basic standards, contains no pollutants, and is safe to drink. As a general rule, your well water should be tested once per year. Depending on where you live and if you notice anything amiss in your water, such as a strange color or smell, it should be tested more often. ARM has the equipment and experience to take care of this important matter. Contact us today to schedule your test.

Medium

If you’re a small business owner operating in your community, understanding the rules and regulations of your area is vital to being a good neighbor. That’s why ARM makes sure we have up-to-date and accurate information about local aquifers. This means we are uniquely qualified to help you assess and control potential contaminants, create reports for regularly agencies, and offer management strategies that will help protect your community, your business, and yourself. By taking the steps to create water quality assessments with a trusted company such as ARM, you can sleep well at night knowing you’re doing the right thing.

Large

Water supply studies aren’t just for homeowners and small businesses—they’re also incredibly important for the big guys, such as municipalities, government agencies, golf courses, and farms. If you’re about to embark on a big project, contact us first. We can help make sure that our most precious resource—water—is used in a safe and responsible way, all without having a negative impact on your business plan. Our services include hydrogeologic studies, data collection, and groundwater modeling that will set your business or organization up for a long and healthy life.

For projects of each and every size, Applied Resource Management is the answer. Contact us today and learn how our water supply studies services can help you succeed.

Well Drilling Wilmington NC

Why You Can (And Should) Drill a New Well in Winter

At Applied Resource Management, we have been very open about the benefits of owning your own well. It’s not hard to see why—after all, well water is free, reliable, and good for you. That’s why our company offers residential and commercial well drilling for projects of all sizes.

One question we hear often from our customers and clients is whether it is a good idea to drill a well in the winter. The answer to this question is a rousing “Yes!” Ideally, the well will be the very first step of the construction process, while the lot is still vacant. This gives you an opportunity to drill the well without the added pressure of people who need the water immediately. An empty lot also provides more room to move equipment to the most optimal spots.

If your home or building has already been constructed, no worries! Drilling a well is no problem at all—especially with the help of an experienced and knowledgeable crew. In fact, Applied Resource Management often drills wells on pre-built lots, especially in New Hanover County where undeveloped land is becoming more and more rare.

Whether your project is new construction or a remodel, you don’t have to wait until spring to begin drilling your well. Believe it or not, winter is actually an ideal time to tackle this particular project. Here are three reasons why the time to drill is now.

You’ll beat the rush.

Spring, summer, and fall are notoriously busy for construction and environmental companies. While some processes have to wait for warmer weather, drilling a well isn’t one of them. Schedule now and you won’t have to wait weeks to get the job done.

Colder weather means a cleaner site.

While the ground in southeastern North Carolina rarely gets the chance to freeze (a fact we’re pretty happy about) the colder winter weather does offer some benefits. Drilling a well in the winter is often less muddy, less messy, and is a good way to avoid damaging your lawn during the months when you actually want to enjoy it.

Your water will be ready to go.

As soon as the well is drilled and hooked up, water will be immediately accessible. This is a huge bonus for new construction, because you won’t have to haul water to the site, saving you time, energy, and money.

If you have been considering adding a well to your property, or if you’re planning to begin construction on an empty lot this spring, now is the time to drill your well. Contact Applied Resource Management and we’ll get the ball rolling right away.

Dangers of Underground Storage Tanks

The Hidden Dangers of Underground Tanks

Older houses have many charms, such as wooden ceilings, detailed trim, and vintage light fixtures. Unfortunately, they can also include some not-so-charming attractions. One of the worst is a leaking underground storage tank. While some people prefer to live by the motto “Out of sight, out of mind,” underground tanks are one of those things that will get worse the longer they are ignored. In this case, it is better to face the problem head on—especially if you have the help of an environmental professional, such as the team at Applied Resource Management.

What is an underground tank?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, an underground storage tank (UST) is defined as any tank with ancillary piping that has at least 10% of its combined volume submerged underneath the ground. While these tanks can be used to store gasoline, diesel fuel, kerosene, and heating oil, they do not age well. This means that older USTs present a contamination risk, one that can harm your property’s soil and groundwater, putting both the land and our drinking water in danger. Buried storage tanks can also pose a financial liability to the owner if they are neglected, which is something you definitely want to avoid!

According to the Groundwater Protection Council, many people are not being proactive and taking care of their underground tanks. In fact, there are currently more than 640,000 federally regulated buried tanks that store fuels and other hazardous substances. Of these, about 465,000 have leaked, requiring extensive and expensive clean up.

How can I protect my property and myself?   

If it sounds like you might be headed for a similar situation, we have good news. Applied Resource Management is fully equipped to handle this risk and remove your underground storage tank so you can protect yourself and your property.

It does not matter if you are a home buyer with your eye on a fixer upper, a current homeowner ready to cross this task off your list, or an owner getting ready to sell your place. An underground storage tank can and should be removed by environmental professionals. When you hire Applied Resource Management to take care of this issue, we follow a few steps to make sure the job is completed in a thorough and timely manner. First, we complete a site assessment to see if any chemicals have been released from the tank and whether additional testing and remediation will be required. Next, ARM’s experienced staff of Geologists and Environmental Technicians will coordinate the tank’s removal, along with any remediation of the site. Finally, we will file post-closure reports with the State, securing No Further Action status and seeing if you are eligible for any reimbursement from the State Trust Fund. While these steps may seem confusing or complicated, they are all in a day’s work at ARM. It’s what we do, and we are happy to do it for you.

I’m ready to have my tank removed!

If you have an underground tank that needs to be removed, contact Applied Resource Management today. We will ensure that your soil and water remain protected, so you are free to rest easy and enjoy your property. You can also like us on Facebook for the latest in environmental news and company updates.