Options & Tools Available in Addressing Historical Site Contamination Issues

Once you have documented your property is contaminated, what are your options? Once you receive that Phase II Investigation report that shows your property has some contamination issues, don’t panic yet. Everyone has heard the horror stories about millions spent on cleaning up site contamination that occurred half a century ago. Fortunately, we have come a long way in understanding behavior, fate and transport of chemicals in the environment.  Additionally, site cleanup decisions are almost entirely risk-based, meaning contaminated soil does not need to be remediated to background conditions, and groundwater does not always require treatment to potable water standards. In Texas, most contaminated sites are subject to the technical regulations under the Texas Risk Reduction Program (TRRP) or the Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) rules. Both of these programs have evolved in pragmatic ways to rely heavily on evaluating individual exposure pathways and requiring response actions only for those pathways
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W&M Closes Contaminated Houston Site Through MSD

W&M conducted a soil removal response action for a contaminated property and detected total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) in the C12-C28 boiling point range at concentrations in exceedance of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Texas Risk Reduction Program (TRRP) residential assessment level (RAL).

W&M obtains MSD and VCP Closure for Laboratory Property

W&M obtained a Certificate of Completion through the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) at a groundwater contamination site which required risk-based assessment of soil, groundwater, surface water, sediment, and soil vapor; chemical and biological groundwater remediation; and a restriction on potable groundwater use through a Municipal Setting Designation (MSD).

Municipal Setting Designations

What is the most cost-effective way to address groundwater contamination? One cost-effective option is the use of a Municipal Setting Designation (MSD). An MSD is a state-approved deed restriction applied to a Site located within a municipality or its extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) which restricts the use of groundwater for potable purposes. Any water used for drinking, bathing, cooking, or for the irrigation of crops is considered potable water. MSDs are commonly used in areas where shallow groundwater is not used and potable water is supplied by municipalities, and saves money by avoiding costly remediation. Additionally, MSDs may save time by closing sites sooner since remediation activities and subsequent groundwater monitoring could take years. Before pursuing an MSD there are a number of factors to consider that include: Does the local municipality have an MSD ordinance What are the chemicals of concern present in groundwater and what are the concentrations Is potable water
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Contaminated Soil Remediation – VCP

W&M closed a contaminated soil project for a former dry-cleaning facility in North Texas through the Texas Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP). The goal of the project was to obtain regulatory closure in order to allow our client to use the property for future commercial development. An affected property assessment was completed for the property, which indicated that soil and groundwater underlying the site was impacted with perchloroethylene (also known as tetrachloroethene or “perc”), which is a common dry-cleaning solvent. After excavating and properly disposing of the contaminated soil, W&M worked with it’s client and the TCEQ to close the VCP case with the use of a Municipal Setting Designation (MSD) to ensure that the property was safe for future uses and to avoid potentially costly groundwater remediation activities. An MSD is an official designation by the local municipality as well as the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) that certifies
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New MSD in Wylie and Farmers Branch, Texas!

W&M continued to capitalize on our depth of experience with Municipal Setting Designations (MSDs) in North Texas by obtaining approval for the first MSDs in the cities of Wylie and Farmers Branch. W&M has been working with the Wylie Economic Development Corporation (EDC) for two years addressing environmental issues on distressed properties that were planned for redevelopment. One such property performed cleaning operations that had resulted in a release of dry cleaning solvent (perchloroethylene [PCE], aka “perc”) into the soil and groundwater.  The EDC wanted to make the property suitable for redevelopment and W&M recognized that it was an excellent candidate for an MSD, which results in the placement of a deed restriction on the property such that groundwater cannot be used for potable purposes.  With public water provided from local surface water reservoirs and no sensitive groundwater use in the area, the EDC agreed and W&M presented the concept
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W&M Closes Four Voluntary Cleanup Program Sites

2017 kicked off on a good note as four of W&M’s clients received closure letters from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) for real property that had been entered into the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP). The most challenging closure was for a former light industrial facility in West Texas that had a release of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the shallow portions of the Ogallala Aquifer. The Ogallala is a highly valued source of water for agricultural, industrial and domestic use in West Texas and beyond.  The affected portion of the aquifer extended to a depth of nearly 100 feet.  Many years of monitoring by previous consultants had shown that the VOCs were not being degraded at a very rapid pace, so W&M recommended that the client seek a Municipal Setting Designation (MSD) to restrict the use of groundwater from the affected area.  W&M worked closely with the
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Burlwood, LLC

W&M Brownfields assisted investors in the acquisition of a contaminated property in downtown Dallas, through a limited liability corporation, at a discounted price. A Municipal Setting Designation (MSD) application and other environmental services were provided to the investors in return for equity in the property. The property was leased to a neighboring manufacturer to provide income to the investors while awaiting full regulatory closure. This property is currently for sale.

MSD in Houston Ship Channel

W&M Environmental managed the Municipal Setting Designation (MSD) process for an industrial facility in the Houston Ship Channel. The MSD process involved collaborating with the City of Houston and the local community in confirming the lack of risk to the groundwater supplies of the area. Delineation of the impact from past disposal practices and communicating the property owner's commitment to removing the risk and preventing future issues was a key factor in meeting the requirements of the ordinance. Contact us for further information on the Houston MSD process or environmental remediation

Former Machine Shop Closure in Houston

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued a Certificate of Completion (COC) applied for by W&M Environmental Group, Inc. (W&M). W&M’s client, a real estate investor, leased to a tenant who impacted the property with chlorinated solvents and gasoline constituents prior to moving their operations several years ago. The release came from closed in-place Underground Storage Tanks (USTs). The Site was closed utilizing a Municipal Setting Designation (MSD). The MSD provides an ordinance against using the groundwater as a potable resource. By securing the MSD ordinance, the groundwater ingestion pathway is removed from consideration and allowed the property to receive its COC. This is the first MSD approved by any of the Houston Villages when Bunker Hill Village approved a resolution supporting the MSD after W&M hosted an informational session at a City Council meeting.