Engineering company Sewall forms multidisciplinary Environmental Sciences Group

Nov. 18, 2011
James W. Sewall Company has formed a new multidisciplinary Environmental Sciences group to deliver innovative solutions in water resources and water quality management to government, industry, and commercial clients...

OLD TOWN, ME, Nov. 18, 2011 -- James W. Sewall Company has formed a new multidisciplinary Environmental Sciences group to deliver innovative solutions in water resources and water quality management to government, industry, and commercial clients.

Under the direction of Dr. Jeffrey S. (Steve) Kahl, the Environmental Sciences group integrates Sewall expertise in engineering, GIS mapping and natural resources to conduct research, seek grant funding, and implement large-scale projects in stormwater and watershed management, water quality monitoring, and environmental assessment, planning and permitting. In collaboration with partners in academia, business, government and the nonprofit sector, the group will help clients adopt best practices and protocols that meet regulatory compliance, reduce liability and costs, and incorporate the newest and best environmental concepts.

"Water resources are the basis for assessment in most environmental regulations, but the latest research methods are rarely used," says Dr. Kahl. "There are newer, less-expensive methods to manage stormwater, for example, than the mainstream pavement, pipe and pond approach. We will provide our clients with practical and sustainable solutions that both protect water resources and influence public policy."

Stormwater utilities, according to Kahl, are another sustainable solution that can help communities meet regulatory requirements at lower cost. "There are thousands of stormwater utilities in the US, but only a few in New England. This gap represents an untapped financial opportunity for communities in the region to address flood and erosion control, water quality management, ecological preservation, and annual pollutant loads contained in stormwater discharges."

Dr. Kahl brings to the group 30 years' experience in environmental research and monitoring, watershed analysis, and natural resource and energy policy and program development. Prior to joining Sewall in April 2011, he was founding director of the Environmental Chemistry Laboratory and Senator George Mitchell Center at the University of Maine and of the Center for the Environment at Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. He was instrumental in founding the Maine Water Conference as well as PEARL, the on-line GIS Maine lakes database, and has been awarded more than $25 million dollars in grants and contracts for universities and nonprofits to address such critical issues as acid rain, mercury, road salt, Atlantic salmon recovery and water quality best management practices.

Dr. Kahl's extensive public service record includes his roles as LURC commissioner and member of the Maine Great Pond Task Force, the New Hampshire Stormwater Commission, New Hampshire Shoreline Protection Act Policy Commission, and New Hampshire Energy Planning Advisory Board. He is also a member of the graduate faculty at University of Maine and a former staff member of the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Core members of the Environmental Sciences group include Senior Environmental Scientist Chester C. Bigelow, III, PWS and Staff Engineer Eeva Hedefine. A professional wetlands scientist for 25 years, Mr. Bigelow specializes in water quality monitoring, wetland restoration, and ecological conservation and management. Ms Hedefine has expertise in utilities GIS and experience in environmental permitting, environmental site assessments and analyses for windpower projects.

The group will also engage the in-house expertise of Sewall Senior Project Manager Michael S. Riley, PE. A new hire, Mr. Riley brings 20 years' experience in water/wastewater engineering for both private firms and municipal utilities. As project manager, consultant and chief engineer, he has supervised multi-disciplined water utility projects and designed over $100 million in public infrastructure in Maine. Most recently, he managed the Brewer Water Department, a municipal utility serving 10,000 customers.

Through the Environmental Sciences group, Sewall is also offering clients grant writing services to secure funding that meets their project needs. Dr. Diane Vatne, an experienced grant writer, will assist Sewall clients and the Environmental Sciences group in securing grants to fund a range of environmental projects. Dr. Vatne has written over $2,500,000 in successful grants for nonprofit organizations in Maine prior to joining Sewall.

According to Vice President Scott Graham, PE, "The Environmental Sciences initiative gives us a unique opportunity to bring Sewall staff together with the best professionals from academia, government and business to help solve the challenging environmental problems our clients face. We look forward to the very real and practical benefits this collaboration will produce."

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