Final Interim Soil Management Policy

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection  has finalized Policy # COMM-15-01 – Interim Policy on the Re-Use of Soil for Large Reclamation Projects.  The policy is available on the MassDEP website at:  http://www.mass.gov/eea/docs/dep/cleanup/laws/massdep-policy-comm-15-01-2015-08-28.pdf.

The policy is implemented pursuant to Section 277 of the FY2015 Budget which mandated that the Department establish  regulations, guidelines, standards or procedures for determining the suitability of  soil used as fill material for the reclamation of quarries, sand pits and gravel pits. The policy is applicable to quarries, sand pits and gravel pits that will accept 100,000 cubic yards or more.

The new policy institutionalizes a site-specific review and approval process that has been successfully used on an ad hoc basis to expand opportunities for the re-use of excess soil excavated from development sites. MassDEP approval of these projects insures that issues common to large-scale fill projects are appropriately addressed.

By providing a mechanism for safely managing soil at quarry reclamation projects, the policy addresses two issues.  First, it facilitates the filling and re-use of spent (or abandoned) quarries, sand pits and gravel pits.  These locations are often safety hazards and their reclamation can provide opportunities for beneficial new uses, including parks.  Second, it provides increased in-state options for the re-use of soil excavated from new development projects.  Such soil often must be shipped out-of-state at substantial cost.

MassDEP considers this Interim Policy to be part of a comprehensive approach to managing soil in Massachusetts.  The Department is committed to continue working with stakeholders to develop additional policies, standards and regulations (where appropriate).  If you are interested in being part of this discussion, please send an email to Paul.Locke@state.ma.us and ask to be added to the DEP Soil Workgroup.

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