New regulations from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) will have significant impacts to most projects. As with most new regulations, officials, consultants, and contractors are working together to interpret the new rules. Here’s what we know so far.
It’s a given that most construction sites will generate some level of dirt and debris. Whether a project requires digging holes, adjusting grading, or leveling earth, chances are soil, rock, and other types of fill materials may be entering and exiting project sites.
NYSDEC approved Part 360 Solid Waste Regulations in November 2017, and compliance was required starting in May of this year. The new regulations mean that fill materials will require testing and classification before they can be removed from a site in an approved manner.
Under the regulations, a qualified environmental professional will need to certify that the fill material has been evaluated and sampled in accordance with the Part 360 requirements. This will include assessment of the physical and chemical characteristics of the fill. If it’s found to be contaminated, the fill will need to be disposed of at a solid waste facility as a regulated waste.
Part 360 identifies three classifications for fill, called predetermined Beneficial Use Determinations (BUDs). The classification process is required even for clean, general fill. Previously, if the fill appeared to be clean it could be reused without restriction. Under the new regulations, a site’s history must be evaluated and could be used as grounds to require analytical testing. Any quantity of physical contamination – like concrete, asphalt, or other construction or demolition debris – will require the fill to be classified as restricted or limited use. This has become the major obstacle faced by municipalities and developers, especially in urban environments where a majority of fill materials encountered contain physical contamination (non-soil constituents) at some level.
LaBella’s team of environmental experts have been in communication with NYSDEC throughout the early implementation of the new rules. Our breadth of services means that we can test and certify our clients’ fill materials using in-house analysts without delay.
Interpretations of new regulations typically evolve, and the regulations related to fill material management are no exception. Given the recent changes, it is imperative to consider the new requirements during project planning and design as opposed to during construction. Projects that aren’t proactive in regards to these new regulations will suffer cost and schedule implications.