Applied Ecosystem Services, LLC

The Environmental Issues Doctor

  1. Ground water RCRA complinace analysis

    The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) as implemented by EPA and state regulations requires monitoring of ground water chemistry and statistical analyses of these data. The latest revision of the EPA’s statistical guidance document is 887 pages long (plus supplements) and has been augmented by a Webinar because the statistical analyses are not simple or easily understood by non-statisticians/data analysts. Some commercial software is sold to perform these analyses, but like all other statistical software it does not ensure that the user completely understands how to select models to apply or can properly interpret the results.
  2. Instream water rights

    Instream water rights are (or should be) based on ecological flows. Several western states (including Oregon, Alaska, California, Colorado, and Montana) have statutory requirements for these flows, and the US Geological Survey’s Fort Collins Science Center hosts an ecological flows research center. Incorporating effects of changes in climate, human population size and distribution patterns, and other variables makes it difficult for policy makers to allocate a scarce and varying resource among competing vested interests.
  3. Is water clean

    The objective of the 1972 Clean Water Act is to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of waters in the US. Water quality standards define clean; therefore, how standards are set is important for policy and regulatory decisions. Standards based on maximum concentration limits (MCL) of toxic chemicals apply to potable waters but not to aquatic life, wildlife, livestock, human recreation, irrigation, or industrial uses. MCLs provide no knowledge of the physical or biological integrity of the water body.
  4. Maximizing environmental data ROI

    As business operators, regulators, and attorneys you do not need to be environmental scientists to understand the importance of environmental data relationships to economic, natural, and societal ecosystems. You need to be experts in your professions, not in ecology or environmental science. This brief presentation will help you to appreciate that environmental data are an investment whether you are a business owner, executive, or manager; an environmental regulator; or an environmental, natural resources, or water law attorney.
  5. Maximum concentration limits

    Much has changed since the Clean Water Act (CWA) was passed in 1972, but not how water quality is regulated. Existing environmental data analyzed with advanced statistical models can bring CWA regulatory compliance into the 21st century. With global warming, and societal concerns about sustainability, modernizing regulatory compliance benefits everyone. The use of maximum concentration limits (MCLs) on individual chemical ions or collections such as total dissolved solids (TDS) applied to all water bodies regardless of type or geographic location is similar to the way medicine was practiced centuries ago when we did not understand human physiology and variability.
  6. Metals and aquatic life

    Dissolved metals such as copper, cadmium, and zinc can be toxic to aquatic life, particularly fish. The current tool used to estimate site-specific water quality criteria for a metal is the biotic ligand model (BLM). The BLM intends to quantify how water chemistry affects speciation and biological availability of metals in aquatic ecosystems. This is important because bioavailability and bioreactivity of metals control their potential for acute or chronic harm. A BLM incorporates aquatic chemistry, fish physiology, and ecotoxicology but not ecology.
  7. Non-potable water quality standards

    Chemical standards are appropriate for human drinking water sources, but generally not for non-potable waters supporting fish and wildlife. This is because water chemistry is highly variable, measurements are isolated in time and space, and point measures are difficult to interpret as suitable for fish and wildlife. Biological-based standards of water quality are more appropriate because the presence of aquatic organisms reflect water quality integrated over time and space. Download the PDF.
  8. Nondetected chemical analysis

    Toxic metals and organics commonly occur in very low concentrations in water, sediments, soils, and rocks. These concentrations are so low they cannot be quantified by analytical chemists and today’s instruments. Censored data are commonly mis-analyzed with potential costly, unnecessary, or harmful results. EPA regulations and guidelines often tell data analysts to ignore (drop) censored data or substitute an arbitrary value. The results of dropping or substituting arbitrary values are wrong.
  9. Photo of Preparing For Change

    Prepare for Change


    Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

    Climate warming, unpredictable weather, and other factors that you cannot control could harm your business’s profitable sustainability. Understanding environmental science and regulatory permits and compliance provide you with the knowledge and tools to quickly adapt to these changes. Acting now is especially important because the future is uncertain and the present is constantly changing. Avoiding environmental permit compliance actions is much better than resolving them after they appear. This commentary explains environmental science as it affects compliance with regulatory permit conditions and helps you defend against litigation alleging your operation adversely effects the natural environment.
  10. Rural storm water management

    Water is found everywhere on Earth and is one of the most basic and common substances. It is the only natural substance that exists in all three physical states: solid, liquid, and gas. While most water is found in the oceans there is constant exchange of water between the oceans, atmosphere, and land. These complex exchanges are described by the hydrologic cycle. This document focuses on precipitation and surface water flows to and in streams and rivers and the management of excess precipitation runoff to comply with the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).

Providing essential environmental services since 1993.