As discussed in our January 2020 Newsletter, the PADEP’s new Management of Fill Policy went into effect on January 1, 2020. This policy is applicable every time that you send soil/fill material away from your property or import it onto your property. We have found up-front planning to be essential for reducing overall time, costs, and liabilities. Here are some key takeaways:
- The current Policy eliminated the previous numeric standards (Table GP-1), which were developed in 2004. It replaced them with Act 2 Statewide Health Standards – the lower of the residential direct contact values and the residential generic soil-to-groundwater values. Importantly, the clean fill standards will automatically be updated when the Act 2 regulations are next amended (anticipated November 2021).
- The amount of lab testing required for “Clean Fill” determinations can be significantly reduced through “due diligence.” Your trusted environmental professional can help you to determine how much due diligence is needed, how much it can potentially save in lab costs and time, and whether it’s worth it.
HINT – Don’t test for Vanadium. The clean fill standard is lower than naturally occurring background concentrations!
- Once it is determined that fill material meets the definition of “clean fill”, a Certification of Clean Fill form (FP-001) must be filed electronically with PADEP (for informational purposes but not approval) before the fill material is transported to the receiving site. Beware – PADEP can review your FP-001 submission after the fact and come back to you if they don’t think that it’s sufficient. Therefore, it’s important to properly cover your bases before sending fill offsite.
- A clean fill determination can be made if it is shown that the concentrations of analytes exceeding the relevant Act 2 standards are actually below background concentrations in soils in the area of the site. However, not only must the fill material be shown to meet background concentrations from the donor site, they must also be shown to meet background concentrations for the receiving site in order to send the material to that property.
The BIGGEST takeaway for earth-moving projects: Think Before You Test!!! Strategic planning and up-front due diligence can help you avoid or reduce sampling requirements — saving major time, money and headaches on your earthmoving projects.