On the Horizon: MassDEP’s New Approach to Soil Management

man with dirt pileConstruction soils management continues to be an important discussion topic among contractors, consultants, and even the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). With the limited amount of disposal locations in Massachusetts, finding proper locations for soils has become a significant issue during many construction projects. In order to resolve some of these issues, MassDEP issued a “Similar Soils Policy” in October 2013 (Revised April 2014) to clarify the regulations surrounding soils that are neither remediation waste nor hazardous materials. However, soils that are not addressed by the Similar Soils Policy or the remediation/hazardous waste categories have no clear guidance or regulations associated with them. MassDEP is beginning to refer to these soils as “Gap” soils.

Some “Gap” soils are considered contaminated, but they are not heavily contaminated enough to fall under remediation waste or hazardous waste regulations. Due to the limitations guidance and regulations set forth presently, these “Gap” soils are often handled and disposed as heavily contaminated even though they are not. This leads to over-management of soils which can be very costly to a project’s budget and consume valuable landfill space.

MassDEP recognizes these concerns and is taking steps towards improving soil reuse opportunities and limiting over-management of less contaminated soil. In an effort to work within the framework of the existing regulations, MassDEP is developing a guidance document to address soils of that nature which is scheduled to be released as a draft this summer.

SAK Environmental’s staff has a proven track record of successfully managing contaminated materials on multiple types of job sites, including coordinating with regulators and preparing detailed compliance reports. If you have any questions regarding regulations or requirements for your sites, don’t hesitate to contact Steve Sakakeeny at 978-688-7804 ext. 112 or ssakakeeny@sakenvironmental.com.