"Reclamation Soils" Policy and Facilities

MassDEP approves the operation or projects using large volumes of soil to reclaim quarries, sand pits and gravel pits, and similar fill projects.

The Massachusetts legislature has mandated that the Department establish  regulations, guidelines, standards or procedures for determining the suitability of  soil used as fill material for the reclamation of quarries, sand pits and gravel pits. The policy is applicable to quarries, sand pits and gravel pits that will accept 100,000 cubic yards or more.

The new policy institutionalizes a site-specific review and approval process that has been successfully used on an ad hoc basis to expand opportunities for the re-use of excess soil excavated from development sites. MassDEP approval of these projects insures that issues common to large-scale fill projects are appropriately addressed.

By providing a mechanism for safely managing soil at quarry reclamation projects, the policy addresses two issues.  First, it facilitates the filling and re-use of spent (or abandoned) quarries, sand pits and gravel pits.  These locations are often safety hazards and their reclamation can provide opportunities for beneficial new uses, including parks.  Second, it provides increased in-state options for the re-use of soil excavated from new development projects.  Such soil often must be shipped out-of-state at substantial cost.

MassDEP considers this Interim Policy to be part of a comprehensive approach to managing soil in Massachusetts.  The Department is committed to continue working with stakeholders to develop additional policies, standards and regulations (where appropriate). 

Interim Policy on the Re-Use of Soil for Large Reclamation Projects

Policy # COMM-15-01
August 28, 2015

This Interim Policy provides notice of MassDEP’s intent to issue site-specific approvals, in the form of an Administrative Consent Order, to ensure the reuse of large volumes of soil for the reclamation of sand pits, gravel pits and quarries poses no significant risk of harm to health, safety, public welfare or the environment and would not create new releases or threats of releases of oil or hazardous materials

Additional Resources for Interim Policy on the Re-Use of Soil for Large Reclamation Projects

Facilities Accepting Reclamation Soil

The Department is working with a number of proposed Reclamation Projects and we anticipate several more facilities will be approved in the near future.  This alphabetical-by-town list will be updated periodically.  As of October 30, 2018, the following facilities have MassDEP approval (in the form of a signed Administrative Consent Order) to accept Reclamation Soil:

The Administrative Consent Order (ACO) and incorporated Fill Management Plan (FMP)/Soil Management Plan (SMP) are facility-specific documents that reflect location- and project-specific conditions.  While the requirements applying to these facilities are similar, the ACO/FMP (or SMP) is developed in consideration of each project’s unique circumstances, including the physical setting, multi-jurisdictional regulatory requirements, and proposed future re-use of the property.  The ACO/FMP (or SMP) may be modified over time – please consult with the facility directly to best understand its current acceptance requirements.

NOTE:  This list does NOT include landfill projects that may be accepting soil as daily cover or grading/shaping material pursuant to COMM-97-001 and their operating or closure permits.

 

    Additional Resources for Facilities Accepting Reclamation Soil

    Facilities NO LONGER Accepting Soil

    The following facilities are no longer accepting soil.

    Additional Resources for Facilities NO LONGER Accepting Soil

    Authority

    MassDEP approves Reclamation Soil projects pursuant to Section 277 of Chapter 165 of the Acts of 20141 , M.G.L. c. 21E, § 6 and 310 CMR 40.0000, and M.G.L. c. 111, § 150A3 and 310 CMR 16.00 and 19.000.

    Section 277 of Chapter 165 of the Acts of 2014
    The Massachusetts FY 2015 Budget:

    Not later than June 30, 2015, the department of environmental protection shall establish  regulations, guidelines, standards or procedures for determining the suitability of  soil used as fill material for the reclamation of quarries, sand pits and gravel pits. The regulations, standards or procedures shall ensure the reuse of soil poses no significant risk of harm to health, safety, public welfare or the environment considering the transport, filling operations and the foreseeable future use of the filled land. The department may adopt, amend or  repeal regulations establishing: (i) classes or categories of fill or reclamation activities requiring prior issuance of a permit issued by the department; (ii) classes or categories of fill or  reclamation activities that may be carried out without prior issuance of a permit issued by the  department; and (iii) classes or categories of fill that shall require local approval based on the  size, scope and location of a project; provided, however, that local approval shall not be required for projects involving less than 100,000 cubic yards of soil.

    Additional Resources for Authority

    Soil Management Flowchart

    MassDEP developed the following flowchart (click image to enlarge) to help illustrate how and why soil is managed under different regulations and policies.  In this chart, soil that is suitable for re-use at a Reclamation Soil Project is indicated by blue or purple boxes on the bottom row (and noted as "Comm-15").

    Soil management Flowchart

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