Common projects include soil and groundwater remediation at retail fueling stations, industrial sites, brownfield redevelopment, and restoration of contaminated sites.

Remediation activities are regulated under Pennsylvania’s Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act (Act 2), which outlines procedures for site investigation, cleanup, and redevelopment.

The duration varies depending on factors such as the extent of contamination, site complexity, regulatory requirements, and stakeholder involvement, but projects can range from a few months to several years.

Methods include excavation and removal of contaminated soil, groundwater pumping and treatment, in-situ chemical oxidation, bioremediation, and containment technologies such as engineered barriers and caps.

Pennsylvania offers various funding programs and incentives, such as grants, low-interest loans, tax credits, and brownfield redevelopment assistance, to support remediation and redevelopment efforts and encourage private investment in contaminated properties. Also, the Underground Storage Tank Indemnification Fund (USTIF) covers reasonable and necessary costs for corrective actions to clean up contamination from regulated leaking tanks for owners or operators that have met the Pennsylvania DEP financial responsibility requirements.

Suspected and confirmed releases are defined in 25. Pa. Code § 245.304. Investigation and reporting of suspected releases. Suspected releases often occur as a result of failed storage tank components or suspect release detection results. Indications of a confirmed release may include the observation of product in soil, groundwater, or surface water, and product staining in soil or backfill.

A 310(b) SCR may be required when a confirmed release is reported, soil is the only media of concern, and interim remedial actions have remediated the site.

In some cases, a UST Closure Report can be amended to serve as an SCR under 25. Pa. Code § 245.310(b). This is usually the case when the contamination is localized, interim remedial actions (such as soil excavation) have remediated the site, and further site characterization is not required. DEP may request that the UST Closure Report be modified to include the selected cleanup goals, and evaluation of ecological receptors and vapor intrusion exposure pathways. A Professional Geologist is required to review the modified closure report.

Visual observations and odors are not necessarily reliable indicators of soil and groundwater conditions. Laboratory analysis is required to determine whether concentrations of regulated substances within soil and groundwater are within allowable limits.

Site characterization is an investigation that includes both intrusive and unintrusive activities to determine the extent and magnitude of a release to environmental media (soil, groundwater, surface water). This often includes surrounding off-site properties.

Local, state, and/or federal agencies will officially determine whether or not a release is your responsibility. The results of site characterization activities are often helpful in understanding the age/dynamics of a release.

There are multiple remedial methods and cleanup goals available to the remediator. Your state agency and environmental consultant can be instrumental in helping you decide which path to regulatory closure is right for you.

Yes. From a regulatory perspective, a property can be sold/purchased at any point during the corrective action process. However, financial institutions can be hesitant to provide loans until regulatory site closure has been granted. Property owners and prospective buyers are encouraged to work with regulators to help facilitate a smooth transition.

A Phase I ESA is a due diligence step often taken prior to a property divestment. The Phase I ESA reviews historical property usage and includes an unintrusive site visit by an environmental professional to assess for potential Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs), which are signs that adverse environmental conditions could be present. Identified RECs are often more thoroughly evaluated in a Phase II ESA, which may include soil and groundwater sampling. The cost of Phase I/II ESAs depends upon property size, complexity, and the identified RECs.

Letterle encourages tank owners to file a claim for any confirmed release from a regulated underground storage tank system containing petroleum products. Claims must be filed within 60 days of the date the release was confirmed. Letterle offers free advice and assistance with claim filing (although we cannot guarantee a favorable eligibility determination).

In our extensive experience, claim determination timeframes can range from a couple weeks to more than 6 months. We encourage tank owners to work closely with their claim representative for the fastest results.

No. The Pennsylvania DEP and PAUSTIF are completely separate entities. The primary objective of the DEP is to enforce regulations, while the primary objective of the PAUSTIF is to administer a program to reimburse eligible claimants for reasonable and necessary expenses incurred from releases to the environment. Letterle serves as a liaison between its clients, DEP, and PAUSTIF to provide smooth, cost effective, and expedient site closures.

A PAG-03 NPDES permit is issued by the Pennsylvania DEP and is now required for stormwater management at many commercial properties, such as salvage yards. Letterle can assess your property to determine whether an exemption is possible.

Environmental site characterization and cleanups are not like more traditional types of projects, such as general construction. There are many variables that affect timelines including the magnitude and extent of the release, types of affected media (soil, groundwater, surface water), property size, and more. Remediation timeframes can be greatly influenced by soil and groundwater characteristics, as well as the selected remediation goals. As a result, project completion times can range from a couple of months to many years. Careful planning and communication during the site characterization phase is the best way to accomplish desired goals in an acceptable and feasible timeframe.