Environmental Contamination

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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Updated Vapor Intrusion Guidance Now Available

Following two years of effort and collaboration with external partners to update guidance on response actions for vapor intrusion, the Remediation and Redevelopment Program is pleased to announce that the document, Addressing Vapor Intrusion at Remediation and Redevelopment Sites in Wisconsin (PUB-RR-800), is available to the public. (To see the DNR’s responses to comments received during the public comment period for the draft, please visit click this link.)

Page one of updated publication

Addressing Vapor Intrusion at Remediation and Redevelopment Sites in Wisconsin, DNR publication RR-800

The guidance relates to the assessment, remediation and mitigation of the vapor intrusion pathway at contaminated sites in Wisconsin, for both chlorinated and petroleum substances.

Among numerous updates, the new guidance incorporates the changes made to the Wisconsin Administrative Code ch. NR 700 in 2013. It also includes information found in the EPA’s 2015 vapor intrusion guidance documents, and it provides additional details on mitigation, including principles found in the American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists (AARST) 2017 national standard on vapor mitigation, SCM-SF-2017).

The RR-800 guidance was most recently updated in 2010.

Questions or comments about the new guidance can be addressed to Alyssa Sellwood.

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.

PFAS Fact Sheets from ITRC

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of emerging contaminants known to impact groundwater and surface water. The information surrounding toxicity, laboratory methods, investigations, and remediation strategies is evolving, and the Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council (ITRC) recently published three technical factsheets summarizing current information on PFAS.  The fact sheets are available online.

These fact sheets specifically relate to:
1. History and Use
2. Regulations, Guidance, and Advisories
3. Naming Conventions and Physical and Chemical Properties

Later this month, ITRC plans to finalize three additional guidance documents on Fate and Transport, Site Characterization, and Remediation, which will be made available on the ITRC website.

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.

Open House “Q & A” on New Vapor Intrusion Guidance

The Remediation and Redevelopment Program will host a two-hour “Q & A” regarding the agency’s new guidance on vapor intrusion. The open house event will take place on Tuesday, August 29, in Madison, and via teleconference at the same time.

The guidance – RR-800 – is currently available for written public comment through the DNR’s “proposed program guidance” web page; comment on the document will be accepted through September 8, 2017.

Subjects discussed during the “Q & A” session will not take the place of written comments on the document. Rather, the opportunity is meant to help further clarify the material for those who may have questions about the content, with hope of alleviating potential erroneous comments.

Details of the vapor intrusion “Q & A” open house are:

  • Date: Tuesday, August 29
  • Time: 9:00 – 11:00 CST
  • Location: DNR Central Office, Room G-09, 101 S. Webster St., Madison, WI 53707
  • Conference Call Number: 1-855-947-8255, Passcode: 6612745#

Vapor intrusion team leader Alyssa Sellwood and Policy and Technical Resources Section Chief Judy Fassbender will be available to answer questions and clarify issues for participants.

If you plan to attend in person, please notify Alyssa Sellwood by the close of the business day on Monday, August 28, so that building security can be prepared for your arrival.

Issues & Trends Conference Call Scheduled for September 6

Alyssa Sellwood, the Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s vapor intrusion and dry-cleaning team leader, will present our Issues & Trends conference call in September. Alyssa will discuss vapor intrusion sampling, including a discussion of action triggers, mitigation and long-term monitoring.  

Date: Wednesday, September 6
Time: 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Phone number: 1-855-947-8255
Passcode: 6612745#

The conference call will be recorded and available for playback via the Program’s training library for those who are unable to participate during the above time.

No pre-registration is required.  

 

Updated Vapor Intrusion Guidance – RR-800 Public Input Opportunities

The RR Program seeks your input on a significantly revised document titled, RR-800, Addressing Vapor Intrusion at Remediation & Redevelopment Sites in Wisconsin. The revisions to RR-800 include: updates from ITRC’s and USPEA’s vapor guidance; additional details on required deliverables; expectations for outreach; clarification on preemptive mitigation; and a significantly expanded discussion on vapor mitigation (design options, performance verifications, long-term operation and maintenance, and continuing obligations).

The document can be reviewed at http://dnr.wi.gov/news/input/guidance.html and comments can be submitted through September 8, 2017 to the Vapor Intrusion Team Leader, Alyssa Sellwood at Alyssa.Sellwood@wisconsin.gov. In addition, the RR Program will host a question and answer session on Tuesday, August 29th.  Mark your calendars; more details to come.

Issues & Trends: A Preview and Discussion of DNR’s Vapor Intrusion Guidance

Alyssa Sellwood, a Hydrogeologist with the Remediation and Redevelopment Program and the leader of the dry cleaning and vapor intrusion teams, will present the next Issues & Trends training event on Wednesday, August 9, at noon. No pre-registration is required.

Sellwood’s presentation will be an overview of forthcoming additions and modifications to the RR Program’s existing guidance on vapor intrusion – RR 800 Addressing Vapor Intrusion at Remediation and Redevelopment Sites in Wisconsin. We originally published the guidance in 2010, but revisions are necessary as knowledge and understanding of vapor intrusion has grown. The guidance is being readied for public comment and includes such updates as commissioning and inspecting vapor mitigation systems, mitigating vapor risk in new construction, and evaluating and addressing potential vapor risk in large commercial and industrial buildings.

The training session details are:

  • Date: August 9, 2017
  • Time: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
  • Join by phone: 1-855-947-8255, passcode 6612745#
  • Questions in advance can be sent to DNRRRComments@wisconsin.gov

Reminder: Required Submittals, Consultant Qualifications and Certifications

As part of the Remediation and Redevelopment Program’s continuing outreach to its customers, the program wants to remind consultants and responsible parties that:

(1) Wis. Admin. Code § NR 700 rule series (hereafter “NR 700”) specifies the technical reports or documents that must be submitted to the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) regardless of whether the responsible party is requesting a fee review or not; and

(2) Those documents are to be prepared by or under the supervision of a professional engineer, hydrogeologist or scientist as those terms are specifically defined in NR 712.03. This rule chapter requires: (1) appropriate qualifications of the consultant; (2) signatures; and (3) certification language to be included with the appropriate NR 700 submittals.

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