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Cleanup Programs

April 26th, 2017

IEPA Website Causes UST Fund Deductible Confusion

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Underground Storage Tank (UST) owners may be confused by the Illinois EPA’s (IEPA’s) website, which hasn’t been updated with current information regarding the UST Fund deductible.

In June 2010, IEPA lowered the deductible for all new eligible Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Incidents to $5,000. Prior to that change, deductibles range from $10,000 to $100,000 depending on the number of tanks and date of registration.

The Illinois EPA’s online UST Fund Guide correctly lists these deductibles, but the new $5,000 deductible for all LUST Incidents after June 2010 is hidden on a different fact page that is difficult to find on the new IEPA website (Leaking USTS – Publications & Regs – Public Act 096-0908 – Fact Sheet 3).

$5,000 Deductible Applies to All Incidents
Declared After June 8, 2010

The confusion about eligibility and high deductibles for some sites deterred many tank owners from cleaning up their LUST Incident and obtaining a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter from IEPA.  As a result, Illinois streamlined their deductible qualifications and reduced it to a more manageable $5,000.This change states that no matter what date an eligible petroleum tank was registered, any LUST Incidents declared after June 8, 2010 are subject to a $5,000 deductible.

Eligible tanks include releases of:

  • Fuel as defined in Section 1.19 of the Motor Fuel Tax Law
  • Aviation Fuel
  • Heating oil
  • Kerosene
  • Used oil that has been refined from crude oil used in a motor vehicle, as defined in Section 1.3 of the Motor Fuel Tax Law.
Other eligibility requirements do apply, as outlined on the EPA’s Tank Fund Guide website. For example, any tanks out of service prior to January 1, 1974 or residential heating oil tanks are not eligible for the Fund.

The UST Fund is available to help owners and operators clean up spills related to leaking tanks. It is funded by these same owner/operators as a per-gallon tax on all petroleum products purchased.
For more information about how to close a LUST Incident and access the UST Fund, contact Nancy Valenta at 773-486-2123 or nvalenta[at]gabenv.com.
July 21st, 2016

Illinois UST cleanup fund authorized in state budget

Cleanup funds are again available to help tank owners in Illinois investigate and cleanup contamination caused by leaking USTs (underground storage tanks)

The Illinois budget impasse had frozen the UST Fund since July 1, 2015.  Tank owners andIMG_0260 operators pay into this Fund with every gallon of petroleum product they purchase.  The Fund is then available to help investigate and cleanup any leaks or spills from these underground storage tanks.

Tank owners had continued to pay into this Fund while Illinois lawmakers failed to agree on a state budget, but the Illinois Comptroller lacked authority to issue checks from the Fund without a state budget.

The Illinois stopgap budget passed on June 30th re-authorizes payments from this cleanup fund to be issued, clearing the way for the Comptroller to send over $20 million to tank owners for currently approved reimbursement claims.  Cleanups in process should also have access to this fund, since the budget authorizes up to $60 million to be issued from the UST Fund.

If you have any questions about the UST Fund or the cleanup process, contact Nancy Valenta at 773-617-1046 or nvalenta{at}gabenv.com.

July 6th, 2016

Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Spotlight: HREC

One of the major changes to the Phase I Environmental Site Assessment ASTM standard (E1527-13) is the enhanced definition of a REC (Recognized Environmental Condition).  ASTM added the term CREC (Controlled REC), in addition to the previously defined REC and HREC (Historical REC).

An HREC property is one that was previously deemed to have potential or actual contamination, but has since undergone remediation that meets current standards of cleanup.  An HREC site is not subject to any land use restrictions.

Case Study

Gabriel was conducting a Phase I in Chicago of a former machine IEPA-logoshop. The site was identified on the regulatory database search as an SRP (Site Remediation Program) site.  SRP is a voluntary cleanup program run by the Illinois EPA.  The IEPA is authorized to issue No Further Remediation (NFR) letters to the Remedial Applicants who have successfully demonstrated, through proper investigation and possible remedial action, that environmental conditions at their remediation site do not present a significant risk to human health or the environment.

This site received an NFR letter with no use restrictions or engineered barriers required.  Since the site clean-up, the property has been unoccupied and no longer has any hazardous substances on the premises.  Therefore, the previous contamination caused by past operations of the occupant represent an HREC for the site.

If you have questions about how Gabriel determines if an environmental condition is an HREC, contact Natalie Neuman, Group Leader Assessment Services, at 773-486-2123 or nneuman{at}gabenv.com.

May 4th, 2016

EPA launches new Superfund database

EPA has launched the ‘Superfund Enterprise Management Systemepa_logo2 (SEMS) as a replacement database for the retired ‘Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System’ (CERCLIS) database.

SEMS contains sites that are either proposed to be, or are on, the National Priorities List (NPL) as well as sites that are in the screening and assessment phase for possible inclusion on the NPL. EPA’s Superfund program is responsible for cleaning up some of the nation’s most contaminated land and responding to environmental emergencies, oil spills and natural disasters.

Gabriel reviews nearby Superfund and NPL sites when conducting Phase I Environmental Site Assessments.  Our regulatory database search provider has updated their databases to include SEMS information.  Gabriel’s Phase I reports will now include SEMS data instead of CERCLIS data.

If you have questions about how Gabriel uses SEMS information in our Phase Is, contact Natalie Neuman at 773-486-2123 or nneuman[at]gabenv.com.

April 20th, 2016

Drone flight over Chicago brownfield sites

Photo credit: Landmarks Illinois

Chicago has many abandoned structures from its industrial past waiting for redevelopment.  These brownfield sites often sit vacant for many years before a developer finds an appropriate use for the site.  The EPA defines a brownfield as “a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.”

Photo credit: Chicagoist

A drone video posted on YouTube explores two of Chicago’s better known brownfield sites: grain silos along the Chicago River (known as the ‘Damen silos’) and the Central Manufacturing District.

The State of Illinois has been marketing and attempting to sell the Damen silos for many years without success.  These grain silos were used in various forms from the mid-1800s through 1977 when an explosion caused significant damage and rendered the remaining silos inoperable. Most recently, the property is known as a setting for films such as Transformers: Age of Extinction.  In 2007, the State attempted to sell the property for $17 million.  By 2014, the price had been reduced to $3.8 million.  It still sits unsold and abandoned today.

In 2014, Landmarks Illinois named the Central Manufacturing District (CMD) as one of its top 10 endangered historic places. The district was founded in 1905 and was the first planned manufacturing district of its kind in the U.S.  By 1915, more than 200 firms had moved into the CMD.  As manufacturing has declined in Chicago, many of these buildings from a once-bustling industrial park are now abandoned.  A 2012 fire destroyed the Pullman Couch Factory, and the Wrigley gum factory was torn down in 2014.

Source: Chicagoist

March 23rd, 2016

Five Steps to Obtaining a No Further Remediation (NFR) Letter after a Tank Leaks

If you’re interested in purchasing a property with a Leaking IEPA-logoUnderground Storage Tank (LUST) Incident, or you currently own a property with an open LUST Incident, the steps for satisfying the Illinois EPA (IEPA) to officially close your site may be confusing.

The goal of the LUST program is to obtain a No Further Remediation (NFR) Letter from the IEPA, which signifies that this leaking tank is no longer a threat to health or the environment. If you’re purchasing or refinancing your property, most lenders will require this NFR letter to satisfy their environmental due diligence requirements.

IEPA lays out the five steps to follow to obtain this NFR Letter:

  • Early Action:  Within 45 days of a LUST Incident being declared, the owner must take action to prevent any additional leaking from the UST.  This may involve pumping out the tank, removing the UST, or properly abandoning the UST.   The owner must also characterize the initial extent of any contamination through soil sampling, either via excavation samples (if removing the UST) or soil borings (if UST will remain in place, either operating or abandoned).
  • Stage 1 Site Investigation: If contamination above IEPA limits exists, IEPA then requires soil sampling around the UST, plus groundwater sampling if groundwater is encountered.
  • Stage 2 Site Investigation:  If contamination is discovered during the initial Stage 1 analysis, IEPA requires additional on-site soil and/or groundwater sampling to determine the extent of the contamination.  Soil gas sampling for potential vapor intrusion may also be required.  Stage 2 may involve several rounds of sampling, depending on the size of the property and spread of contamination.
  • Stage 3 Site Investigation:  If contamination exists at the site boundary, IEPA also requires off-site sampling to determine if the contamination has migrated onto nearby properties.
  • Corrective Action: Depending on the extent of contamination discovered during the Site Investigation stages, IEPA may require various Corrective Action strategies, including:
    • If vapor intrusion exists, installation of Building Control Technology (BCT)
    • Site use restrictions
    • Engineered barriers
    • Groundwater use restrictions
    • UST removal
    • Contaminated soil removal
Due to Illinois’ risk-based TACO regulations, most LUST Incidents can obtain an NFR Letter without active remediation.
If you have questions about how Gabriel can help you close your LUST Incident and obtain an NFR Letter, contact Nancy Valenta at 773-486-2123 or nvalenta[at]gabenv.com.
March 2nd, 2016

Join Gabriel at the upcoming Commercial Deal Makers Forum

Gabriel’s Executive Vice President Steve Sawyer will be a featured MORe-logopanelist at the upcoming Commercial Deal Maker’s Forum sponsored by Mainstreet Organization of Realtors.

Join Gabriel for an informative commercial networking and interactive round table event.  Topics include:

  • Environmental Concerns – Steve Sawyer, CHMM – Gabriel Environmental Services
  • Property Management – John LeTourneau, Coldwell Banker
  • Branding Yourself on Social Media – Brian Palm, Palm Real Estate Ventures
  • Due Diligence – Thomas Jaros, Levenfeld Pearlstein, LLC
  • SBA for Commercial Lending – Wells Fargo
  • Legislative Environmental of Illinois – Erik Breila, Illinois Department of Commerce

 

Monday, March 21, 2016

5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Harry Caray’s Lombard

70 Yorktown Shopping Center, Lombard, IL

$35, includes cocktails and heavy appetizers

 

Additional information and registration available at the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors event page.

November 4th, 2015

Contaminated site becomes new helicopter airport in Chicago

On the near west side of Chicago, an abandoned contaminated property has recently been cleaned up and put into progressive reuse as Vertiport Chicago, a helicopter airport.  Previous uses of the svertiport chicagoite included a garage (with two USTs), dry cleaner, and transportation company (with two USTs). The property had been vacant since at least 2005 and was overgrown with weeds.  Illegal dumping had occurred on the northeastern and eastern parts of the land.  Extensive subsurface investigation work found that the site was contaminated with lead, arsenic, and PNAs (Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons).

The airport developer worked with their environmental consultant and the Illinois EPA to determine a cost-effective solution to this contamination.  Instead of requiring the expensive removal of this contaminated soil, IEPA agreed to an industrial/commercial use restriction and a groundwater use restriction.  In addition, the property owner must maintain engineered barriers across the site including a concrete building foundation, a concrete parking lot, concrete vertiport, and alternative engineered barriers with new clean topsoil in the landscaped areas and the detention basin.

Vertiport Chicago has been operating since May 2015.  Its clients include emergency medical services helicopters for the nearby medical district who are able to land without landing fees, as well as more profitable clients such as DHL and corporate CEOs who ferry in documents and executive staff from O’Hare to downtown in a matter of minutes – no matter what the traffic is on the Kennedy Expressway.

www.vertiportchicago.com

October 1st, 2015

Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference

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The first annual Midwest Environmental Compliance Conference (MECC) will be held October 29-30th at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare and will focus on EPA’s Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and 35 tribes).

MECC events are hosted by state business and manufacturing associations and supported by U.S. EPA and State Agencies. These Midwestern environmental conferences:

  • Provide an insider perspective on key regional issues
  • Offer valuable, up-to-date information on rapidly-changing areas of regulation and law
  • Create a forum for valuable networking with regulators, clients and potential clients/customers
  • Foster meaningful, professional conversation with federal, state and local regulators
  • Deliver great speakers and thought leaders with unique insights, real experience, and a seasoned perspective
  • Provide an environmental “boot camp” training opportunity for those relatively new to environmental compliance and permitting or new to a particular environmental medium

 

Chicago’s conference will include sessions featuring administrators from U.S. EPA and state environmental agencies, including Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA), Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).

Some of the conference sessions will discuss:

  • U.S. EPA Regional Priorities
  • Emerging Water Issues
  • Hot Topics in Remediation and Waste Materials Management
  • Regional Air Issues Roundtable
  • Compliance Auditing

More information, the conference schedule, and registration can be found at mecconference.com.

July 29th, 2015

OSFM fines owner record $610,000 for UST violations

Failure to follow underground storage tank (UST) regulations can be osfmcostly, as a gas station owner in Silvis, IL recently discovered.

Baldev Singh was fined $610,000 for multiple violations by the Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal (OSFM). This judgment is the largest ever awarded to the OSFM against an individual owner of a UST facility.

The Rock Island County Circuit Court issued a Default Judgment Order on July 14, 2015 after Mr. Singh failed to appear to defend himself against the lawsuit filed by OSFM.

The ‘Jack and Jill’ gas station ceased operations sometime in late 2011.  OSFM first issued a notice of violation in 2012 for regulatory deficiencies regarding the two USTs.  Then in 2013, OSFM ordered the remaining gasoline from its tanks to be emptied and the USTs to be upgraded or removed.  When Mr. Singh did not comply with either notice of violation, OSFM filed a lawsuit against him in May 2014.

“Gasoline tanks left unattended with remaining fuel pose a significant risk to the public,” said Deputy Director Les Albert. “The Office of the State Fire Marshal remains vigilant in its mission to ensure the protection of lives and property.”

In a separate case, OSFM was also recently awarded a $365,000 judgment against another UST owner who did not properly remove their out-of-service USTs in Oakwood, IL.

The State of Illinois has been cracking down on UST violations.  If your facility receives a notice of violation from OSFM, do not ignore it.  Failure to address the violations can result in significant fines and penalties.  While the cases above are among the higher fines assessed, OSFM is more routinely penalizing UST owners $50,000 – $100,000, plus the cost to correct the violations.

If you need assistance with your UST violations, contact Nancy Valenta at nvalenta[at]gabenv.com or 773-486-2123.

http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=55&RecNum=13189

http://www3.illinois.gov/PressReleases/ShowPressRelease.cfm?SubjectID=55&RecNum=13127