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LSPA Introduces NEW September 2021 Practice Tip

The following LSPA practice tip was presented at the September 2021 Membership Meeting, which was held virtually through the Zoom webinar platform, on September 14, 2021.  

Practice Tip - MassDEP’s Private Well PFAS Testing
MassDEP is conducting free PFAS testing for a limited number of private wells, focusing on 84 Massachusetts towns where 60% or more of residents are served by private wells. Practitioners should know about MassDEP’s Story Map which is regularly updated to present the results of this private well sampling to date.

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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

LSPA Shares Practice Tip from MassDEP

The following LSPA practice tip was presented at the June 2021 Membership Meeting, which was held virtually through the Zoom webinar platform, on June 17, 2021.  

Practice Tip:
MassDEP staff in all regions have asked the LSPA to remind practitioners to include the email addresses for the RP and LSP on all eDEP forms. This is particularly helpful as another avenue for contacting people, especially during times when people may not have access to their office phones.   

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Public Comment Period on UST Regulations

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), under the authority of M.G.L. c. 21O, will hold public hearings in accordance with M.G.L. Chapter 30A on proposed amendments to 310 CMR 80.00 Underground Storage Tank (UST) Systems to make the regulations at least as stringent as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) UST regulations at 40 CFR 280 and 281 and to clarify and enhance other UST program requirements. EPA amended its UST regulations effective October 13, 2015. States that have delegated UST programs, including Massachusetts, are required to amend their regulations to be “no less stringent” than EPA’s UST regulations. 

The proposed amendments and a background document are available on MassDEP’s website at: https://www.mass.gov/service-details/massdep-public-hearings-comment-opportunities

Two virtual public hearings will be held on June 22, 2021, and written comments must be submitted by the end of the public comment period on July 2, 2021 by 5 pm. For more information on the upcoming public hearings, please visit here.  

The LSPA will not be sending comments on behalf of the membership. We encourage LSPA members to participate in the public comment period as appropriate through the public hearing or by submitting written comments.


Brownfields Workshop

The Brownfield Coalition of the Northeast (BCONE) is hosting the 2021 Northeast Sustainable Communities Workshop on June 22 and 23.

Please consider joining MassDEP staff and LSPA members as they present "Developing a Brownfields Site in MA: Building a Toolkit for Success."

LSPA members can attend at the BCONE Partner rate. Please email [email protected] for the promotional code.  

Special shout out and congratulations to our colleague Jamie Smith, Environmental Compliance Manager with the City of Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development, whose contributions will be celebrated with the Geoffrey R. Forrest Outstanding Individual Achievement Award. The LSPA has the pleasure of working with Jamie in his role as a member of the LSP Board of Registration of Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professionals.


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].


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 Announces March 2021 Compliance Tip

The following LSPA compliance tip was presented at the March 2021 Membership Meeting, which was held virtually through the Zoom webinar platform, on March 16, 2021.  

Compliance Tip of the Month

The four criteria for a Tier I site are related to IRA conditions, and a Tier I site cannot be initially classified or reclassified as Tier II until the IRA condition has been resolved and an IRA Completion Statement has been filed.  If a site meets at least one of these criteria it must be classified as Tier I:  evidence of groundwater contamination with OHM at concentrations equal to or exceeding the applicable RCGW-1 Reportable Concentration at a location within an Interim Wellhead Protection Area or Zone II, or within 500 feet of a Private Water Supply Well; 2) an Imminent Hazard is present; 3) one or more remedial actions are required as part of an IRA pursuant to 310 CMR 40.0414(2); or 4) an IRA is necessary to eliminate or mitigate a Critical Exposure Pathway pursuant to 310 CMR 40.0414(3).  

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LSPA Presents February 2021 Compliance Tip

The following LSPA compliance tip was presented at the February 2021 Membership Meeting, which was held virtually through the Zoom webinar platform, on February 9, 2021.  

Not all LSP Board-approved “Regulatory” continuing education credits are also “DEP Course” credits. To qualify as a “DEP Course,” an otherwise qualifying course must also be “taught in whole or in substantial part by Department of Environmental Protection personnel.” Only those credits specifically listed as “DEP Regulatory” can be applied toward both the 12-credit DEP Course requirement and the eight-credit Regulatory requirement.  

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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.


LSPA Unveils December 2020 Compliance Tip

The following LSPA compliance tip was presented at the December 2020 Membership Meeting, which was held virtually through the Zoom webinar platform, on December 15, 2020.  

During the COVID-19 State of Emergency declared by the Governor, MassDEP will apply its enforcement discretion with respect to the use of email to send notices to local officials provided that the sender employs some way of confirming that the intended recipient has received the email (e.g., using the read receipt function or requesting an email response confirming receipt).

It is expected that the proposed MCP amendments in the 2019 public hearing draft would allow email notification of local officials.


Click here to view all published compliance tips. This document is also posted in the Members Only section of the website under Technical Resources.

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.

MassDEP AUL Compliance Assistance Letters to be Mailed Soon

MassDEP has asked the LSPA to share the following information.
In December 2020, MassDEP is planning to mail an Activity and Use Limitation (AUL) compliance assistance letter to individuals listed in MassDEP records as owning a property at which a Notice of Activity and Use Limitation has been implemented.  This compliance assistance letter has been sent periodically (previously in 2010 and 2015) to provide property owners with a description of the nature and purpose of an AUL and remind them of their obligation to adhere to the terms of the AUL. 
 
The letter is strictly informational and generic (i.e., it does not reference site-specific AUL conditions) and does not require any response from the property owner to MassDEP.  MassDEP email and telephone contact information will be provided in the letter should the recipient have any additional questions or concerns.  A link to the generic letter is available here.   
 
Note, to avoid confusion, this generic compliance assistance letter will not be sent to those property owners with AULs related to Active Exposure Pathway Mitigation Measures (AEPMMS) that support a Permanent Solution pursuant to 310 CMR 40.1025(7).   Property owners in such cases are required to respond to an annual letter sent by MassDEP to certify the ongoing operation and maintenance of AEPMMs.  MassDEP will be sending the AEPMM annual certification letters in a subsequent mailing.

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.

LSPA Soliciting Comments on Asbestos Regulations

Now that we have your attention.... The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS) has issued updated asbestos regulations; a public hearing will be held this Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at 10 am and written comments are due this Friday, October 23, 2020. This Notice of Public Hearing provides more detailed information.
 
The current regulations at 453 CMR 6.00 can be accessed here. These are being rescinded in conjunction with the issuance of the new updated asbestos regulations, 454 CMR 28.00
 
The LSPA's Regulations Committee is reviewing these proposed regulations on a quick turnaround. If you have comments to contribute, please send them to [email protected] by no later than 5 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2020. We suggest that you also submit your comments to DLS separately since we cannot guarantee that they will be included in the LSPA's submittal.
 
Thank you.
Regulations Committee Co-Chairs
Kate Dilawari, LSP, Haley & Aldrich
Denise Kmetzo, DABT, Collaborative Risk Solutions LLC

LSPA Presents Paul Locke, Assistant Commissioner, MassDEP with its Contribution to the Practice Award

Before an audience of over 200 people on a Zoom videoconference, the LSP Association (LSPA) honored (and surprised!) Paul Locke, Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), with its Contribution to the Practice Award. 

The LSPA presents this award to an individual or organization from the public, non-profit, or private sector for outstanding contributions to the practice and advancing the profession over the previous year.  

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MassDEP Establishes Final PFAS MCL and Updates

The LSPA received the following email, addressed to public water suppliers, from MassDEP's Drinking Water Program, with information and details on the October 2, 2020 publication of final regulations establishing a 20 parts per trillion (ppt) drinking water standard, or a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), for the sum of six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). 
September 24, 2020
 
Re:  Final PFAS Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) and Updates
 
Dear Public Water Suppliers:
 
On October 2, 2020, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) will publish final regulations establishing a drinking water standard, or a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), for the sum of six per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The MCL is 20 parts per trillion (ppt) for what the regulations call PFAS6, or the sum of six PFAS compounds: perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA). PFAS are a family of chemicals widely used since the 1950s to manufacture common consumer products. They have been linked to a variety of health risks, particularly in women who are pregnant or nursing, and in infants. In using the sum of six PFAS compounds, the new standard protects public health for sensitive subgroups including pregnant women, nursing mothers and infants.

Of special interest in the new regulations, Public Water Supplies (PWS) in the Community (COM) and Non-Transient Non-Community (NTNC) categories will begin quarterly sampling for PFAS6:
  • Large COM PWS (>50,000 population) - 1/1/2021
  • Medium PWS (>10,000 & <=50,000 population) - 4/1/2021
  • Small COM and NTNC PWS (<=10,000 population) - 10/1/2021 
Transient Non-Community (TNC) PWS are not subject to the PFAS MCL requirements, but they are required under the regulations to collect one PFAS6 sample by September 30, 2022. Case-specific health assessments of drinking water PFAS6 concentrations at TNC systems can be required under existing authority.

To assist public water suppliers in preparing for and implementing the new PFAS regulations, the Baker-Polito Administration provided funding to MassDEP in the FY 2020 Supplemental Budget for testing for PFAS. I encourage all Public Water Suppliers (PWS) to take full advantage of the Commonwealth's Free PFAS Lab Analyses Program to conduct sampling and analyses for PFAS in your public water system. Testing for PFAS may also enable communities to take advantage of limited funding programs providing grants for remediation design and zero percent loans for construction. The Administration has announced more than $1.9 million in awards to 10 public water supply systems - Ayer, Westfield, Barnstable and Hyannis, Hudson, Millbury, Barnstable and Cummaquid, Acton, Easton, Devens, and Braintree, Holbrook and Randolph - to support their efforts to address PFAS contamination and design treatment systems to eliminate it in their drinking water.
PWS can sign up for free PFAS laboratory analyses at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/S7QHNF2, or can send a request with the information described in the survey (e.g. PWS name, PWS ID#, # of sources already tested, number of sources to be tested, and system population) to [email protected], Subject: "PFAS free lab analyses."
MassDEP has started accepting applications to certify labs for PFAS analysis. Once labs receive Massachusetts certification they will appear in the Online Searchable Laboratory Certification Listing
 at https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/DEP/Labcert/Labcert.aspx. (Search for Analyte = PFAS and Matrix = Potable (Drinking Water).) Until then, we recommend you use a laboratory from the list of MassDEP DWP approved labs, or use a lab certified by another state or certification authority for the analysis of PFAS; see the National Environmental Laboratory Accreditation Management System.
 
For the complete text of the PFAS regulations, please see: https://www.mass.gov/lists/development-of-a-pfas-drinking-water-standard-mcl. For the press release on the PFAS regulations and grants see https://www.mass.gov/dep. For more about the development of the PFAS regulations, please see https://www.mass.gov/lists/development-of-a-pfas-drinking-water-standard-mcl.
 
If you have any questions please contact me or the MassDEP Drinking Water Program at [email protected]
 
Sincerely,
 
 
Yvette DePeiza
Director, Drinking Water Program
MassDEP/BWR
 
For more information about PFAS and the Department's efforts to address these contaminants, please see: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/per-and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas.
 

LSPA Unveils September 2020 Compliance Tip

The following LSPA compliance tip was presented at the September 2020 Membership Meeting, which was held virtually through the Zoom webinar platform, on September 24, 2020.  

The MCP requires that a sketch plan be attached as an exhibit to an AUL.  Don’t be fooled by the informality of the term “sketch;” specific information must be included in the plan including:

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