ID#2123 made on
SSp2 - Environmental site assessment
LEED BD+C: Schools
The classroom project area is the subject of an Act 2 Consent Order and Agreement (COA) entered into between Owner and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). Pennsylvania's A...
The classroom project area is the subject of an Act 2 Consent Order and Agreement (COA) entered into between Owner and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). Pennsylvania's Act 2 of 1995 (the Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act) encourages the voluntary cleanup and reuse of contaminated commercial and industrial sites. It also provides cleanup liability protection under state and federal environmental laws once the selected cleanup standard (background, statewide health, site-specific) has been demonstrated to PADEP's satisfaction. USEPA has granted Pennsylvania the authority to oversee remediation of such sites. Because a school is considered a residential use under Act 2, the areas of proposed construction must satisfy the most stringent unrestricted residential statewide health standards. We believe that the COA satisfies the intent of this prerequisite because these standards have been satisfied. However, the remainder of the project area requires the maintenance of a paved surface which is a land use restriction. The paving acts as a "cap" and is protective of human health and the environment. We are requesting clarification because of an apparent contradiction in the credit requirements. The requirements state that if the project site is contaminated, it must satisfy "local, state or federal EPA region residential (unrestricted) standards, whichever is most stringent," and documentation must be provided (such as EPA's 'Ready for Reuse' document) to prove that 'safe' levels of contamination have been achieved." EPA's guidance on 'Ready for Reuse' determinations provide that EPA may issue a 'Ready for Reuse' for a property even if it has a land use or control or other environmental restrictions, such as the requirement to maintain a cap. Therefore, the "most stringent" and "unrestricted standard" reference appears to contradict the reference to 'Ready for Reuse' which permits land use controls or other environmental restrictions, which are not "unrestricted" by their very nature. Questions: 1. Do the requirements allow classroom buildings to be constructed on sites where land use restrictions exist? 2. Does the Act 2 Consent Order & Agreement permitting construction of this classroom building satisfy this prerequisite? 3. Is an ASTM E1527-05-compliant Phase I ESA required despite that PADEP and Owner have entered into a COA for the property? The presumed intent for requiring a Phase I is to identify recognized environmental conditions on the property that may require a Phase II follow-up investigation. The same result has been achieved via an equivalent process. We are able to provide the following documentation as part of the Design Submittal: - Confirmation that the recognized environmental conditions were identified as part of the site remediation process in 2001. This process was the Phase I ESA equivalent. - Confirmation that portions of the project parcel were contaminated. This work was completed as part of the site remediation process in 2001 and updated in 2007. This is the Phase II ESA equivalent. - The COA which documents DEP's approval for construction on the property as proposed.
First, school projects can be developed on a site with land use restrictions such as described in this inquiry, provided the site has been remediated to satisfactory levels. Second, Pennsylvania's Act 2 Consent Order & Agreement is a state standard pertaining to remediation of brownfields, and as such, can be used to satisfy the requirements. Last, the project can be exempted from performing an ASTM E1527-05-compliant Phase I ESA provided the rigor required for a COA is comparable to the activities performed for a Phase I ESA. Please refer to the LEED for Schools Reference Guide pages 30-31 for a description of these activities.
Related Addenda (Corrections & Interpretations)