Sarah Elizabeth Backes

Sarah Elizabeth Backes, Senior Environmental Consultant

Sarah has a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of South Alabama and seven years of experience in the environmental field with a strong emphasis in air quality issues. She has provided environmental consulting services to clients in the refining, petrochemical, oil & gas, and other industries.  Sarah has a strong background in Title V and PSD permitting as well as New Source Review (NSR) and minor permit modifications in Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, including performing detailed BACT analyses.

Her compliance experience includes developing regulatory applicability for RICE MACT and MON compliance, as well as developing Risk Management Plans (RMP’s). She has also performed GHG reporting for numerous clients.  Consistent with the goals of JBE, she has delivered services with a heavy focus on database management, developing fit-for-purpose Microsoft Excel tools and using engineering software applications effectively.

Here are a few of the key projects where Sarah has provided her expertise:

  • Tier Two Report (refinery) – Performed a detailed review of the methodology and mechanical function of a complex workbook that pulled together calculations on contained volume of process equipment, chemical vendor inventory reports, warehouse purchases, SAP purchase queries, tank service change information, and SDS hazard information. Identified instances where duplicate information was hard-entered and replaced those with appropriate formulas. Revised the update process using formulas to develop a changed chemical list for use in management reviews. Developed a new user-friendly report that listed tanks and process equipment and its chemical contents; this could be used effectively for both internal and external emergency responders.
  • Design Report Technical Review for Wet Gas Scrubber (refinery) – Assisted a refinery seeking to comply with conditions of a consent decree by submitting a design report for a wet gas scrubber and SCR control it was planning to install. Review consisted of confirming that supplied information was internally consistent within reports and tables, and that supplied information appropriately addressed consent decree requirements for the report.
  • Greenhouse Gas Mandatory Reporting Rule Compliance (refinery sector) – Analyzed permitting issues and conducted regulatory applicability analyses related to the Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule (40 CFR 98 Subparts A, C, W, Y, MM, P). Conducted site surveys and gap analyses for compliance with the Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule. Developed greenhouse gas monitoring plans and emission calculations according to the requirements of the Mandatory Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule for several facilities in Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
  • Prevention of Significant Deterioration Best Available Control Technology Analysis (multiple sectors) – Developed complex and comprehensive BACT analysis for entire sites including multiple Greenfield Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facilities in the United States and a Greenfield Gas to Liquids Plant abroad. Additionally, supported conducting separate BACT analyses for Electric Arc Furnaces, Holding Furnaces, Annealing Furnaces, Boilers, Heaters, and Fume Exhaust Snouts for clients in the Steel Industry. Similarly, supported conducting separate BACT analyses for Flares, Thermal Oxidizers, Storage Tanks, Loading, and Fugitive Emissions for clients in the refining sector. BACT experience includes all criteria pollutants and greenhouse gases.
  • Regulatory Compliance Calendar (refinery) – Developed a comprehensive matrix to capture each regulatory action item required (both internal and external) for the entire environmental team at a Louisiana refinery. This matrix spanned across sectors of environmental compliance to include water, waste, and air requirements. The matrix was developed in collaboration with refinery personnel to help ensure the final deliverable was a “living” document that would be used to help increase reliability, accountability, and efficiency within the environmental department. Training was also provided to site personnel to ensure updates could be maintained on-site.


Samantha Islam and Sara Brown (2012), Transportation Institute: An Undergraduate Research Initiative to Promote Transportation Engineering, 2012 ASEE Southeast Conference.