"Similar Soils" Regulation & Policy

The Similar Soils Policy provides guidance for identifying when soil concentrations at a receiving location are “Not Significantly Lower Than” managed soil concentrations (pursuant to 310 CMR 40.0032(3))

Under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan ("MCP", 310 CMR 40.0000), contaminated soil is regulated and managed based upon the concentration of oil and hazardous material in the soil.  Higher contaminant concentrations increase the potential for human or environmental risk should the soil be mismanaged.

Conversely, more flexibility is afforded the management of soil which is demonstrated to have little or no contamination.  The MCP allows such soil to be managed without prior MassDEP approval as long as certain conditions are met. The Similar Soils Policy provides further detail on the four requirements described at 310 CMR 40.0032(3): 

(3) Soils containing oil or waste oil at concentrations less than an otherwise applicable Reportable Concentration and that are not otherwise a hazardous waste, and soils that contain one or more hazardous materials at concentrations less than an otherwise applicable Reportable Concentration and that are not a hazardous waste, may be transported from a disposal site without notice to or approval from the Department under the provisions of this Contingency Plan, provided that such soils:

     (a) are not disposed or reused at locations where the concentrations of oil or hazardous materials in the soil would be in excess of a release notification threshold applicable at the receiving site, as delineated in 310 CMR 40.0300 and 40.1600; and

     (b) are not disposed or reused at locations where existing concentrations of oil and/or hazardous material at the receiving site are significantly lower than the levels of those oil and/or hazardous materials present in the soil being disposed or reused.

 

Similar Soils Provision Guidance

Policy WSC#-13-500
September 4, 2014

The Massachusetts Contingency Plan (“MCP”, 310 CMR 40.0000) establishes conditions and requirements for the management of soil excavated at a disposal site. This guidance addresses the specific requirements of 310 CMR 40.0032(3) and the criteria by which a Licensed Site Professional (“LSP”) may determine that soil may be moved without prior notice to or approval from the Department. Soil managed pursuant to 310 CMR 40.0032(3) may be transported using a Bill of Lading (“BOL”), but a BOL is not required.

This guidance is not applicable to the excavation and movement of soil from locations other than M.G.L. Chapter 21E disposal sites, nor to the management of soils considered Remediation Waste under the MCP.

Additional Resources for Similar Soils Provision Guidance

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 eligible for re-use under the Similar Soils regulation and policy is indicated by the notation 'MCP "Similar Soil"' in the bottom row (under the boxes).

Soil management Flowchart

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