Soils

Material Management Activity Type Now Available in BRRTS

A new tracking code entitled, Material Management (MM), has been created within the Bureau of Remediation and Redevelopment Tracking System (BRRTS) to identify sites and facilities that have accepted contaminated soil or other solid waste with an exemption from certain solid waste program requirements through Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 or NR 718.15.

BRRTS numbers assigned to the MM activities codes will have a ‘15’- prefix.  Only the main actions (e.g., an interim or remedial actions) and continuing obligations (e.g., engineering control for direct contact threats) directly related to the material management activity will be tracked as an MM activity on the receiving site or facility.  All interim or remedial actions involving Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 718 materials management will be concurrently tracked at the ERP or LUST source property where the contaminated material was excavated.  The exception would be for continuing obligations imposed on the site or facility receiving the material.

The MM tracking code was created to allow the public to use BRRTS on the Web (BOTW) to clearly identify sites or facilities where contaminated soil and other solid waste was received and how it is being managed.  For actions approved by DNR in April 2018 and forward, BOTW can be used to search for sites and facilities where a Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12/718.15 exemption was granted.  Only actions directly related to Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 and 718.15 materials management will be listed in each MM activity, allowing users to efficiently obtain information specifically related to these activities.

An MM activity will be opened for sites and facilities where a Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 or NR 718.15 exemption was granted after March 29, 2018.    At this time, the DNR does not intend to retroactively create MM activities at sites or facilities where Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 or NR 718.15 exemptions were previously granted due to workload challenges.

Any questions regarding this process may be addressed to Paul Grittner at (608) 266-0941 or paul.grittner@wisconsin.gov.

Public Input Opportunity – Soil Management Guidance for Cleanups

The RR Program seeks your input on a revised, draft publication entitled “Clean Soil Management: A Self-Implementing Option for Soil Excavated During a Response Action under Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 700 through NR 750” (RR-103). This draft guidance was revised based on comments received from the public. This revision is much narrower in scope than the last version that was sent out for public comment.  This guidance is different than, but related to, the NR 718 contaminated soil guidance.

In particular, this guidance is intended solely for use by responsible parties (RPs) who are managing soil excavated as part of a response action pursuant to Wis. Stats. ch. 292 and Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700 – 754.

The guidance does not apply to soil excavated as part of a construction project, utility project or transportation project.  However, if those projects also involve an NR 700 response action, this guidance only applies to the soil excavated as a direct result of the response action.

This draft guidance provides an optional approach for responsible parties and their environmental consultants to use when soil is characterized and excavated as part of a response action (i.e., cleanup action), and the soil does not need to be managed at a licensed solid waste facility or through a site-specific exemption in Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 718 or the NR 500 rule series. This document provides responsible parties (RPs) more clarity on what types of substances – if identified in soil – could generally be managed as “clean soil” in accordance with state law without the department’s pre-approval or tracking.  However, the person placing or accepting the soil would need to comply with limited locational criteria. The department believes that providing this guidance will help responsible parties and their environmental consultants to save money, and make more timely and consistent decisions on how to manage this type of excavated soil during a Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 700 cleanup action.

The document can be reviewed at http://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/guidance.html and comments can be submitted through May 13, 2018 to the Brownfields and Outreach Section Chief, Christine Haag at Christine.Haag@wisconsin.gov. In addition, the RR Program will host a question and answer session on this guidance scheduled for April 20, 2018, at 10:30 a.m. Meeting logistics and agenda can be found on the DNR’s public meetings calendar (dnr.wi.gov search “public meetings”).  Externals are encouraged to provide written comments, as formal note taking will not capture comments during the listening session. Please note: Attendees must check-in at the visitors desk on the first floor. A conference call number is also available. Please RSVP to Christine Haag (christine.haag@wisconsin.gov) if planning to attend.

Wisconsin DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program Has Authority to Regulate Emerging Contaminants – including, PFAS Compounds

Chemicals that have seen industrial use for decades are now beginning to be better understood by scientists and others concerned with their potential impacts to human health and the environment. Per- and polyfluoroalkyl compounds (PFASs) are a class of emerging contaminants known to impact environmental media, such as groundwater, soil, sediment and surface water.

Additional information about PFASs can be found on the EPA’s web page, the ITRC’s collection of fact sheets and through the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).

When discharged to the environment, PFAS compounds meet the definitions of hazardous substance and/or environmental pollution under Wis. Stat. § 292.01. Discharges of PFASs to the environment are subject to regulation under Wis. Stat. § 292 and the requirements for immediate notification, investigation, and remediation in Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700 through 754.

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Soil RCL Calculator Updates

The Wisconsin DNR’s Remediation and Redevelopment Program has updated the numerical soil standards in its spreadsheet of residual contaminant levels (RCLs). The RCLs were determined using the recently-updated U.S. EPA regional screening level (RSL) web-calculator.

A summary of the changes to the direct-contact RCLs can be found in the new document, titled “RR Program’s Soil RCL Spreadsheet Update,” publication number DNR-RR-052f.

For more information and to access the RCL spreadsheet (macro and non-macro versions), visit the Resources for Environmental Professionals webpage and click on the “Soil RCLs” tab.

External Advisory Groups Help Guide, Shape DNR Policy

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program puts to good use the skills and knowledge of its customers by working together in a collaborative manner through a number of External Advisory Groups (EAG). In fact, it’s one of the core values of the agency. And with funding from the US EPA’s 128(a) grant, the Brownfields and Outreach Section assists these groups with messaging and keeping customers and the public informed.

Now in its 20th year of advising the agency is the Brownfields Study Group (BSG). The study group is one of the oldest EAGs, created in 1998 at the direction of the Governor and State Legislature to evaluate Wisconsin’s brownfields initiatives and recommend improvements, as well as propose additional incentives for brownfields redevelopment. The BSG continues to drive important brownfields policy changes in Wisconsin and among its successes can count the creation of the Site Assessment Grant Program, which awarded more than $18 million to more than 200 communities before it was transferred to a different agency. The group was also instrumental in developing the One Cleanup Program Agreement with Region 5 EPA, the most comprehensive agreement of its kind, which helps expedite cleanups of properties across the state.

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Issues & Trends: An Alternative for Determining Soil RCLs for PAHs

On October 4, 2017, please join the RR Program for a teleconference discussion of the RCL spreadsheet and a substitute method of calculating alternative non-industrial direct-contact residual contaminant levels (RCLs) for select carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (cPAHs).

Waste management specialist Paul Grittner and hydrogeologist David Swimm, both with the RR Program, will discuss the modified soil RCL spreadsheet which can be used to attain compliance when the applicable cPAH direct contact RCLs in NR 720 is not practicable. The spreadsheet changes how non-industrial direct contact RCLs for seven cPAHs are assessed. The spreadsheet evaluates cPAH compounds on a cumulative basis only, rather than on an individual compound basis and a cumulative basis.

This approach is allowed under NR 722, but the DNR’s pre-approval is required prior to implementation. Paul and David’s presentation will focus on the process recommended for assessing PAH data using the modified soil RCL spreadsheet, as well as the DNR pre-approval process.

The teleconference will take place at noon on Oct. 4. No pre-registration is required. Call 1-855-947-8255 and use passcode 6612 745#. This presentation will be recorded and available the following day on the RR Program’s Training Library.

Public Input Opportunity on Soil RCLs for PAHs

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program seeks your input on a new guidance document titled Calculating Soil RCLs for PAHs Wis. Admin Code § NR 722.11 (1) (RR-079).

This guidance document introduces the modified residual contaminant level (RCL) spreadsheet that allows for an alternative method of calculating non-industrial direct contact RCLs for seven carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (cPAHs). The modifications are based on a reassessment of the risk posed by cPAHs by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

The modified spreadsheet assesses these cPAHs exclusively on cumulative risk and does not assess their individual compound-specific risk. Use of this spreadsheet complies with the requirements of Wis. Admin. § NR 722.11 for developing alternate standards when meeting the RCLs in Wis. Admin. § NR 720 is not practicable.

The comment period will be open through May 31, 2017. This document can be reviewed on the Department’s public input web page, and comments can be submitted to Paul Grittner.

New Guidance Documents Now Available on Managing Contaminated Soil and other Wastes

The RR Program recently finalized four new guidance documents regarding the management of contaminated soil and other waste materials excavated at sites or facilities in locations other than a licensed landfill.

This guidance is the culmination of several years of discussion between the RR Program and external stakeholders, including more than 20 individuals who served on the program’s Contaminated Materials Management Advisory Group and other interested parties who also participated in meetings. The group was formed in May 2015 and met more than a dozen times to provide input on issues related to materials management. The RR Program thanks those who participated for sharing their time and perspective.

These new guidance documents include:

  • RR-060, Management of Contaminated Soil and Other Solid Wastes Wis. Admin. Code §§ NR 718.12 and NR 718.15, provides a general overview of the exemptions available under NR 718 for managing excavated material, a description of when these exemptions may apply, and a summary of the application process and requirements.
  • RR-071, NR 718.12 Sample Results Notification, provides a cover page that may be used when submitting laboratory reports to the DNR to satisfy the requirements of NR 718.12(1)(e)(4).
  • RR-072, Recommended Format for Exemption Request Wis. Admin Code NR 718.12 or NR 718.15, provides a consistent format to demonstrate that the proposed management of solid waste material, as a remedial or interim action, qualifies for a NR 718.12 or NR 718.15 exemption and to request written approval of the exemption from the DNR.
  • RR-073, Request for Exemption from Location Criteria of NR 718.12(1)(c) for Managing Soil as an Immediate Action, provides a format to request that the DNR allow management of soil, as an immediate action, in an area that will not comply with the location criteria listed in NR 718.12(1)(c).

Contact Paul Grittner at (608) 266-0941 or paul.grittner@wisconsin.gov regarding questions related to these documents.