Public Comment on Proposed Waste Site Cleanup Regulation Reforms Sought
BOSTON - The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has released for public comment proposed amendments to the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP), which sets forth procedures and standards for notification, assessment and remediation of disposal sites resulting from the release of oil or hazardous materials to the environment.
The comment period is open until May 17, 2013, and four public hearings will be held across the Commonwealth in April.
The proposed amendments are part of MassDEP's Regulatory Reform Initiative, which aims to make environmental regulation more efficient while maintaining high standards for the protection of public health and the environment. The MCP regulations govern the response to sudden spills of oil or hazardous material, as well as the assessment and cleanup of Brownfields, properties contaminated by past use as industrial and commercial facilities, prior to their redevelopment and productive reuse.
The MCP amendments proposed now will eliminate unnecessary permits, streamline site classification and deed notice requirements, increase opportunities for achieving site closure, aid public understanding of site closure conditions, and update cleanup standards based on the most recent science.
"This proposal reflects ideas that both stakeholders and MassDEP staff have generated to make the MCP reflect the most efficient, protective process possible," said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. "The result will be less process, better cleanups, and freeing up limited MassDEP resources to focus on its priorities for oversight, technical assistance and enforcement."
Highlights of the proposed amendments are:
- Elimination of the Tier I permits, which are currently required before parties may proceed with cleanup at the most complicated sites;
- Simplifying the Numerical Ranking System used to classify sites to make it more focused on risk and more understandable and transparent to the regulated community, as well as the public;
- Reducing the paperwork required for Activity and Use Limitations (AULs), land use controls in the form of deed notices that are part of some MCP site closures, while still preserving their function of documenting residual contamination and safe uses of the property;
- Allowing notices of AULs for federal Superfund sites instead of the currently required, more cumbersome deed restrictions, which will speed up Superfund site closure and redevelopment;
- Providing a new closure mechanism for sites with vapor intrusion, which is the migration of contaminants from groundwater or soil into the indoor air of a nearby building, where active systems for eliminating exposures to the contaminants are installed and maintained;
- Creating a new way to close petroleum-contaminated sites with "non-aqueous phase liquid" or "NAPL" where contamination can be shown not to migrate or cause exposures; and
- Creating simpler, more transparent site closure categories that will make it easier for owners, developers and the public to understand the cleanup that has been achieved and the conditions for future use.
The proposed regulations and background information are available on MassDEP's web site at: Proposed & Recently Promulgated Regulations .
The public hearings for the proposed MCP amendments are scheduled for:
Wednesday, April 3, at 5 p.m. - MassDEP Central Regional Office, 627 Main St., Worcester
Thursday, April 4, at 9:30 a.m. - MassDEP Headquarters, 1 Winter St., Boston
Tuesday, April 9, at 9:30 a.m. - MassDEP Southeast Regional Office, 20 Riverside Dr., Lakeville
Wednesday, April 10, at 9:30 a.m. - MassDEP Western Regional Office, 436 Dwight St., Springfield
The public comment period will be open until May 17, 2013 at 5 p.m. Comments on the proposed amendments may be e-mailed to: Elizabeth.J.Callahan@state.ma.us or mailed to: Elizabeth Callahan, Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup, 1 Winter St., Boston, MA 02108.
The proposed MCP amendments are among several packages of regulatory changes undertaken as part of MassDEP's Regulatory Reform Initiative. More information on the initiative (including a complete list of all of the projects that are part of the initiative) may be found at: MassDEP Regulatory Reform Initiative .
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills, and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.