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Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, November 23, 2018
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule
Under authority granted to it by section 1100 of the Public Health Law and section 24-302 of the New York City Administrative Code, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) is amending sections 18-12, 18-15 through 18-17, 18-23, 18-26, 18-29, 18-34 through 18-39, 18-61 and 18-82 through 18-84 of its Rules and Regulations for the Protection from Contamination, Degradation and Pollution of the New York City Water Supply and its Sources (“Watershed Regulations”). The purpose of the Watershed Regulations is to protect public health by preventing contamination to and degradation of the City’s surface water supply. The proposed amendments incorporate changes in federal and state law and also address issues that have arisen during administration and enforcement of the Watershed Regulations, which were identified by a number of the interested parties.
The proposed amendments to the Watershed Regulations include revisions to replace the existing approach for evaluating alterations and modifications of subsurface sewage treatment systems – and for determining whether systems that have not been used in some time can be brought back into service – with an approach that focuses primarily on how well the septic system will serve the proposed use, consistent with public health and water quality concerns. The amendments to the Watershed Regulations also include various revisions which relate to the incorporation of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) 2015 State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity. Additionally, the revisions establish a category of small, limited impact projects for which stormwater pollution prevention plans can be simpler, similar to the existing framework for individual residential stormwater permits. The proposed amendments also eliminate the description of the phosphorus offset pilot program, which had a limited term and was completed.
The proposed revisions incorporate standards for holding tanks and portable toilets. DEP will not review and approve holding tanks or portable toilets; rather, these revisions establish standards consistent with applicable State guidance. Furthermore, the proposed revisions reorganize and clarify requirements applicable to the alteration and modification of certain noncomplying regulated activities – i.e., storage of hazardous substances, storage of petroleum products, and the siting of junkyards and solid waste management facilities. In addition, DEP proposes to eliminate the “hardship” criterion necessary for obtaining a variance from the Watershed Regulations, which has not proven to further water quality goals.
DEP also proposes to re-issue watershed maps included in Appendix 18-A, based upon updated information from DEP’s LiDAR survey of the watershed. In addition, Appendices 18-B and 18-C will be combined and certain revisions will be incorporated to clarify the standards used for analysis of water quality samples.
The proposed amendments include technical corrections such as substituting more recent versions of publications cited in the Watershed Regulations, updating certain technical terminology, and modifying or changing the order of certain text to improve clarity and intelligibility. Some of the plain language and clarification revisions were identified as part of the retrospective rules review conducted by the Mayor’s Office of Operations.
In addition to these proposed amendments, DEP intends to work closely with NYSDEC as it updates its SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity, the current version of which will expire in January 2020, and NYSDEC’s related Stormwater Management Design Manual. DEP intends to further amend these rules to incorporate NYSDEC’s 2020 Construction General Permit, and potentially to include other related changes at that time to ensure appropriate stormwater controls based on sound scientific information.
As required by section 1100 of the Public Health Law, DEP will not adopt these amendments until the State Department of Health has approved them.

Subject: 

Amendment of Watershed Regulations

Location: 
NYC DEP 11th Floor Conference Room
59-17 Junction Blvd. 11th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373
Contact: 

No contact

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

 

STATEMENT OF BASIS AND PURPOSE

The Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (“OER” or “the Office”) has amended the rules of the New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program to obtain information and tighten cleanup requirements for new industrial uses in connection with remediation of coastal properties in New York City. The Office administers the Brownfield Cleanup Program, also known as the New York City Voluntary Cleanup Program, which provides landowners and developers with City government approval and oversight of cleanup plans for light to moderately contaminated sites across the City. New York City Charter § 15(e)(4) authorizes the Director of OER to develop and administer a local Brownfield cleanup program. The Director is further authorized by Charter § 15(e)(18) and Administrative Code § 24-903 to adopt rules to implement the program.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it has become clear that flooding and coastal erosion have the potential to disperse contaminants located on coastal properties to neighboring properties. The amendments to the Brownfield Cleanup Program rules require parties to compile information on natural factors that could mobilize contaminants, and will tighten cleanup standards for when certain coastal properties are redeveloped.

Under the amendments, the remedial investigation required by the Office will include a determination of the property’s proximity to tidal surface water bodies. In the wake of Superstorm Sandy, the Office reduced the scope of its original proposal to require additional characterization of sites subject to coastal erosion. The new requirements will apply to waterfront sites only. Because waterfront sites in New York City are only slightly above sea level, the Office decided not to require site owners to report their property’s height above sea level or state their property was subject to coastal erosion. The amendments will tighten cleanup standards for properties on the waterfront that are susceptible to significant coastal erosion from severe storms and are proposed for industrial use. If the owner of such a parcel opts to implement a Track Two cleanup for industrial use, the amendments will require the property to be remediated in accordance with commercial cleanup standards.

In addition to these changes, the amendments will allow a property owner to certify to the Office that a physical barrier or cover, used as part of a site remedy, will continue to function as an effective barrier to residual contamination at a property remediated under the Brownfield Cleanup Program. The amendments also authorize the Office-issued notice of completion to be recorded in a public repository on the Office’s website, in lieu of requiring the site owner to record the notice in the property recording office of the borough in which the site is located. Posting the notice of completion on the Office’s website is a simpler and faster way of notifying the public that a site has been remediated under the Brownfield Cleanup Program.

Finally, the amendments authorize OER to issue environmental review and assessment letters, as contemplated by City Charter § 15(e)(14), to facilitate the financing of real estate transactions where a party has raised concern that the property might contain contamination. Upon request, OER will review contaminant data for the site and the owner’s plans for the property, and will conduct a site inspection. If OER determines that a property has no more than minimal contamination and does not pose a soil exposure threat, the Office will issue an environmental review and assessment letter, which can serve to reassure parties to a real estate transaction. The Office will charge a $3,500 fee for the issuance of such letters. OER changed the name of this new program from "acceptance letter" to "environmental review and assessment letter" because the new title better describes the service the Office will provide. As a result of comments received, OER has transferred this new provision from § 43-1410 and incorporated the initiative as a new subchapter 5 of Chapter 14. 

Effective Date: 
Thu, 01/16/2014

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Friday, November 1, 2013
Proposed Rules Content: 

 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose

 

The Mayor’s Office of Environmental Remediation (“OER” or “the Office”) proposes to amend the rules of the New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program to obtain information and tighten cleanup requirements for new industrial uses in connection with remediation of coastal properties in New York City. The Office administers the Brownfield Cleanup Program, which provides landowners and developers with City government approval and oversight of cleanup plans for light to moderately contaminated sites across the City. New York City Charter § 15(e)(4) authorizes the Director of OER to develop and administer a local brownfield cleanup program. The Director is further authorized by Charter § 15(e)(18) and Administrative Code § 24-903 to adopt rules to implement the program.

 

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, it has become clear that flooding and coastal erosion have the potential to disperse contaminants located on coastal properties to neighboring properties. The proposed amendments to the Brownfield Cleanup Program rules would require parties to compile information on natural factors that could mobilize contaminants, and would tighten cleanup standards for when certain coastal properties are redeveloped.

 

Under the proposed amendments, the remedial investigation required by the Office would include a determination of the property’s elevation above sea level and its proximity to tidal surface water bodies. The proposed amendments would also recognize coastal erosion as a natural force that can relocate contaminants. The amendments would tighten cleanup standards for properties that are susceptible to significant coastal erosion from severe storms and are proposed for industrial use. If the owner of such a parcel opts to implement a Track Two cleanup, the amendments would require the property to be remediated in accordance with commercial cleanup standards.

 

In addition to these changes, the amendments would allow a property owner to certify to the Office that a physical barrier or cover, used as part of a site remedy, will continue to function as an effective barrier to residual contamination at a property remediated under the Brownfield Cleanup Program. The amendments would also authorize the Office-issued notice of completion to be recorded in a public repository on the office’s website, in lieu of requiring the site owner to record the notice in the property recording office of the borough in which the site is located. Posting the notice of completion on the Office’s website would be a simpler and faster way of notifying the public that a site has been remediated under the Brownfield Cleanup Program.

 

Finally, the amendments would authorize OER to issue acceptance letters, as contemplated by City Charter § 15(e)(14), to facilitate the financing of real estate transactions where a party has raised concern that the property might contain contamination. Upon request, OER would review contaminant data for the site and the owner’s plans for the property, and would conduct a site inspection. If OER were to determine that a property has no more than minimal contamination and does not require further action, the Office would issue an acceptance letter, which can serve to reassure parties to a real estate transaction. The Office would charge a $5,000 fee for the issuance of such letters.

 

 

These proposed rules were not included in the Office’s regulatory agenda because they were not contemplated when the regulatory agenda was issued.

 

 

Subject: 

Opportunity to Comment on the Office of Environmental Remediation’s Proposed Amendments to the New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program

Location: 
Central Park Room
100 Gold Street, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10038
Contact: 

Dr. Daniel C. Walsh
Director of Environmental Remediation
100 Gold Street, 2nd floor
New York, NY 10038

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf):