Cleans Soils

The Problem

Since the earliest days of Brownfield Redevelopment in New Jersey, there have been liability issues concerning the movement and reuse of fill material. With the significant demand for redevelopment sites, several high-profile projects have been delayed due to improper classification of fill material, resulting in contaminated fill being brought to clean sites. Without proper certification, development costs and liability issues can soar.

In other cases, value can actually be added to a project’s bottom line when the need for fill at a site can be married to the need for disposal from another site. NJDEP policy allows, under certain regulated programs, acceptance of similarly contaminated materials at a site when the engineering and institutional controls are sufficiently protective of the approved end use. These “transactions” are well regulated by the NJDEP under its implementation of the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation (N.J.A.C. 7:26E).

Problems may arise when current agency regulations do not provide sufficient oversight of the use/reuse of material. If a site is not under NJDEP regulatory oversight, there is currently no regulatory oversight to certify the appropriateness of the fill. As mentioned above, several high-profile projects have been identified where, due to the absence of regulatory oversight, material presumed to be “clean” was used at a construction site as fill. Only afterwards did it become apparent that the material did, in fact, exceed the regulatory requirements for the proposed end use. This resulted in excessive costs and time delays as the contaminated material had to be removed and replaced.

The Solution

SAI has worked with the redevelopment industry for many years to provide a service to characterize, monitor and document the placement of in-fill material at redevelopment sites. At the Jersey Gardens Mall in Elizabeth, over 2.5 million cubic yards of recyclable material, including dredge material and C&D screenings, were brought to the site, providing revenue for the project developers and saving millions of dollars by eliminating the need to purchase fill. At the Bayonne Golf Club, a similar procedure was implemented under SAI oversight to provide more than 5 million cubic yards of fill material, which allowed a creative “links” design on a relatively small property.

The issues facing developers now, however, is the lack of agency guidance for many projects to certify material either exported or imported at a project site as “clean”. To satisfy this need, SAI has developed a procedure for providing a professional certification backed by professional liability insurance of soils as “clean,” thereby protecting both the “generator” as well as the “receiver” of the soils. SAI’s procedure is an adaptation from years of experience in reviewing fill material in general. SAI is currently assisting its Clients through the application of this procedure. Although not specifically regulated by NJDEP, this procedure is currently under NJDEP review.

For more information on SAI’s approach to clean soil certification, please click on the link below to see our Fall 2006 newsletter.