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  • Top 12 Reasons to Work at CEI - #11 Flexibility & Growth - No Pigeonholing!

    April 3rd, 2017 by Eileen Pannetier


    #11 Flexibility & Growth - No Pigeonholing!

    Merriam Webster defines a Pigeonhole as “A hole or small recess for pigeons to nest.”

    A CEI Employee recently said: “I know so many of the people I went to college with who are trapped in a pigeonhole created by being good at something. Their company just keeps them doing the same thing, month after month, because it would cost too much to provide them training in something different. Conversely, CEI’s employees are actively promoted, trained and encouraged to diversify their experience.”

    CEI staff are our biggest investment. We selectively hire with the long term professional interests and work-life balance of our staff in mind. That means if someone wants to change from one discipline to another within the firm’s capabilities, we typically allow it and encourage it if it helps them grow and is consistent with the company’s principles. So no pigeonholing. In fact, our mentoring program encourages junior staff to explore different types of work within the firm and to learn as much as possible especially in their early years so that they will have a broader background and reach in later years.

    CEI also encourages teams to bring junior staff to meetings with the client when possible, especially at the start of the project, so the client can meet them and so that junior staff will have a better understanding of client needs and goals.  It’s small investments like these that help us achieve superior results with satisfied employees and clients.

    We believe in long-term thinking and relationships over short term profits. See the current openings here: http://ceiengineers.com/work-with-us/career-opportunities

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  • Top 12 Reasons to Work at CEI Starting with #12

    December 13th, 2016 by Eileen Pannetier


    #12. A Sense of Accomplishment - Seeing Your Designs Come to Life When Constructed.

    Whether it’s doing a grading plan and then seeing how the land contours change during construction, or watching new sidewalk be built and seeing how excited the folks who live near it get, work in civil/environmental engineering can bring a strong feeling of accomplishment.

    CEI’s projects are positive projects with a focus on sustainability: new or rehabilitated pump stations; new or rehabbed water treatment or storage facilities; restored dams; environmentally friendly parking lots, trails and boat ramps; improved traffic patterns; free-flowing culverts to prevent flooding; and stormwater treatment practices to protect and improve water quality. People benefit, the environment benefits.

    Our team approach means every person on the team participates in the planning/design/construction process including quality control. Every person contributes. There’s nothing better than a client thanking you for a job well done.

    CEI currently has openings for civil engineers with 2+ years experience in our Marlborough, MA office, especially for those with good AutoCAD skills. We’ve also got openings for bridge engineers who would assist with our small bridge program and hydraulics analysis. See the current openings here: http://ceiengineers.com/work-with-us/career-opportunities

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  • Top 10 Differences Between the 2003 and 2016 Massachusetts MS4 Permit

    July 29th, 2016 by Eileen Pannetier


    As you may be aware, there are many differences between than 2003 and 2016 MS4 permit. CEI has been analyzing the changes, and to help simplify a complicated permit, we’ve boiled down the most significant changes to 10. Here they are:

    1. The 2016 permit has very specific public outreach and participation requirements, divided by audience and with definitive requirements for distribution. This may be something you will can do using materials created by your regional planning agency, MassDEP or EPA.

    2. The requirements for regulatory changes include incorporation of specific design requirements for new development and redevelopment largely tied to the Massachusetts Stormwater Handbook. Previously, regulations were required but did not specify design criteria and many communities did not implement any subdivision or site plan requirements.

    3. Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) will be required at all municipal maintenance garages, public works yards, transfer stations, and other waste handling facilities, previously only required for construction sites and certain industrial facilities regulated by different permit programs.

    4. Municipalities will be required to identify five municipal-owned properties that could potentially be modified or retrofitted with structural best management practices (BMPs) and maintain a minimum of five sites in their inventory for future improvements.

    5. Street sweeping is required once per year throughout the regulated area, and twice per year in areas that discharge to nutrient impaired water bodies. Previously street sweeping was considered a best management practice but was not required.

    6. Catch basins must be cleaned when they are less than 50% full, which suggest that they will need to be inspected prior to that.

    7. Mapping of the entire regulated MS4 system must be performed, including outfalls with contributing catchment areas, interconnections, and open channel conveyances by Year 2, and pipes, manholes, catch basins, and treatment structures by Year 10. Previously, only outfalls had to be mapped.

    8. Catchment investigations must be performed and include dry weather screening of all key junction manholes/structures regardless of whether dry weather flow is observed at the outlet. Any dry weather flows observed must be sampled and analyzed for certain parameters. Previously, dry weather investigations were only required at the outfalls, and analysis of samples was recommended but not required.

    9. Wet weather sampling must be conducted at outfalls in catchment areas with certain characteristics or system vulnerability factors (SVFs). No wet weather sampling was previously required.

    10. Based on the impaired waters within the municipality, some communities may be required to prepare phosphorus control programs (PCPs), or nitrogen identification programs or bacterial strategies. These were not required in the prior permit.

    The effective date of the permit is July 1, 2017 and you will have 90 days after that to file a notice of intent (NOI). If you have questions about any of these differences, or would like assistance from CEI, we can help you to minimize the cost of compliance and identify funding sources as well as resources for assistance. Contact me at (508)-261-5160 ext. 301 or epannetier@ceiengineers.com. If you want to talk to the real experts, call Rebecca Balke (rbalke@ceiengineers.com)  or Nick Cristofori (ncristofori@ceiengineers.com) at extensions 308 and 303 respectively. We’re here to help!

    Note that these are just the major changes and that there are many other more minor issues to address. Copyright 2016 Comprehensive Environmental Inc. all rights reserved

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  • CEI Announces Opening of Portsmouth, NH Office

    July 1st, 2015 by Eileen Pannetier


    Comprehensive Environmental Inc. (CEI) is proud to announce the opening of our Portsmouth, NH office. With offices in Merrimack, NH; Marlborough, MA; New Britain, CT and Baltimore, Maryland, Portsmouth offers us an opportunity to better serve our loyal clients along coastal NH, southern Maine and north shore MA regions. This will also provide us with a chance to pursue additional work in these areas and continue our services with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and other area agencies.

    For more information on CEI’s services, please contact me at 603.424.8444 or epannetier@ceiengineers.com

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  • Welcome 2015!

    January 2nd, 2015 by Eileen Pannetier


  • Is Your SPCC Plan In Place for an Emergency?

    August 12th, 2014 by Eileen Pannetier


    Do you have a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasures (SPCC) Plan? If so, is it up to date with the best available information? If not, you could be subject to penalties and fines. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) recently fined several facilities in New England anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 for failing to have an adequate SPCC Plan in place. In some cases, these fines can exceed the cost to prepare the SPCC Plan itself, not to mention the headaches, legal fees and negative publicity.

    You are required to have an SPCC Plan if your facility stores either more than 1,320 gallons of oil in aboveground containers or more than 42,000 gallons in underground tanks and could potentially discharge oil into waters of the United States. Municipal facilities that are typically subject to these requirements include highway garages, transfer stations and recycling centers, where fueling, maintenance and/or waste oil collection are commonly performed. Plans generally outline where oil is stored, spill prevention practices, and response measures to implement in the event of a release. 

    A successful plan should be written so that information is easy to locate when needed the most - during an emergency. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case and important emergency information often gets buried with the administrative requirements of the plan.

    CEI specializes in creating plans that are comprehensive but functional. Components may include a stand-alone “Action Plan”, focusing on facility inspections and spill response for use by workers in the facility and development of “Emergency Response Cards” or posters designed to hang on the wall near each oil storage location. Cards provide the most pertinent information for each storage area, including what is stored there, emergency response procedures and contacts, inspection and maintenance requirements, and a detailed map of the area showing the locations of oil containers and spill response equipment. These provide an invaluable quick reference in the event of an emergency, avoiding the need to locate and read through a lengthy written plan.

    For more information or examples of any of the materials referenced above, please contact Nick Cristofori, P.E. at 800.725.2550 x303, ncristofori@ceiengineers.com, or Rebecca Balke, P.E. at x308, rbalke@ceiengineers.com or visit www.ceiengineers.com for information on other services we offer.

  • Harmful Algal Blooms, Cyanobacteria and Cyanotoxins

    August 5th, 2014 by Eileen Pannetier


    Most communities deal with harmful algal blooms (HABs) and their impacts on recreational activities through pond and lake warnings and closures. HABs have been known to cause fish kills and pet deaths, as well as making people sick from swimming in cyanobacteria laden water. In some cases, HABs are so extensive that they can cause disruptions to drinking water supply, as occurred in Toledo, Ohio in August 2014. 

    HABs are formed by cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae but are actually photosynthetic bacteria. Their primary season runs from June to September, although they can survive all winter in reduced capacity, returning to thrive in warmer temperatures. Since temperature and nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus, seem to be a driving force for growth, the increasing water temperatures occurring with climate change and higher levels of stormwater runoff from increasing urbanization of water supply watersheds may exacerbate the problem. Cyanobacteria occur in fresh, brackish and marine waters and thrive in nutrient rich warm waters. When cyanobacteria concentrate, they increase to form HABs at which point they cause aesthetic color issues and may produce taste and odor compounds such as geosmin and methyl isoborneol (MIB) and dangerous cyanotoxins.

    Water Supply Disruption in Toledo, August 2014

    The fear in Toledo is that the cyanotoxins, produced by cyanobacteria, may have not been removed by conventional treatment facility including filtration and entered the distribution system. Recent advances in the ability to detect lower levels of cyanotoxins and epidemiological studies examining cyanotoxin effects on human health have heightened concerns. Cyanotoxins can cause a range of human health issues such as liver and kidney damage, neurological damage, gastrointestinal issues, and tissue damage. The risks for drinking water supplies is not well known, but likely depends on the treatment process as well as how “slugs” or mats of the cyanobacteria are handled when they enter the treatment facility. 

    Current Regulatory Status

    Cyanobacteria produce numerous types of cyanotoxins. The cyanotoxins are produced and contained within growing cyanobacteria cells. Generally, release of cyanotoxins occurs during cell death and lysis, however, some types of cyanobacteria release cyanotoxins as a soluble exotoxin in the raw water during growth if light conditions are poor. Research into the frequency and effects of these toxins is ongoing. However, it is generally thought that microcystin-LR is the most frequent and probably most toxic of the microcystins. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) now encourages awareness of cyanobacteria in drinking water, and has funded studies examining cyanobacteria and associated health effects caused by cyanotoxins. As a result, the USEPA currently lists three cyanotoxins on the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Contaminant Candidate List (CCL3) and Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rules (Anatoxin-a, Microcystin-LR, and Cylindrospermopsin).

    New England Cyanobacteria Assessment

    Although some water systems are all too familiar with the challenges associated with taste and odor issues caused by some cyanobacteria, concerns about human health effects are more recently coming to light. In an effort to determine the magnitude of the cyanobacteria and cyanotoxin presence in New England drinking water supplies, Comprehensive Environmental Inc. (CEI) conducted an initial assessment on cyanobacteria and microcystins removal at four New England water treatment facilities. CEI is a progressive civil and environmental engineering consulting firm, striving to stay ahead of issues affecting our industry. Through these efforts, we provide our clients with the highest level of service and potentially pass on new information to the drinking water community. For this initial assessment, CEI collaborated with the University of New Hampshire, Center for Freshwater Biology and four New England drinking water systems to determine (for the first time) whether cyanobacteria and microcystins (liver toxins produced by many species of cyanobacteria commonly found in New England) are effectively removed through water treatment processes.

    The most effective approach to keeping cyanotoxins out of the water supply is watershed protection and management. Water suppliers are encouraged to develop a monitoring plan for cyanobacteria as well as preventative actions. By preventing cyanobacteria growth within the drinking water supply, operators will not need to rely on treatment removal methods. Water resource protection and management methods involve limitation of nutrient loading from surface runoff and erosion, stormwater discharge and wastewater discharge.

    CEI is a leader in the fields of watershed management and water treatment. For more information on HABs, cyanobacteria, cyanotoxins and their control, download the report on our study Cyanobacteria: Initial Assessment of New England Water Supplies or contact Kristen Berger, P.E., Project Manager at 1-800-725-2550 x399 or kberger@ceiengineers.com.

  • Happy Spring!

    March 21st, 2014 by Eileen Pannetier


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  • Welcome to the CEI Blog

    November 19th, 2013 by Eileen Pannetier


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