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Sylvester Recognized for Business Excellence

Susan Sylvester, President of Absolute Resource Associates (ARA) was presented with the prestigious New Hampshire Business Review (NHBR) Business Excellence Award in October.


The annual NHBR Business Excellence Awards Program recognizes the imagination, industriousness, innovation, achievements, and community dedication of small-business owners in New Hampshire.


Sylvester began her career in the environmental field 30 years ago, and purchased Resource Laboratories, LLC (now Absolute Resource Associates) with her husband Guy in 2000. Over the past 14 years under Sylvester's leadership, ARA has expanded to meet the ever changing needs of its customers and markets, tripling in revenue, staffing and facility size. Sylvester calls her staff "the best in the business," and credits the company's success to their unified and unwavering commitment to excellence, core values and ethical business practices. Congratulations to Sue and the entire staff at ARA!


ARA Conducts Hazardous Waste Surveys for Renovations & Demolitions

Simply defined, a hazardous waste is a waste with properties that make it capable of having a harmful effect on human health and / or the environment. Hazardous waste is generated from many sources, ranging from industrial manufacturing process wastes, to batteries, to fluorescent lightbulbs, and may come in many forms, including liquids, solids, gases, and sludge’s. Examples of hazardous materials include Asbestos, Lead, and PCBs.


Determining what is a hazardous waste is paramount, because only those wastes that have specific attributes are subject to Subtitle C regulation. Making this determination is a complex task that is a central component of hazardous waste management regulations. You might not know that ARA is certified to conduct hazardous waste surveys for renovations and demolitions; be sure to give us a call if you have questions.


What you should know: Prior to conducting renovations, demolitions or maintenance on a building, a HAZMAT survey must be conducted by a State Licensed Asbestos Inspector. This is true for residential as well as commercial projects.


A guide for the Hazardous Waste Survey is as follows:

  • Sample painted surfaces for lead
  • Sample metal surfaces for lead, chromium VI and cadmium.
  • Sample building materials, thermal system insulation and miscellaneous material for asbestos.
  • Check interior and exterior building sealants (to include around windows, vents and expansion joints) for polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
  • Check light ballasts for PCBs.
  • If paint samples test positive for lead, a TCLP test needs to be analyzed by a State Accredited Laboratory to see if it has to be disposed of as HAZWASTE.
  • Make notes regarding any petroleum products, contained or spilled


Before beginning any construction project, ARA recommends that you consult an environmental professional with questions about hazardous waste regulations. Most people don't realize that neglecting a thorough hazardous materials inspection can have devastating financial, legal, health and environmental impacts. As always, call ARA with questions, we're here to help!


The Uncertainty of Certain "Certs"

Did you know that  ACAC offers the only CESB and/or  NCCA accredited designations dedicated to the field of indoor air quality? Though its board-awarded designations meet very stringent requirements, the same cannot be said of many other "professional" certification programs. Some organizations allow office staffers to grant certification in exchange for payment of fees and passing a simple examination based on a mandatory course with limited information. Field experience is rarely required, much less verified. As a result, "instant certifications" from such organizations are nearly worthless when challenged in court, not to mention the health and safety risks involved.


ARA customers can rest assured that our certifications are up to date and meet the most stringent industry requirements. You can view our current ACAC certifications on this page of our website. 


Accredited Certifications are professional credentials qualified and recognized by one of three independent organizations. Certification programs accredited by the Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Boards (CESB) must require verifiable field experience. In order to qualify for CESB or NCCA accreditation, a certification program must meet high standards of program operation:

  • It must be administratively independent of other organizations in matters pertaining to certification;
  • Its certifying body must consist of a majority of certified individuals;
  • It must provide the public and consumers with an opportunity for input into its policies and decisions;
  • It must follow strict rules for public disclosure of certification-related activities;
  • It must follow strict rules for test development, evaluation and administration;
  • It must enforce stringent eligibility requirements for all candidates, including (in the case of CESB accreditation) eight years of education and/or field experience for engineering-related designations and two to five years of education and/or field experience for engineering-technician designations. 


You can read more about this issue and more in the NH Mold Task Force Standard of Care.



Too Salty? Sweet Solution!

Winter has arrived in New England once again, and while we often find ourselves thankful for the plow trucks during powerful snowstorms, in the same breath, some of us cringe at the over-use of salt on roadways and parking lots during the winter months. Yes, salt and sand are essential to keeping us standing upright and four wheels on the road, but the overuse of salt on the pavement has a downside, including polluted water bodies and harmful effects on our vegetation and drinking water. Commercial salt applicators argue that they are often encouraged to use more salt, not less, by their clients who are worried about increased slip and fall claims and lawsuits resulting from snow and ice on their property.


Fortunately, legislation passed in New Hampshire has resulted in a Salt Applicator Certification Program, which trains salt applicators how to maintain safe roadways while using less salt, more efficiently.  To address their legal concerns, the law also provides limited liability protection to those who complete the training, as well as to the property owners who hire certified salt applicators. This training is provided through the UNH Technology Transfer Center.


So what prompted this legislation? Forty water bodies in New Hampshire were documented to be impaired with chloride due to excessive salt applications. Absolute Resource Associates has participated in many analyses leading to these determinations. Further, ARA has also worked with the UNH Stormwater Center for nearly a decade, analyzing samples related to parking lot run-off, porous pavement and other Best Management Practice (BMP) studies. Here at ARA, we have been in the same complex for well over a decade, and we have seen a big reduction of salt use since bringing the Salt Applicator Certification Program to the attention of the property manager.  


Salt obviously keeps our roads, walkways and parking lots safer during winter storms, but the runoff impacts roadside vegetation, drinking water supplies and whole watersheds. NH has  taken an important step toward keeping our roadways safe while using less salt, saving money AND having less of an impact on our local ecology.


FMI on salt's impact on drinking water in NH, visit:


The Resource Rambler Newsletter is brought to you by your friends at Absolute Resource Associates. ©2014


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Absolute Resource Associates
124 Heritage Ave. Unit #16 Portsmouth, NH 03801







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