When telecoms consider constructing towers, co-locating antennas or small cells, installing DAS systems, or modifying existing facilities, they often hire Michigan-based RESCOM Environmental Corporation (RESCOM) to perform environmental assessments. RESCOM does a quick pre-survey to determine potential issues that might arise and recommend needed assessments, founder and CEO Joe Lee tells Inside Towers.
Depending on the type of project, RESCOM personnel conduct a Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment, which identifies potential contaminants. For example, there may be a gas station or a dry cleaner near the site. “You’re looking for things that can negatively impact the property and result in the buyer having a cleanup liability or a use restriction,” says Lee, who started the company 19 years ago. The assessment also helps the telecom client understand, if any contaminants are found, how that impacts the property value and potential use.
The FCC requires carriers and towercos to follow their rules for complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). That involves several “Special Interest Items” that RESCOM determines “impact” to, such as wetlands, floodplains, threatened and endangered species, historic properties, tribal properties/interests, parks and preserves.
NEPA dovetails into the Historic Preservation Act and RESCOM works with the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and Native American groups to determine if a project will impact historically significant properties. RESCOM handles the negotiation and permitting process with all local, state and federal authorities for clients. Many times, a SHPO will recommend a site design change to better hide a tower, says Lee, because a design change is often less expensive than finding an entirely different site.
Carriers and towercos are required to document for the FCC or other authorities that the project went through the process and was evaluated, whether or not a problem was identified.
RESCOM handles between 400 to 600 sites a year, Lee estimates. His team of professionals evaluate projects all over the country. In addition to environmental assessments, the company performs assessments for cultural resources, lead-based paint and asbestos containing materials.
“We’re specialized. We have built our model to tailor to the telecom industry, which allows us to give expert service while keeping our costs down and turnaround time fast,” says Lee.
RESCOM’s corporate offices are in Petoskey, MI, and the company has personnel positioned in other states to cover the country. Contact the company at: www.RESCOM.org or call (231) 409-2563.
By Leslie Stimson
November 9, 2016