Brownfield Braintrust Podcast New Episode Features Terra Petra’s Justin Conaway

Brownfield Braintrust Podcast with Matt Winefield: Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Systems (VIMS) with Justin Conaway of Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering

The most recent episode of the Brownfield Braintrust Podcast, host Matt Winefield speaks with Terra Petra’s own Justin Conaway


Episode Details From Brownfield Braintrust Podcast:

In our current Brownfield Braintrust Podcast, Matt Winefield of Winefield & Associates, Inc. sheds light on Vapor Intrusion Mitigation Systems (VIMS) with the help of Justin Conaway, Vice President and General Manager of Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering. Given evolving soil vapor mitigation standards, VIMS are currently much more prevalent than just three years ago. It is unlikely one can acquire, for example, a former dry cleaner site (with PCE releases), run a vapor extraction system, and then pour your foundation. The lead agency will likely specify a VIMS that operates for the life of the new building. Justin explains the three most common VIMS technologies now utilized.

Watch The Episode Below Or On YouTube

Winefield & Associates Podcast – Brownfield Braintrust Will Have Episode Featuring Terra-Petra Coming Soon

Upcoming Brownfield Braintrust Podcast Has New Episode Coming That Features Terra-Petra's Justin Conaway

The popular environmental engineering podcast, Brownfield Braintrust has an episode being release shortly that will feature a discussion with Terra Petra’s own Justin Conaway.

The podcast is hosted by Matt Winefield of Winefeild & Associates.  Winefield & Associates, Inc. (W&A) acquires and redevelops contaminated properties nationwide with an emphasis on California commercial and industrial locations.  Matt Winefield is an engineer and businessman who has been supporting the redevelopment of contaminated properties since 1989. After redeveloping oil fields, refineries, and service stations for the California oil industry (Chevron, et al.)…more about Matt Winefield here.

For some samples of the podcast and the topics it covers, please check out some past episodes below, and stay tuned for the release of the new episode featuring Justin Conaway.

Brownfield Braintrust Podcast w/ Matt Winefield, Jeremy Squire & Jay Tufano: SWRCB Resolution 92-49

Brownfield Braintrust Podcast w/ Matt Winefield, Jeremy Squire & Jay Tufano: SWRCB Resolution 92-49

Re-Post From winefieldinc.com


And now for a brownfields topic that, at first, seems esoteric but will actually impact just about every facet of site cleanups in California. We get into the weeds about proposed changes to Water Code Resolution 92-49. This resolution conveys policies and procedures to the State Water Board and Regional Board officials relating to the investigation and cleanup of discharges into groundwater, surface water and even soil. The topic was much too detailed and cerebral for Matt to tackle alone, so he invited two special guests: Environmental attorney Jay Tufano, Partner at Ring, Bender, LLP and environmental engineer Jeremy Squire, Vice President at Murex Environmental, Inc.

Ring Bender LLP can be found at: https://ringbenderlaw.com/
Jay Tufano is on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaytufano/

Murex Environmental is at: https://murexenv.com/
Jeremy Squire is on LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-squire-pe-5659001/


Listen to the podcast:

Watch video of the podcast:

Los Angeles City Council Approves ‘Historic’ Oil Drilling Ban

Los Angeles City Council Approves 'Historic' Oil Drilling Ban

 By Hailey Konnath

Law360 (December 2, 2022, 10:16 PM EST) — The Los Angeles City Council on Friday voted to ban all oil drilling in the city, signing off on an ordinance that council members and community advocates praised as “historic,” particularly for a city that owes much of its early development and growth to the oil and gas industry.

The city council voted 12-0 to amend the municipal code to prohibit new oil and gas extraction and make existing extraction “a nonconforming use” in all zones of the city. This means that existing wells have 20 years to wind down, though that time frame could be shortened pending the results of an upcoming city economic analysis, according to the ordinance.

City Council member Marqueece Harris-Dawson said during the meeting that Los Angeles will lead the state, and potentially the world, with this move.

“In Los Angeles, we sit on the largest urban oil deposit in the world,” said Harris-Dawson, wh orepresents portions of south Los Angeles, one of the areas that has historically seen the most drilling.”So if Los Angeles can do it, cities around the world can do it.”

City Council President Paul Krekorian said it was “a big moment.”

“This may be the most important step toward environmental justice that this council has taken in recent memory,” he said. “And there’s more to do. But let’s celebrate this success.”

Krekorian, who represents parts of the San Fernando Valley, another drilling hotspot, noted that LosAngeles City Hall features art celebrating the oil and gas industry. Much of the city’s early economic development and growth was thanks to the industry, he said. But he said the result is hundreds of thousands of Angelenos for generations being forced to live in the “shadows of oil and gas production” and everything that entails, like exposure to toxic chemicals and fumes and noise.

“To most of us, that seems unthinkable,” Krekorian said. “But that was the reality, and still is the reality in much of Los Angeles.”

Environmental justice coalition Stand Together Against Neighborhood Drilling LA, which has long pushed for an end to drilling, celebrated the ordinance’s passage as a “major community victory.”

“This ordinance will amend decades of racist land use decisions that concentrated oil drilling in Black and Brown communities,” the coalition said in a statement.

It continued, “This win — the result of years of community-organizing, coalition building and multi-racial solidarity — signals that Black, Latinx and other communities of color currently living near polluting oil wells and derricks in South L.A. and [the Wilmington area] will eventually breathe easier.”

The ordinance was opposed by oil and gas industry group the California Independent PetroleumAssociation, which represents about 500 independent crude oil and natural gas producers, royalty owners, and service and supply companies, per its website. In an October letter to the city, the association warned that shutting down wells in the city would just mean more reliance on foreign oil.It also disagreed with the assessment that oil production is dangerous, per the letter.

The industry association didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment late Friday.

According to the city, Los Angeles has more than 5,000 oil and gas wells, though some of those aren’t in operation.

The city ban comes on the heels of similar legislation at the state level. In September, CaliforniaGov. Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 1137, which required that new and modified oil and gas wells be set back at least 3,200 feet from homes, schools, health care facilities and other sensitive areas, according to the governor’s office.

The oil industry similarly blasted Newsom’s decision to sign that legislation, which was part of a larger climate measures package, saying that it will curtail drilling in the state.

“What will be ‘historic’ about the package of bills signed by the governor today will be the tremendous costs and impacts they will impose on California residents, our economy and our way of life,” Western States Petroleum Association President and CEO Catherine Reheis-Boyd said at the time.

–Additional reporting by Lauren Berg. Editing by Michael Watanabe.

METHANE TESTING DTLA

Methane Testing Success on Building Renovation to Help House Homeless in DTLA

Terra-Petra provided methane testing services for an existing 3-story, slab-on-grade building located at 601 East 5th Street in Los Angeles, CA. The 16,500 SF 1922 building is being renovated as a homeless shelter. 

The building site is located within a City of Los Angeles Methane Buffer Zone. The methane soil gas investigation complied with LADBS Information Bulletin Ref. No. 91.7104.1, P/BC 2002-101, was performed under Terra-Petra’s LADBS Methane Testing Lab License #10224.

METHANE TESTING DTLA

Overcoming Methane Testing Difficulties

Terra-Petra has encountered a few difficulties performing work within existing buildings. One such difficulty is limited accessibility.Standard truck-mounted drill rigs can’t access the inside of a building if there’s not enough head clearance (ceilings lower than the top of the drill) or a limit on door opening size. 

Drilling equipment must fit through the front door, be lower than the ceiling, and be light enough to be handled by personnel or pushed on a hand cart.

Once inside the building, underground utilities may be challenging to locate, as DigAlert only identifies exterior utility lines. As-built plans are always essential when working indoors. If these plans aren’t available, utility clearance equipment may be employed.

About Core Cutting

Another difficulty is the existing concrete slab. Most direct push equipment can punch through existing concrete slabs, but leaves a less-than-optimal hole that needs to be repaired after use. Core cutting through the slab is another option that allows a clean cut through the slab and is easy to repair. 

Core cutting also adds time and costs to the project. But, if a slab is post-tensioned, it is imperative that the cables are located prior to entering the slab, since hitting a cable could damage the structural integrity of the slab.  

Methane Testing Downtown Los Angeles

These are just some issues associated with completing a methane investigation inside an existing building. Terra-Petra is, however, always well-equipped to get the job done, no matter the situation. And the success of the 601 East 5th Street building inspection has proved that to be true. We are proud to contribute to the Los Angeles City Center Redevelopment Plan.

Learn more about Terra-Petra’s methane testing and inspection services.

CA State Oil and Gas Well Plug and Abandonments

CalGEM - State Oil and Gas Well Plug and Abandonments

Update (October 10, 2022): CalGEM is releasing for public comment a draft orphan well screening and prioritization methodology​ to ra​nk and prioritize orphan, deserted, and potentially deserted wells for potential state abandonments. CalGEM invites all comments and feedback sent to CalGEMOrphanWells@conservation.ca.gov through October 14​, 2022. ​

​General

An oil and gas state abandonment is the plugging and abandonment (permanent closure and sealing) of an orphan or deserted (or potentially deserted) oil and gas well through a state contract. Because the wells concerned are orphan or deserted, they do not have a financially solvent, responsible operator. Where there is a financially solvent, responsible operator, CalGEM will first pursue a plug and abandonment at the operator’s expense.​

For Contractors

​​For contractors performing public works plugging and abandonment services, CalGEM has provided​ various resources and documents to help ensur​e compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and other requirements.​

​Process for Safely Plugging and Abandoning WellsA well is plugged by placing cement in the well​bore or casing at certain intervals, as specified in California laws or regulations. The purpose of the cement is to seal the well-bore or casing and prevent fluid from migrating between underground rock layers.

Cement plugs are required to be placed across the oil or gas reservoir (zone plug), across the base-of-fresh-water (BFW plug), and at the surface (surface plug). Other cement plugs may be required at the bottom of a string of open casing (shoe plug), on top of tools that may become stuck down hole (junk plug), on top of cut casing (stub plug), or anywhere else where a cement plug may be needed. Also, the hole is filled with drilling mud to help prevent the migration of fluids.​

​State Abandonment Funding

​There are four sources of funds used for state abandonments:

  • The Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Administrative Fund (OGGA) is funded by operator assessment fees. Starting with the 2021/2022 fiscal year, expenditures from this fund to plug and abandon wells are capped at $5 million per year.
  • The Hazardous and Idle-Deserted Well Abatement Fund (HIDWAF) is funded by operator idle well fees and continuously appropriated to CalGEM to plug and abandon wells to mitigate a hazardous or potentially hazardous condition. There are, however, limitations to spending from the HIDWAF – the well to be plugged and abandoned must be hazardous or idle-deserted and must be a “well of an operator subject to the requirements” of PRC section 3206 (idle well regulations).
  • In fiscal years 2022/2023 and 2023/2024, $50 million in California state General Fund dollars are appropriated to CalGEM to plug and abandon orphan and deserted wells – for a total of $100 million dollars over the two years.
  • In August 2022, California was awarded $25 million in initial grant funding from the federal government’s orphan well program authorized in the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.  California is eligible for potentially an additional $140 million in future grants.

State Abandonment Authority

The Public Resources Code (PRC) provides various presumptions and circumstances under which CalGEM may find that a well has been deserted. If CalGEM determines a well has been idle-deserted, then CalGEM may order the plugging and abandonment of the well. If an operator fails to rebut such presumptions and fails to commence the ordered work, then CalGEM may undertake the plugging and abandonment of the well. CalGEM’s options for funding the plugging and abandonment differs depending upon the solvency of the operator.

  • CalGEM may find a well to be deserted, and therefore order the well plugged and abandoned, based upon credible evidence. Credible evidence that a well has been deserted includes, but is not limited to, the operational history of the well, the response or lack of response from the operator to inquiries and requests from CalGEM, the extent of compliance by the operator, and other actions of the operator with regards to the well. If such evidence exists, CalGEM may order the plugging and abandonment of the well.
  • CalGEM may order to be carried out or undertake the abandonment of a well CalGEM determines to be a hazardous or an idle-deserted well under PRC section 3255. A hazardous well is a “well that is a potential danger to life, health, or natural resources and for which there is no operator responsible for its plugging and abandonment.” To order or undertake the abandonment of a well under PRC section 3255, a well must not only be deserted – it must also be orphan. CalGEM must assess the financial resources of the operator and determine there is no operator with the financial resources to fully cover the cost of plugging and abandoning the well.

Key Facts

  • California’s crude oil production has declined steadily in the last few decades, increasing the number of nonproductive, or “idle”, wells throughout California.
  • CalGEM maintains an idle well management regime that includes the most rigorous testing standards in the country and collects fees that can be used to fund the plugging and abandonment of deserted and orphan wells—wells that likely do not have a responsible, solvent operator to appropriately plug and abandon the well, leaving their proper abandonment to the State.
  • ​Currently there are over 37,000 known idle wells in California, all of which will eventually come to their end of life, and their operators will be required to plug the wells and decommission associated production facilities.
  • The state has also documented over 17,000 wells that have been idle for over 15 years and over 5,000 wells that are orphan, deserted, or potentially deserted​ wells. Left un-remediated, these wells and facilities can contaminate waterways and soil, serve as a source of climate and air pollutants, and can present physical hazards to people and wildlife.
  • CalGEM may determine the status of a well as deserted based upon specific criteria laid out in the PRC. Evidence of desertion under the PRC includes, but is not limited to, failure to pay idle well fees, the operational history of the well or production facility, the response or lack of response of the operator to inquiries and requests from CalGEM, the extent of compliance by the operator with the requirements, and other actions.
Terra-Petra Sponsors and Attends 2022 Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite®

Terra-Petra Sponsors Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite®

Terra-Petra was a proud sponsor of the 31st Annual Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite® October 13 – 15. Produced by the California Lawyers Association, the annual conference is recognized nationally as the state’s largest and most prestigious gathering of leaders in environmental, land use, and natural resources law.

The conference was held live and in person at the Tenaya Lodge in Yosemite National Park, after two consecutive years of virtual attendance.

Leaders in environmental, land use, and natural resources law attended with the opportunity to receive 11.5 Hours MCLE credits. Education sessions included topics and discussions, such as Federal Action on Environmental Justice: A Conversation with EPA’s Martha Guzman, and an informal talk with Attorney Jan Chatten-Brown, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient. Chatten-Brown gave a firsthand account of her stellar career and contributions to environmental law. 

Terra-Petra Sponsors 31st Annual Environmental Law Conference at Yosemite®

Terra-Petra Team in Attendance

Terra-Petra’s Vice President, Justin Conaway, Director of Field Operations, Dan Valdez, and Senior Environmental Engineer Bahar Amoli attended, representing our Environmental Engineering Division.

Our Terra-Petra team enjoyed meeting and visiting with some of the nation’s top environmental officials. Which included attorneys and other environmental engineering professionals. They also enjoyed the outdoor highlights in the beautiful Yosemite National Park, including sight seeing in and around El Capitan, Half Dome and hiking Mount Hoffman.

Justin Conaway commented, “This conference offers such a great environment to connect with our clients on a deeper level by inviting spouses, children and dogs to attend. Getting to know some more personal things about the people we work with really humanizes us and allows for a more comfortable natural environment to socialize. This conference is a must-attend for me every year for these reasons.” 

Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering

Terra-Petra maintains a working knowledge of numerous environmental and soil gas mitigation matters. Our staff includes Methane Consultants, Radon Mitigation Engineers, Construction Managers, Civil Engineers, Registered Environmental Assessors, Registered Geologist/Certified Engineering Geologist, Petroleum Geologists and Petroleum Engineers. This experience gives Terra-Petra the ability to find compromise solutions for any environmental concern that may arise.

Learn more.

Oil Well Due Diligence Services – Cal State Dominguez Hills Campus

Terra-Petra has been providing Oil Well Due Diligence services for a well-known Southern California contractor at California State University Dominguez Hills Campus in Carson, CA. The site will be developed for Student Housing.

Terra-Petra was able to locate a metallic anomaly having the signature of a steel cased oil well by using a Geometrics G858 cesium magnetometer (G858). The location of the well was staked in anticipation of excavating the area to expose the well head. The Southern California District Office of the California Geologic Energy Management Division (CalGEM) was notified after the metallic anomaly was identified. Terra-Petra prepared and submitted a Construction Site Well Review Application (CSWR) through email to their office. We also notified with the local CalGEM dispatcher our intent to uncover the well and perform an oil well leak test of the casing.

During the excavation we were able to remove surface mulch, excavating soil, removing debris and noting in use infrastructure. The well was located in the east sidewall of the excavation pit at approximately 8 ft. below surface grade. Care was taken to control dust during the excavation and backfilling.

CalGEM was invited to be onsite during the leak test. However, they elected to participate remotely via Facetime to inspect the casing and to witness the leak testing activities as they were being conducted. The subject steel well casing measured approximately 13.5-inch diameter and was found to have a metal top plate continuously welded within the well casing, approximately 0.25-in. to 0.5-in. below the top of the top of the steel well casing. The metal top plate was inspected and apparently was not labeled with well name and/or date of well abandonment.

Results of the emissions monitoring at the top of the well excavation pit showed Non-Detect for combustible gas (as methane and C1 to C6 petroleum hydrocarbons) and ND for hydrogen sulfide as background levels.

Results of emissions monitoring at the top and sides of the exposed well casing showed detectable
concentrations of combustible gas ranging from zero to 2 ppmv with non-detectable concentrations of
hydrogen sulfide (less than 0.1 ppmv). Results of the bubble leak-testing activity showed no bubbles and therefore no indication of pressured gas leakage from the top of the well casing.

Prior to backfilling the excavation, as we always do, Terra-Petra surveyed the casing by obtaining ground specific field locations and elevations within the defined mapping limits. Said areas included centerline monuments to establish parcel Right of Way, Location of Oil Well in question, NAD 83 latitudes and longtitudes to an accuracy of 6 decimal places as well as the elevation of top of well in NAVD 88.

Terra-Petra directed the backfilling of the well excavation pit by using the backhoe to push stockpiled soil back into the pit, and a sheep’s foot wheel to compact the soil to restore surface grade elevation contours. A trailer-mounted 400-gallon water buffalo with pump and hose were used to manage dust control during soil excavation and backfilling activities

All work performed so far has been completed in compliance with the California Public Resources Code (PRC) Article 4: Regulation of Operations: Code Sections 3200-3258.


Terra-Petra has become an expert in physically locating buried oil wells. Our methods have proven to be effective many times over. If you are in need of oil well locating services, please contact us.

Methane Testing – Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles

Terra-Petra recently completed a methane soil gas investigation for a redevelopment project of an existing building on Wilshire Blvd. The site is located within a City of Los Angeles Methane Zone and Methane Buffer Zone.

The current phase will consist of routing new electrical conduit to two new underground transformer vaults. From the vaults, the conduit will proceed west to a new electrical Pull Station, then be encased in concrete on the inside north wall of the existing parking structure down to the lower level. There, it travels under the existing parking structure going south under the parking structure to the electrical room on the first floor of the existing building.

DWP requested that methane soil gas probes be installed along the entire path of the conduit. “The report needs to cover any area where the conduit, structures and equipment are going to be”. Conduit is placed and trenches backfilled and patched from the area of the future electrical room in the building, under the existing parking structure and encased up the vertical wall and stubbed out at location of the Pull Station. Based on DWP standards, the 2 transformer vaults and the Pull Station will be vented. Our testing area was limited to the lots within the perimeter.

Oil Well Consulting & Investigation – Torrance, CA

Oil Well Consulting & Investigation - Torrance, CA

Terra-Petra Environmental Engineering was retained for our expertise in locating oil wells by a well-known Southern California developer.   Upon investigation on the CalGEM well finder site a single oil well was shown as being within the property boundaries.

Terra-Petra has experienced a consistent inaccuracy with CalGEM’s online mapping system. Considering this, we typically use this website for general information and rely on our tried-and-true methods for physically locating the wells. Part of our process utilizes geophysical locating equipment in an attempt to identify any metallic anomalies having an oil well signature.

For this project, we were able to identify a fully imaged anomaly typical of a steel cased oil well. After mobilizing our excavation equipment, we were able to uncover the anomaly and verify that it was a steel cased well having a 17” diameter steel casing. The well number was found welded on the cover confirming our discovery. Our survey crew was brought out to identify the well’s location based on NAD 83 latitudes and longitudes to an accuracy of 6 decimal places per CalGEM’s requirements.

We are still in the process of verifying the exact location of the well relative to the online mapping systems. At this time, we can say that the actual location varies from what is shown online. The degree to which it varies will be verified soon. 

Learn more about Terra-Petra’s Oil Well Services

Project Gallery

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