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.