Brickhouse Environmental was a proud sponsor of the 2022 Annual Meeting and Awards Luncheon of the Chester County Commercial Industrial Investment Council (“CII Council”) held on Thursday, April 28th at Waynesborough Country Club. The Chester County Commercial Industrial Investment Council (CII Council) is a membership organization for professionals involved in commercial and industrial real estate in Chester County, Pennsylvania. The group is not-for-profit and works closely with the Chester County Economic Development Council.
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The November 20, 2021 changes to Act 2 Statewide Health Standards (SHS) have created some beneficial opportunities for some previously remediated properties that still have post-remedial inspections, reporting, and Activity and Use Limitations (AULs).
For example, in the last 6 months:
- We helped one client remove the existing requirement for an asphalt cap, allowing unrestricted non-residential use of the property and a much less costly redevelopment project; and
- Another client gained approval for unrestricted residential use of their property where groundwater use would have previously been prohibited, significantly improving their property value for re-sale.
Specifically for these properties, the changes in the 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene standards in groundwater and the benzo(a)pyrene standards in soil allowed us to remove burdensome property use limitations and engineering controls.
Example No. 1
A gas station with petroleum releases to the soil was previously closed out under Act 2 using a Site Specific Standard due to benzo(a)pyrene concentrations above the Statewide Health Standard.
Therefore, the soils required a protective cap and annual inspections and reporting.
However, after the standard was raised from 0.58 to 4.2 mg/kg, the soil no longer exceeded the Statewide Health Standards, so we were able to remove the requirement for a protective cap and related post-remedial care obligations.
The removal of the cap and reporting requirements increased the redevelopment opportunities for the site and also improved the property value.
Example No. 2
A heating oil spill impacted soil and groundwater of a neighboring residential property. Under a PADEP-approved Cleanup Plan, soils were excavated and replaced, and groundwater monitoring wells were installed. Five years later, the homeowners still couldn’t sell their property because 1,2,4-Trimethylbenzene concentrations still exceeded residential Statewide Health Standards in the groundwater.
In November, the Statewide Health Standard increased from 15 parts per billion (ppb) to 130 ppb, thus allowing the cleanup and monitoring to be ceased, and an Act 2 release of cleanup liability was issued by the PADEP, with no restrictions. The change in standard immediately increased the property’s value and ability to be sold.
The Bottom Line
In certain situations where sites previously received Act 2 cleanup approvals through the use of engineering controls and/or Activity and Use Limitations on the property, there may now be opportunities to remove these burdensome obligations and ultimately improve the future use and value of the property.
If your property was previously remediated but still has ongoing maintenance, monitoring and/or reporting obligations, Brickhouse Environmental would be glad to review your reports and advise whether these benefits may be available for your property.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) has announced a 60-day public comment period on a new proposed rule to set maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for PFOA and PFOS in drinking water.[Read more…] about PADEP Announces Public Comment Period on New PFAS Drinking Water Standards
As we have detailed in previous newsletters during the past two years, many Pennsylvania site development projects requiring the import or export of soil from one property to another have been derailed by the presence of Vanadium in the soil. This problem was caused by changes in the PADEP’s Management of Fill Policy in January 2020, which included the reduction of the clean fill standard for Vanadium from 1,500 mg/kg to 15 mg/kg in soil. This concentration is substantially less than naturally occurring background levels typically found in soils in this region. Due to the massive number of site remediation and development projects that were stalled as a result of this change, the PADEP recognized the problem, worked with many stakeholders, and has now published a new interim-final Technical Guidance Document (TGD) to address background Vanadium concentrations in soil.[Read more…] about Finally, Relief from Overly Restrictive Vanadium Standards in Soil
Many of us rely on heating oil as the fuel source to heat our homes. The heating oil is stored in either an above ground (in the home or outside) or underground (buried) storage tank that is connected to the boiler. Properly maintaining these systems can help avoid releases of heating oil, which can result in major headaches and unexpected expenses, especially with many new homeowner’s insurance policies excluding coverage for cleanup.[Read more…] about 3 Easy Steps to Avoid Heating Oil Headaches
Ownership and redevelopment of brownfield properties can provide a business opportunity and greatly benefit a community. While there is significant potential for an all-around positive outcome, the owner or developer takes on the challenge of remediating or managing the contamination through working with environmental professionals and regulators. One of the most common challenges in managing contamination on these properties is dealing with vapor intrusion.
Vapor intrusion can occur when soil or groundwater underneath or adjacent to a building is impacted by “volatile” contaminants, meaning they readily exist as a vapor (i.e., gas). Think of the vapors that emanate from an open can of gasoline or other household chemicals such as paints and stains. When petroleum products or other volatile chemicals are spilled, they can seep into soil and groundwater and become an ongoing source of potentially harmful vapor. When these vapors move through soil and building foundations it can diminish indoor air quality. This is called vapor intrusion and can result in building occupants being exposed to these contaminants while breathing.
Vapor intrusion issues can be identified during due diligence, site development, or during characterization and remediation of known petroleum or other chemical spills. The nature and extent of the soil and groundwater contamination, as well as existing building conditions all have a significant impact on the best way to manage and resolve the vapor intrusion issue. It doesn’t matter if the building was constructed 200 years ago, 2 weeks ago or planned for construction in 2 months, there is a cost-effective solution. The solutions differ most significantly when considering mitigation of existing or new construction. Continue reading to learn more or call us at (610) 692-5770.[Read more…] about Under the Slab: Vapor Mitigation Strategies for Brownfield Development