Industry Updates – (Did you Know Facts)

NYSDEC issued guidance related to ‘Essential’ Site Investigation and Remediation

On April 2, 2020, NYSDEC issued guidance related to ‘Essential’ Site Investigation and Remediation projects and response actions. DEC considers the following activities to be essential:

• Remedial construction activities, including new construction starts, at sites that DEC has determined pose a significant threat to public health and/or the environment, including Class 2 sites on the Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites and significant threat sites in the Brownfield Cleanup Program;
• Completion of remedial construction already under way at non-significant threat sites as necessary to ensure site safety and prevent exposure to site contaminants, including completion of site cover systems;
• Operation and maintenance activities for active remedial systems that are necessary for the continued protection of human health and the environment;
• Interim remedial measures to address imminent human exposures and/or threat of significant contaminant migration;
• Spill response actions;
• Investigation, including pre-design investigations, of petroleum and hazardous waste releases as determined by DEC on a case-by-case basis to be necessary to address potential human exposures and/or threat of significant contaminant migration.

These criteria are subject to change and refinement as the response to the Covid-19 pandemic is fluid. Essential work must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, even if essential, must maintain social distance to the extent possible.

Feel free to contact Jim Blasting at Ambient Environmental Inc. if you have questions about your Site.

Each year, hundreds of fuel oil spills from home heating oil tanks occur……

Did you know that more than two million homes in New York are heated by fuel oil? Each year, hundreds of fuel oil spills from home heating oil tanks occur. These spills have resulted in contamination of basements, damage to basement contents, contamination of groundwater, wells and soils, and expensive cleanups that are often not covered by homeowner’s insurance.

As winter approaches, it is prudent to check your fuel tank for integrity and security. Some of the most common causes of home fuel oil spills are: failing storage tanks; faulty fuel lines and connections; collapsing tank legs and supports; and overflows during delivery. Take a look at your tank and conveyance system and take action to avoid a release.

If your tank is buried, you may want to refer to the following NYSDEC link:

Stay safe and warm this winter!

Are Your Hazardous Materials Survey Documents in Compliance with the Latest Regulations?

NYS Department of Health Laboratory analysis methods for the identification of asbestos in ceiling tiles, vermiculite, spray on fireproofing, surfacing materials and other materials containing vermiculite have had a significant change from 2011-2016.  Ask us if your current hazardous materials survey documents are in compliance with the latest regulations.

Mold Remediation

As of January 1, 2016, Mold Remediation requires an assessment by a NYS-licensed Mold Assessor who will develop a work plan to guide the remediation contractor.

Ambient Has a Special Focus in Commercial and Industrial Facilities

Ambient has a special focus in commercial and industrial facilities and has provided environmental services and solutions to many of the region’s most complex and high profile demolition and renovation projects. In each case, Ambient has served as the client’s environmental consultant to conduct a comprehensive hazardous materials survey for asbestos and lead-based paint, pcb’s or other materials encountered; prepare abatement specifications; assist with the abatement contractor bidding process and provide project/air monitoring and abatement oversight services. These multifaceted renovation and demolition projects are sensitive and require close coordination and effective communication with a variety of parties, including the client representatives, construction management firms, project architects, general contractors, abatement contractors and other sub consultants. In most cases, aggressive schedules must be met to accomplish project objectives. The careful execution and phasing of services to ensure building safety and maintain operations is a tenet of the Ambient team.

When to Test for Lead Paint?

If you reside in a home  built before 1978 (the year lead paint was banned for residential use)
If you are buying, selling, or renting a condominium, co-op or home built before 1978
Before beginning any renovation or demolition on a building built before 1978
Before disturbing a painted surface
If you are pregnant or have children under six years old.

NYSDEC issues new Solid Waste Regulations

As 2017 came to an end, NYSDEC finally issued the long-anticipated revised Part 360 Series of Solid Waste Management Facility Regulations.  This was the first major revision of New York’s solid waste regulations in nearly 25 years.  The new regulations became effective on November 4, 2017 and include compliance deadlines as early as spring 2018.  Numerous changes are contained in the revised regulations; here are a few highlights:

Requires facilities that receive, process and sort mixed Construction & Demolition (C&D) debris to operate in an enclosed building to minimize effects on the surrounding community, and expands tracking requirements for C&D debris;
Limits registration duration and some case-specific Beneficial Use Determinations (“BUD”) to five years;
Increases regulations that apply to mulch production and storage;
Strengthens current prohibitions on the disposal of flowback water and production brine wastes from oil and gas production drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing

One notable change is a new section regulating the management of historical landfills which requires the owner or operator to notify NYSDEC of any intent to disturb such disposal area, and any discovery of exposed waste, a surface discharge of leachate, a contravention of groundwater quality standard, migration of disposal facility gases, vectors, subsidence, slope failures, or “any other significant adverse environmental impacts”.

NYSDEC Considering Significant Changes to Part 375 Regulations Which Could Affect Brownfields

New York’s Part 375 regulations apply to Environmental Remediation Programs, including the Brownfield Cleanup Program (BCP) which is intended to provide incentives for remediation and reuse of environmentally-distressed properties. Unfortunately, the proposed changes will further complicate the BCP and could be a disincentive to potential participants.  Some interesting proposed changes are as follows:

Increased documentation requirements to obtain a Certificate of Completion (CoC);
Limits the definition of cover systems which could result in a decrease in realized tax credits;
Adds additional requirements for receipt of Tangible Property Tax Credits including a provision for demonstration of “economic hardship” in some markets;
Shifts the burden of a Potential Responsible Party (PRP) search to the Volunteer.

Changes to the Environmental Restoration Program, which is designed to help municipalities address brownfield sites, are also being contemplated.  Stay tuned!

Petroleum Bulk Storage Tank Registration

Did you know that, in New York State, all facilities that store more than a total of 1,100 gallons of petroleum in aboveground and underground storage tanks must register those tanks?  Any underground storage tank larger than 110 gallons must also be registered. Furthermore, all used oil tanks must be registered, regardless of capacity.  There are over 22,000 registered underground storage tanks in New York State, with many more above ground tanks.  Home heating oil tanks (and farm tanks, along with a few other situations) are excluded.  Did you know that there are approximately 3 million residential heating oil tanks in New York State?

Part Per Billion

Did you know that many cleanup objectives for soil and water are measured in parts per billion (ppb) or, in some cased, parts per trillion (ppt)?  For example, the New York State Groundwater Standard for benzene is 1 ppb.  But how do you ‘envision’ one part per billion?  Think of it this way: one part per billion is equal to one second in 32 years!  Looked at another way, 4 drops of liquid in a 50,000 gallon tank would equal one part per billion.