Questions & Comments?

See the MassDEP website “Soil Transport, Re-Use and Disposal at
for current information

If you have a specific question about a post made by MassDEP on one of the other pages, please use the “Contribute to the Discussion” box or “Comment” link associated with that post, so that other users can see the complete discussion in one place.

However, if you have a question  of comment on a topic or issue that is not related to an existing post, feel free to make the comment or ask the question below.

Of course, some questions have no answers (yet) and some comments are rhetorical — we will try to respond as time & resources allow and to the extent that a response is needed or appropriate.


8 Responses to Questions & Comments?

  1. massdepwsc says:

    A user emailed MassDEP and asked, “The biggest interest I have is about the scope of the regs: will the regs. apply only to soil reused in reclaiming quarries, or will the regs. encompass broader reuse?”

    MassDEP replies: No decision on the scope of any future regulations has been made. Section 277 requires DEP to address soil going to quarries, sand pits and gravel pits, but provides flexibility in how to do it. The solution for these locations (e.g., possibly a reclamation operating permit) MAY be attractive to other locations wanting to receive soil and manage their potential liability. This will be a discussion topic as we move ahead.


  2. massdepwsc says:

    [The following letter was received by MassDEP October 17, 2014.]

    October 17,2014

    Paul W. Locke, Director
    Response & Remediation
    Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
    One Winter Street
    Boston, MA 02108

    Dear Director Locke,

    On behalf of the members of Construction Industries of Massachusetts (CIM), an association
    representing the heavy & highway industry, we submit to you the following comments for consideration as you begin to address the issues raised in Section 277 of the FY 2015 budget.

    Prior to the enactment of Section 277, CIM reached out to members of the Legislature and expressed our opposition to the language being proposed. As we stated then, the language is unnecessary as DEP is already empowered to, and in fact does, oversee and regulate the soil management issues raised by Section 277. Additional and duplicative regulations have the potential to add layers of permitting in every municipality; invoke uncertainty and confusion into an already regulated area; delay projects, increase costs; and stall economic development projects across the state. An extensive and comprehensive regulatory framework already exists for the identification, classification, tracking and recycling or disposal of soils (310 CMR 40.0000). It is our opinion that nothing more needs to be done by DEP to address the requirements of Section 277. Current regulations are focused upon protecting the health, safety, public welfare and environment. DEP places the highest priority upon these tenets and it meets its responsibilities through the professional work of environmental scientists and public health officials. These are the very issues Section 277 seeks to address and they are the very issues DEP already oversees.
    CIM fully supports and appreciates the need to regulate the management of soil and, under Federal and state laws and regulations, it is being thoroughly regulated already. Health, safety, public welfare and the environment are being protected. We caution that duplication will lead to uncertainty, project delays, increased costs, economic stagnation, job loss and other negative consequences while not realizing any additional benefit because DEP is already regulating the areas focused on in Section 277.

    We thank you for the opportunity to offer these comments and we look forward to working with you and other interested groups as this process continues.

    John M. Pourbaix, Jr
    Executive Director


  3. massdepwsc says:

    A participant in Friday’s discussion emailed the Department and noted:

    “I am reading through COMM-97 (because I know a good time when I see it), and it occurs to me that the definition there of a Qualified Environmental Professional may be better for the purposes of our meeting last Friday morning than just referencing an LSP.”


    • Tom Hevner, PE, LSP says:

      I agree with this and was going to essentially present the same comment regarding the QEP. Even though a LSP is well suited to handle these issues, the LSP license is oriented toward 21E sites. So it makes sense that if a LSP could be qualified to render opinions relative to reclamation sites, there might also be other qualified environmental professionals that fall into that category, such as a Professional Engineer.


  4. Tom Hevner, PE, LSP says:

    This comment address site/transport characterization and sampling frequency.

    A selling point to assure the public and regulatory bodies that the right soil is coming into the right facility is adequate characterization performed by a Qualified Environmental Professional (QEP). The QEP has a license and answers to the relevant licensing board if there’s an issue with performance.

    This is not new territory for LSPs , but QEPs would provide characterization of the generating site, the receiving site, and also the stockpiles/trucks associated with the transport.

    Consistent with the MassDEP Similar Soils Policy, and maybe LSPs are the best suited QEPs to deal with the characterization issue for reclamation sites, professional judgment would be provided based on the level of knowledge for the generating site, the receiving site, and also the stockpiles/trucks associated with the transport.

    Early in the process of a soil transport from a generating site, an appropriate level of characterization would be required to achieve that acceptable level of knowledge and characterization. In later stages of transport from generating sites, professional judgment could be provided by QEPs to demonstrate that less characterization or sampling frequency is warranted based on the established level of knowledge which has entered a zone of diminishing returns.

    Professional judgment could also be implemented by QEPs to cost effectively provide characterization by focusing on Contaminants of Concern identified at a generating site and then providing incremental full scans to satisfy the requirements of the receiving site.

    For example, a subject receiving site may have a COMM 97 requirement for incoming soils – say every 500 CY. The identified COCs for the generating site are three metals and PAHs. So if the generating site COCs were run every 500 CY but COMM 97 was provided for every third or fourth increment, then a savings on the sampling frequency would be realized by relying on the professional judgment of a QEP. Based on the size of the transport, other efficiencies could be realized such as an increase to the sampling frequency once that baseline for the earlier volumes had been established.


  5. massdepwsc says:

    [A participant in Friday’s discussion emailed the Department with the following information.]

    I am following up on our conversation last week following the MA DEP meeting on developing guidance or regulations relative to use of soil as fill at quarries and sand/gravel pits. The state of Illinois has done this previously and appears have learned some lessons from the experience. The articles below were sent to me and provide some background on the matter in that state. There is a lot more info on the soil disposal at quarries in Illinois, but I sent a few articles to provide some background for your review.

    You may want to reach out to your counterparts in Illinois for more details on their experience.

    Thought you might be interested in this Chicago Tribune coverage of Illinois’ disposal standard debate.


  6. massdepwsc says:

    [A participant noted via email]


    Could a webinar type of format work to allow people to participate from home or office?

    Have you considered appearing on Boston Public Radio or other “call in” type program? Maybe Greater Boston on WGBH?

    Some way of reaching out to the wider public.


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