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MassDEP’s June 2021 Waste Site Cleanup Advisory Committee Meeting

MassDEP’s Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup (BWSC) Advisory Committee meeting was held on June 24, 2021. The meeting covered several timely items; the meeting recording can be found here under June 24, 2021 Discussion Items and the meeting slides are here.

Topics covered included:
  • Regional Personnel Updates  
  • MCP Amendments
    • Internal MassDEP approvals expected to be completed this summer with final regulations published in the fall
    • Training for LSP credit, and Q & As specific to the amendments to follow
    • MassDEP also expects to finalize guidance documents related to final amendments including risk characterization
  • Subscribe to MassDEP Notifications 
  • Compendium of Analytical Methods (CAM) Update
    • Revised CAM protocols for 8260 (Volatile Organic Compounds) and 8270 (Semivolatiles)
    • Revised protocols posted on July 22, 2021 and take effect November 5, 2021 
  • Technical Assistance Grants and MOSPRA Grant Program Premier  
  • Assessing Climate Vulnerability at 21E Sites 
  • PFAS in Massachusetts
    • An excellent comprehensive review of the status of PFAS related efforts over the years and currently underway, including links to databases on MassDEP website
  • Office Hours and WSCAC Meetings
    • MassDEP plans to continue holding virtual meetings - Thursday morning “office hours” and Thursday morning WSCAC meetings both on the 4th Thursday of the month.  
    • Next Advisory Committee meeting is Thursday, September 23, 2021 at 9:00 am

MassDEP's Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) Now Available

MassDEP is pleased to announce the application for the FY2022 Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) is now available. This grant opportunity provides $150,000 in funding, with up to $15,000 per each community or municipal applicant-group selected for an award, to enhance public involvement and promote better understanding of the cleanup of contaminated sites in their communities. 
 
The application deadline is Friday, July 16, 2021.
 
The TAG application and information about this grant opportunity are available here.
Questions about MassDEP TAGs may be sent to either Peggy Shaw at [email protected] or Nancy Fitzpatrick at [email protected].


LSPA Writes to MassDEP With Key PFAS Questions and Suggestions

On March 8, 2021 the LSPA sent a four page letter to MassDEP addressing several topics regarding per- and poly-fluorinated compounds (PFAS), including the six PFAS regulated under the MCP (PFAS6). The letter was drafted by a task force formed from several LSPA committees working on issues related to the implementation of the PFAS-related MCP revisions and the impacts of PFAS across the Commonwealth. The LSPA letter is organized into three categories with several specific suggestions for each:
  • PFAS Background Conditions and MCP Release Exemptions;
  • MassDEP Private Well Sampling Program; and
  • Waste Management.
Read the LSPA’s letter here.


Review of MassDEP's NOAFs Related to Historic Fill and to Downgradient Property Status

Larry McTiernan, PG, LSP, Roux Associates, and a member of the LSPA’s Loss Prevention Committee has been keeping busy reviewing MassDEP’s Notices of Audit Findings (NOAFs) from FY ’19 related to Historic Fill and Downgradient Property Status.
 
In FY ’19, MassDEP issued two NOAFs related to Historic Fill. Both NOAFs were also Notices of Noncompliance and cited one or more violations of the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP). Read a summary of the two NOAFs and key takeaways for each in Larry’s brief article entitled Findings From FY ’19 Historic Fill NOAFs.

In the same fiscal year, there were four MassDEP NOAFs related to Downgradient Property Status (DPS) filings. All four NOAFs cited one or more violations of the MCP requirements for asserting DPS (and thus were also Notices of Noncompliance), and in three of the four cases MassDEP required either the termination or revision of the DPS submittal. As in FY18, the most common violation cited in the FY ’19 DPS NOAFs was the failure to adequately demonstrate that the criterion for asserting DPS set forth at 310 CMR 40.0183(2)(b) had not been met—particularly by failing to rule out an on-site source for the groundwater contamination found at the site. Read Larry's full article here.


Ten Takeaways from MassDEP’s March 19, 2021 Waste Site Cleanup Advisory Committee (WSCAC) Meeting

Members of the LSPA Regulations Committee sat in on this meeting (see the recording here) and present the following takeaways, in no particular order.

  • 2019 MCP Revisions. The MCP amendments continue to be edited and revised in response to comments. Once finalized, which is expected to be “later this spring,” they will go into effect (with a grace period), and MassDEP will provide training and updated risk guidance.
  • Private Well Sampling and IH Level of 90 ppt.  MassDEP is communicating with local Boards of Health and private well owners in ~80 towns that rely primarily on private water sources. MassDEP is aiming to collect data from both private wells near potential (known) PFAS sources and wells randomly located, as an approach to gaining a better understanding of background levels of PFAS in groundwater. If PFAS is detected in a residential well, a homeowner will not be required to notify MassDEP; in the absence of an identified on-site source, MassDEP will assume that homeowners have Downgradient Property Status, and MassDEP will hold in abeyance the issuance a Notice of Responsibility (NOR). MassDEP will work with homeowners to reduce risk; a drinking water Imminent Hazard PFAS6 concentration of 90 ppt has been established by MassDEP.
  • Multi-Lab Audit Findings.  Ken Marra and Liz Callahan summarized the results of the audit, which was initiated in 2016 and evaluated data packages for VPH/EPH/APH/TO-15. The Multi-Lab Data Audit Report (March 2021) has been posted here. Generally, laboratories did well with the TO-15 and APH analyses. There were potential low bias issues with VPH & EPH analyses in approximately one-half of the data packages, resulting in MassDEP issuing revisions to the VPH methods (February 2018) and EPH methods (December 2019) to clarify the issues. MassDEP does not anticipate doing a systematic review of past submittals relative to the low bias issues identified, but is considering measures for more routine checking of laboratory quality.

    If you are interested in participating in subgroup meetings regarding laboratory data quality, please send an email to [email protected].
  • MassDEP Focus on Environmental Justice.  Deneen Simpson, MassDEP’s Director of Environmental Justice, summarized MassDEP’s work since June 2020 to evaluate the agency’s internal and external culture, practices, and policies related to environmental justice and equity. This work involves regional offices as well as a focus by the Commissioner. MassDEP is working to diversify advisory and stakeholder groups, and has developed and is implementing Environmental Justice Public Involvement Plan Guidance (currently an internal document only) on approaches to  engage diverse communities. MassDEP’s EJ Team meets quarterly. Rishi Reddi is the Director of Environmental Justice at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEOA), and the EJ Team also includes Liz Callahan and Peggy Shaw of BWSC. 
  • Refreshing the Waste Site Cleanup Advisory Committee (WSCAC).  MassDEP is evaluating the composition of its stakeholder groups. The WSCAC is not created by statute and therefore MassDEP has flexibility regarding its composition, meeting format, etc. MassDEP would like to expand representation to ensure the full range of program stakeholders and would like to seek additional representation from EJ communities, PIP group members, student representatives, environmental advocacy groups, and/or subject matter experts. The Department is considering establishing term limits, establishing a set meeting schedule (likely quarterly), and varying meeting times and locations. The WSCAC members discussed their thoughts on the various proposals. If you have ideas of how MassDEP might conduct outreach to expand the representation of the advisory committee, please email [email protected].
  • Office Hours and WSCAC Meetings.  MassDEP expects to continue holding virtual meetings, but anticipates switching from the Zoom platform to another platform for its Thursday morning “office hours” and WSCAC meetings.  The frequency of weekly office hours will probably be reduced, and WSCAC meetings will likely be held quarterly.
  • Brownfields Tax Credits. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue is considering comments on its proposed new brownfields tax credit regulations.  An interagency workgroup has recently conducted listening sessions about the brownfields tax credit program.  They expect to have workgroup findings within a couple of months.
  • Searching for COCs on Waste Site/Spills Look Up.  Paul Locke confirmed that it is not possible for the public or MassDEP to search the site lookup database by COCs.
  • BWSC Grant Programs update.  Liz Callahan provided an update on various grant programs, including:
    • Natural Resource Damages – grant opportunity related to Former National Fireworks Site in Hanover
    • Technical Assistance
    • Marine Oil Spill Prevention & Response

News From Recent BWSC Office Hours Meetings

MassDEP’s Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup (BWSC) will hold an Advisory Committee meeting this Friday, March 19, from 9 am to 11 am.  Zoom sign in protocol will be the same as it is for the weekly BWSC Office Hours. Read more here.

The LSPA very much appreciates the Office Hours that occur weekly (except this week) on Thursdays at 9 am. Click here for more information and here to see the library of meeting video recordings.

Below are a few recent tidbits for your information.

PFAS Source Signatures in Coastal Watersheds on Cape Cod
There has been much discussion in the past weeks regarding a paper titled, “Isolating the AFFF Signature in Coastal Watersheds Using Oxidizable PFAS Precursors and Unexplained Organofluorine,” authored by Harvard and USGS scientists Bridger J. Ruyle, Heidi M. Pickard, Denis R. LeBlanc, et al. in Environmental Science & Technology, published by the American Chemical Society, March 1, 2021. More information is here.

The Boston Globe published an article on the study and related issues on March 8, 2021.  

MassDEP Interactive Story Maps on PFAS in Public Water Systems
MassDEP’s website page on PFAS is full of useful information.

The third item on this page, titled PFAS detected in drinking water supplies in Massachusetts, shows a story map with seven tabs that present interactive maps, dashboards and photographs describing the efforts by MassDEP and Public Water Suppliers to address PFAS contamination. Tabs 3 and 4 show which municipalities in the Commonwealth have had their PWSs tested and the status of PFAS detections and responses by public water systems.

Check back regularly for updates.

Technical Assistance Grants
At the March 4 BWSC Office Hours meeting, Liz Callahan, BWSC Acting Division Director, Policy & Program Development, announced that the Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) program provided for in the MCP (310 CMR 40.1450 through 40.1499) is being revitalized after having lapsed since 2011. Liz Callahan reported that DEP is hoping the program will begin in early July 2021. To be added to MassDEP’s Pre-Notice mailing list, please email [email protected].
 
Community groups, municipalities, and others (but not PRPs) are eligible for TAG grants, each of which is expected to be in the ballpark of $15,000. The program is still under development. 
 

 

LSPA Urges Covid-19 Vaccine Priority for LSPs

Earlier this week the LSPA sent a letter to the two Massachusetts Department of Public Health officials leading the Massachusetts Covid-19 Vaccine Advisory Group, urging them to consider appropriate Covid-19 vaccine priority for LSPs and other workers who address spills of oil and hazardous materials, and conduct waste site assessment and remediation. These professionals should be prioritized in Phase 2 of the Commonwealth's vaccine distribution timeline, as they are no less essential to public health and safety than sanitation, public works and public health workers, or water and wastewater utility staff.
 
Our letter provides more context and detail. 
 
The LSPA has also heard from MassDEP that the prioritization of LSPs has been discussed amongst MassDEP senior staff.  Our understanding is that while this is still in the process of being sorted out, the Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup has asked that LSPs be considered similar to MassDEP's Emergency Response staff in Phase 2 - just like waste water treatment plant operators and others.

We know that many of you are eager for your vaccine and we will keep LSPA membership apprised as we learn more.


MassDEP Drinking Water Program: Private Wells PFAS Sampling Program

At MassDEP's Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup (BWSC) December 3, 2020 Office Hours meeting, Paul Locke, Assistant Commissioner, announced that MassDEP's Drinking Water Program is kicking off its private well sampling program for PFAS compounds. Linked here are pertinent materials with more details:
 
Letter and FAQ about the MassDEP Private Wells PFAS Sampling Program
 
 
 
Check here to see recordings of Office Hours meetings.

EOEEA Environmental Dataset Portal: Drinking Water and PFAS6 in Public Wells

At MassDEP's Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup (BWSC) November 12, 2020 Office Hours meeting, Paul Locke, Assistant Commissioner, shared information on a helpful resource: the Massachusetts EOEEA Data Portal, which is comprised of several Environmental Datasets. Datasets include asbestos projects, enforcement actions, and well drilling; also included is the BWSC's Waste Site & Reportable Releases Lookup page. 
 
The focus for this meeting was on the Drinking Water program dataset where one can search by public water system as well as town, class of well (Non-Transient Non-Community, Non-Community, and Community), contaminant group, and chemical name. Many per-fluoroalkyl substances are included in the searchable list of chemicals including, of particular interest - PFAS6.
 
At this time, private well sampling information is not included in this EOEEA database.
 
A link to this portal is also found on MassDEP's PFAS webpage.
 
The weekly BWSC Office Hour meetings are recorded and posted on this YouTube page
 
The discussion of the EOEEA portal begins at 2:15 minutes into the November 12, 2020 meeting and ends at around 15:30 minutes.

New Q&A On MCP During State of Emergency

MassDEP BWSC Introduces New Q&A on MCP Issues During State of Emergency
At the MassDEP Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup (BWSC) April 23, 2020 Office Hours, Assistant Commissioner Paul Locke shared new resources that practitioners should be aware of.
 
The MCP Q&A: COVID-19 Edition consists of Questions & Answers about the notification, assessment, cleanup and closure of sites during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. Questions may be submitted to BWSC at
[email protected]. MassDEP staff will respond directly to the questions received and, if a question is of more general interest, post the answers on the website page.
 
Also posted on this page is guidance from U.S. EPA on work at CERCLA (Superfund) and RCRA Corrective Action Sites during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Read more here
 
The BWSC continues to hold weekly office hours every Thursday at 9:00 am. Go here for more details. 
 
Recordings of past office hours can be found here.  
 
For additional information, refer to the BWSC April 7, 2020 Fact Sheet entitled

Many thanks to BWSC for providing these resources.  

Be well and stay safe.
Wendy Rundle, Executive Director


Continuity of WSC Activities During COVID-19 - MassDEP Fact Sheet


The LSPA received the following email yesterday afternoon from MassDEP BWSC. Among other things, it highlights a fact sheet with guidance outlining expectations related to MCP requirements and site work during the COVID-19 State of Emergency, including discussion of meeting response action deadlines for routine submittals. MassDEP recommends that should work be delayed by postponed field work, reduced staffing, or other interruptions, parties should notify MassDEP of the compliance delay in writing, include the deadline(s) that will be missed, and any measures, if applicable, taken to secure the disposal site during the period of work stoppage. The written notice of delay should be submitted to MassDEP through eDEP using transmittal form BWSC121: Notification of Delay. 

MassDEP BWSC also notes that it intends to exercise enforcement discretion for failure to meet deadlines for routine submittals during this State of Emergency. 
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
MassDEP has published a Fact Sheet on the continuity of waste site cleanup activities during the COVID-19 State of Emergency.  

I expect we will discuss the new Fact Sheet and other matters during this week's BWSC Office Hours on Thursday morning. (DETAILS: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/bwsc-office-hours-video-calls)

As always, questions can be directed to [email protected] prior to the Thursday call.
 
I hope you are all safe & well.

  • Paul Locke

MassDEP BWSC Announces Office Hours

The LSPA received the following email this morning regarding the MassDEP BWSC New Office Hours.
Hope to see you there - virtually.  

Waste Site Cleanup Advisory Committee members and Other Interested Stakeholders,

During yesterday's BWSC Advisory Committee meeting, it was suggested that the Bureau hold regular meetings over the next few weeks to address issues that may arise while we work through the new COVID-9 paradigm.

We have set aside time on Thursday mornings, 9:00 - 10:00, during which Liz Callahan and I will be available via Zoom.com.

At the very least we will take your questions, issues and concerns and try to find answer... or provide an opportunity to vent. Feel free to check in during that time, and we'll see how this format works for you (and for us).

It may be productive to send questions in to the [email protected] mailbox so that we can get a head start on the response.

Details for the call are below.  You might want to add it to your calendar as a recurring event.
  • Paul Locke
P.S. The handout and link to video from yesterday's meeting is (will be) available through the BWSC Advisory Committee web page.  


Topic: MassDEP Waste Site Cleanup Advisory Office Hours 
Date: Every Thursday, Starting April 2, 2020
Time: 09:00 - 10:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
 
Join Zoom Meeting 

Meeting ID: 523 450 5769

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LSPA PFAS Task Force

The LSPA Board realizes the need for an LSPA PFAS Task Force to cover the ever-changing and consuming topic of PFAS, and are in the process of setting out goals and a charter.  We would like to gauge interest and ask for volunteers now so that we can start to get organized. This sense of urgency stems in part from the formation of a MassDEP PFAS stakeholder group, and the fact that this group already had their first meeting.
 
Information on the MassDEP PFAS stakeholder group can be found here
 
The LSPA should have been on the invite list since we submitted a letter at the "PFAS Petition" hearing.  We have been in touch with the Drinking Water Program, Bureau of Water Resources who tells us the next stakeholder group meeting will be the week of June 17 - no definite date yet.
 
Attending these stakeholder meetings (which are open to the public) will be an initial key task for the group.
 
Please contact Wendy Rundle at [email protected] if you would like to join the LSPA Task Force. 
 
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3 Minute Update: 9/27/18 MassDEP Advisory Committee Meeting

LSPA Regulations Committee

3-Minute Update

Here is a 3-minute update on the September 27, 2018 BWSC Advisory Committee meeting, from the LSPA Regulations Committee Co-Chair, Joe Roman. For a more detailed five page summary of the meeting, please click here.



MassDEP Finalizes Guidelines for Five PFAS in Drinking Water

MassDEP released drinking water guidelines today for five PFAS chemicals and sent the following information to Public Water Suppliers and other parties.
 

From the Waste Site Cleanup perspective, the background information on the development of the guideline will also serve as background information for Waste Site Cleanup’s soon-to-be-proposed MCP Method 1 GW-1 Standard for PFAS. 

MassDEP expects to keep us up-to-date throughout the summer on the status of the proposed MCP revisions and MassDEP’s approach to PFAS.

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September Compliance Tip

The LSPA presented the following compliance tip at the September Membership Meeting at Marriott Newton Hotel in Newton, MA on September 26, 2017. 

When a property with a Notice of Activity and Use Limitation (AUL) has been sold, the Responsible Party must submit to MassDEP a Form BWSC 113 with a copy of the recorded deed conveying the record title.  Remember it is essential that subsequent property owners be given notice of the AUL.

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