Buyer, Be Calm: Effectively Navigating Contaminated Sites and Site Closures

What should you do when you find out your property is contaminated? Which Texas program and regulations apply to your site? First, you need to determine what type of operations are/were conducted at your site. Different programs need to be followed depending on the type of operations that have taken place. 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. Second, you should determine which program is appropriate to seek regulatory approvals and closure. Programs regulated by TRRP include the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), Innocent Owner/Occupant Program (IOP), Drycleaner Remediation Program (DCRP), and Corrective Action (CA), while PST rules and regulations apply to Leaking Petroleum Storage Tank (LPST) cases. For example, a filling station will need to be addressed under the PST Program, while a dry cleaner will need to be addressed under the
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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).

Dry Cleaner 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.

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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W&M Recently Closed Two Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) Projects

W&M recently closed two Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) projects for real estate development clients.  In both cases, the client’s goal was to obtain regulatory closure suitable for residential development.  In west Dallas, we completed an affected property assessment at a former commercial property contaminated with metals (arsenic, lead, cadmium), and removed waste material such as buried drums and scrap tires from the property.  Using site-specific soil and groundwater data, W&M was able to demonstrate that concentrations of metals remaining in surface soil met residential assessment levels and were not a threat to groundwater.  The TCEQ issued a Certificate of Completion for residential use of the property with no restrictions.  In downtown San Antonio, a property located on the San Antonio River was found to contain concentrations of metals and semi-volatile organic compounds above action levels in surface and subsurface soil.  Most of the impacted soil was removed during excavation related
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TCEQ Closes Out Two Projects For W&M

The IOP project is located in the Dallas area adjacent to a property that experienced a release from two 2,000 gallon underground storage tanks (USTs) in the 1980’s. Environmental investigations conducted at the Site and adjacent property identified volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater and light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPL) on the Site.  According to the most recent Groundwater Sampling Report, the Site is still slightly impacted with gasoline range chemicals of concern (COCs) including toluene, ethyl benzene and xylenes.  LNAPL was also measured in several of the on-Site monitoring wells.  Based on the review of the available files, there was no evidence that the Site caused or contributed to the contamination, and therefore was eligible for innocent owner/operator protection.  The TCEQ approved the IOP in the second quarter of 2017. The VCP project was for an Auto Services facility in a Dallas suburb. The Site was previously closed to
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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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W&M Finalizes MSD, VCP, Waste Management Unit Closure and Site Decommissioning

As part of the decommissioning of a 100+ acre former manufacturing facility, W&M completed an environmental assessment of this Site which included multiple Partial Response Action Areas (PRAAs).  This approach allowed for the identification of specific source areas which expedited the closure of large tracts of land at varying times as they reached completion. After data compilation and review of regulatory closure strategies, the use of a Municipal Setting Designation (MSD) was determined to provide the most cost-effective and efficient manner of risk-based remediation for the Site groundwater.  The property borders an active shipping lane, which required additional scrutiny by the City of Houston and additional investigation by W&M for completion of the MSD.  The Site received an MSD Ordinance from the City of Houston and is the largest land area MSD ever performed in the city of Houston.  It is the 8th largest land area MSD state-wide. Affected Property Assessment
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VCP Closure – Retail Property Garland

W&M assisted a real estate developer with the evaluation, remediation, and closure of a property located in Garland that had been historically contaminated.  The Site had been a shopping center with a separate service station located on the front side of the property.  Contamination at the Site was associated with maintenance operations at the former service station along with several off-Site properties including a dry cleaner.  The Site was entered into the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s (TCEQ) Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) to address the chemicals of concern (COC) and subsequently re-develop the property. The property was completely razed to the ground and was being redeveloped for commercial retail businesses including a bank. The primary COCs were related to the former service station along with several off-Site sources.  The prompt remediation and closure from TCEQ were critical to the redevelopment process from the standpoint of the lender and the potential tenants who required that
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