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WHAT WE DO

VESTRA specializes in providing regulatory compliance, permitting, environmental, and engineering solutions to the challenges facing our clients.  We are recognized for designing innovative solutions based on the best science available.  Our clients become our partners, and we work hard to reduce their liabilities and provide reasonable cost effective solutions to complex problems.

 

Civil Engineering and Site Design

Our Engineering Staff include professionals with expertise in a variety of fields. Our work includes projects in Site Civil, Municipal, Mining, Treatment Technologies, Waste Containment, Environmental and Restoration Engineering, Hydraulic Design, and Agricultural Engineering. We are also Natural Resources Conservation Service (NCRS) Technical Service Providers for waste containment, irrigation design, and dairy manure management.

Our Engineering Staff take pride in the quality of their work and innovations in design for unusual problems and projects. Our innovative approach to design allows us to solve problems posed by various specialized projects successfully. By taking a highly flexible approach to design work, with a distinct willingness to think outside the box, VESTRA often is able to provide clients with solutions that reduce project cost while still meeting technical and regulatory requirements.

Our Projects Include:

  • Large and Small Commercial Developments
  • Road Imporvements
  • Hydrolic Evaluations for Bridge Modifications and Culvert Design
  • Waste Pond Design
  • Retention Pond Structures
  • Irrigation and Water Control Systems
  • Mine Bulkhead Seals
  • Landfill Closure and Expansion
  • Boat Ramps
  • Passive and Active Waste Treatment Systems
  • Fish Screen and Ladder Systems
  • Dairy Expansion and Waste Management
  • Riptarian Restoration and Streambank Stabilization
  • SPCC Plans and Tank Containment

Regulatory Compliance

With ever-increasing regulations, documentation, and reporting requirements, this service area continues to expand. Our areas of expertise include Clean Water Act (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) and Section 401/404), Porter-Cologne Waste Discharge Requirements, Irrigated Lands Regulatory Program, California Surface Mining and Reclamation Act (SMARA), stormwater (construction and industrial), and water rights reporting. We work collaboratively with our clients to reach reasonable compliance solutions. These are at times both technical and political. From Use Attainability Evaluations, Mixing Zone or Translator Studies, to biological or chemical treatment – we solve compliance problems.

Our professional staff bring to each project outstanding technical and field expertise and advanced problem-solving skills. VESTRA is dedicated to providing outstanding service to our clients by focusing on innovative design, thorough documentation and support, client advocacy through effective interaction with regulatory and permitting agencies, skilled project management to expedite successful project outcomes, and rigorous cost control.

Our Compliance Services include:

  • Permit Applications
  • Requirements Documentation
  • Site Investigations and Assessments
  • Site-Specific Translator Studies
  • Mixing Zone Studies
  • Use Attainability Analysis
  • Basin Plan Amendments
  • General Stormwater Permits
  • Waste Discharge System Monitoring, Sampling, and Reporting
  • Agency Interaction

Program Management/Permitting

In today’s political and regulatory environment, comprehensive coordination for large projects containing multiple components is critical to achieving strategic goals and cost control. Our business is helping clients succeed, from project conceptual planning to permitting and implementation. Our staff provide the leadership and expertise needed to coordinate multiple projects, communicate with stakeholders and regulatory agencies, define program goals, analyze cost/benefit, and manage resources effectively. Our goal is to help our clients achieve their priorities in a cost-effective manner.

Our Program Management Services Include:

  • Client Advocacy with Regulatory Agencies
  • Coordinating Site Evaluations/Investigations
  • Municipal, State, and Federal Permitting
  • Cost/Benefit Analysis
  • Defining Processes
  • Project Management
  • Research/Design
  • Risk Management
  • Staff Coordination

Permit acquisition can be a time-consuming and frustrating process – missed steps can significantly delay project completion. Increasingly, projects must comply with at times conflicting and overlapping regulations. We act as an advocate for our clients throughout the permitting process, managing approval schedules and submittals to save both time and money.

Our Permitting Services Include:

  • Coordination/Liaison with Federal, State, and Local Agencies
  • Advocacy
  • California Surface Mining and Reclaiming Act (SMARA)
  • Clean Water Act (Section 401 and Section 10)
  • Fish and Wildlife Streambed Alterations
  • Solid Waste Facility Permits
  • Impact Assessments and Mitigation Plans
  • Wetlands Delineations
  • Waste Discharge Requirements
  • NPDES Permits
  • Use Permits
  • Hazardous Waste Classification
  • NEPA/CEQA Compliance
  • Authority to Construct/Authority to Operate

Stormwater Compliance (Construction and Industrial)

VESTRA has prepared hundreds of Construction and Industrial Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) and Erosion Control Plans for clients under the Industrial and Construction General NPDES permit requirements of the State of California.

Construction SWPPPs are required for project sites disturbing one acre or more of soil and generally focus on establishing the Best Management Practices (BMPs) that will be employed to prevent sediment from leaving the site during construction activities. Plans also include monitoring activities to gauge the efficacy of the BMPs. For construction, our Engineers have extensive experience in designing and implementing these plans, conducting site inspections, performing required sampling, and preparing the necessary documentation and reports. Our work includes both the General Construction Permit and the special Caltrans requirements and provisions.

Industrial SWPPPs are required for sites covered by the State Industrial General Permit, including manufacturing facilities, oil and gas/mining facilities, hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities, landfills, transportation facilities, and sewage or waste treatment works. Industrial SWPPPs focus on pollutants that may be present onsite and describe activities employed to prevent those pollutants from leaving the site. Our staff include one Trainer of Record, and two Qualified Industrial Stormwater Practitioners (QISPs) under the new Industrial General Permit. We have assisted hundreds of clients in preparation of SWPPPs, compliance sampling, reporting, development of site-specific sampling and evaluation strategies, and design of treatment systems. Our work has included activities under the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 505 citizen litigation provisions and commonly results in reduced settlements and shortened oversight periods. Samples of the industries we have served include marinas, sawmills, aggregate and mineral processing facilities, dairies, confined aquatic feeding operations, log yards, trucking facilities, municipalities, counties, landfills, transfer stations, and material recovery facilities.

We are here to meet your Construction and Industrial Stormwater Compliance needs.


QISP Training

Waste Containment and Treatment

Whether it is a dairy manure pond, agricultural wastewater pond, or landfill, we can design and permit your containment solution. Our team members are experienced in all Title 27 requirements for landfills and impoundments, liner and cover designs, construction plans, drainage system designs, stormwater containment, and Notices of Non-Applicability (NONAs) under the Industrial General Permit and can also supply Construction Quality Assurance and related Surveying. We are also NRCS Technical Service Providers and have significant experience in the NRCS requirements for lining and design of agricultural containment systems.

Remedial Design and Treatment

Our team has conducted remedial activities in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA); National Contingency Plan (NCP); Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA); as well as the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and Regional Water Quality Control Board (RWQCB) guidance. We have also conducted cleanup work at underground and aboveground hydrocarbon sites and work diligently to obtain closure in the shortest time possible.

Our Remedial Alternatives Include:

  • Soil Excavation and Removal
  • Waste Consolidation and Capping
  • Groundwater Extraction and Treatment
  • Biosparing and Bioventing
  • Ozone Injection
  • Sulfate-Reducing Bioreactor
  • Wetlands Treatment
  • Natural Attenuation

Conservation Easements
& Mitigation Banking

An increasing trend in rural land management is the initiation of Conservation Easements and the development of Mitigation Banks. Most Conservation Easements require a Remoteness Determination/Mineral Assessment Report. The purpose of this type of study is to determine if the property is in accordance with Federal laws governing the tax deductibility of Conservation Easements in which the ownership of the surface estate and mineral interests has been separated. Many of these studies have been conducted concurrently with a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment in order to save our clients time and money, as many aspects of both studies are similar in content

Our goal is to assist with the establishment of local mitigation banks so that local dollars stay local and any loss of Northern California wetlands are compensated with the preservation and establishment of local wetlands. We are currently assisting with the establishment of a mitigation bank in Tehama County and have assisted with the development and maintenance of other mitigation banks in Shasta County.

Property Transfer Due Diligence

We have completed hundreds of Real Estate Site Evaluations for clients who wish to buy, sell, or transfer properties. Prior to buying or developing a property, it is important to identify any potential risks, since under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), a buyer, lessor, or lender may be held responsible for remediation on a property, even if a prior owner caused the initial contamination. All Property Transfer Evaluations are conducted pursuant to American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards. The goal of the site assessments is to identify environmental conditions in connection with the property, to the extent feasible, which may pose a future environmental liability. Our work includes ASTM Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessments, Environmental Liability Appraisals, Environmental Transaction Screens, Feasibility and Cost-Benefit Analyses, Historical and Regulatory Reviews (current and past site activities), Conservation Easement Documentation, and detailed Site Characterization and Remediation. VESTRA has conducted these for commercial, multi-residential, industrial, and agricultural properties ranging in size from less than one acre to over 30,000 acres. One of our areas of specialization is working with large rural properties.

An increasing trend in rural land management is the initiation of Conservation Easements and the development of Mitigation Banks. Most Conservation Easements require a Remoteness Determination/Mineral Assessment Report. The purpose of this type of study is to determine if the property is in accordance with Federal laws governing the tax deductibility of Conservation Easements in which the ownership of the surface estate and mineral interests has been separated. Internal Revenue Code § 170(h)(5)(B)(ii) states that, for such donations, the conservation purpose will be considered to be perpetually protected if the probability of surface mining on the property is so remote as to be negligible. Federal Treasury Regulations 26 CFR 1.170A-14(g)(4) further state that a deduction will not be denied in the case of certain methods of mining that may have limited localized impact on the real property but that are not irremediably destructive of significant conservation interests.

Our goal is to save our clients time and money, conducting investigations and assessments in a cost-effective manner that fulfills all requirements for the property transfer.

SMARA Compliance

VESTRA offers full-service environmental, engineering, and GIS support related to mining projects. Our Regulatory Compliance staff have more than 27 years of experience in the custom and practice of mine regulations, from initial engineering, permitting, and annual inspections to the remediation of abandoned mine sites. We understand the environmental issues and complexities relevant to mine compliance, operations, reclamation planning, and mitigation under CEQA. We specialize in developing practical and technically sound solutions for operating, idle, and abandoned mines and offer cost-effective, innovative, and technically superior project solutions.

Our team of compliance professionals have assisted a variety of clients with various regulatory issues, from small, private mine operators seeking AB 3098 compliance to permitting large new mines. We have assisted rural counties with SMARA inspections and compliance issues. VESTRA has experience with large, complex permit packages and reclamation plan addendums. We also prepare and review routine SMARA documents including Financial Assurance Cost Estimates, Annual Reports, and Inspection Reports. We have completed inspections for municipalities for mines located within city limits, as well as driven thousands of miles inspecting rural mines for private operators and counties.

Our staff appreciate the difficulties facing mine operations, especially in rural counties, and have worked with local mine owners to obtain compliance with ever-increasing regulations. VESTRA is recognized for designing and negotiating fair compromises based on good science in each of the industries we serve. We have represented numerous government entities and private mine clients in Northern California. We are known for tackling seemingly “impossible projects.” No matter what a project entails, we “get the job done right” on time and within budget. VESTRA is our clients’ best advocate when it comes to regulatory compliance.

Specialized SMARA Experience:

  • Reclamation Plans
  • Annual Site Inspections
  • Financial Assurance Cost Estimates (FACEs)
  • Financial Assurance Mechanisms
  • Revegetation Monitoring
  • Annual Report Preparation and Submittal
  • Program Administration
  • Technical Review
  • Interim Management Plans and Activities
  • Operator Communications/Outreach
  • State Mining and Geology Board Appeals
  • CEQA Compliance

NRCS Design/Technical Service Provider

Our Civil Engineers were the first NRCS Technical Service Providers north of Sacramento. We are pro-agriculture and our goal is to offer our clients cost-effective solutions. Our specialty is assisting rural ranches, farms, and dairies. We are aware of the issues facing landowners in our region, including improved control of irrigation water and water use efficiency, reduction in labor/maintenance costs, reduction in seepage in evaporation of irrigation water, water rights, and water quality.

We specialize in a variety of solutions facing the farming and ranching communities including:

  • Total Water Management Return Systems
  • Irrigation Diversion Design
  • Irrigation Piping and Control Structures
  • Instream Irrigation Pump Systems with fish screens
  • Habitat Conservation Plans/Sustained Yield Plans
  • Bank Stabilization and Restoration
  • Meadow Restoration
  • Filter System Design
  • Storm Water Control
  • Water Rights Permits
  • Stock Water Access Design
  • Grazing System Development
  • General Water Quality Management
  • Tailwater Ponds

Land Surveying

Our Survey Department provides expertise in all areas of surveying including Minor and Major Subdivisions, FEMA Flood Elevation Documentation, Boundary and Topographic Surveys, Right-of-Way and Route Surveys, American Land Title Association (ALTA) surveys, Legal Description preparation, Expert Witness services, Construction Staking, Boundary Resolution, and survey data analysis. In addition to field survey experience, our Licensed Land Surveyor has over 20 years of experience with the preparation and processing of survey-related maps and plats and is extremely familiar with the Subdivision Map Act and Professional Land Surveyor’s Act.

Site Investigations

VESTRA has conducted site investigations and characterizations throughout Northern California. Projects range from the investigation of hydrocarbon compounds released from fuel-storage facilities and abandoned burn dumps to the wood products industry, landfill sites, and Superfund investigations. Our team has in-depth experience under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA), National Contingency Plan (NCP), and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) requirements, as well as investigative guidelines for Regional Water Quality Boards (RWQCB) and Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) investigation alternatives.

Our site investigation experience includes Environmental Liability Investigations; Preliminary Site Assessments; Remedial Investigations; Feasibility Studies; Remedial Design; Corrective Action Plans; sampling, monitoring, and reporting; Fate and Transport Modeling; and Human and Environmental Health Risk Assessments.

Custom AVA Maps

In addition to our regional and state American Viticultural Area (AVA) maps, VESTRA offers custom mapping services for vineyards, wineries, vintner associations, and wine retailers. Our custom maps can be as simple as tailoring our standard maps with a custom logo, or broader in scope to include winery or vineyard locations with custom colors, sizing, and labeling. We have also developed software to assist in capturing vineyard boundaries.

We have created tour maps for large wine producers with multiple vineyards, as well as maps that show winery locations for large retailers. We have also created maps of single AVA boundaries that highlight the vineyards and wineries located in the area.

Our custom maps can be used in printed materials such as brochures and posters, or in digital format for use in websites or PowerPoint presentations. Please call us so that we can find a product that will work for you or your organization.

To view our catalog of regional and state AVA maps, click on the link below.


Purchase AVA Maps

Mine Remediation Expertise

VESTRA staff has been involved in several projects to address metals contamination at mine sites beginning in early 1990. These studies led to a number of ongoing mine remediation projects throughout California. Based on this experience, VESTRA has developed significant expertise in the following mine remediation related areas:

  • Site characterization
  • Portal and tunnel rehabilitation
  • Bulkhead seal installation
  • Waste rock consolidation and capping
  • Pilot treatment systems
  • Full-scale treatment systems
  • Regulatory permitting and compliance

Key steps in the remediation process include source identification, source control and reduction, and treatment of residual acid rock drainage (ARD). VESTRA has designed and supervised the contruction of more than 10 anaerobic treatment systems to increase the pH and remove dissolved metals from ARD. The capacity of these systems typically ranges between 1 gallon per minute (gpm) and 50gpm, and the average metals reduction exceeds 95 percent.

Our success rate with passive treatment systems is outstanding and we have saved our clients millions of dollars in remediation costs. Our goal is to stay ahead of our competition by offering cost-effective, cutting-edge solutions.