What the June 2014 MCP Amendments Have Meant for Our Clients
In June 2014, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) promulgated a significant set of changes to the Massachusetts Contingency Plan (MCP). The changes were designed to make the MCP more efficient and to simplify the classification of sites. Cooperstown Environmental has adopted the new changes to the program to directly benefit our clients.
Two changes which our clients have specifically benefited from in the last year were changes to the tier classification system and changes to site closure requirements that now provide the ability to reach a permanent solution with an active exposure pathway mitigation measure in use at a site.
Simplified Tier Classification
The old tier classification system involved a detailed numerical scoring system used to rank sites. The numerical scoring system system has been replaced with a simplified list of four criteria. If a site meets any of these four criteria, the site automatically triggers a Tier I ranking; otherwise, the site is ranked as Tier II. The new system results in a lower cost for our clients because it is more straightforward and less time consuming to complete. Tier II sites also have a lower yearly compliance fee than Tier I sites.
Numerous sites throughout Massachusetts which would have qualified as Tier I under the old system now qualify as Tier II. Many of our clients, including multiple higher education institutions and property developers, have benefited from this change in the past year, and we anticipate more to come in the future.
Permanent Solution with an Active Exposure Pathway Mitigation Measure
Under the old MCP, sites with a vapor intrusion issue that required what is now called an active exposure pathway mitigation measure (AEPMM) would be unable to reach a permanent solution. One common example of an AEPMM is a sub-slab depressurization system, which is used prevent soil gas vapors present beneath a building foundation from infiltrating into the structure, where their concentration in indoor air could pose a health risk. Recent changes to the MCP now allow these properties to reach a permanent solution with remote telemetry systems that automatically alert MassDEP in the event of a system failure or other alarm condition. These sites now can qualify for a Permanent Solution with Conditions, which means that the site is “closed” in the eyes of MassDEP.
A client of Cooperstown who recently benefited from this change had been involved in the MCP program since 2004. Our client purchased a property without knowledge that the site had a vapor intrusion issue and was subsequently required to install an active sub-slab depressurization system to reach and maintain a no significant risk condition. Even though the site had been adequately controlled for many years, our client was previously unable to extricate his property from the MCP program due to the old regulations.
The new changes allowed Cooperstown to close out the site with a Permanent Solution with Conditions and a telemetry system that is connected to MassDEP. Cooperstown Project Manager Isaac Anderson was instrumental in programming the telemetry system to be compliant with current regulations and is working with MassDEP, the LSP Association (LSPA), and NAIOP to troubleshoot this emerging technology, needed to manage vapor intrusion risks.