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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When you’re working on a construction project or running a facility with hazardous chemicals, it’s best to prepare for the unexpected – but where do you start? At Tioga, our professionals are here for you when the unexpected occurs. We can prepare you for unforeseen hiccups, guide you through federal paperwork and state requirements, and provide a helping hand when you need it most, particularly in an environmental emergency.

When it comes to environmental concerns, there are protocols and processes to follow that, with the right guidance, can help you maintain compliance with environmental laws and minimize further impact and disturbance to the surrounding environment. Here, we answer some common questions about potential site hazards. Bookmark this page on the off-chance you experience an environmental emergency or unexpected discovery.

What happens if I have a hazardous material spill or locate a hazardous material on my property?

If you have a hazardous material spill, the first step is to contain it and keep it from spreading outside of the immediate area. Surround it with absorbent berms or straw bales, then cover it with more absorbent materials like oil dry or sawdust. Try to contain the spill in as small of an area as possible. The more it spreads, the more expensive and difficult it is to clean up.

In the case of drums or containers filled with unknown substances, do not touch them! Instead, call someone, such as Tioga’s environmental consultants, to characterize them for disposal. There are reporting requirements specific to the type of material located in the spill. We also recommend ground sampling to document the substance removal to ensure it’s complete and sufficient.

What do I do if I locate an underground storage tank on my site?

If a UST is found during construction or excavation, stop immediately. Do not remove the tank. The regulatory status of the tank must be determined in order to understand the closure requirements. The tank can be removed or closed legally and correctly with the oversight of an environmental consultant. 

Learn about a UST on a project site of which we supervised its removal.

I bought a building constructed prior to 1978. What tests do I need to conduct, and what hazards do I need to look out for to make sure my property is up to code?

Lead-based paint was banned in the U.S. in 1978., but widespread federal regulations banning asbestos in building materials were not put into law until the mid-1980s. Because of this discrepancy, some products were still allowed to contain asbestos as long as there are no new uses or applications. This means any owner or potential buyer of a building constructed during this time frame or earlier should include a hazardous materials survey for lead-based paint, asbestos and other miscellaneous materials during the due diligence process or prior to performing any renovation or demolition project. If asbestos, lead-based paint or other hazardous materials are disturbed, it could significantly impact budgeting and planning related to redevelopment projects.

How do I ensure the workers on my job site and future occupants aren't breathing in pollutants?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established a wide variety of regulations and testing requirements related to worker and occupant exposure to hazardous respirable pollutants. A combination of work practices, protective equipment measures, engineering controls and exposure monitoring through air sampling are utilized to document exposure and protect inhabitants from being exposed to pollutants in the building.

Industrial Hygiene assessments are often performed to assess worker/occupant exposure and safety protocols. IH assessments document current exposure and provide solutions to mitigate workplace exposure to hazardous respirable pollutants. There's a waterway near my project site.

What do I need to do to ensure we're in compliance with regulations before we begin design and construction?

The first step is to have an Aquatic Resources Delineation performed to determine if the waterway is regulated federally or by the state. If you are in Tennessee, this must be performed by a Qualified Hydrologic Professional, and good news for you, Tioga has QHPs on staff! Once you know the waterway’s designation, you can determine what to do with the property and how that might impact the stream or wetland.

If you experience an environmental emergency or discover a potential environmental hazard on a project site, contact us at 901-791-2432 or info@tiogaenv.com.

Posted by Carlee Smith at 01 June 2023

Senior environmental specialist Ben Day from our Natural Resources team recently attended a one-day conference in Nashville hosted by the Tennessee Ecological Restoration Association, of which Tioga is a member, and the Ecological Restoration Business Association, TERA’s national counterpart. One of the topics of the day was the Stream Quantification Tool and proposed revisions to the current methodology. The current SQT method was fully implemented in 2019, and TDEC has received substantial feedback on it. TDEC, in cooperation with the University of Tennessee and other stakeholders, worked over the past several years to evaluate the current SQT and on a set of proposed changes referenced as SQT 2.0. On hand to speak of the proposed revisions was Jimmy Smith from TDEC’s Water Resources division.  

Here's what to know about the current SQT and the potential changes it faces in Tennessee.

The SQT is the approved methodology for assessing stream function, both existing and proposed, and comes into play either when a project proposes impacts to a stream – such as installation of a culvert, bank armoring or relocation – or when mitigation to a stream is proposed as compensation for such impacts. The SQT assesses the stream in multiple broad categories, including watershed hydrology, hydraulics, geomorphology, physiochemistry and biology. Generally speaking, while TDEC believes the current method is meeting its purpose, it recognizes the method could be more streamlined and scoring could be reweighted to better reflect real world conditions, particularly for the categories affectable at the local stream level.

For example, watershed hydrology, while obviously a critical component of stream function, is not a category most permit applicants have the ability to alter or enhance, whereas the width of a riparian zone (the vegetated corridor through which a stream flows) has both a more immediate impact on stream function and a more readily restored or enhanced parameter. As an example of proposed changes in SQT 2.0, the width of assessed riparian area that will count toward the functional assessment will be increased to as much as 300 feet, up from about 75 feet previously.

Smith stated that an “internal” final draft of SQT 2.0 is effectively ready. However, there are still a series of additional reviews, including a comparison study being conducted by UT between SQT 1.0 and 2.0 to verify scoring consistency and stakeholder inputs necessary before the revised methodology can be publicly presented and approved with an additional roll out period necessary once the system has final approvals. It is likely SQT 2.0 won’t come online until at least mid-2024. 

Posted by Carlee Smith at 01 May 2023

We offer many services at Tioga because our clients are all very different! No matter your industry, our knowledgeable staff is available to assist you with your environmental needs. Thanks to our firm’s full- service capabilities, we’re able to take on a variety of projects for clients in industries ranging from private organizations to government agencies. We walk with you every step of the way to make sure you’re in the know about your project or facility’s status and answer any questions you may have.

Architects and engineers

When it comes to environmental issues, it’s best to anticipate and plan for the unexpected, before
jumping into design. Many of our clients include architecture and engineering firms who need
assistance with hazardous material inspections, subsurface investigations, permit preparation and site assessments. Our team will explore what’s beneath the surface and within the walls before any
architectural or engineering design work begins.

Lenders, brokers and attorneys

Trustworthiness is crucial to develop meaningful client relationships, which is why working with a
dependable environmental agency is so important. We evaluate project sites to determine what
environmental services need to be conducted before and after a purchase. Such findings can derail
projects from staying on track with the target budget and schedule. Our user-friendly documentation means information is readily available, digestible and shareable among key stakeholders.

Hospitals and schools

Schools and hospitals need dependable, fail-proof resources to ensure operations run as smoothly as possible every day. From emergency preparedness plans to facility compliance with local, state and national guidelines, our experienced team is here to help facility managers get the job done without worrying about the little details.


At Tioga, we work frequently with several government entities, either directly or as a subcontractor, and we pride ourselves in reliable, timely and cost-effective solutions. Projects for which we’ve completed environmental services for government clients include bridge replacements, multimodal pathways, underground storage tank removals and traffic noise studies, among many others.

Contractors and developers

From lead-based paint to mold and asbestos, there are several hindrances that can pause or even halt your latest renovation or demolition. Our team is experienced and certified in locating and abating hazardous materials for a range of buildings and sites, including former factories, dry cleaners and hospitals. We serve our clients to get the job done right and ensure proper documentation.

Would you or your company benefit from our services? Visit our Industries Served page for more
details about past clients and our experience, or give us a call at 901-791-2432 to discuss.

Posted by Christina Babu at 01 April 2023

By Joe Littlefield, program manager

Maintaining the well-being of employees in the workplace is a fundamental component of a successful environmental health and safety program. An Industrial Hygiene (IH) assessment often plays a critical role in the development, implementation and maintenance of these plans.

Industrial hygiene is defined by OSHA as "the practice of anticipating, recognizing, evaluating and controlling workplace conditions that may cause workers' injury or illness.” IH assessments are performed to meet a wide range of objectives including:

  • Identifying potential hazards in the workplace.
  • Establishing baseline worker exposure levels to hazards.
  • Routine monitoring of worker exposure levels.
  • Developing engineering, work practice and administrative controls to minimize
    workplace hazards.
  • Determining PPE requirements.
  • Instituting occupational safety programs for respiratory protection, hearing conservation,

IH assessments evaluate a wide variety of safety and exposure hazards. The scope of these assessments depends on the hazards present to which workers could be exposed, ranging from a facility-wide comprehensive hazard assessment to a specific area, process or position. The conclusions and recommendations from an assessment are instrumental in implementing programs and controls to minimize or eliminate employee exposure.

IH assessments of physical hazards, such as ergonomics or machine guarding, typically involve a visual or physical review of the facility and specific components by an industrial hygienist to ensure compliance with applicable OSHA regulations. Monitoring potential worker exposure usually involves an industrial hygienist. An IH sampling technician might deploy specialized meters and sampling pumps for personal exposure monitoring during a full work shift, which can include outfitting a worker with an air sampling pump to sample media for exposure to hazardous airborne constituents like respirable silica or heavy metals. Data from the laboratory analysis of the sample media would then be used to determine the workers’ time weighted average exposure for a typical shift.

IH assessments are commonly performed in industrial facilities involved in manufacturing, chemical processing, logistics and power generation, to name a few. However, EHS managers at any facility or organization that places an emphasis on employee health and safety can benefit from an IH assessment. Due to the complex and numerous industrial hygiene hazards and controls, many organizations do not have the in-house capability to perform IH assessments. Tioga’s scientists are adept at evaluating facility EHS programs, identifying IH hazards and developing monitoring plans. Contact our team to get started. We look forward to helping you with your IH assessment needs!

Posted by Carlee Smith at 01 March 2023

There’s an old saying that still rings true today: “The greenest building is the one already built.” While it may be every architect’s dream to design a building that stands out in a city’s skyline, we find there’s more to brag about when transforming an old building to look and feel new again. Our hometown of Memphis is full of history. Now, imagine if there was no fight to preserve many of these buildings from years past. While those stories would still exist, it may be easier to forget them without a physical representation. We’d lose a piece of our history.

Construction projects are major contributors to climate change, but not all projects have equal impact on the environment. Historic preservation projects have proven to have fewer results in carbon emissions. Before demolishing an old building and starting fresh or clearing an untouched greenspace, there are several things to consider – including the environmental impact it could have on a community.


According to the EPA, “to pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.” As crucial construction materials and natural resources deplete and costs of goods and services continue to rise, there are some instances in which historic revitalization is not only more eco-friendly but cost-efficient as well. Using salvaged, recycled or repurposed materials is a step in the right direction when it comes to reducing waste and preserving materials for generations to come.


The U.S. Energy Information Administration discovered half of the country’s commercial facilities were constructed before 1980. When you look at an older building, you’re getting a glimpse into that past. As of August 2022, Memphis has 199 properties included in the National Park Service’s National Register of Historic Places. These are churches, houses, apartments, banks, neighborhoods and schools that define us as Memphians. Preserving these buildings means preserving a piece of history. These properties create a sense of community, belonging and pride, and they communicate our values with the rest of the world.


You know the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it?” The same can be applied to revitalization and preservation projects! By abstaining from demolition, valuable resources are saved and the need for building and construction materials is reduced. It also conserves fossil fuels and other resources needed to acquire and transport materials to the job site.


Older buildings are major contributors to rising carbon emissions, but it’s up to those of us in the building industry today to address it. Many of these buildings have outdated mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems, and their structures may not be up to code. By restoring and updating them to current standards, we can give back the love these buildings gave to our communities over time. GBD Magazine said it best: “For every new building we build, there are hundreds of existing buildings that need the same level of care and design.” Designers have the expertise and capability to further bring new life to these buildings that are standing tall and remaining empty.

If you need assistance with your purchase of an old building, give us a call at 901-791-2432. Tioga is often involved in the due diligence phase of a property purchase. We can help with environmental assessments, hazardous materials testing and much more.

Posted by Carlee Smith at 01 February 2023

by Chuck Thibault

On Oct. 21, 2022, the Mississippi River reached a record low stage of -10.8 feet (173.2 feet NAVD88) at the Memphis Mississippi River Gage. While drought conditions leading to the low levels have eased, the record low stage highlights our dependence on precipitation and our vulnerability to drought. Additionally, when the low river level was visible, one could walk to the riverbank and see the low river levels. 

Unlike the river, the groundwater beneath our feet is not visible, yet it is relied upon for drinking water, agriculture and industry. It becomes even more important in locations where surface water loss is the norm. Our current and future need for groundwater combined with population and climatic pressures requires an effort to ensure our groundwater resources remain resilient.  

One method used to provide water supply resiliency is through managed aquifer recharge, sometimes referred to as water banking. MAR is defined by the National Groundwater Association as the purposeful recharge of water to aquifers for subsequent recovery or for environmental benefit. There are a variety of forms of MAR, such as large infiltration ponds, crop flooding and the use of wells. MAR is also utilized for drinking water storage, flood hazard mitigation and drought mitigation. Sources for recharge include river water, storm water and treated wastewater. Some things to consider prior to implementing MAR strategies include local, state and federal regulations, water chemistry, and the quality of the recharge source and the receiving aquifer.  

In 2022, the National Groundwater Association and the International Association of Hydrogeologists increased their interest in MAR. Tioga is proud to be participating in the drafting of MAR guidance with the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council.

To learn more, check out these sources or reach out to the Tioga team:

Posted by Christina Babu at 03 January 2023