Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) Online Reporting Extension
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, MassDEP will treat as timely any Toxics Use Reduction (TUR) Plan Summary or Report filed up to 90 days after the current State of Emergency is terminated.
Toxics Use Reduction Plan reporting for manufacturing facilities who manufacture, process or otherwise use hazardous chemicals above certain thresholds due July 1 has also been extended 90 days until after the State’s Emergency Order is terminated (until at least August 17).
All other TUR requirements under M.G.L. Chapter 21I and 310 CMR 50.000 remain in effect, and the facilities subject to them must to continue to comply, as well as operate in a manner that is protective of public health and the environment.
Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
Air Emissions Inventory Submissions Deadline Extended
Due to the current COVID-19 crisis, the filing date for the 2019 Air Emissions Inventory submittal has been extended to June 30, 2020. Please do not hand deliver any submittals to RIDEM.
US Environmental Protection Agency
Multi-Sector General Permit Comment Period Extended
EPA is proposing the 2020 reissuance of the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP). Due to the Covid-19 crisis situation, EPA has extended the comment period for the Proposed 2020 Multi-Sector General Permit from May 1, until June 1, 2020.
EPA’s 2015 Multi-Sector General Permit is due to expire June 4, 2020. The draft MSGP is posted on the EPA website (here: Stormwater Discharges from Industrial Activities). The new final permit will likely not be issued until late summer early fall.
ES&M is proud to be part of Farm Fresh RI’s mission “to grow a local food system that values the environment, health, and quality of life of the farmers and eaters in our region.”
We have helped pave the way for construction of the Farm Fresh RI Food and Agriculture campus. When construction is complete, the campus will include a hub for the aggregation and distribution of locally grown food and produce; production facilities; retail markets for both the individual consumer and the wholesaler; job training; and opportunities for nutrition education.
In early 2016, Farm Fresh Rhode Island decided to undertake environmental assessment activities with the goal of purchasing the 498 Kinsley Avenue property in Providence and converting this Brownfields site into a Food and Agriculture campus. ES&M was retained to conduct the initial ASTM Phase I and II investigations. These investigations revealed several recognized environmental conditions, including the presence of metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, TPH and LNAPL, and two underground storage tanks still buried on the property.
Next, ES&M successfully assisted Farm Fresh in obtaining RIDEM brownfields assessment funding to further define the nature and extent of contamination and to identify potential remediation strategies. ES&M prepared a Remedial Action Work Plan, which was approved by RIDEM and assisted Farm Fresh RI with an application for storm water pollution control and brownfields grant funding.
During the summer of 2018, ES&M removed the two underground fuel storage tanks remaining on the property. Because of high water levels on the property, dewatering systems were necessary during this work. Both tanks showed evidence of leaking; therefore, ES&M removed impacted soil from the tank area as well as from a separate portion of the property.
ES&M was also part of the project design team, completing all the civil site design and state permitting requirements through CRMC and RIDEM. The proposed redevelopment of this Site includes the addition of a 61,600 square foot distribution and sale facility, a loading dock with three truck spaces, a parking lot, a rain garden, grassed landscape areas, concrete walkways and patio areas.
Storm water Best Management Practices (BMPs) were designed such as a rain garden along with an underground infiltration system which will utilize a total of three hundred twenty-four (324) chambers to provide groundwater recharge and storm water quality management to 100% of the facility.
Once the subsurface met all state and local environmental regulations for redevelopment and obtained city and state permits, Farm Fresh RI began construction of The Farm Fresh RI Food Hub, a purpose-designed 60,000 square foot facility, half of which will house all of Farm Fresh RI’s programs and operations, including a year-round farmers market and the remaining space will be leased to food- and farm-related small businesses. ES&M has been responsible for all civil site design on this project with an expected completion in the fall 2020. ES&M conducts weekly site visits during construction and we are working closely with the Farm Fresh contractors to respond to any questions or site issues during construction activities.
EASTHAM — Those weren’t frackers drilling for oil last week along Nauset Road at the Salt Pond Visitor Center. Instead, workers were injecting emulsified vegetable oil as a permeable reactive barrier (PRB) to change the chemistry of groundwater flowing to Salt Pond.
On the right, Brooke Paulsen, onsite project manager for Environmental Strategies and Management, checks gauges at the permeable reactive barrier installation along Nauset Road next to the Salt Pond Visitor Center parking lot. (Photo Ed Maroney)
The work is just one element of a many-pronged effort to reduce contaminants in the Nauset-Town Cove and Rock Harbor estuaries and its freshwater ponds. Rather than pursue what director of health and environment Jane Crowley calls the “expensive and arduous” traditional approach of sewering, Eastham is looking to options such as PRBs, innovative and alternative septic systems, tighter fertilizer regulation, and pond remediation.
“We generally have focused on the Salt Pond subwatershed that feeds into the Nauset Harbor estuary,” Crowley said. “It’s completely within Eastham and lends itself to trying as many nontraditional strategies as we can to improve water quality at Salt Pond.”
Near the subwatershed’s top sits the town landfill, above Schoolhouse and Minister’s ponds, two lobes of a connected water body. Groundwater flow continues past Eastham Elementary School and private homes with septic systems across Nauset Road to the visitor center and Salt Pond.
Contaminants leaving the landfill led to the provision of municipal water service in the area, allowing residents to abandon private wells. “The hookup and any costs associated with connecting to municipal water were paid by the town,” Crowley said. “The impact from the landfill is no longer a threat to the drinking water of residents downgradient.
“The hydrogeology we know about this particular subwatershed is immense,” Crowley said. “There are so many monitoring wells.” Those data informed other efforts to improve water quality, including a 200-foot PRB pilot project along Nauset Road installed by Environmental Strategies and Management (ESM).
“There are 21 points where emulsified vegetable oil has been injected,” said Crowley. “We know exactly the depth of the zone we are trying to treat and have several groundwater quality monitoring wells upgradient and downgradient. As the nutrient flow comes from upgradient areas and passes through this barrier, the reactive materials hopefully will help to biodegrade the contaminants and improve the water quality before discharge to Salt Pond.”
Orleans has installed a PRB at the Nauset Regional Middle School. According to ESM, that PRB “is achieving nitrate treatment objectives.”
With groundwater traveling about a foot a day, it will be some time before measurable effects are recorded in Eastham. But there’s more going on, including what Crowley hopes will be DEP approval this week for a pilot innovative/alternative septic system with superior denitrification capabilities. The “layer cake” system includes a layer of sawdust and sand under the leaching field.
The nonproprietary system would be installed on a property in the Nauset Harbor estuary system, just upgradient of a data-collection site. The owner “came before the board of health because he needed a variance,” said Crowley. “He would have been required to put in an alternative treatment system anyway. We are subsidizing some of the cost. The home owner was a very willing partner. He strongly believes in what we’re trying to do.
“This is a really exciting opportunity for the town of Eastham. If we can reduce nitrogen with this approach, it will be the most cost-effective for the community and the home owner.” She said construction of the pilot system would begin “immediately” after DEP approval.
Elsewhere, attention is being paid to the Schoolhouse-Minister’s pond complex, with hydroraking of excessive growths of aquatic plants last fall. “This spring, we’re working on an aeration system to go into the pond from the back of the elementary school,” Crowley said. “We’ll continue to monitor water quality and test sediments and do vegetation surveys. If necessary, we’ll determine if we need alum treatments in very limited areas,” basically the deepest portions.
The District of Critical Planning Concern that Eastham created with the Cape Cod Commission brought fertilizer regulations that restrict, for example, the time of year applications can be made. If they’re done before April 15, they cannot be absorbed and contribute to runoff. “To be very honest, I think Eastham is a different type of community than perhaps the more developed ones like Barnstable where you tend to see more fertilized lawns,” Crowley said. “I think this community does have a big appreciation of the negative impacts of improper fertilizer uses.”
If your septic system is failing, an alternative “layer cake” replacement is an option. (Image courtesy Eastham Health Dept.) Another denitrification method, using shellfish to reduce levels in ponds, is “still in development,” said Crowley. The town is keeping an eye on Orleans’s experiment in Lonnie’s Pond, which has shown promise.
Today, Crowley said, Salt Pond is “definitely impaired, significantly impaired. We know that didn’t happen overnight. We don’t expect any measures we put into place to happen overnight either. These strategies are really important for the long term. To do nothing is not the answer.”
ES&M was selected as the prime consultant for repairs to a portion of the historic Slater Mill Dam in Pawtucket, RI. The dam, built in 1792 and located on the Blackstone River, is part of the Old Slater Mill National Historic Landmark District, and was an integral part of the American Industrial Revolution and the textile industry in Pawtucket.
The repair work, consisting of the installation of temporary cofferdams, high strength tremie concrete placed in wet conditions to plug a breach in the dam, and specialty synthetic liners and concrete mats placed on the upstream side of the dam, was completed in six (6) weeks and in accordance with RIDEM and ACOE permits.
Completion of the needed repairs to the dam helps to preserve the historic significance of the dam and its importance to the interpretation of Old Slater Mill as a birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution.
In November 2018, the Baker-Polito Administration announced their new Watershed Group Monitoring Grant Program, which supports eligible volunteer watershed groups across the state to conduct baseline monitoring program activities and encourages participation of those groups who wish to build program capacity. The program is part of a $450,000 investment by MassDEP to support collaborative efforts to improve surface water quality in the Commonwealth’s rivers, streams and waterways.
“The overarching goal of this grant program is to support ongoing monitoring efforts outside the department and enhance the usability of water quality data for MassDEP’s implementation of federal Clean Water Act program requirements. The intent of this grant is to support established watershed groups with existing bacteria monitoring programs, as well as groups who wish to develop their monitoring capacity to include bacteria indicators.” This program will help increase the availability of bacteria data used to determine the condition of surface waters in Massachusetts.
Environmental Strategies & Management (ES&M) can assist Volunteer Groups with the implementation of their sampling programs, including:
ES&M’s team of experienced project managers and data managers are here to help. Please contact Joe Callahan for more information.
Joseph L. Callahan, TURP, CHMM, LSP
Environmental Strategies & Management, Inc.
273 West Main Street, Norton, MA 02766
ES&M has made significant progress in the redevelopment of a property in the Valley neighborhood in Providence for future use as Farm Fresh Rhode Island’s new food hub.
After performing initial due diligence work on behalf of Farm Fresh RI, assisting them with winning EPA Brownfield grant funding, and developing remedial action plans throughout 2016 and 2017, ES&M began the next stages of redevelopment in 2018. During the summer, two underground storage tanks, one 5,000-gallon tank and one 10,000-gallon tank, were removed. Both tanks showed evidence of leaking. Soil excavation was warranted and due to high water levels on the property, dewatering systems were put in place and impacted soil was removed. ES&M also removed soil from another area of the site where oil was present. To date, no oil has re-appeared at the property.
Currently, ES&M is assisting with storm water and civil engineering design. An engineered cap will be placed over the remainder of the impacted soil, and the new buildings will be outfitted with vapor barriers.
ES&M recently completed environmental and engineering work at the East Street Park in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
In 2016, ES&M was contracted by Pawtucket Central Falls Development to perform Phase I & II Environmental Site Assessments of the property at the end of East Street in Pawtucket. The Site Investigation revealed concentrations of metals and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in soil that exceeded RIDEM standards. After determining the nature and extent of the contamination, ES&M designed a plan to encapsulate site soils with a RIDEM-approved engineered cap.
By the fall of 2018, ES&M had overseen excavation, backfilling, and capping of the site and the installation of a new pre-cast concrete retaining wall. Landscaped barriers included earthen materials, concrete surfacing, and installation of geotextile fabric and geomembrane for weed control, drainage control, and to separate earthen materials. This once inaccessible and contaminated property can now be accessed and enjoyed as a public park.