Environmental Consulting and the MCP
On October 1, 1993, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) privatized the cleanup of contaminated sites in Massachusetts in order to provide new opportunities and incentives for private parties to respond to contamination and to allow the State to focus its limited resources on the tasks that require government attention. New rules were implemented for reporting, assessing, and cleaning up releases of oil and hazardous material known as the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (the ‘MCP’ or 310 CMR 40.0000) which lays out a detailed process on when and how contaminated sites must be assessed and cleaned up. The regulations are designed to protect the environment as well as the health and safety of the people of Massachusetts.
The MCP requires people who are responsible for cleanups to hire a Licensed Site Professional also referred to as an “LSP” to manage and/or oversee the required assessment and cleanup work. An LSP is an environmental scientist or engineer experienced in the cleanup of oil and hazardous material contamination. The LSP’s job is to work with you to develop and execute a scope of work that will satisfy the state requirements to address contaminated property set forth in Massachusetts General Law c. 21E and the MCP.
CSE’s in house LSP, William H. Mitchell, Jr., LSP, is highly qualified to oversee MCP activities and provide waste site cleanup opinions. Mr. Mitchell has been licensed since the implementation of the program in 1993 and was an active participant in the recent MCP revisions. He has a long history of providing MCP services spanning from Limited Removal Actions (LRA) to Permanent Solution Statements and successfully bringing contaminated sites into regulatory compliance.
CSE has been successful in guiding our clients through the explicit criteria involved during the MCP process from notification, through response and risk reduction measures, to tier classifying/permitting, site characterization, risk assessment, and finally closure. CSE achieves regulatory compliance for its clients by taking the lead role in developing remedial goals and implementing closure strategies as the project manager and Licensed Site Professional (LSP), while cooperating with environmental contractors to perform the specialized field tasks often required in environmental assessment and remedial response actions. The result is a team of specialized professionals working together to provide our clients with options and cost-effective solutions to reduce environmental liabilities and achieve regulatory and business objectives in a timely and concise fashion.
Our highly qualified, personable, and motivated staff work with our clients to navigate the maze of State and Federal regulations in order to find innovative and cost-effective strategies oriented towards a permanent solution. We provide services to meet all aspects of the MCP, RCRA, CERCLA, EPA, USDOT, CAA, CWA, OSHA, as well as local regulations.
Response Action Management
CSE is highly reputable when it comes to proper judgment and implementation of the MCP Regulatory Process and Standards during the direction and management of Response Actions for spill response and remediation of contamination. CSE directs and conducts a series of response actions including:
Preliminary Response Actions and Risk Reduction Measures
- Immediate Reposes Actions
- Requirements, Approvals, and Time Lines for Conducting Immediate Response Actions
- Release Abatement Measures
- Utility-related Abatement Measures
- Phase I – Initial Site Investigation Report
Tier Classification and Response Action Deadlines
- Tier Classification Process
- Requirements for Tier Classified Disposal Sites
- Public Involvement
Comprehensive Response Actions
- Phase II – Comprehensive Site Assessment
- Phase III – Identification, Evaluation and Selection of Comprehensive Remedial Action Alternatives
- Feasibility Evaluations
- Phase IV – Implementation of the Selected Comprehensive Remedial Alternative
- Operation, Maintenance, and/or Monitoring of Comprehensive Response Actions
- Receptor and Exposure Information
- Identification of Site Groundwater and Soil Categories
- Imminent Hazard Evaluations
- Substantial Hazard Evaluations
- Method 1, 2, and 3 Risk Characterizations
Response Action Outcomes
- Permanent Solutions
- Permanent Solution with Conditions
- Temporary Solutions
- Active Exposure Pathway Mitigation Measures
- Background Levels of Oil and Hazardous Material
- Implementation of Activity and Use Limitations
- Recovery of Response Action Costs Incurred in Response Actions
- Procedures for Liens
- Petitions for Reimbursement of Incurred Costs
An environmental risk assessment is a tool that supplies information about risks to human or ecological receptors due to exposure to identified hazards that relies on environmental media data, site use, fate and transport, and toxicological information. The goal of a risk assessment is to establish whether a condition of “No Significant Risk” (NSR) exists or has been achieved.
Three levels of risk characterization are used under the MCP:
- Method 1 – Promulgated Standards for Soil and Groundwater
- Method 2 – Modified or New Standards for Soil or Groundwater
- Method 3 – Site Specific Risk Characterization
CSE’s consultants conduct risk assessments as a major component of reaching closure for disposal sites where all risk to human health, public welfare, and the environment are evaluated under the MCP. CSE uses risk assessments to support regulatory negotiations as well as offer property owners and developers assistance with business decisions.
Soil Characterization and Reclamation
CSE promotes and applies green approaches during the assessment and remediation of oil and hazardous material disposal sites. This includes considering all environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporating options to eliminate or reduce the environmental footprint of cleanup activities to the maximum extent possible.
CSE has been at the forefront of soil reclamation projects by working with developers and contractors to assist with managing earthworks by fully characterizing soils, preparing soil management plans, and submitting LSP Opinions regarding appropriate placement of soils. See the MassDEP list of Facilities Accepting Reclamation Soil.
Another way CSE focuses on reducing waste is by recycling contaminated soil generated during cleanups. Typical oil spills will generate tons of petroleum contaminated soil, instead of sending this material to a landfill, CSE prepares a MassDEP Bill of Lading (BOL) package including full laboratory analytical data and site characterization information for acceptance at a soil recycling facility such as Aggregate Industries, Ted Ondrick Company, and Environmental Soil Management Companies (ESMI). During soil cleanup and excavation activities, CSE’s contractors transport the soil to a facility that uses encapsulation and bio-remediation methods to convert the soil into environmentally safe products for use as construction base or as soil cover for landfills. The encapsulation process utilizes commercial emulsions to bind the petroleum materials thereby preventing further migration while bio-remediation uses naturally occurring microbes to break down the petroleum into inert soil substances.
Homeowner Spill Assistance
If you had a spill of oil at your home or business, or are aware of contamination related to your oil storage tank or delivery line, your first point of contact should be the local fire department. Certain matters are under their direct jurisdiction (e.g., tank removal, public safety issues), and they will in many cases provide advice on how to best proceed. Under state law, you must also contact the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) if certain reporting thresholds are reached or exceeded. In all, there are 22 specific threshold conditions that would require notification to MassDEP – in as little as 2 hours after becoming aware of the problem. The most common reporting conditions at homes and small businesses are listed below:
- A spill of more than 10 gallons of gasoline or oil within a 24 hour period;
- A spill of any quantity of gasoline or oil that creates a sheen on a surface water body;
- A discovery of oil floating on the surface of the groundwater table;
the presence of explosive concentrations of petroleum vapors in a building or confined space.
If you have experienced a sudden spill, CSE’s LSP can assist with notification requirements and recommend response actions in order to quickly reduce health risks and limit the environmental impact of the spill. CSE has worked with many homeowners in the past and is well versed in the MassDEP draft publication Assessing Contamination at Residential Underground Heating Oil Tank Closures. It is also highly recommended that homeowners carefully review this document, which contains complete step-by-step instructions on how to act and proceed, and the pitfalls that should be avoided.
CSE can help provide our clients with a realistic evaluation and assessment of the liability and costs associated with the redevelopment of environmentally-impaired properties. The successful redevelopment of these properties requires foresight and experience, as well as environmental expertise and business insight. Our staff of environmental professionals have completed numerous environmental due diligence reviews, environmental investigations, and brownfields cleanups to justify appropriate and cost effective risk management approaches to interested parties. We focus on the development outcome to provide you with the right level of risk assessment, as well as pre-characterization and management of impacted soil.
CSE’s Brownfields Services Include:
- Identifying brownfield development prospects
- Environmental liability characterization, investigation & risk assessments
- Building conditions surveys & hazardous materials characterization
- Drafting soils and dewatering management plans
- Remedial planning & corrective action
- Providing construction and remedial oversight
CSE provides litigation, expert testimony, insurance claim management, 3rd party review, and mediation support services throughout the Greater Boston and North Shore area. CSE provides trial preparation and mediation preparation assistance, expert witness services, assistance for deposition preparation, depositions, mediation testimony, and courtroom testimony. CSE’s staff including our Licensed Site Professional and Project Managers use their collective experience to assist clients in negotiations, investigations, and cost recovery to support plaintiffs or defendants in environmental lawsuits.
CSE has over 25 years of experience in the planning, scheduling, application preparation, and client support for federal, state and local environmental permits, licenses, certificates and other approvals and the supporting studies, surveys, and data collection efforts. Our creative approach to project evaluation combined with regulatory expertise ensures that the permitting process is completed successfully, within our client’s cost and schedule objectives.