Institutional controls (ICs) are used to reduce risks to human health and environment from exposure to contaminants at Brownfield sites. Regulators approve use of ICs in Brownfield redevelopment with the expectation that ICs will remain effective over the long-term under proper oversight mechanisms. However, a recent review of compliance statuses of Brownfield sites with ICs implemented in Massachusetts and New Jersey indicated a significant percentage of the sites are out of compliance status.
Implementation of ICs depends on compliance efforts by humans. Thus, consistency of implementation over the long-term is questionable because there are several potential problems due to human errors or omissions related to record keeping of ICs and maintenance of engineering controls (ECs). Many Brownfield sites have relatively short redevelopment histories (less than 20 years) and thus potential gaps, if any, in oversight mechanisms of ICs may not be evident now. In light of the potential concerns on implementation effectiveness of ICs, there is a need for a methodology to evaluate implementation effectiveness of ICs as well as an analysis of available data to determine the rate of success or failure of IC implementation.
This study evaluated implementation effectiveness of ICs through 1) an assessment of oversight mechanisms for remediated sites with ICs implemented under state cleanup programs and 2) a survey of state regulators and Licensed Site Professionals (LSPs) on effectiveness of IC implementation.
Assessment of oversight mechanisms suggested that ICs are not properly implemented as stipulated by regulation. The study identified three potential gaps in oversight mechanisms of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) including: 1) work force size and work load; 2) information management system; and 3) enforcement of IC-related requirements.
Survey results indicated that Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MADEP) environmental professionals and Massachusetts LSPs would be concerned if restrictions and requirements associated with IC implementation are not strictly enforced. These findings along with the fact that a sizable percentage of sites in Massachusetts and New Jersey are still out of compliance status suggest that effectiveness of ICs is not optimal and the situation could be worse over the long-term. Based on the findings of the study, a set of policy recommendations for improving implementation and enforcement of ICs is proposed.