Environmental Enlightenment #239
By Ami Adini -
Issued March 5, 2018

This is a SHORT, LIGHT and SIMPLE newsletter. Its purpose is to rekindle in the initiated concepts they have once learned, and enlighten the uninitiated on concepts they may have never heard of, but will understand once they are introduced to them.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) and the Phase One Environmental Site Assessment

During the 1930s electrical engineers expressed the need for a synthetic electrical insulation fluid for transformer and capacitor installations where fire was a particular hazard.

The new fluid had to have the same performance and electrical strength as mineral oil but must be fire-resistant. The resulting fluid was PCB which enabled transformers to be positioned anywhere the engineer wished but, unfortunately, this new coolant was environmentally hazardous.

PCBs have been identified as potential human carcinogens at certain levels of exposure.

PCBs persist in the environment and tend to accumulate in food chains with possible adverse effects on animals at the top of the chain and man.

The source of PCBs is generally related to products or materials manufactured and used prior to the 1980’s.

Potential PCB sources include older dielectric oils commonly used in electrical equipment such as transformers, capacitors, and oil-filled switches.


PCBs were also commonly used in hydraulic oils and light ballasts manufactured before 1979.

Commercial products containing PCBs were widely distributed between the mide-1950ís and mid-1970ís and may be present within hydraulic systems and electrical equipment used during this time-period.


Contamination problems associated with PCB equipment are generally associated with spills or leakage of PCB fluid. As a result, PCB becomes distributed to surrounding areas, including floors, walls and equipment pits, or soils in exterior areas.


Because of the historical presence of PCB compounds and equipment at a wide variety of operations, contamination of soils in exterior areas is a concern.

Therefore, the potential for such contamination associated with existing or previous operations should be considered and investigated in the Phase One Environmental Site Assessment process.


You can find past issues of our "Environmental Enlightenment" at amiadini.com Wealth of information about environmental site assessments in the real estate transactions and issues concerning assessment and cleanup of contamination in the subsurface soil and groundwater.

Call me if you have any questions. There are no obligations.

Ami Adini Environmental Services, Inc.
Environmental Consultants & General Engineering Contractors
California Lic. #1009513 A B HAZ ASB
818-824-8102; mail@amiadini.com

Ami Adini is a veteran environmental practitioner with over 40 years of experience. He carries a Bachelor of Science degree (B.Sc.) in Mechanical Engineering including academic credits in Nuclear and Chemical Engineering and postgraduate education in these fields. His career includes design and construction of nuclear plant facilities, chemical processing plants and hazardous wastewater treatment systems. He is a former California Registered Environmental Assessor Levels I & II in the 1988-2012 registry that certified environmental professionals in the assessment and remediation of environmentally impacted land, and a Registered Environmental Professional (REP) since 1989 with the National Registry of Environmental Professionals (NREP). He is a California Business & Professions Code Qualifying Responsible Managing Officer (RMO) in the General Engineering Contractor classification with Hazardous Substance Removal and Asbestos certifications, and president of AMI ADINI ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICES, INC. (AAES), a general engineering contractor and consulting firm specializing in environmental site assessments, rehabilitation of contaminated sites and removal of environmental risks from real-estate transactions. (Contact Ami for a complete resume.)

AAES provides practical solutions to environmental concerns using the highest standards of ethics and integrity while providing its clients with maximum return on their investments.