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How Can Clean Soil Now Be Dirty?

Pollution Assessment & Remediation

How Can Clean Soil Now Be Dirty?

Feb 09, 2015

Environmental regulators have created a new category of soil called “Impacted Soil” to more consistently manage soils that have contamination below notification thresholds but above background levels.

Regulators have long wrestled with the problem of enforcing anti-degradation rules for soil that does not trigger management under a state’s waste site cleanup program with the creation of “Impacted Soil” as the solution.  In essence, mildly contaminated soil not subject to notification thresholds cannot be reused at a location having lesser pollutant levels for it would degrade the receiving location.  Guidance documents are available in some states that provide a technical approach to demonstrate that degradation will not occur through sampling and statistical analysis. Alternatively, receiving facilities are coming online permitted to accept such soils for land reclamation projects (i.e. quarry filling).  Either way, soils that were once considered “clean” are now not, and costly to manage.  Contact Stephen Dowaliby for assistance at

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