Tioga is a Native American word that means “at the fork.” You can look at this two ways: where a river divides or where two streams converge. We prefer the latter. Because to us, Tioga is a mindset — working together with you to determine your ideal solutions.

Working with Tioga, you’ll have a complete team of environmental professionals and technicians at your disposal. So no matter what your project, you can access the specific expertise you need to take proper care of it. All through a single point of contact.

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New year, new faces! We’d like to introduce you to Karim Bouzeid and Donny White, who recently joined the Tioga family. As Tioga continues to grow, so does our roster of knowledgeable professionals who are eager to serve our clients. Karim and Donny bring that needed range of experience to our team, from regulatory compliance to industrial hygiene and safety. Keep reading to learn more about their expertise!

Karim Bouzeid, geologist

With Karim on our team, we’re proud to share that Tioga now has three geologists on staff! In his role as a geologist, he conducts subsurface assessment and remediation for brownfields in the Mid-South. Before joining Tioga, he served as an environmental scientist for the underground storage tank division of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for five years.

Click here to learn more about Karim and his passion for serving the community.

Donny White, project coordinator

Joining our robust team of environmental scientists is Donny White! Donny’s passion for building and remodeling, accompanied by his love for Memphis architecture, are what led him to joining Tioga. As a project coordinator, he gets to do what he loves every day by assessing hazardous building materials like lead-based paint and asbestos.

Learn more about Donny’s background and hobbies here.

Posted by Christina Babu at 17 January 2022

Confined spaces. The phrase reminds me of the scene in “Shawshank Redemption” where the main character escapes prison by crawling through a narrow pipe. While the pipe in that particular scenario would definitely be considered a confined space, that would be an extreme situation. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration defines a confined space as an area with limited openings for entry and exit. It is not intended for continuous human occupancy, but it is large enough to enter and conduct work. By this definition, a closet is technically a confined space. There is only one way in and out. However, I doubt that you have ever had concerns about the safety of entering your closet. Being that the definition is extremely vague, it can sometimes be a challenge determining what level of safety precautions you should take to perform work inside of a confined space.

When determining the safety precautions necessary to enter and perform work in a confined space, the most important question you should consider is, “Is this space a permit-required confined space or not?” OSHA classified a permit-required confined space as a confined space with conditions that could potentially be IDLH, or immediately dangerous to life or health. Conditions to be considered IDLH could include:

  • A hazardous atmosphere.

  • The presence of a material that could engulf the entrant.

  • Walls or floors that taper or slope into a small area where an entrant could be trapped or suffocate.

  • Any other conditions that could pose a safety risk to an entrant. 

The potential for heat or cold stress, electric wires or any number of potentially dangerous conditions could apply to the final description of a permit-required confined space. If any of the previously mentioned conditions are present and you or your crew need to enter a permit-required confined space, safety should be taken extremely seriously! Entrance into a permit-required confined space typically involves:

  • Air monitoring prior to entry. 

  • Placement of an entrance supervisor.

  • Lockout/tagout procedures.

  • Staging of rescue personnel.

  • Other safety precautions depending on the specific challenges of the space. 

Tioga has personnel trained in confined space entry procedures. We have also entered permit-required confined spaces on behalf of our clients or cleared confined spaces for entry by our clients. If you have any doubts about the safety of a confined space in your facility or construction site, do not hesitate to contact us. Always remember: the most important part of a confined space is that everyone comes out in the same condition they entered. 

Posted by Christina Babu at 03 January 2022

It’s December, and we’re ramping up for a busy month full of holiday joy, gatherings, and lots and lots of food. While it is the season to eat, drink and be merry, our festivities make a major impact on the environment and increase our carbon footprint. 

Last month, we celebrated with Project Greenfork, Clean Memphis and several renowned local chefs at Reharvest Memphis, an event to spread awareness about food waste. Food waste is a topic that is often overlooked in households year-round. More than 30% of food we buy at grocery stores goes into the trash, and that number spikes in the final weeks of the year between parties and family feasts. As a result, wasted food piles up in landfills. These piles gradually break down and release methane, a greenhouse gas that’s 86 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, into our air!

As you plan your holiday parties and prepare bounties of seasonal delights, here are some tips to reduce food waste in the kitchen. 

Write out your grocery list first.

Party hosts tend to provide more than enough food for their guests. We have a mentality that it’s better to have too much food, rather than run out. If you’re hosting, try not to overdo it at the grocery store. Triple check your recipes and build a grocery list before you leave the house so that you only purchase the amounts you need. A grocery list prevents over-buying. Compulsive shopping can lead to too much food in your fridge and not enough time to consume it before it spoils.

Pro tip: Never grocery shop when you’re hungry. That way, you won’t be tempted to buy everything in sight just because your stomach is telling you to.

Provide tupperware at your party.

If you still end up having too much food left over, pack your guests some food to go. It’s likely you’re not going to eat the 20 leftover snickerdoodle cookies sitting out. Your guests - and your waistline! - will love you for it later. 

Save food scraps. 

Food scraps also pile up in landfills and contribute greatly to methane releases. There are several sustainable alternatives to throwing away scraps like apple cores, walnut shells, onion skins and celery roots. 

Save your vegetable scraps in an air-locked bag and throw it into your freezer. Once you have a large collection, you can boil them in water to prepare a homemade, low sodium vegetable broth, which will come in handy for a hearty soup or a decadent risotto in the winter months. If you’re carving a turkey on Christmas Eve or spatchcocking a chicken for Hanukkah, you can also freeze the bones and boil them in water with your vegetable scraps at a later time to make a savory broth for soups and other dishes.

Scraps of plant foods can also be composted. Composting speeds up the decomposition process of food waste and naturally breaks down organic matter. It’s a win for the environment and for you, as your food waste becomes rich soil to use in your yard and potted plants. We previously discussed the benefits of composting and how to get started - check it out!

Freeze anything else.

It’s easy to get tired of the holiday staples. Seriously, how much green bean casserole can one person eat?! While it’s tempting to toss food you no longer want, freeze it for another day. After you have a nice break, you can thaw them out and enjoy the season all over again in a few weeks!


The holiday season should be a joyful time to celebrate with our loved ones and to prepare for the next year. However, while it’s easy to get swept in the hustle and bustle of party planning, shopping and gift wrapping, we shouldn’t neglect our commitment to the environment. 

Happy holidays from the Tioga family to yours!

Posted by Christina Babu at 01 December 2021

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation issued a new National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Discharges of Stormwater Associated with Construction Activities. This permit, which went into effect on Oct. 1, applies to construction projects that involve clearing, grading or excavating soils and is intended to minimize the loss of soil through erosion.

The permit is generally in agreement with the version that was issued in 2016, but formatting changes and topic organization have occurred to make the permit easier to read and utilize. Most of the technical amendments relate to construction sites that would disturb more than 50 acres at one time. Such disturbance was prohibited in the previous permit, but now an allowance has been made with additional requirements for these large scale activities. Operators on these larger disturbance sites must perform quarterly site assessments and twice weekly inspections, including an inspection after any rainfall event of more than half an inch in 24 hours. The quarterly assessments must be performed by a professional engineer, landscape architect, Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control or someone who has completed the Level II training offered by TDEC for erosion control. Additionally, at these larger sites, outfalls that discharge a drainage basin greater than 10 acres must be sampled monthly. Reporting for turbidity, total suspended solids, floating solids, or foam and flow is required through the NetDMR system.

TDEC now encourages electronic submission of all information. Additionally, if any streams or wetlands are to be disturbed, a complete Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit package must be submitted to TDEC before the Notice of Intent and Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan can be submitted for construction activities.

Any site permitted through the 2016 Construction General Permit can continue to function as previously permitted and described in the SWPPP for that construction activity. If revisions are necessary to meet the new criteria, a revised SWPPP must be prepared within the next 12 months.

Posted by Larkin Myers at 02 November 2021

Oct. 24-30 is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, which was launched to spread awareness of the dangers of lead exposure and ways to maximize prevention. In construction and development, lead can be found in a variety of building materials and is especially prevalent in older buildings and structures. Additionally, lead exposure can be detrimental to people’s health, especially among young children. According to the Mayo Clinic, side effects of lead exposure or poisoning among children include developmental delay and learning difficulties. Among adults, side effects include high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, difficulty with memory or concentration, and infertility.

If you’re unsure if lead will impact your upcoming facility renovation project or exists in your home or neighborhood, we’ve answered some common questions.

Where can I find lead indoors?
Paint is one of the most common indoor sources of lead exposure. Thankfully, lead-based paints were banned from homes built in the United States after 1978. Older facilities are likely to still contain traces of lead. If you’re considering a demolition, renovation or modernization project, a hazardous building materials assessment will be necessary. 

Traces of lead can also be found in tap water. If you’re in an older facility, the water pipes may be made of lead. Even if it has copper pipes, they may be soldered with lead. If you’re unsure, never drink from the tap and instead use or install a filter, such as an ion exchange, reverse osmosis or distillation filter, to effectively remove lead.

Where can I find lead outdoors?
They tell us when we’re young that “a little dirt don’t hurt!” But unfortunately, lead can be found outdoors, including in playgrounds, parks and our backyards. Oftentimes, lead particles in contaminants like gasoline and paint can settle into soil. Brownfields may have traces of lead, even if the property hasn’t been in operation for several years. This is mostly common on former industrial facilities sites. If there is a reason to suspect a presence of lead, then soil sampling should be performed before any dirt gets moved around, and if there is a presence, specific steps for removal or mitigation will be required.

What else should I know about lead?
There are several reliable sources about lead poisoning prevention.

While we enjoy partaking in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week each October and sharing information with our clients, colleagues and friends, we also hope you join us in these practices year-round. For your next project or before you purchase a commercial or industrial property, contact Tioga for a lead-based paint assessment and a Phase I ESA.

Posted by Larkin Myers at 01 October 2021

The United States Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for implementing the Clean Water Act, which ruled that the corps has jurisdiction over the placement or removal of materials in streams and wetlands considered “waters of the U.S.” In a previous article, we discussed the basics of permitting. In Tennessee, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation takes jurisdiction over these water bodies, in conjunction with the USACE. The permitting process is similar, but one distinction in Tennessee is that a qualified hydrologic professional must prepare a hydrologic determination for any stream.

A hydrologic determination will identify whether the creek on your property is considered a stream or a wet weather conveyance, which in turn determines how easy it is to modify that body of water. Wet weather conveyances are considered unregulated features, which means any impacts are automatically permitted without submission of documentation to TDEC. However, any modification to a body of water that is considered a stream requires submission of an Aquatic Resource Alteration Permit application and could require mitigation.

Qualified hydrologic professionals are certified by the University of Tennessee in collaboration with TDEC. In order to become a QHP, wetland scientists and biologists must attend coursework offered by the state to learn standardized procedures for making stream and wet weather conveyance determinations. A bachelor’s degree in biology, geology, ecology, engineering or another related science is required to be considered for QHP certification.

Additionally, five years of experience performing fieldwork and making determinations is necessary for certification. When developing property in Tennessee, it’s a time saver to utilize a local firm that has experience with TDEC and understands the nuanced differences between the USACE and TDEC permitting process. QHPs are presumed to be correct in determinations. Tioga employs two QHPs for this purpose. Give us a call at 901-791-2432 to find out more!

Posted by Larkin Myers at 01 September 2021