Establishing Remedial Action Plan

Prior to implementing a clean up at a Brownfield site, the remedial approach and performance goals must be approved by the state environmental agency. This usually is accomplished by submitting a Remedial Action Work Plan (RAW) to the appropriate agency for review and approval. A RAW should contain:
  • Summary of the investigation findings and contaminant distribution.
  • Identification of applicable remediation standards.
  • Detailed description of the remedial action and the remedial technology to be applied.
  • Identification of all areas where remedial action will be conducted on a scaled site map.
  • Sampling summary table for post remediation verification samples.
  • Quality assurance project plan including proposed sampling and analytical methods.
  • List of required permits.
  • Description of soil and sediment erosion control and monitoring, and dust and odor control and monitoring procedures to be implemented during remedial activities.
  • Health and safety plan.
  • Plan for the maintenance, evaluation and reporting of all engineering and institutional controls.
  • Cost estimate of the remedial action.
  • Schedule of the remedial action.

Remedial Action Objectives

With regard to Brownfield sites, many states use a Risk Based Corrective Action (RBCA) like process for determining the protectiveness of a remedial action and establishing clean up goals. In this case site specific remedial goals are established using a risk assessment approach, based on published guidelines. Typically, risk scenarios consider three types of redevelopment scenarios: residential, commercial/industrial, and sensitive uses (i.e. school, day care facility or recreational area). The property owner proposes to clean up the site to either a specific numerical standard or, where conditions do not allow total removal or treatment of contaminates to the numerical standard (i.e. historic fill), a risk reduction standard that prevents contact or inhalation exposure.

New Jersey recently adopted a new law governing the cleanup of contaminated sites; the law is the Site Remediation Reform Act.  There are allowances under the new law for site specific risk assessments to be prepared to determine if unique circumstances at the property and for the proposed use require the selection of a cleanup standard that is protective of human health and the environment but different from the assumptions built into the statewide standard.  Other states, such as MA, allow for the development of site specific risk assessments to determine cleanup standards.

Long Term Stewardship Institutional Controls/Engineering Controls (IC/EC)

All states in Geographic Zone 1 allow some form of IC/EC as part of the remedial action. Normally these are allowed on commercial/industrial reuse, but can be applied to residential reuse where warranted. The use of IC/EC needs to be included in the RAW and the specific location of an EC identified on a map. They all require long term stewardship IC/EC maintenance programs which include routine reporting. Community concerns regarding the tracking of the IC/ECs over time are being addressed through mandatory public notices at various points in the process, publication of the locations of IC/ECs on a web site and developing of IC/EC performance tracking systems.  For example, NJ's new Site Remediation Reform Act requires that permits now be obtained for IC/ECs; making it easier to track the land use controls in a statewide database and clarifying that the permit and its requirements to comply with the permit change hands when property is transferred.

In addition, many states have adopted the Uniform Environmental Covenants Acts (UECA), which standardizes how environmental restrictions are documented and tracked.  For more information on UECA, go to PADEP.  Permits, permit tracking databases, and UECA are all based on the same goal:  to make information that restricts certain activities at remediated brownfield sites readily available to everyone and to make the information transparent so that human health and the environment will remain protected over time when properties change hands.  (For more information regarding Institutional and Engineering Controls, see the section on Brownfield Post Development Site Management.)

Remedial Action Report

At the completion of the remedial action, a report documenting the clean up is prepared and submitted for review and approval by the state environmental agency. The remedial action report should include the following:

  • Summary, by specific area of concern, of all remedial actions completed.
  • List of the remediation standards achieved for each remedial action.
  • “As-built” diagrams for any permanent structures such as caps or other remediation structures and engineering controls.
  • Fully executed manifests documenting any offsite transport of waste material.
  • Copy of the final draft deed notice, including all of the exhibits (if applicable).
  • Evidence that groundwater impacts have been reduced to the appropriate levels.
  • If a groundwater classification exclusion area is being used as an IC, plan for the monitoring, maintenance, and certification of the protectiveness.