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Significance and Use
4.1 Purpose—This guide provides a process (complementary to various regulatory agency waste site use programs) for evaluating and restoring among eight site use activities at eleven types of waste / chemically impacted sites. The site use activities include: (1) Active Recreation; (2) Passive Recreation; (3) Alternate Energy / Deep Anchoring Need; (4) Materials Recovery; (5) Stormwater Management; (6) Composting Imported Debris; (7) Agricultural Cultivation (non- or lightly mechanized) or Marketing; and, (8) Nature Preserve / Nature-based / Buffer Area Use. The waste / chemically impacted sites include: (1) MSW / Pre-RCRA; (2) MSW / Post-RCRA Closure – Operated pre-RCRA; (3) MSW / Operating(ed) or Closed Post-RCRA; (4) MSW / In-design; (5) C&D Landfill / Closed; (6) C&D Landfill / Operating or In-design; (7) Historic Fill; (8) Airborne Deposition; (9) Monofill / Coal Ash; (10) Monofill / Foundry Sand; (11) Non-impacted Buffer Area. More detailed descriptions of these use activities follow.
4.1.1 Active Recreation—Utilization of a waste / chemically impacted site where the likelihood of physical contact with and accidental ingestion of soil is high, due to the nature of the sport (for example, football, baseball, soccer). Note that active sports played on synthetic turf are not active recreational uses in this definition, as the focus is on potential human exposure to chemicals in soil and not on the activity, per se. See for a listing of chemical compounds and their concentrations considered appropriate for this site use. Also, see for additional discussion of SCOs.
4.1.2 Passive Recreation—Utilization of a waste / chemically impacted site where physical contact with and ingestion of soil is possible but unlikely (for example, biking, walking, bird watching). See for a listing of chemical compounds and their concentrations considered appropriate for this site use. Also, see for additional discussion of SCOs.
4.1.3 Alternate Energy / Deep Anchoring Need—Penetration of the cover soil or capping layer of a waste / chemically impacted site to establish a foundation for a structure subject to weight or wind loading, or seismic forces (for example, photovoltaic arrays, wind turbines, solar water heating systems).
4.1.4 Materials Recovery—Capture and utilization of landfill gas, or excavation of materials once considered waste but found to have high value (for example, beneficial capture and recovery of MSW methane, or excavation of coal ash for use as a beneficial cement or grout additive or fill material in soil stabilization projects such as those involving road beds). See , item 6 for additional information.
4.1.5 Stormwater Management—Installation of a stormwater management practice that retains, detains, or slows down the flow of rainwater into an urban combined sewer (that is, combination sanitary and storm sewer) (for example, raingarden, bioswale, constructed wetland) and/or allows eroded sediments to settle out before entering a natural surface water body.
4.1.6 Composting Imported Debris—Placement of non-site organic waste and non-site soil upon a waste / chemically impacted site, and allowing the organic waste to decompose while the mixture is blended and turned; site cover material risks becoming part of the composting product unless a barrier is placed between the compost and cover.
4.1.7 Agricultural Cultivation (non- or lightly mechanized) or Marketing—The placement of soil (assured quality appropriate for the intended use) upon a waste / chemically impacted site in raised beds for the growing of vegetables (that is, leaf, root, or fruit types) (for example, community gardens and cooperative farms); the raising of animals for human consumption at a waste site; and, the marketing of produce from the above identified cultivation activities (for example, neighborhood green markets) according to established code and regulation.
4.1.8 Nature Preserve / Nature-based / Buffer Area Use—Natural or intentionally engineered surface vegetation and/or water features with limited access to human intrusion of the space. Some waste / chemically impacted sites utilize buffer areas (beneath which no waste or only de minimis concentrations of chemicals exist) to create distance between the public and waste site operations. Although, such areas could be “nature” areas, it may be appropriate and desirable (for example, by adjacent property owners) for buffer areas to host limited, active or passive recreational uses, or low impact site use activities. These uses may occur in locations identified as easements, buffers, and rights-of-way. See , item 8 for additional information.
4.2 Regulatory Context—This guide does not supersede federal, State, or local regulations.
4.2.1 The user is responsible for determining the regulatory context, and associated constraints and obligations at a designated waste / chemically impacted site and should comply with all established applicable laws and regulations, including CERCLA, RCRA, TSCA, and other environmental laws and municipal codes in the development of the site for a new use activity. The typical waste / chemically impacted site where this guide is intended to be used are ones that are not currently (and not anticipated to be in the future) within a regulatory agency program.
4.2.2 The user should comply with health and safety requirements under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) (, worker right-to-know laws, and parallel requirements of )applicable local, State, or tribal (regulatory agency) organizations. See ( for more information. )
4.3 Use of Guide—Regulatory agencies may incorporate this guide, in whole or in part, into general guidance documents or site-specific regulatory documents. This guide may also be integrated into complementary standards, guidelines, or contractual agreements, relating to the post-construction / end use phase of sustainable or greener cleanups; see Guide and Guide , respectively.
4.4 Professional Judgment—This guide presumes the active involvement of an Environmental Professional who is knowledgeable in how to design and construct use activity features at a waste / chemically impacted site and how to identify acceptable site conditions or (when required) satisfy applicable statutory or regulatory agency limitations on the use of an operating, closed, abandoned, or legacy waste / chemically impacted site, including those with community engagement and Environmental Justice concerns. The Environmental Professional must be current (that is, is a qualified and registered professional in her/his field of expertise and have satisfied requirements for continuing education) in her/his knowledge of developments in the use of waste / chemically impacted sites, as well as case studies where some use activities succeed and others express potential adverse impacts to human health, public safety, or welfare.
4.5 Elimination of Uncertainty—Professional judgment, interpretation, and some uncertainty are inherent in the processes described herein even when decisions are based upon objective scientific principles and accepted industry practices. In addition, new methods are continually being developed for this evolving field.
4.6 Process Entry—This guide may be initiated at any stage of waste / chemically impacted site development from planning, construction, closure, and post-closure, or upon discovery of an unplanned or unsafe site, and/or a site with an emergency chemical spill or release of a hazardous substance.
4.7 Process Reporting and Documentation—The user should decide (in coordination with relevant stakeholders) when site evaluations, reporting, and documentation will occur during Planning and Scoping, Section .
4.8 Process Overview—At initiation, the user should review: Section , Terminology; and then proceed to Section , Significance and Use; Section , Planning and Scoping; Section , Site Use Activity Evaluation and Selection Process; and Section , Site Use Evaluation, Reporting, and Documentation.
4.8.1 Section , Planning and Scoping, describes the Project Team approach (see ) for implementing this guide, including, but not limited to: a) Selecting the waste / chemically impacted site; b) selecting a desired site use and making a due diligent assessment of environmental conditions; c) evaluating possible engineering controls, site safety, and opportunities for material recovery; d) submitting the project to a regulatory agency and receiving approval (if required); e) selecting a site evaluation process (that is, choosing Site Evaluation Forms 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5); f) soliciting concurrence for the Environmental Professional's proposed approach at a stakeholder and community engagement charrette (meeting) (if a regulatory agency's approval is required but approval is not granted, go back a step, if approval is given or not needed, proceed); and g) arriving at two possible outcomes. These outcomes are: (1) The Environmental Professional prepares a final report that contains one or more Completed Site Evaluation forms for the use activity, delivers the report to the user of the guide, and completes all documentation – this includes having the Project Team and stakeholders making applicable planning and scoping documents available to the public; and (2) the Environmental Professional terminates the evaluation because the Due Diligence Threshold (of knowledge) of the Environmental Professional of the site had not been reached.
4.8.2 Section , Site Use Activity Evaluation and Selection Process describes steps for identifying, selecting, and implementing (a) use activity(ies) at (a) specific waste / chemically impacted site(s).
18.104.22.168 Section provides the four-step process for Site Use Activity Evaluation and Selection, including: Site Use Opportunity Assessment; Site Use Priority Listing; Site Use Selection and Reporting; and Site Use Implementation and Documenting.
4.8.3 Section describes use activity evaluation, reporting, and documentation. Section does not instruct the user on how to perform the use activity analysis; it presumes that at least one member of the Project Team is knowledgeable about each type of proposed use activity at the waste /chemically impacted site, and sufficient, readily available information is available to them/her/him to complete one or more of the Site Use Evaluation Forms 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. See and for more information on the use of those Forms. See for supporting documents cited in the body of this guide.
22.214.171.124 Section identifies when the five Site Use Evaluation forms are to be used for which site uses and for which waste / chemically impacted sites. supports Section by providing additional considerations on which Site Use Evaluation forms should be completed for the selected use activity.
126.96.36.199 provides the user with ten additional considerations in the beneficial use process / framework for site evaluation for eight possible uses. includes discussions of: a) Establishing when and how a MSW landfill could achieve conditions where active controls are limited or terminated (that is, removed or abandoned); b) need for special care regarding the venting of carcinogenic gases versus methane and other less harmful (to human health, public safety, or welfare) gases; c) physical safety requirements related to firm foundations for a proposed site use; d) special considerations for pre-regulatory waste sites; e) alternative methods for testing the solubility of waste materials; f) opportunities to enhance the flow of methane where it is being commercially recovered; g) the use of phytoremediation for beneficial site use; h) use of the guide by municipalities in the designation of easements, buffers, and rights-of-way; i) how this guide complements regulations, laws, and policies of regulatory agencies; and j) how the guide contributes to the sustainable use of urban resources.
188.8.131.52 includes five forms that the Environmental Professional selects for her/his evaluation that (a) use activity(ies) is(are) acceptable and thereby considered protective of human health, public safety, and welfare: Form 1 is for expedited use involving no cover or cap disturbance and a low chance of exposure to chemicals in soil (for example, see exposure assumptions of passive recreational use, Section ); Form 2 is for conditional expedited use that may involve cover or cap disturbance and repair (note that a Form 3 evaluation is needed if a required capping system is disturbed or if a new cap is installed), with a sufficient number of control measures to protect human health, public safety, and welfare (for example, see exposure assumptions of active recreational use, Section ); Form 3 is for cap disturbance (that is, that which may compromise the effectiveness of this engineering control), such as full intrusion of a protective cap, and a more extensive number of engineering and institutional controls to limit chemical exposures; Form 4 is for evaluating agricultural operations or marketing; and Form 5 is for site-specific use activities for sites that may require regulatory agency permit modifications to allow the development of a use activity at sites with irregular circumstances (for example, regulatory agency orders that limit what can be placed at a site, or operation and maintenance activities that may increase chemical exposures). An important feature of Form 5 is that it provides information about what needs to be controlled, and what engineering and institutional controls are needed to protect human health, public safety, and welfare, what settings are needed for the engineering controls, the names and contact numbers for the person(s) responsible achieving an acceptably safe condition, and the conditions upon which the various controls and monitoring frequencies can be relaxed or terminated (as discussed in and ). In each case the Environmental Professional completes the evaluation forms after a due diligent assessment of potential adverse impacts to human health, public safety, or welfare at the site by her/him and other professionals (as needed) with expertise to perform such assessments.
4.8.4 The Environmental Professional identifies an acceptable quality of soil in the conduct of her/his waste / chemically impacted site evaluation (that is, the soil cleanup objective, or SCO) as described below. See for more information.
184.108.40.206 includes a table of chemicals and chemical compounds with two columns of information. The first column is a set of maximum concentrations for those chemicals and chemical compounds that may be present in the upper six inches of uncovered, bare soil if the use activity involves active recreational use (where contact and ingestion of soil is likely because of the intended activity). The second column is a set of maximum concentrations for those chemicals and chemical compounds that may be present in the upper six inches of uncovered, bare soil if the use activity involves passive recreational use (where contact and ingestion of soil is possible but unlikely because of the intended activity). No single concentration should be considered a “bright line” limit, but rather an order-of-magnitude consideration when the Environmental Professional evaluates a use activity. For example, if a few concentrations are slightly above respective limits, the soil may still be acceptable. However, if ten or more are considerably above their limits or one is significantly above its limit, then the Environmental Professional may recommend against a use activity on those grounds. See ( and )( for more information. )
4.8.5 The Environmental Professional determines whether or not a threshold of knowledge exists upon which she/he may offer recommendations on a site use. See and for more information.
4.8.6 provides definitions for terminology used in the Appendices.
1.1 This guide provides a beneficial, acceptable use framework for the development of: (1) Inactive and pre-RCRA (or pre-regulatory) solid waste landfills that are considered orphan or latchkey to be repurposed, despite having offsite migration impacts of landfill gases and/or leachate, albeit at de minimis levels; (2) other types of unregulated waste landfills; (3) sites impacted by chemical releases; (4) legacy or ongoing, intentional, or unintentional fill placement; (5) closed, open, or operating post-RCRA landfills or landfills in the planning stages such that materials may be placed in ways that optimize a landfill's use in future years; and (6) underutilized or heavily used (for example, pedestrian; recreational; or repetitive, entertainment, single event) chemically impacted sites. Also, this guide identifies land usage and conditions of adjacent/non-waste portions of a landfill (that is, buffer areas not within the footprint of an actual landfill or chemically impacted site itself) that should be evaluated before a site use is considered acceptable.
1.2 Provided herein is instruction on evaluating and judging the acceptability of: (1) Chemical exposure barrier(s) (and other engineering and institutional control measures) in place between actual or potential chemically impacted soil; and/or (2) time of use restriction(s) established at a waste / chemically impacted site.
1.3 Additionally provided is instruction on assessing the terminal conditions at a municipal solid waste (MSW) landfill; that is, flows of methane below which passive rather than active venting is recommended, and flows of leachate of a long-term, consistent quality that is clean enough to allow direct discharge of the liquid to surface waters. See for additional information.
1.4 This guide complements solid waste regulatory programs where guidance on beneficial usage is unavailable or insufficient, thereby improving the chance that such sites may be repurposed for public and/or private benefit.
1.5 This guide may be implemented in conjunction with ASTM's Standard Guide for Integrating Sustainable Objectives in Cleanups (Guide -13) with respect to community engagement activities. See Guide for more information.
1.6 This guide should not be used as a justification to avoid, minimize, or delay implementation of specific cleanup activities as required by law or regulation.
1.7 This guide should not be used to characterize (that is, environmentally assess) a site for the purpose of ownership transfer, although it could supplement other environmental assessments that are used in such a transfer.
1.8 Users of this guide make professional judgments that only apply to a particular site, at a particular date and time, and do not warrant safe conditions existing beyond that date. It is not impossible that a significant environmental exposure condition exists at a site but was missed by the user of this guide or the Environmental Professional who led the evaluation, or that the condition was introduced subsequent to the evaluation. The evaluation of a site by an Environmental Professional is not intended to be exhaustive; there may be significant unknown conditions that may not be apparent through reasonable site characterization efforts. Further, the user of the guide should advise the site owner to maintain any Environmental Professional-recommended engineering and institutional controls and any established signage into the future for the planned, identified beneficial use. Those who use the final reports generated through the use of this guide are cautioned to understand the limits of what the Environmental Professional's Completed Site Evaluation describes. Compared to a waste / chemically impacted site NOT evaluated (in the manner described herein) before a use activity is implemented is clearly subject to greater potential adverse impacts to human health, public safety, or welfare than a waste / chemically impacted site that is. See for a discussion of the Due Diligence Threshold of the Environmental Professional and for additional information.
1.9 Users of this guide should comply with all applicable federal, State, and local statutes and regulations requiring and/or relating to protection of human health. This includes, and is not limited to, laws and regulations relating to health and safety of the people using a developed waste / chemically impacted site, the surrounding community, and/or public sector and private sector personnel who are involved in the management or oversight of waste / chemically impacted sites. See () for useful information on land revitalization and ( for information on chemical safety. )
1.10 Use of this guide is considered a sustainable urban governance practice as identified by Rowland (2008) (. )
1.11 This guide is composed of the following sections: Referenced Documents; Terminology; Significance and Use; Planning and Scoping; Site Use Activity Evaluation and Selection Process; and Site Use Activity Evaluation, Reporting, and Documentation.
1.12 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.
2. Referenced Documents (purchase separately) The documents listed below are referenced within the subject standard but are not provided as part of the standard.
E1527 Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process
E2201 Terminology for Coal Combustion Products
E2247 Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process for Forestland or Rural Property
E2876 Guide for Integrating Sustainable Objectives into Cleanup
ICS Number Code 13.030.40 (Installations and equipment for waste disposal and treatment)
UNSPSC Code 77101500(Environmental impact assessment)
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ASTM E3033-16, Standard Guide for Beneficial Use of Landfills and Chemically Impacted Sites, ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2016, www.astm.orgBack to Top