Contaminated sediments

RR Program Web and IT Updates

The Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) Program has created a new web page for contaminated soil and sediment, and recently completed additional webpage updates.

The new contaminated soil and sediment web page contains guidance and instructions on the soil RCL calculator and information about alternative soil assessments, soil and materials management under Wis. Admin. Code ch. NR 718, historic fill exemptions, contaminated sediments, PCBs in soil, smear zone contamination, and biodegradation as a remedial action.

If you already have Resources for Environmental Professionals bookmarked, a link to the new webpage can be found in the “Related Links” section, as well as at the top of that page for a limited time.

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Comprehensive Per- and poly-fluoroaklyl (PFAS) Legislation Proposed

Today, Governor Evers and Secretary Cole accompanied Senators David Hansen (Green Bay) and Mark Miller (Monona) to announce one of the most comprehensive bills in the nation to address contamination by per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). This bill (LRB-2297/2), if passed, will protect public health as well as the air, waters and lands of Wisconsin.

What would the legislation do?

  • This bill requires the Department of Natural Resources to establish and enforce various standards for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
  • The PFAS group of substances includes several thousand chemicals (4,000+); two of the most well-known are perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS).
  • The bill requires DNR to establish, by rule, the following:
    • acceptable levels and standards,
    • monitoring requirements, and
    • required response actions for any PFAS.
  • Applies to all media:
    • in drinking water, groundwater, surface water, air, solid waste, beds of navigable waters, and soil and sediment, if the department determines that the substance may be harmful to human health or the environment.
  • These rules must cover, at a minimum, PFOA and PFOS, as well as perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorobutane sulfonic acid (PFBS), and perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA).
  • In recommending a groundwater enforcement standard for a perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substance, the department of health services may recommend individual standards for each substance, a standard for these substances as a class, or standards for groups of these substances.

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NR 700 – 754 Rules Meeting on April 18, 2019

On April 18, 2019, the Remediation and Redevelopment (RR) program will host a meeting to provide information and seek input on the development of revisions to select provisions of Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700799, Environmental Protection – Investigation and Remediation of Environmental Contamination.

This meeting is part of a series of rule development meetings that the RR program is hosting as it develops proposed rule revisions.  The April 18 meeting will be a subgroup discussion of rule development regarding financial assurance costs, mechanisms, and procedures for the implementation of statutory requirements relating to:

  • Financial responsibility for engineering control and structural impediment removal at sediment cleanup sites and related requirements (new chapter NR 756) and
  • Insurance or other forms of financial responsibility for Voluntary Party Liability Exemption (VPLE) sediment cleanup sites (new chapter NR 758).

The meeting will be held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the DNR’s Madison office in room 513, with remote access available.  If you plan to attend the meeting in person, please RSVP to Molly Schmidt.

To participate via conference call, please call 1-855-947-8255 using the code: 6961 559#.

Public Comment Open Now on Glatfelter Settlement to Clean up Fox River

Papermaker P.H. Glatfelter has agreed to pay $20.5 million to reimburse past and future EPA costs to clean up PCBs in Fox River sediment in a settlement with the US EPA and the US DOJ.

The settlement requires Glatfelter to assume responsibility for cleanup tasks, as well as the long-term monitoring and maintenance that will continue for years following dredging and a cap installation that is scheduled to be finished this year.

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Exempt Soil Guidance Available

Exempt Soil Management: A Self-Implementing Option for Soil Excavated During a Response Action under Wis. Admin. Code chs. NR 700 through NR 750 (RR 103) is now available.

This 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. The document provides responsible parties clarity on what types of substances – if identified in soil – could generally be managed as “exempt soil” in accordance with state law without the department’s pre-approval or tracking.

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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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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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