Managing Environmentally-Impaired Soils & Fill Materials During Construction Projects

Nearly every development project involves the handling of soil and fill materials. REPSG has created an E-Book to assist site owners, developers, and contractors in navigating the cumbersome world of export.

The soil export in your next construction and development project doesn’t have to be a headache, REPSG can guide you through each element from due diligence to documentation. We address all the issues you may face and have even outlined a five step process to effectively do so.

Save yourself time—and money—by checking out our Practical Guide for Site Owners, Developers, and Contractors, “Managing Environmentally-Impaired Soils & Fill Materials During Construction Projects” Soil Export E-Book 2017

Like what you read? Have questions about your project? Comment below or contact our office at (215) 729-3220 or info@repsg.com.

Excerpt from RESPG’s Soils Export E-Book

Soil Transportation & Disposal Services in Philadelphia’s Growing Real Estate Market

Recently the Greater Philadelphia real estate and construction markets have been increasing in five main areas: University City, Market East, the Navy Yard, Camden, and King of Prussia. Three out of these five markets are located within the city limits meaning that there is bound to be a whole lot of change coming to the City of Brotherly Love. Some of these changes will be apparent physically such as the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center which started construction just over a year ago. This building will surpass the current tallest skyscraper in the city, the Comcast Center. When completed the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center will be the tallest building in the United States outside of Chicago and New York City at 1,121 feet.

Although not a skyscraper, arguably the most prominent development will be in University City with the Schuylkill Yards project announced by Drexel University and Brandywine Realty Trust. This 14-acre, $3.5 billion investment will be the largest-scale project in Philadelphia’s history. The development will encompass an area next to Amtrak’s 30th Street Station and Brandywine’s Cira Centre towers on the west bank of the Schuylkill River. At the end of the predicted 15-20 year construction phase the area will be home to residential, retail, hotel, corporate, and research spaces.

However, no matter what is going into these projects one thing is sure to come out… soil. REPSG’s soil disposal services have seen strong demand over the last few years and we are prepared to keep the momentum going throughout the growth of our city. Located in Southwest Philadelphia our soil disposal services department provides comprehensive services for your disposal needs.

REPSG’s soil experts will help in every step of your transportation and disposal project. Our skilled technicians will start by sampling materials requiring export or disposal. These sample results will provide the information necessary to coordinate the applicable approvals needed to safely and legally dispose of the materials. REPSG will complete and submit all necessary paperwork to the proposed facilities in order to ensure acceptance and approval. Additionally, REPSG will coordinate and provide transportation for the proper disposal of the soil to the facility. Once the work is completed, REPSG will provide all disposal documentation.

REPSG provides the staff and support to sample and dispose of your soil in the most efficient and affordable means. We will work with your construction, demolition, or financing schedule to ensure your project stays on, or ahead of schedule. Your project may not be as large as those highlighted here but regardless of size, REPSG is here to help. We have provided transportation and disposal services to several redevelopment projects in the Greater Philadelphia Area including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Our transportation and disposal department staff have expertise in all standards and regulations of your disposal needs. Contact us for more information by commenting below or contacting our office at (215) 729-3220 or info@repsg.com.

For more information on the Comcast Innovation and Technology Center please visit: http://corporate.comcast.com/media-center/citc-updates

For more information on the Schuylkill Yards project please visit: http://www.schuylkillyards.com/

Mark Kuczynski, PA & NJ Tank Closure Certified

REPSG is happy to announce that Project Manager Mark Kuczynski has obtained certification for underground storage tank (UST) removal for the states of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Certified storage tank closure is one of the many services that REPSG provides. The first type of storage tank that REPSG services is an aboveground storage tank (AST) which is used for containing regulated substances that are either hazardous or are a petroleum product. Aboveground storage tanks are defined as having 10% or less of the tank volume underground. The other type of tank which is most relevant to this discussion is an underground storage tank (UST). An underground storage tank is different in the fact that only 10% or more of the volume has to be underground for it to be considered a UST. USTs must be registered, permitted, and have all associated fees paid in order to be in operation. It also must be installed, maintained, and operated in regards to standards set by governmental officials. When USTs are damaged or no longer necessary they need to be properly closed in place or removed. According to EPA data there are approximately 566,000 USTs nationwide. The biggest threat when USTs are not maintained is their potential to leak their contents into groundwater and the neighboring soil. Over a third of all Americans depend on groundwater as their main drinking supply. If the majority of these USTs are faulty or are not regulated properly, the potential outcome is severe to humans, wildlife, and the environment.

In New Jersey and Pennsylvania one must be certified in order to remove an underground storage tank. In order to become certified in New Jersey one must have a minimum of two years of experience performing closures with at least five closures within each of those years or nine months of experience participating in at least 25 closures within that nine month period. One must then also complete a 40-hour health and safety training course. In Pennsylvania one becomes certified by having two years of experience or a college degree and one year of technical training that includes at least six removals.

It is necessary for a company such as REPSG to have certified tank closure personnel for various reasons. There is clearly a financial benefit to having a certified individual in house instead of contracting another company. Mr. Kuczynski can schedule and provide his own estimates for jobs instead of working through a third party. However the most important reason is that when tricky or dangerous removals and cleanups arise REPSG field personnel will have a direct contact to help mediate the situation. This provides better communication and a smoother operation for all involved, client and company alike.

REPSG is here to help! If you need a UST or AST removal on your site please get in touch with us by commenting below or submitting an information request via our Contact section.

For more information on underground storage tanks please visit: http://www.epa.gov/ust

For more information on gaining UST closure certification for Pennsylvania please visit: http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/025/chapter245/chap245toc.html

For more information on gaining UST closure certification for New Jersey please visit: http://nj.gov/dep/exams/ust.htm

Ted Mosher & James Romanchek, Council-certified Microbial Consultants

REPSG is happy to announce that Project Managers Ted Mosher and James Romanchek have received the certification of Council-certified Microbial Consultant (CMC) by the American Council for Accredited Certification.

This industry certification is one of the most prominent for mold consultants and inspectors. Ted and James will use their expertise to strengthen our mold abatement services. The presence of mold is a serious occupational health and safety issue as mold can have numerous effects on one’s health. Mold can be found anywhere that moisture is present. Spores are produced due to mold reproduction and are then released into the atmosphere. The inhalation of spores over time or of specific types can cause adverse health effects such as asthma, allergies, and respiratory issues. Our mold abatement service helps to decrease the risk of incurring mold related symptoms and concerns. Ted, James, and the rest of our Due Diligence staff have the proper experience and tools necessary to assess potentially hazardous samples.

In order to obtain this worldwide recognized accreditation one must have extensive training. Applicants must complete one of the following requirements: a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in a related field of science with a minimum of four years of field experience that includes documented microbial sampling; a two-year degree (or equivalent) in a related field of science with at least six years of documented experience in microbial sampling; or no post-secondary degree (high school diploma or GED required) and at least eight years of microbial sampling consulting experience. In addition to one’s academic and field achievements one must also pass a rigorous exam that includes many areas of microbiology. The certification must also be renewed every two years with evidence that one has been continuing their education and performing relevant field work adding to at least forty hours within the two year span.

REPSG is here to help! If you feel it is necessary to perform mold abatement on your site please contact us by commenting below or submitting an information request via our Contact section.

For more information on CMC requirements please visit: http://www.acac.org/forms/applications/cmcdescription.pdf

For more information on molds, potential risks, and removal please visit: http://www.epa.gov/mold

New Help for Child Care Center Permitting in NJ

NJDEP LogoThe NJDEP announced today the launch of an updated website for child care and educational facilities to clear up confusion on the environmental compliance requirements for sites subject to the “Madden Legislation”  P.L. 2007, Chapter 1. The site provides useful links and guidance to assist you with navigating through this multi-agency regulatory process.

In our experience, REPSG recommends that a new applicant allow up to three (3) months to address the environmental compliance steps. The first step is to hire a licensed site remediation professional (LSRP) to prepare a Preliminary Assessment Report (PAR). If a prior Phase I Environmental Site Assessment is available this is helpful, but it does not replace the PAR. The LSRP will review the site history and identify potential on-site and off-site sources of contamination and advise you through the next steps in the process. The selection of a qualified LSRP with specific child care permitting experience is vital to the success of the project.

If you are about to embark on your child care center new application, three year renewal or are constructing an educational facility please contact me at cdrake@repsg.com so that I can assist you with your process. Grants are available through the HSDRF. Ask me how!

The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development or “BUILD” Act

BUILDlogo_FINAL_crop The Brownfields Utilization, Investment, and Local Development or “BUILD” Act (2013) is a bill recently introduced in the US Senate that would make federal brownfields cleanup grants available to a wider variety of groups and local governments, and would smooth the way for communities to redevelop these properties. These grants are a critical part of the success of the nation’s Brownfields program. According to EPA figures Brownfields grants have resulted in the assessment of more than 20,000 properties and the completion of 845 cleanups.

The bill was introduced by Senators Lautenberg, Inhofe, Crapo and Udall  to amend the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C.A. §9601 et seq. (“CERCLA”), which has been the main US law governing federal cleanups since the 1970s. The BUILD Act reauthorizes the EPA’s Brownfields Program through Fiscal Year 2016. The BUILD Act is more than a simple reauthorization bill, however, as it contains important new eligibility and increased funding provisions that have the potential to both revive Brownfields projects that were tabled due to the economy and encourage new redevelopment projects. While currently non-profit organizations are only eligible for site remediation grants, the Act broadens the definition of an “eligible entity” under CERCLA to include non-profit organizations, certain limited liability corporations, limited partnerships and “qualified community development entities” among those that can obtain site assessment grants.

Some of the other important features of the BUILD Act include:

  • Local governments benefit from expanded opportunities to obtain site assessment grants to allow them to investigate properties that were acquired prior to the enactment of the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act in 2002. The site assessment grants are available to local governments even if they do not qualify for the “bona fide prospective purchaser exemption” under CERCLA (i.e. they did not undertake a level of due diligence amounting to “all appropriate inquiry” before buying the site).
  • Under the Act, states benefit through targeted funding. The EPA is authorized under the BUILD Act to award up to $2,000,000 to provide grants to states. The caveat is that states must have spent at least 50% of the previous year’s funding on site assessment and remediation to qualify.
  • Increases in the amounts and allowable uses for funding are key elements of the proposed legislation. Under the current law, site remediation grants cannot exceed $200,000 per site. The BUILD Act would increase that cap to $500,000 per site and give the EPA further authority to waive the limit and award up to $650,000.
  • Grant recipients would have greater flexibility under the BUILD Act in terms of the costs that can be reimbursed though the grant program. Currently, CERCLA prohibits grant recipients from using grant proceeds to pay for administrative costs. If enacted, the BUILD Act would remove this prohibition and permit grant recipients to use up to 8% of any grant for administrative costs.
  • The BUILD Act would create multipurpose Brownfields grants of up to $950,000 that could be used to fund inventory, characterization, assessment, planning or remediation work at one or more sites in an area, provided that the grant money is used within a three-year period. At present, the grants are segmented in such a way that multiple grants may be needed in order to complete an entire project. Allowing applicants to apply for one grant to cover multiple phases of a project is be expected to save grant recipients money by reducing the administrative application costs and the delays and uncertainty associated with piecemeal grants.
  • The Act incents Brownfields redevelopment at particular types of sites through focused funding. It directs EPA to give priority in awarding technical assistance grants to “small communities, Indian tribes, rural areas, or low-income areas with a population of not more than 15,000” individuals. The EPA will also be required under the BUILD Act to give consideration to “waterfront brownfield sites” when awarding funds. A “waterfront brownfield site” is a site that is located adjacent to a body of water or a federally designated floodplain. Special grants up to $500,000 are available for clean energy projects, which include renewable energy (wind, solar and geothermal) projects at Brownfields sites.

Want to know more? A convenient section by section summary presented by Smart Growth America is available here.

As participants in successful brownfields redevelopments in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware over the last twenty-five years, REPSG stays on top of funding opportunities, grants and legislation pertaining to your development. Please do not hesitate to contact me at Cdrake@repsg.com, or post in the comments below, to discuss your project and see how we can help.

Do New Vapor Rules in NJ Affect Your Project?

NJDEP LogoToday, January 17, 2013: NJDEP published major changes to guidance and standards pertaining to Vapor Intrusion. Vapor Intrusion is defined as the migration of volatile chemicals from the subsurface into overlying buildings through subsurface soils or preferential pathways (such as underground utilities). This pathway has been the driver for many off-site investigations, public notifications and costly indoor air testing since the NJDEP’s initial guidance came out in 2007.

Just released on the NJDEP’s Vapor Intrusion web page is the revised Vapor Intrusion Technical Guidance document and updates to the 2007 Vapor Intrusion Screening Levels (VISL). Finally, the web page also features Johnson & Ettinger (J&E) Model spreadsheets that were updated to reflect toxicity changes in the new VISL.

Here are just some of the changes:
Naphthalene and 2-methylnaphthalene have been added to the VISL tables. At this time, the laboratory capacity to analyze naphthalene and 2-methylnaphthalene using the preferred USEPA Method TO-17 is limited (only one certified laboratory). Therefore, the Department will not require the collection and analysis of naphthalene and 2-methylnaphthalene until July 16, 2013.

A factor of 10 has been incorporated into the calculation of the health-based ground water screening values for additional petroleum related contaminants (not reflected in the March 2007 tables) to account for degradation of the contaminants in the unsaturated zone. The additional petroleum related contaminants include: 1, 3-butadiene; cyclohexane; n-hexane; 2-methylnaphthalene; naphthalene; and styrene.

Five contaminants have been eliminated from the VISL tables due to the absence of inhalation toxicity information. These chemicals include: 1, 3-dichlorobenzene; 1, 2- dichloroethene (cis); 1, 2- dichloroethene (total); 2-chlorotoluene; and tertiary butyl alcohol (TBA).

Changes to many previously regulated compounds, including increases in groundwater screening levels for tetrachloroethylene (aka PCE) (up to 31 ug/l from a prior standard of 1 ug/l) and trichloroethylene (TCE) (up to 2 ug/l from a prior standard of 1 ug/l) for example, were also made.

Consult your LSRP regarding how these changes affect your project, or feel free to contact REPSG directly at info@repsg.com.

Views from the Field: “Call Before You Dig”

811 - PA One Call LogoMachine Operator: Did I just hit that gas line?!

Laborer: We should have just called 8-1-1.

Mistakes happen, but because of Pennsylvania’s One Call System, accidents like this become very avoidable. With a simple five minute phone call, machine operators and ambitious home owners of Pennsylvania can break ground with confidence. REPSG knows from experience how important Pennsylvania’s one call system can be. For example, on one memorable occasion a property owner was shocked when One Call found a high pressure petroleum pipeline running through their backyard.

The service’s slogan, “Call before you dig,” completely sums up its purpose of being. Since its beginnings in 1972, this Pennsylvania Non-Profit has been promoting safety by helping to provide the exact locations of underground utility lines. In doing so, it has helped to minimize utility interruptions, reduce on-the-job injuries, and has encouraged a higher level of public safety. Just three years later, in April 1975, Act 287 went into effect requiring all excavators to call before digging.

While most states offer this great service, each state has its differences regarding the rules and regulations of digging. By calling 8-1-1 a few days before your scheduled excavation you will acquire the information you’ll need to dig safely, without the fear. By just telling the One Call operator where you will be digging and what type of work you are doing, utility companies that may be affected by your dig will be notified. In turn, they will dispatch a locator to mark the underground lines, pipes, and cables within your approximate dig area.

The mark outs that One Call use are even color-coded to indicate which type of utility you will encounter:

  • Red: electric power lines, cables, conduit, and lighting cables
  • Orange: telecommunication, alarm or signal lines, cables, or conduit
  • Yellow: natural gas, oil, steam, petroleum, other gaseous or flammable material
  • Green: sewers and drain lines
  • Blue: drinking water
  • Purple: reclaimed water, irrigation, slurry lines
  • Pink: temporary survey markings, unknown facilities
  • White: proposed excavation limits

To avoid not just injury but expense and embarrassment, call 8-1-1.

Don’t forget to gather all the necessary info such as addresses, nearest intersections, and extent of excavation prior to calling in order to avoid any unnecessary delays.

NJ Annual Fees in the Simplest Terms

NJDEP LogoThe New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has replaced the past “hour-by-hour” oversight billing with a Site Remediation LSRP Annual Fee. This offers some advantages in terms of project budget planning, since the fees are fixed and predictable after you wade through confusing nuances. Your  Licensed Site Remediation Professional (LSRP) will guide you. If you have not retained a LSRP for your existing case, you need one.

The Way This Works
Your LSRP calculates your project’s annual fees for you and submits this information to the NJDEP in an Annual Fee Form. The cost of the fee is based on the number of contaminated areas of concern that have not been fully remediated as defined in N.J.A.C. 7:26E “NJ Tech Rule” last amended May 2012.

The annual fees must continue to be paid until all areas of concern have received a Response Action Outcome (similar to a No Further Action). Deadlines and other details regarding the fees are found in the Administrative Requirements for Remediation of Contaminated Sites Rule “ARRCS Rule”. The fee breakdown is as follows:

  • 0-1 Contaminated Areas of Concern $450.00
  • 2-10 Contaminated Areas of Concern $900.00
  • 11-20 Contaminated Areas of Concern $5,000.00
  • >20 Contaminated Areas of Concern $9,500.00

In addition to these amounts there are additional “contaminated media” fees of $1,400 (each) assessed if groundwater, sediment or surface water is impacted.  The Department estimates that most sites fall in Category 2. If no Annual Fee Form has been submitted, you will probably get a Site Remediation LSRP Annual Fee invoice for $900.00. Special considerations for underground storage tank sites apply, consult your LSRP.

This is not the sum total of your NJDEP fees, however. You are still responsible for past due oversight fees, fees related to remediation permits, and NJDEP direct oversight fees, if applicable. A handy link to check your project for past due fees is found here: Financial Obligation Summary Report. If your project’s closure strategy involves use of an engineering control (like a cap) or institutional control (like a Classification Exception Area (CEA)) you will continue to have ongoing fees.

Proper calculation and timely payment of fees is based on a good Preliminary Site Assessment and Site Investigation. If you receive a  Site Remediation LSRP Annual Fee  invoice from the NJDEP, forward it to your LSRP for review prior to paying it and don’t ignore notices. The NJDEP has the ability to assess fines and fees for non-compliance. Please feel free to contact me at cdrake@repsg.com with LSRP questions or leave a comment below.

 

NJ Appeals Court Rules NJDEP Acted Beyond Their Powers under ISRA and SRRA

A New Jersey state appeals court ruling issued Friday, July 6, 2012 said the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) does not always have the authority to require owners or operators of industrial sites to certify the land is “clean” before it is sold and redeveloped. Since the passage of the Environmental Cleanup Responsibility Act (ECRA) in 1983, the NJDEP has required property owners to remediate contamination before the land could be sold, transferred or the industrial facility operating at the site could be closed. Many laws have been issued in the past decades to define and revise this cleanup process, including the Industrial Site Remediation Act (ISRA) of 1993 and, most recently, the Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) of 2009.

According to the ruling by the three-judge panel of the Superior court of New Jersey, The NJDEP went too far when officials informed Des Champs Laboratories Inc. that in order to sell their Livingston, NJ property, the company had to certify that, to the best of the owners’ knowledge, contamination on the property had fallen below a certain level. The NJDEP was enforcing a provision of NJAC 7:26B 5.9, most recently amended by the NJDEP in May of 2012.

The court’s decision stated that:

 “We conclude that the department, despite its important regulatory role and its expertise over environmental matters, acted in the present context beyond its legislatively delegated powers,”

The three-judge appellate panel also said that no action can be taken on the sites for 30 days, giving time for a potential appeal to the state Supreme Court.

The case centered on the NJDEP’s rejection of Des Champs’ request for a ‘de minimis’ quantity exemption from ISRA’s requirement for site investigation. The court ruled that the state cannot require a landowner to investigate soil and groundwater conditions at a property when the landowner has affirmed that only insignificant (‘de minimus’) amounts of hazardous materials were historically used at the site.  However, the court was clear that the ruling was not intended to limit the NJDEP’s authority to enforce other environmental statutes, most notably the Spill Act. The NJDEP has not announced whether or not they intend to appeal the ruling.

REPSG will continue to follow this story and the response of the legal community to this ruling. Look for follow up posts. Please feel free to post your comments and responses here. Any confidential questions regarding ISRA compliance, SRRA or the recent May 2012 amendments or issues on your projects can be directed to blog@repsg.com and one of our qualified professionals will respond quickly.