Permit Fact Sheet
1. What is a Special Project designation?
A Special Project designation provides flexibility for public projects that include response actions by extending the deadline for Tier Classification found in the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP) from one year up to five years. Examples of public projects that could be eligible for Special Project designation include infrastructure improvement projects (e.g., construction or expansion of MBTA rail lines or roadways where contamination may be encountered), redevelopment of property suspected to be contaminated where time is needed to market the property to potential developers, and projects undertaken by a public entity aimed at cleaning up multiple disposal sites. These projects are often done in stages or have long lead times which make it difficult to meet the generic timelines in the MCP for conducting response actions.
A Special Project designation is a MassDEP permit which establishes a schedule for conducting response actions tailored to the specific project. This will allow project proponents (which must be a governmental entity) to better coordinate response actions with their projects, making them more cost-effective. Application for Special Project designation is voluntary, and project proponents can always choose to follow the generic MCP timelines.
2. Who may apply for a Special Project designation?
Any agency or political subdivision of the federal government or the Commonwealth, including municipalities, authorities, districts and commissions may apply to MassDEP for designation of a project as a Special Project.
3. What projects are eligible for Special Project designation?
To be eligible for Special Project designation, a project must be overseen and coordinated by the governmental entity submitting the application and must meet the following criteria:
- one or more disposal sites are, or are likely to be, located within the boundaries of the project;
- proposed response actions will be managed in a coordinated fashion;
- the applicant has demonstrated its support of the project by committing and/or securing public financing for the project (e.g., by providing direct financing, tax increment financing or special tax assessments pursuant to M.G.L. c. 23A, §§ 3A - 3F, etc.); and
- compliance with the response action deadlines described in 310 CMR 40.0500 would unreasonably decrease the cost-effectiveness of project implementation.
Disposal sites classified as Tier I or II are not eligible for Special Project designation; however, sites classified as default Tier 1B sites due to a failure of a potentially responsible party to meet their deadline for Tier Classification are eligible for Special Project designation.
4. What information must be submitted with all Special Project designation applications?
As described in 310 CMR 40.0062(1), all Special Project designation applications must include:
a. a completed Transmittal Form for Permit Application and Payment using the form established by the Department for such purposes;
b. the applicable completed Permit Application using the form established by the Department for such purposes;
c. the applicable permit application fee payable pursuant to 310 CMR 4.00;
d. a photocopy of the fee payment;
e. the following information:
• a description of the project and its expected duration;
• an explanation of why Special Project designation is necessary to successfully implement the project;
• the requested duration of the Special Project designation;
• a description of how the project meets the criteria in 310 CMR 40.0061(3);
f. a map of the land area for which the Special Project designation is sought which identifies all properties that would be included and delineates parcel boundaries,
g. the Release Tracking Numbers for any known releases of oil and/or hazardous material at or from the subject properties that have been reported to the Department, and a brief description of these releases and the status of response actions;
h. to the extent known, a description of response actions planned in the Special Project, including a proposed schedule;
i. the name, business address, and telephone number of the person who will be conducting response actions under the Special Project designation, i.e., the person hired to oversee response actions. This person does not include a contractor directly hired by the applicant to do the work.
j. a certification by the applicant and the person who will be conducting response actions under the Special Project designation (if different from the applicant, i.e., the person hired to oversee response actions) that, except as fully disclosed in the application, he or she is not subject to any outstanding administrative or judicial environmental enforcement action under any federal, state or local law;
k. a demonstration that the applicant has notified the persons who own or control the properties included in the Special Project designation and a description of how access to the properties will be obtained in order to perform response actions; and
l. the certification of the submittal required by 310 CMR 40.0009 by the applicant and the person who will be conducting response actions under the Special Project designation (if different from the applicant).
5. How can I apply for Special Project designation?
The original Special Project designation application, along with one copy of the application and supporting documentation, a photocopy of the Transmittal Form for Permit Application and Payment, and a photocopy of the fee payment should be sent to the “Waste Site Cleanup Permit Program” in the appropriate MassDEP Regional Office . Send the application fee to MassDEP in the manner described in Question 7.
6. What happens if I submit an incomplete application?
MassDEP will notify you that the application is incomplete and give you an opportunity to complete it. If you do not provide the required information, MassDEP will consider the Special Project designation application to be withdrawn, and 50% of your application fee will be refunded.
7. What is the application fee and how do I pay?
The application fee for Special Project designation is $920.
Payment should be made in the form of a check or money order payable to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Do not send cash. The original of the Transmittal Form for Permit Application and Payment must accompany the check or money order and be forwarded to the following address:
Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 4062
Boston, MA 02211
Do not send any application materials to this address.
8. What other fees will be required during a Special Project designation?
Compliance fees apply to certain submittals that may be part of a Special Project. These include fees for Release Abatement Measure (RAM) Plans and Response Action Outcome (RAO) Statements. These fees cover MassDEP’s audit, compliance and enforcement costs for these response actions. MassDEP anticipates that for certain Special Projects these submittals may be prepared in batches (for instance, at one Special Project 140 RAOs were filed for properties that were cleaned up). Due to economies of scale in auditing batched submittals, the RAM and RAO compliance fees applicable to Special Projects are on a sliding scale based on the number submitted in each batch.
For each batch submittal of Response Action Outcome Statements the fee is the total based upon the number of individual RAO submittals in each batch:
Quantity Cost Maximum Cost
1 - 5 $1470 each Capped at $4,420 for total batch
6 - 15 $860 each Capped at $9,460 for total batch
16 - 49 $735 each Capped at $23,590 for total batch
50 or more $490 each Capped at $29,490 for total batch
For each batch submittal of Release Abatement Measure Plans the fee is the total based upon the number of individual RAM submittals in each batch:
Quantity Cost Maximum Cost
1 - 5 $980 each Capped at $2,945 for total batch
6 - 15 $550 each Capped at $6,020 for total batch
16 - 49 $490 each Capped at $15,725 for total batch
50 or more $365 each Capped at $22,120 for total batch
8. Where can I get a copy of the timelines?
The timelines are available on the MassDEP Website
9. Is the Special Project designation application subject to public review?
Upon issuance of a proposed decision to grant or deny a Special Project designation, the Department will conduct a public commend period.
Upon such issuance, the applicant must publish a legal notice of the proposed decision and its availability for public review and comment in a newspaper which circulates in the community in which the project is located. The legal notice should be in the form established by the Department and include information about how and where the public can review the application for Special Project designation and the deadline for submission of comments to the Department.
The public comment period will run for at least 20 calendar days. Upon request, or upon its own initiative, the Department may extend the public comment period.
10. When does a Special Project designation become effective and for how long is the designation in effect?
A Special Project Designation is effective upon issuance by the Department, unless a request for an adjudicatory hearing is made. Applicants have 21 days from the date MassDEP issues the Special Project designation to file an appeal.
The Special Project Designation is effective for five years from the date of issuance by MassDEP. The designation may be extended for one or more periods not to exceed five years each upon Departmental approval.
11. Under what conditions may I seek to modify a Special Project designation?
The applicant may seek to modify a Special Project designation to:
- add or remove property subject to the Special Project designation;
- change the schedule of proposed response actions, excluding extending the duration of the Special Project designation; or
- change any other aspect of the Special Project designation.
The Special Project designation modification must be submitted on a transmittal form established by the Department. Within 60 days of receipt of a request to modify a Special Project designation, the Department will respond in writing with a proposed decision to either approve or deny the modification.
Upon issuance of a proposed decision, the public review requirements outlined in Question 9 above will apply.
12. Can a Special Project designation be extended?
A Special Project designation may be extended for one or more periods not to exceed five years each. The request to extend a Special Project modification must be submitted on a transmittal form established by the Department.
Within 60 days of receipt of a request to modify a Special Project extension, the Department will respond in writing with a proposed decision to either approve or deny the extension.
Upon issuance of a proposed decision to either approve or deny the extension, the public review requirements outlined in Question 9 above will apply.
13. Can a Special Project designation be terminated?
A Special Project designation can be surrendered voluntarily by the permittee provided that the permittee notifies the Department in writing of such surrender using the transmittal form established by the Department for such purpose.
14. Can a Special Project designation be suspended or revoked?
The Department may suspend or revoke a Special Project designation for cause including, but not limited to, the following:
- any violation of M.G.L. c. 21E, 310 CMR 40.000 the Massachusetts Contingency Plan, or Special Project designation condition, or other applicable law or regulation;
- the submittal of false or misleading information by the permittee; or
- for nonpayment of compliance assurance fees required for submittal of Release Abatement Measure (RAM) Plans and Response Action Outcome (RAO) Statements.
Upon suspension or revocation of a Special Project designation, the Department will establish new deadlines for Tier classification for any releases which require further response actions.
15. Where can I get more information?
If you have additional questions, please call the Waste Site Cleanup Program Permitting Section in the appropriate MassDEP regional office listed on page 2 “Permitting Contacts” of the Transmittal Form Instructions.
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