In 5 Years

In 5 years, Earthworks Environmental has expanded compliance footprint across U.S., continued growth in its Arizona office by Peter Madrid | Oct 22, 2019 In 5 years, Earthworks Environmental has expanded compliance footprint across U.S., continued growth in its Arizona office MESA, ARIZONA (October 22, 2019) – Five years ago, Cherie Koester left a prominent job with Maricopa County to start her own business. From her residence in Queen Creek, Koester founded Earthworks Environmental LLC. As the woman- and minority-owned environmental consulting firm celebrates its fifth anniversary, the Mesa-based company now boasts 36 employees and almost 800 projects across the country. “While our 5-year celebration is local, I’m extremely proud of my staff for the expansion we’ve made across the country,” said Koester, who holds the title of CEO. “The culture we have created here strives for excellence. “Last year I said I was prepared to go the distance with this team of elite professionals. I also said I have no plans of slowing down. Earthworks has achieved that goal and more,” she said. Earthworks Environmental operates in Arizona, Florida, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado and Texas. Its Arizona projects are in Phoenix, Tucson, Prescott and Yuma. Services provided include stormwater pollution prevention, Phase I and II Environmental Site Assessments, dust control, and construction safety compliances. The firm primarily serves land developers, vertical developers, commercial construction, and land-holding companies. “I’m excited to announce a new service line – drone inspections,” Koester said. “With drone inspections, our clients get access to these videos for their own marketing materials if they would like.” Koester said the firm is consulting on nearly 800 permits nationally. Recently she hired two additional employees in the Arizona office. Founded in 2014, Earthworks Environmental expanded its operations to Florida and added two employees at its Arizona office in late 2016. A proprietary program that Earthworks Environmental employs – ERX – has also played a key role in the expansion, Koester said. ERX is an environmental reporting software program that puts all aspects of environmental compliance into one program. This includes any permits and inspections. Koester said nearly 75 percent of the violations in her industry occur in the paperwork process. A client can hire Earthworks Environmental to handle the entire process including ERX. A client may also decide to opt out of the consulting and use ERX themselves. In that case, Earthworks Environmental will apply a nominal fee for use. “My motto is, ‘I don’t demand perfection but I do expect excellence,’” Koester said. “At Earthworks, we pride ourselves on being the leader in the industry for technology and customer service. We look forward to the next 5 years.” To learn more about Earthworks Environmental visit

2019 Quarter 3 Newsletter



2019 Quarter 3 Newsletter

Click the link above for the PDF version of our 2019 Quarter 3 Newsletter.


2019 Quarter 2 Newsletter


2019 Quarter 2 Newsletter

Click the link above for the PDF version of our 2019 Quarter 2 Newsletter.


VoyagePhoenix Interview with Cherie Koester


Meet Cherie Koester of Earthworks Environmental


Today we’d like to introduce you to Cherie Koester.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Cherie. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Briefly is difficult.

I was a statistic. I was a native girl in a small town in Wisconsin who then became a teenage mother at the age of 16. I made it a life goal to get out of the small town I grew up in not because I didn’t love it. I do love it; we go home to visit often. I wanted a bigger life for my children; I wanted them to have opportunities that I did not. I got through High School, then two associates degrees, then my B.S. then my Masters. It took me 12 years of working full time and school, but we got it! I got the later two degrees in Arizona when I took the gamble to move here halfway through my B.S. I was hired by Maricopa County as a regulator. I inspected construction sites and wrote costly violations to national homebuilders. After six years of this experience, I felt as though there was a large disconnect between the regulatory and construction industry. I started consulting on my own. I figured that I would be able to offset my regulatory income with just a few clients. That quickly changed when word got out that Earthworks consults with such a high level of customer service. We stay well informed with each states regulatory rules, trends, and keep strong relationships with each. Additionally, we look for value engineering practices to continue to save our clients money, not only with a reduction in violations but also smarter ways to keep their sites violation free. We are now operating in 12 states with our 13th state opening in September. I went from consulting on 15 sites by myself to now just under 700 permits with 33 employees. Our five year anniversary is September 1st of this year.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Keeping up with our growth is always difficult. Finding enough time in the week and each day for me to do all of the things I want to do is also a challenge. I wish I didn’t have to sleep or eat so that I could continue to go 100% all day long. I have to continually remind myself to stop, rest, take a break, don’t be so hard on all of your employees. I do not expect perfection, but I demand excellence.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Earthworks began by consulting with national homebuilders on their construction sites to avoid costly Rule 310 (dust) violations. We quickly (in under a month) opened up our consulting into Stormwater Pollution Prevention (SWPP). We also consult on these same construction sites for safety.

Earthworks hold strong relationships not only with our clients, the construction site superintendents, other trades, but also the regulatory agencies.

Earthworks has created our own software retention called ERX. This is where we hold all of our weekly inspections, permits, records, and our new service drone footage of your construction site.

We are a 100% minority woman-owned company. We have branded ourselves as a top of the line in service, technology, relationships, communication, and ethics.

Do you feel luck has played a role in your life?
I don’t believe in luck. I believe in grit and thick skin.

Contact Info:

  • Address: 9221 E. Baseline Rd. Suite 109 #215
    Mesa, AZ. 85209
  • Website:
  • Phone: 480.826.1586
  • Email:
  • Instagram: EarthworksEnvi


Red Tide - Florida


Red tide is a phenomenon caused by algal blooms. Algal blooms are when concentrations of algae become so numerous they’ll discolor the coastal waters. These algal blooms will also deplete the oxygen levels in the water while releasing a toxin that will cause illness in wildlife.

The algal bloom is a result of excess nutrients, that cause a large growth of algae and green plants. As the amount of algae and green plants grown the other loose the balance and die off. When these algal blooms grow large enough to produce a toxin that will cause illness in wildlife they will also begin to effect humans. Small amounts of this toxin in the air will cause mild respiratory issues, itchy skin, and red eyes (if you rubbed your eyes or open them under water). The respiratory issues is most important concerning elderly and anyone with asthma.

Since Florida has experienced one of the wettest rain seasons in a few years, it is possible that multiple sources such as lawns and farmlands washout the chemicals and fertilizers used regularly and flow from local rivers into the ocean point of entries. With red tide taking hold for this long period more than fishing businesses have suffered. The large amount of dead wildlife on the beaches has deterred visitors and local beach goers from coming to these locations.  

As of October 1, 2018, the report from the Florida fish and Wildlife Commission shows a general decrease in the red tide concentrations and fewer reports off the coast line into the Gulf. For those of us in the area, many of the beaches are reporting normal conditions between Clearwater and Sarasota, so we might get some great beach days before winter after all.

Samuel Sheen, Lead Compliance Manager, Florida



McCook Reservoir also known as the Grand Canyon of the Midwest


What is a solution for maintaining and improving infrastructure to protect one of our most valuable resources in Southern Chicago and northwestern Indiana? As magnificent the Grand Canyon in the West, at a much smaller scale, the Midwest now relies on the McCook Reservoir for water protection. This tunnel and reservoir project, better known as TARP, construction began back in 2000 as a massive flood and pollution reduction project, evolved to better manage storm water and biosolids. The pre-existing Thornton rock quarry deemed worthy of the 10-billion-gallon project, recently opening Phase I of the reservoir and deep tunnel, while Phase II is still in progress of being quarried (with an estimated completion in 2027). The current reservoir measures 3,000 ft wide by 310 feet deep, while the connecting Deep Tunnel with retractable flood gates measures 20 feet diameter and 109 miles long. The deep tunnel is required to provide adequate conveyance of combined sewer outflows (CSOs) between O’Hare, McCook and Thornton reservoirs. TARP managed by Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, when finished, will be the largest tunnel/reservoir in the United States.


Does it seem to be raining more in Texas?


The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has released the Atlas 14, Vol 11 Precipitation-Frequency Atlast of the United States for Texas. This report released on September, 27 updates Texas rainfall frequency values. The analysis find significantly higher rainfall frequency values in parts of Texas, redefining the amount of rainfall it taeks to qualify as a 100-year or 1000-year event. 

The Atlas 14 study uses historical rainfall data to predict future events. This data can help planners analyze waterways and help design stormwater infrastructures. This statistical data can help assign probabilities to rainfall volumes to estimate the likelihood of a rainfall event. 

Two areas recently hit with significant rainfall, Austin and Houston show increased rain values used to define a 100-year event. From the map, NOAA published that it will increase by 2 inches the amount of rainfall used to determine a 100-year rainfall event in the Austin region. A 100-year event is an event that on average will occur once in 100 years or have a 1% chance of happening in any given year.

Thomas Graziano, Ph.D., director, NOAA Office of Water Prediction said, “NOAA’s new rainfall frequency values for Texas will help state and local authorities better understand their flood risk and more accurately plan and design infrastructure to minimize the threat of flooding,”

These values are important for design engineers who use this data to predict how much rain will fall, how much will infiltrate into the soil, how much will runoff and what is the possibility of flooding.

- Mark Hubbard, Lead Compliance Manager - Texas






Most Influential Women in Arizona 2018 - Honoree Cherie Koester


I had such amazing evening @thecambyhotel thank you to my family, my patient husband, my favorite five children, and the entire Earthworks Team not just in Arizona but my magic workers in Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Indian, Illinois and Minnesota. Such an #honor to be one of The Most Influential Women in 2018 in Arizona #earthworksenv #swppplife #noplanstoslowdown #whatsnext#bigtimerush #mypeople @ The Camby, Autograph Collection

Photo credit: Mike Mertes


Florida: The Rain State


As the 2nd quarter of the year comes to an end, we are settling into the thickest part of the rainy season. The sunshine begins to hide behind thick, dark clouds that linger over head, teasing downpour at any moment. The rainy season started a bit early this year bringing rain from the south east coast up through the northwest, giving the entire state a taste of precipitation, large or small each day.

In the state of Florida, the stormwater program dictates that a “rain event inspection”, is triggered by a minimum of 0.50” of rain in a 24 hour period.

As of 28Jun18, our Florida division has successfully handled a total of 462 rain event inspections spanning over the months of April-June, while also handling a weekly inspection pay load of 53 sites!

Our compliance managers, Martin Friar and Samuel Sheen have worked countless hours to maintain compliance on all sites due to the dedication, determination, and relationships we have built with our amazing clients and maintenance crews we coordinate with on a daily basis.

We have been very grateful to work with such great individuals to ensure that all of our clients stay compliant and prevent or plan, for any extreme circumstances that might arise.

The rain has brought more than added inspections. We have recently begun building relationships with future clients that we are excited to provide our expertise with. We are anxious to explore and expand this division across the state, and we will be sharing some exciting news in the months to come.

Keeping our clients in not just an acceptable state of compliance, but an excellent state of compliance, while working closely to prevent and prepare for future possible circumstances is what we specialize in.

It is always the goal of our compliance managers to protect our client and build lasting relationships with not only our clients, but the regulating agencies.

We can proudly say that our team has gone above and beyond to exceed those expectations. Are you ready for the Earthworks Florida team to become part of your team? We certainly are!

- Jeremy Chang, Earthworks Environmental               


South Texas dangerous stormwater


South Texas storms generate dangerous amounts of Stormwater

What do you get with 17 inches of rain over 4 days? Flooding, road closures, water rescues and a declared State of Emergency in 6 counties. One year after Hurricane Harvey hit south Texas, another tropical storm arrived in late June and dropped over a foot of rain. This prompted the Governor of Texas to declare a State of Emergency and the National Weather Service to issued flash flood warnings and road closures in many coastal and inland areas. In several areas, the flooding initiated water rescues as Emergency Services used boats and canoes to rescue stranded residents. Along Interstate 69 near Falfurrias, the quickly rising water washed across the highway slowing traffic in both directions to a single lane.

The Corpus Christi area was not spared the rainfall either and received over 20 inches of rain as


As we have seen with recent major storms all over the country, first and foremost is the health and safety of family, friends, neighbors and your community. Please remember to have and execute Emergency plans to ensure your loved ones are safe. Only then can we consider the Stormwater issues at our construction sites. When the chance of flooding is high, and the communities near our projects might need to evacuate; please consider these following actions:

•Evaluate your site to ensure perimeter BMP’s are in good condition; repair any troubled areas.

•Consider pulling inlet protection to prevent further flooding and assist evacuations if necessary.

•Secure hazardous materials to minimize the chance for spills; store chemicals away from drainage areas and areas prone to flooding, preferably inside a weather proof building or remove them from the site.

•Install additional BMP’s to protect wetlands and waterbodies. Consider flooding impacts to existing property and adjust BMPs accordingly.

While this is not an exhaustive list it should prompt you to consider creating an Site Specific Emergency Plan that can be initiated when situations arise which can adversely affect the safety of your employees and minimize the effect to your projects.


As seen in AZ Business Journal


Gilbert-based environmental consulting firm Earthworks Environmental LLC will expand operations to several northern states this year.

Earthworks’ services include storm water pollution prevention, environmental site assessments, dust control and construction safety compliance work primarily for developers, commercial construction and land-holding companies.

The expansion was fueled by the company creating storm water and environmental programs for national home builders that did not have systems in place or wanted an enhanced program, Cherie Koester, principal of Earthworks, said in a statement.

The company was founded in 2014 and expanded to Florida in 2016. Earthworks's services also are available in Texas, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Illinois and Minnesota, with several northern states to be added this year. The firm now employs 22 people.

“We hire locally and start training in Arizona with the core group,” Koester said. “Then we complete their training in their designated division. It is such an independent job. I have to trust them out there; they are an extension of me.”

Earthworks uses a proprietary software called ERX for environmental reporting, which pulls all aspects of compliance, such as permits and inspections, into one program. Koester said the software played a key role in the expansion.

“We’ve created a great system,” Koester said. “We can do any project, any size, in any state. The home builders know we have created a good system. We always ask, ‘Where else can we help you?’”

Earthworks recently hired Aaron Gordon as compliance manager in Arizona, and to prepare for the expansion, Koester promoted Travis Fern to director of compliance and Brendan Haugh to director of training and development. 


Aaron Gordon joins Earthworks Environmental as Compliance Manager


Aaron Gordon joins Earthworks Environmental

GILBERT, ARIZONA – Earthworks Environmental, LLC has expanded its Arizona operation with the hiring of  Aaron Gordon as a compliance manager.

Prior to joining Earthworks Environmental, Gordon worked for 10 years in the primary fields of environmental due diligence and contaminated site management for both regional and multi-national environmental consulting firms.

Most recently he was the transaction services lead for the Cleveland, Ohio, office of Environmental Resources Management (ERM), a global provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, social consulting services, and sustainability related services.

“By offering land acquisition due diligence services, combined with our existing construction storm water and dust permitting compliance services, we can provide seamless service from land acquisition through final site stabilization,” said Cherie Koester, Principal/Founder of Earthworks Environmental. “Aaron is a great asset to our team.”

Gordon has completed hundreds of environmental due diligence projects including transaction screens, lease exits assessments, desktop-based assessments of sites both domestically and abroad, and Phase I Environmental Site Assessments. His project experience has included agricultural properties, vacant and occupied residential and commercial properties, and active and closed industrial facilities primarily focused on manufacturing operations.

Working with diverse due diligence project teams in North America, Europe, and Asia, Gordon has worked under strict confidentiality and expedited timeframes. In addition, his experience with Phase II Investigations and contaminated site management allows him to recognize potential contaminants. This assists clients in making informed decisions on potential cleanup options and liability concerns.

Gordon is a graduate of Johnson State College in Johnson, Vermont, with a degree in natural resource management. He is a U.S. Army veteran.  He served as a combat engineer, training sergeant and paratrooper. He was deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan).

To learn more about Earthworks Environmental, visit


Expansion Fever


Earthworks Environmental is excited to announce its biggest expansion ever! Earthworks was created with customer service as our basis and with that core we have continued to grow and protect all of our clients.

We are proudly operating in the following locations...

  • Phoenix, AZ
  • Tucson, AZ
  • Austin, TX
  • Tampa, FL
  • Orlando, FL
  • New Jersey
  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Chicago, IL
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN




Hurricane Irma and SWPPP


Hurricane Irma Preparedness 

On 9/4/2017 the Governor declared that a state of emergency exists throughout the State of Florida, based upon the serious threat to the public health, safety and welfare posed by the Hurricane.

(State of Florida Executive Order No. 17-235) 

Section D.2. Suspension of Statutes and Rules

Within the Emergency Area, the requirements and effects of statutes and rules which conflict wit the provisions of this Order are suspended to the extent necessary to implement this Order.

To the extent that any requirement to obtain a permit, lease, consent of use, or other authorization is waived by this Order, it should also be construed that the procedural requirements for obtaining such permit, lease, consent of use or other authorization, including requirements for fees and publication of notices, are suspended for the duration of this order, except as provided in subsection C.8.

With the potential for impacts from Hurricane Irma here in Central Florida, I wanted to reach out with a few tips and reminders in preparation for the storm.  First and foremost is the health and safety of family, friends, neighbors and your community; then we can consider our construction sites.  However, it is important to have plans in place:

Here are things to consider.


  • The chance of flooding is high and residence of each community may need to evacuate.
  • Remove inlet protection from streets prior to the storm to help alleviate potential flooding impacts. 
  • Make sure you are checking for and removing fabric from underneath grates in drop inlets.
  • Remove any temporary plugs from control structures to allow normal flow of water from your site
  • Loose material on the jobsite may become airborne during the storm
  • Keep the project free from an accumulation of debris and scrap material that can become windblown hazards. 
  • Empty dumpsters and have them removed, if possible.
  • Anchor portable toilets or have them picked up. They can be relocated to a secure location, such as inside the garage of a house under construction.
  • Remove or secure hazardous materials
  • To minimize the chance for spills; store chemicals away from drainage areas and areas prone to flooding, preferably inside a weather proof building or remove them from the site
  • Repair existing perimeter BMPs
  • Install additional BMP’s to protect wetlands and waterbodies. Consider flooding impacts to existing property and adjust BMPs accordingly. 
  • Develop, maintain and distribute a list of emergency telephone numbers and email addresses for employees and authorities.
  • Organize a Damage Survey and Repair Team. 
  • This team will be the first on the site to assess damage after the storm and make the site safe enough for the return of the entire workforce.

During the storm: 

  • Follow all Federal, State and Local warnings
  • Remain in a safe secure location

Post Storm:

  • The Damage Survey Team will inspect the job site
  • Identify and document the damage, prioritize repairs, and complete a Hazard Analysis 
  • Communicate and repair any hazards before work commences
  • Implement the system to inform employees to return to work.
  • Begin repairs
  • This list is not intended to be a comprehensive construction storm plan. Please refer to state and Local authorities for further information. 

Please be safe and help those around you that need help. 

* Adapted from Orange County, FL and Associated Contractors of Louisiana




Travis Fern’s office is acres of dirt. From the cab of his truck, he watches as a water tanker rumbles by, spraying the ground and suppressing the dust that rises from sprawling, open land.

Compliance Manager Travis Fern of Earthworks Environmental looks on as preliminary work takes place at Cadence at Gateway in Mesa.

Fern is the compliance manager for Earthworks Environmental, a Gilbert-based company that primarily serves land developers, vertical developers, commercial construction and land-holding companies. It helps mitigate the potential risk of these entities not meeting county or state environmental compliance standards.

And the cost of not being in compliance could be hefty: fines can range from a first-time violation of $200 to a repeat offender or up to $10,000 – an amount that is per violation per day.

It’s a muggy June morning with the Valley’s summer monsoons looming. Fern drives the perimeter of Cadence at Gateway in Mesa. At 190 acres, it represents one of Earthworks’ largest sites for which it will provide compliance services.

Earthmovers crawl across the site, making way for the start of infrastructure construction. A site this large requires 36 hours of watering. A 1.5-million-gallon water pond sits on the southern edge of the development.

Fern begins his inspection by opening a series of metal boxes adjacent to the project sign. He finds large binders that hold water records, gravel pad and stabilization records, and dust certification cards.

“The initial inspection was in late May,” Fern says, stopping his truck to let an earthmover pass by. “We will make multiple inspections a week depending on weather and phase of the project. We have to make sure the permits and the site conditions are in order. Early on the inspections may take just a couple of hours because not much work is being done. As infrastructure starts being built the inspections take longer. There are a lot of moving parts at that point.”

Founded in 2014 by Principal Cherie Koester, Earthworks Environmental provides services that include storm water pollution prevention, dust control, and construction safety compliance. She appreciates the importance of compliance. Koester was previously a universal inspector in the compliance division for the Maricopa County Air Quality Department with more than 12 years of related experience.

“Cadence is one of those projects that is ideal for our services,” Koester says. “There are multiple entities who are stakeholders in this project and nobody wants non-compliance. We assist in these scenarios to watch everyone’s back.”

Earthworks manages and conducts regulatory inspections with whatever regulatory agency is requesting the inspection. This includes Maricopa County, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, and the Army Corps of Engineers.

Some of Earthworks’ clients include Taylor Morrison, D.R. Horton, CalAtlantic Homes, KB Home, Richmond American, Woodside Homes, Pulte Homes, Beazer Homes, Hancock Builders and Mattamy Homes.

An Earthworks Environmental sign displays the number of permits at Cadence at Gateway.

“Earthworks Environmental is an asset and extension of our company,” says John Nagel, land development manager for Silver Fern Companies, which is contracted by Harvard Investments, the developer at Cadence, to provide construction management services.

“I have been able to rely on their knowledge and expertise to get all of my dust control, storm water protection and environmental needs satisfied within the residential development sector,” Nagel says. “Their innovative service and extensive knowledge of regulatory compliance has provided me with the assurance to mitigate risk on every project.”

Technology plays a big role at Earthworks Environmental. It recently launched ERX, the acronym for Earthworks Reporting Xenagogue. ERX is an inspection and reporting system that allows it to be 100 percent electronic.

The system can maintain permits, inspections and corrective actions for the required records retention time limit per municipality. It does, however, still keep paper copies on site. Regulatory agencies still require paper forms.

“ERX is not only a repository for records and permits,” Koester says. “We also utilize it for field proposals. Our next phase of ERX will implement billing statements. Our goal is to be a true one-stop shop both in the field and in the office.”

Earthworks Environmental recently expanded its operations to Florida and Texas.

Mark Hubbard runs the Orlando/Tampa/Jackson, Fla., office as a lead compliance manager. He is responsible for Storm Water Pollution Prevention (SWPP) manual preparation, notice of intent/notice of termination filing, SWPP program management, permit compliance assistance and construction general permit (GCP) applications.

According to Koester, the need for SWPP consulting is even greater in Florida due to the wetlands, sensitive waters and massive growth of development. The amount of rain Florida receives causes storm water issues.

“Cherie and her team have been a significant asset to the Phoenix development market,” said Shannon MacDougall, vice president of land development at Hancock Builders. “They have extensive knowledge of not only the regulations but also how it applies to each project specifically.

“We are fortunate to hold a strong relationship with a trade/subcontractor that has our back and best interest in mind,” MacDougall adds. “Earthworks has found the niche to bridge regulatory agencies with the development industry.”


Non-stormwater Discharges


Un-authorized non-stormwater discharges can happen even when your site is correctly implementing all BMP’s. It only takes a few minutes to remind trades of correct procedures which eliminates pollutants from entering stormwater systems. Earthworks can help you and your trades to remain diligent in good housekeeping practices – this not only protects our waters but also ensures compliance for your site.



***Attention Arizona NOI Permit Holders***


Logging in to apply for a NOI through ADEQ's "Smart NOI" system will no longer exist as of June 1, 2017.  Please be aware you WILL NOT BE ABLE to apply for a new NOI via the Smart NOI system OR a paper NOI application via mail.  Both systems will be non-existent.

Here is what you need to do:
1 - Customers (permit holders) should get their MyDEQ accounts set up now to avoid delays in processing new NOIs as of June 1st. This will eventually include existing NOIs (MSGP) being required to re-apply.

2 - If customers (permit holders) would like Earthworks to continue to apply for their NOI's we still can.  You will need to add me (Cherie Koester) as a "Submitter".  This allows Earthworks to apply, sign and pay for your NOI's.

 3 - Please consider doing this sooner than later to avoid NOI permit delays after June 1st.

Here’s the link to the page that explains the roles available:
Here's the link to set up your MyDEQ account:

Please let us know if you have any questions.
Thank you!
Cherie Koester


Gilbert’s Earthworks Environmental Expands to Florida; adds two staffers, promotes one in Arizona office


GILBERT, ARIZ. – Earthworks Environmental LLC has expanded its operations to Florida and added two employees at its Arizona office, Principal Cherie Koester announced.
Mark Hubbard will run the Orlando/Tampa/Jackson, Fla., office as a Lead Compliance Manager. Hubbard will be responsible for Storm Water Pollution Prevention (SWPP) manual preparation, notice of intent/notice of termination filing, SWPP program management, site inspections, permit compliance assistance, construction general permit (GCP) applications, street sweeping, and site clean-up.
“We are thrilled about our service expansion into Florida,” Koester said. “Mark has exemplary skills in regulatory interpretation, consulting, and customer service. He will be a great addition to the Earthworks Environmental family.”
Hubbard will provide National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System/SWPP consulting services in Florida for commercial and residential development. It is one of the services Earthworks offers in Arizona.
According to Koester, the need is even greater in Florida due to the wetlands, sensitive waters, and massive growth of development. The amount of rain Florida receives causes storm water issues.
“We expanded into Florida due to client request and will continue to do so for our clients and the continued growth of Earthworks,” Koester said.
Hubbard, a native of Warwick, R.I., lives in Mesa. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology from Biola University in California and a Master of Science degree in environmental management from the Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University.
In other personnel moves:

  • Brooks Morse joined the company as Compliance Manager in the West Valley;
  • Travis Fern was promoted to Lead Compliance Manager in Arizona;
  • Madison McMain joined the Gilbert office as Administrative Assistant.

Earthworks Environmental services include storm water pollution prevention, dust control and construction safety compliances. The firm primarily serves land developers, vertical developers, commercial construction, and land holding companies.


Earthworks Environmental moves to offices at Gilbert’s Heritage District


Gilbert, Az. (July 12, 2016) – After working for almost two years out of Queen Creek, Cherie Koester, Principal of Earthworks Environmental, moved her staff into offices in the highly- sought-after Gilbert Heritage District.
Koester, 37, founded the company in September 2014. Earthworks’ services include storm water pollution prevention, dust control and construction safety compliances. The firm primarily serves land developers, vertical developers, commercial construction, and land holding companies.
“We grew out of our current space,” says Koester, who holds a Master’s of Science in International Environmental Technology Management and Sustainability from Arizona State University. “It’s nice to have an actual ‘home’ office, although most of my employees will spend the majority of their time out in the field.”
Prior to founding Earthworks, located at 350 N. Gilbert Rd., Koester developed and led the environmental compliance and safety division for a local landscape company. She was previously a universal inspector in the compliance division for the Maricopa County Air Quality Department.
Koester leads a staff of eight employees that includes compliance managers and environmental technicians. Some of Earthworks’ clients include Taylor Morrison, D.R. Horton, CalAtlantic Homes, KB Home, Richmond American, Woodside Homes, and Mattamy Homes.
“This marks the first time we will have a full staff out in the field,” Koester said. “Although I like being out there (at sites) as well, this will give me the time to help grow the business and become more involved with industry groups.”
Koester added that Earthworks has clients in Arizona from Flagstaff to Southern Arizona with plans for future expansion.


Statewide Compliance


Clients ask me how Earthworks is doing, they are genuinely interested in the growth of this company and they ask, "Are you staying busy?"


Here is a map of the sites we are currently assigned dust/swpp management. 

Earthworks continues to strive for excellence for our clients in the dust and storm water realm!






Earthworks Welcomes Brendan Haugh!


Earthworks Environmental is very proud to announce a huge addition to our team!

Brendan Haugh has been a long time colleague of mine as we were Air Quality Inspectors at MCAQD together back in 2008.  Brendan has been an overwhelmingly positive addition to Earthworks and he brings a wealth of knowledge with him.

Brendan was born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts where he attended the prestigious Boston Latin School, followed by the University of Massachusetts.  It's no secret that Brendan is extremely knowledgeable and his educational background supports this, he studied Criminal Justice,  Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Brendan graduated cum laude in 2005. It was in late 2005 that he decided to leave the snow behind, and migrated west to sunny Phoenix, Arizona.

Brendan joined the Maricopa County Air Quality Department in January of 2006 as an inspector. He was later appointed to Training Lead, and co-created and managed the 310 Dust Control training program. In 2012, when the Clark County Department of Air Quality decided to make their first hire in almost 5 years, Brendan was chosen as the successful candidate. A love for Phoenix brought him back in 2014, as an Environmental Program Specialist with the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality. Since joining the private sector a year and a half ago, he has maintained certifications in Rule 310 & Rule 316 dust control, and gained an ADOT Erosion Control Coordinator certification. Brendan possesses over 10 years of wide-ranging environmental compliance experience.

I am consistently impressed with his ability to apply this experience in the field, and find the most effective, site-specific, and fiscally prudent compliance solutions for our clients.

Please join me in welcoming him...


Health Watch


Hello All -

***ADEQ has declared tomorrow (Wednesday 20Apr16) a Health Watch day.***

Please be sure that all trades...

1 - Have a water source on site
2 - Use the water source they have on site
3 - Keep records (method/frequency/amount) of the water used on site
4 - Avoid any and all track out

Inspectors will be in the field watching for non-compliance.  

Violations on Health Watch Days can be more stringent and more expensive.


Subcontractor Registration Requirements


Earthworks addressed this same topic about a year ago but we have heard of a few sites getting into hot water with this recently, so I figured I should share a reminder.

I spent a good amount of time this afternoon searching the online thesaurus for lively words to open with.  I mulled over petty, trivial, frivolous and negligible...then I realized those words are completely incorrect.  

These emails are designed to inform my clients and potential clients of common mistakes and potential violations regarding dust and storm water.  My goal (besides miraculously obtaining a perfect beach body and never ending youth) is to be as helpful and reliable to all of my clients as possible.  Therefore, the correct introductory words should read substantial, worthwhile and valuable.

Maricopa County Air Quality Department requires that all subcontractors (on a permitted site) obtain an "SC" number.  Each site (permit holder) is required to keep a comprehensive list of all subcontractors along with their associated "SC" number.  Inspectors can/will check for this comprehensive list and verify the registrations are valid.

Listed below are some commonly asked questions concerning this requirement.

Who needs a “SC” number?  All subcontractors and all trades that would be on your project in any capacity. 

How can I verify a company’s subcontractor registration?  Subcontractor registration numbers may be verified by visiting Velocity Hall      Click "Go"
2      Click "Check/Research Permits,"
3      Under "Look up Permits/Projects," click "By Permit Number"
4     Enter the registration number in the "Permit Number" field and click "Search."
Who is NOT required to register with the MCAQD?

    • Lunch trucks or food vendor
    • Waste management trucks
    • Regulatory agencies

Our company doesn't seem to do a dust generating activity, but we drive on unpaved parts of permitted sites. Do we need to register? Yes.  Driving on unpaved sites or haul/access roads is considered a dust-generating activity. 

My company holds the dust control permit for 90% of our jobs, but on occasion, we are contracted to do work for another permit holder. Do we need to register? Yes.  You need to register prior to performing dust-generating activities on a site where you are not the permit holder. 

Do I need to attend training? No. There is no training requirement associated with subcontractor registration; however, based upon the work you perform on a site, you may need to attend training.  

How/where do I apply for a subcontractor registration number? Online Submittal - $50.00Applications and Renewals can be submitted electronically - fill out the proper application save the completed form; submit electronically using the online submittal portal.
How do I display my number? Subcontractors must display their registration number on every job site on which the company works.
The registration number may be displayed in a number of ways other than painted on a vehicle.

  • Paper sign affixed to the vehicle or equipment window
  • Sign at the entrance with your company's name on it and the SC number
  • Magnet on the door or bumper
  • Rearview mirror hanger
  • Banner near subcontractor’s work location

To whom is the registration issued? A registration may be issued to an individual, a partnership, Limited Liability Company or a corporation.
What happens if I don't register? If you are found to not have a Maricopa County Subcontractor Registration – you are in violation.
What is the penalty fee for late renewal of my subcontractor registration? There is no penalty fee for late renewal; however, having an expired subcontractor registration may be a violation of Rule 200 § 306 and could result in a Notice of Violation and a monetary penalty.
How long is my registration valid? A registration is issued for one year and must be renewed annually with the required $50.00 on the anniversary month of original issuance. A renewal notice will be mailed to the address on our records which you have provided.
Will my registration number change next year? Your registration number will not change unless you request a new number or there is an unforeseen circumstance that prevents the MCAQD from issuing the same registration number. This is why it is important to follow up on all registration numbers for your trades.
What does the $50 registration fee pay for? The subcontractor registration fee pays for the impact of the program on the Air Quality Department. Some of the areas it pays for are the administrative processing of the registration, the extra inspections required and the administrative processing of paperwork related to inspections                     

Maintaining this "SC" list is part of our consulting scope at Earthworks.  Please contact me with additional questions, 


Air Quality Violation Fees Collected in 2015


It's Friday.  Time to wind down, wrap up your week, and read more mind blowing insights from yours truly.  Personally, this is my favorite tid-bit message I've shared so far. 

*Nearly everyone budgets for SWPPP - however, how many SWPPP violations with monetary fines have you had in the past year?

*How much have you budgeted for dust?

Did you know...

*Air quality violations are publicly posted with your company name, address, location of violation, section of the rule that was in violation and enforcement fee paid.

*Air quality violation fees collected in 2015 = $408,504.30  (Surely we can find a way to spend nearly HALF A MILLION DOLLARS more effectively!)

*One permit holder paid nearly $30,000.00 in dust fines in 2015.

*The average dollar amount paid for air quality violations in 2015 was approximately $1,021.26.

*One permit holder paid nearly $7,000.00 for one NOV of track out.

*Earthworks dust management cost is less than the $7,000.00 track out violation listed above
This means not only do we manage it for you, but the cost is less, the exposure is less, the headache is less.

If you are interested in receiving information regarding your company's 2015 violation history and would like to discuss how Earthworks can assist you in 2016, please give me a call, visit our website at .

We look forward to working with you.  Earthworks continues to support the mission of Maricopa County Air Quality in providing and maintaining clean air.

***Feedback is much appreciated.***


What is a HPA day?


HPA (High Pollution Advisory) days within Maricopa County are delcared by ADEQ (Arizona Department of Environmental Quality).  

What does this mean for you?

*All dust or emission related violations hold a heavier hand (they will be more expensive and have less tolerance) on HPA days. 

Please remind all trades to be extra diligent during an HPA day.  Inspectors will be heavily present in the field and they will be specifically watching for visible dust or unstable surface areas.

During a PM-2.5 High Pollution Advisory, the following is prohibited
Leaf blowers being used on governmental properties.
Woodburning in residential fireplaces, chimineas, outdoor fire pits.

This restriction includes woodburning fires at hotels and restaurants.
Off-Highway Vehicles (OHVs) being used in Area A.


Records Violations


I'm certain many of our clients and their trades continually hear my team and I hammer about records, records, records on construction sites (pertaining to dust control).  As annoying as that is...we have a purpose I promise.  The snap shot below from Maricopa County Air Quality will explain why.  These violation numbers were pulled in June of 2015 for the first half of 2015 alone.  As you can see, dust control records (water log) violations are common and easily avoided.

What needs to be in your records?  Method - Frequency - Amount
Example: Water truck, 3 times, 6K gallons

Who needs to keep records?  Everyone
Example: All trades that are on site should have a water source and should be keeping records - daily.

Who manages this process?  Earthworks!  With the help of each builder (client) we can manage each site to be sure all trades have a water source on site and are keeping accurate and up to date records.

Our new DPPP (Dust Pollution Prevention Plan) binders that are kept on site help with this process.  We are verifying each week that all trades keep records and they are on-site and available for review.

Inspectors do allow 48 hours to receive and review records - as I tell the guys in the field - this does not mean you have 48 hours to create 4 weeks of records. (Can't fool me...I'm a mom!)  I know this happens and we can help you avoid this.


Dust Violations Matrix 101


Air Quality Violations can be costly.  However, they can be avoided - Earthworks continues to keep our clients violation free (sorry for the shameless plug).

Clients ask me all of the time how much a violation would be if they did this...or that.  The answer is not a simple $100.00 or $10,000.00, fines fluctuate due to a number of variables. 

Air Quality Violations (dust violations fall into this category) are assessed by an enforcement officer and listed below are a few of the items that are taken into consideration when assigning a monetary fine.

Items that are given a numerical value (0 being negligible and 4 being extremely high):

*Level of violation 

*Toxicity of Pollutant 

*Risk to Environment - Is the county in attainment or non-attainment for this pollutant?

*Risk to Population - Were you creating dust a crossed the street from a school or hospital?

*Size of the violator -  Net worth of the permit holder - lesser fines for smaller organizations

*Extent of Deviation - Did you have 40 feet of track out or 700 feet of track out?

*Potential for Harm

*Length of Time in Violation - Did you correct immediately or did you correct the following week?

Items that are considered "Adjustments" given a % (+25% to -5%):

*Degree of Willfulness or Negligence

*Degree of Cooperation - Before vs. After Discovery of Violation - correcting a violation after an inspector points it out is still a violation

*History of Non-Compliance - Similar Violations, Most Recent Violations, Number of Prior Violations

There are also a number of other factors that are considered in evaluating a monetary fine such as ability to pay, litigation risks, avoided costs and illegal profits.

I hope this information is useful.  Feedback is welcomed and appreciated.  I realize this information is both invigorating and flashy - thank you for taking the time to read.