CERQ Manual Revisions and Recent Projects

April 9, 2021

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Congratulations, it appears that we've finally turned the corner on the Covid Pandemic. We want to acknowledge and thank all the nurses and doctors, scientists, etc., who have sacrificed and worked tirelessly to help us get to this point. Nice to see restaurants with tables and chairs in their normal set-up. We'll have to get used to more traffic again.

Now the question that remains is; what is the new normal? Do we get back to everyone in the office, does your staff continue to work from home or will it most likely be some combination of both? Does staff continue to wear masks in the office? How do you deal with staff that hasn't been or won't get vaccinated? How long do we maintain tracing protocols? Are you aware of the legal issues that go with these questions and your decisions? With the new normal comes potentially new human resources and a legal minefield to work through. 

CEQR Manual Revisions

The City Environmental Quality Review (CEQR) Technical Manual assists New York City agencies, project sponsors, and the public in conducting environmental reviews for discretionary actions within the City. With the November 2020 release of the newest Technical Manual, which replaced the 2014 version, Equity has been at the forefront of incorporating the newest guidance into all projects, while proactively working with City agencies and developers in determining the applicability of policy changes to active or previously prepared CEQR documentation. Equitystands ready to provide environmental support services for our clients as efficiently and quickly as possible, while also demonstrating full compliance with the most recent CEQR guidance. 

The City’s mission for the 2020 edition of the Technical Manual was to streamline language for clarity, update hyperlinks to external materials, update State and Federal standards that are also applied to CEQR analyses, and update the data used in CEQR analyses to reflect the latest versions. The City’s “two-pronged” approach for the comprehensive Technical Manual update views the November 2020 edition as a minor update, while a new edition, at a date to be determined, is expected to have changes that may have an effect on the guidance provided in the CEQR Technical Manual. 

For more information, please contact Kevin Williams or Robert Greene at 973-527-7451 extensions 301 or 105, respectively, or email them at: Kevin.Williams@equityenvironmental.com or Robert.Greene@equityenvironmental.com. 

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NJDEP Regulatory Changes - New Cleanup Criteria

We told you it was coming! Significant changes to NJAC 7:26D (Remediation Standards) are now in place. May 17, 2021, New Jersey Register included the Re-Adoption Package for the NJDEP Remediation Standards. We are now in the first few weeks of the 6-month grace period. Taking informed action in the next few months can set or re-set your remedial strategy, while inaction may make remediation more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.

Equity is proud to be one of only 18 organizations and individuals to issue comments to the draft NJAC 7:26D, when it was first published in April 6, 2020, New Jersey Register. Moreover, one of our comments was found to merit a change to the proposed regulation: the NJDEP agreed that the new remediation standards could affect the remediation at Site Remediation Program Sites, and they have made changes to the final version of NJAC 7:26D. Our LSRPs, Peter Jaran and Geoff Clark, worked together to educate Equity’s Clients and issue comments to the NJDEP. Among the substantive changes are the following:

Use of the current remedial standards is allowed if certain conditions, primarily certification and submittal of remedial phase reports, are completed within the regulatory timeframes. Certain screening levels (for example, the former Impact to Groundwater Soil Screening Levels) are now remediation standards. 

Among the standards that may trigger re-openers of completed remediation is the inhalation standard for ethylbenzene, for both residential and non-residential scenarios.   The current DCSRS (Direct Contact Soil Remediation Standards) for ethylbenzene are 7,800 mg/kg (Residential) and 110,000 mg/kg (Non-Residential). As such, few sites had deed notices or engineering controls for ethylbenzene. However, the proposed standards are 10 and 48 mg/kg for Residential and Non-Residential, respectively (Inhalation Pathway). Potentially many sites, particularly where gasoline was stored, need to be re-evaluated for ethylbenzene through an order-of-magnitude evaluation. 

New remediation standards may form the basis for regulatory or even mandatory time frame extensions.

Land use, site-specific factors, and exposure pathways are more important than ever before. Knowing what site-specific data need to be gathered in support of a site-specific or alternative remediation standard is critical to any case where the Remedial Action Work Plan has not yet been submitted to NJDEP.

Equity is currently working on additional presentations to support our Clients and other affected parties. In the meantime, please feel free to contact us should you have any questions about how these regulations could affect your case.

Geoff Clark, P.G., LSRP; 973-527-7451 ext.201; geoff.clark@equityenvironmental.com

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Gates Avenue - A Comprehensive Project Story

Equity has completed another successful comprehensive project in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn, New York.  Equity executed the environmental planning, investigation, and remediation oversight of the site.  Equity’s Planning and Environmental groups worked together with the client and NYC OER (Office of Environmental Remediation) to develop and achieve the most effective remedial goals for the Site.

Proto Property Services LLC, filed an application pursuant to Sections 73-03 and 73-433 of the Zoning Resolution of the City of New York, as amended (the “Zoning Resolution” or “ZR”) to request a special permit pursuant to ZR § 73-433 to reduce existing parking spaces for income-restricted housing units. The proposed special permit reduced the existing parking at the, “Project Area”, from 106 accessory off-street parking spaces to 28 spaces to facilitate the development of a new, six-story, mix-use, affordable housing building on the underutilized surface parking lot of an existing income-restricted housing development containing 96 units.

Following the completion of the zoning amendment, Equity conducted an ASTM compliant (American Society of Testing and Materials) Phase I ESA (Environmental Site Assessment). The findings of Phase I identified potential RECs (Recognized Environmental Conditions) and it was recommended by OER to conduct a Phase II Investigation. The environmental investigation identified several Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), several Semi-Volatile Organic Compounds (SVOCs), metals, PCBs, and pesticides above NY cleanup guidelines. Soil vapor samples detected low levels of petroleum-related and chlorinated compounds. The developer enrolled in the OER’s VCP (Voluntary Cleanup Program) and prepared the necessary workplans and reports and conducted the necessary remediation to bring the project to completion. 

Equity completed the following activities, many of them during the Covid Pandemic:

  • Additional soil vapor investigations were performed to supplement initial soil gas samples.
  • Performed Waste Characterization Study of soils prior to excavation activities, to determine where the soil could be disposed of properly. 
  • Performed CAMP (Community Air Monitoring Program) for particulates and VOCs. 
  • Oversaw the excavation of 7,590 cubic yards of non-hazardous soil/fill for offsite disposal in 10 days.
  • Conducted materials management of excavated materials including screening for indications of contamination, temporarily stockpiling and segregating for disposal or reuse.
  • Oversaw the removal of eleven (11) USTs (Underground Storage Tanks) in compliance with applicable laws and regulations under NYSDEC PBS.
  • Designed and oversaw the installation of a vapor barrier system. 
  • Assisted the client with NYC OER review for a vegetative ground cover/permeable parking paver grid.   
  • Oversaw and documented the imported soil to be used for backfill and cover in compliance with the RAWP (Remedial Action Workplan) and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Submitted daily, weekly, and monthly reports during construction oversight activities.
  • Developed an SMP (Site Management Plan) for long-term management of the property, including plans for operation, maintenance, inspection, and certification of the performance of Engineering Controls and Institutional Controls. 
  • Assisted our client with recording a Declaration of Covenants and Restrictions with the property deed with the County Clerk. 

For more information, please contact Faron Moser at 973-57-7451, ext. 303; faron.moser@equityenvironmental.com The new building on Gates Avenue is shown below.

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Regulatory Notes

The following are links to three regulatory programs that may be of interest:

The New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation and Dept. Of Health announce a new initiative to protect drinking water sources. The Drinking Water Source Protection Program (DWSP2) will involve up to 40 volunteer communities to provide technical assistance to proactively protect public drinking water supplies.

https://www.dec.ny.gov/press/122907.html

Regulatory Flexibility for Small Entities. This includes the Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act which requires the US Environmental Protection Agency to convene a small business advocacy review on any new proposed rules that could have a significant impact on a substantial number of small business entities.

https://www.epa.gov/reg-flex/frequent-questions-small-entities

EPA Administrator Regan Established a New Council on PFAS (emerging contaminants). This is essentially a clearinghouse for PFAS related research, policies, etc., on a federal level.

https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-administrator-regan-establishes-new-council-pfas

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Golf Outing

Equity staff participated in the Jersey Girl Golf Tournament to benefit St. Judes on Friday 5/21/21. Faron Moser, Rob Greene, and John Vrabel represented Equity. Equity sponsored the 17th hole for the tournament. The tournament had over 100 participants and raised over $8,000.00.

Visit our Website at www.equityenvironmental.com

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