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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

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

LSPA Comments on MA Brownfields Tax Credit Regulation

On Friday, April 3, 2020 the LSPA submitted comments to the MA Department of Revenue on Working Draft Regulation 830 CMR 63.38Q.1, the Massachusetts Brownfields Tax Credit. Read our cover letter and the accompanying spreadsheet which presents our comments in more detail. Many thanks to the LSPA's Regulations Committee for compiling comments and to the many LSPA members who shared their feedback on the Working Draft regulation.

LSPA Submits Comments to MassDEP on 2019 Proposed MCP Amendments


On Friday, July 19, 2019, at the end of MassDEP's public comment period, the LSPA submitted our comments on the 2019 Proposed MCP Amendments. Our cover letter summarized three key topics of concern: PFAS, Risk Characterization, and Transition Provisions. A separate document included 15 pages of comments.  

As usual, the LSPA process started with a call to members to submit their comments to the LSPA Regulations Committee.  Then committee co-chairs Joe Roman (GEI) and Dan LaFrance (Fuss & O'Neill) assembled a team of "champions" to review, develop, and vet comments.  Many thanks and kudos to that group for an awesome job pulling together a solid draft set of comments.

These comments were reviewed by the LSPA Board and finally by Michele Paul (City of New Bedford), the LSPA's new President. 

We encourage you to share any additional thoughts and comments with the LSPA at [email protected].