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Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

 

Statement of Basis and Purpose

   

The Office of Environmental Remediation (“Office” or “OER”) was established by Local Law No. 27 of 2009, and Charter § 15(e)(5) authorizes its Director to administer financial incentive programs to promote the identification, investigation, remediation, and redevelopment of brownfields.  Charter § 15(e)(6) also authorizes the Director to promote community participation in these activities. 

 

 

OER is proposing amendments to its Environmental Remediation Rules in two principal ways.  

 

 

(1)  The rule relating to the New York City Brownfield Cleanup Program (“Program Rule”), set forth in Subchapter 1 of Chapter 14, would be revised to amend the definition of “unrestricted use” for sites that enroll in the City Voluntary Cleanup Program (“VCP”) (§ 14-1407).

 

 

OER designs, reviews, and approves cleanup plans for light- to moderately- contaminated sites in New York City and later oversees the initial phase of construction at VCP sites to ensure that proposed cleanup plans are actually carried out in the field. Properties that achieve “unrestricted use” status are desirable because they are protective of any legal use the property can be put to. Another feature of “unrestricted use” sites is that their owners are not required to monitor the continued implementation of any restrictions on use. 

 

 

The proposed amendments (§ 43-1407(k) and (l)) would revise the definition of “unrestricted use” in New York City to specify that restrictions that would be mandatory for a property in the VCP would not include restrictions that already apply to the property as part of area-wide or city-wide land-use or resource-use restrictions. For example, remedial actions would not be required to specify restrictions for activities that are unlawful in New York City. In some circumstances, under existing regulations, the only restriction that would be placed on a property during a remedial action is for uses that are already prohibited by City statutes (i.e., dairy farming). The proposed amendments would allow remedial actions to exclude the establishment of site-specific restrictions that are already prohibited by the City. In other words, such land uses would be excluded from consideration when determining if an unrestricted use cleanup at a site in New York City that achieves the restricted-residential standard is appropriate. Because sensitive uses of land such as dairy farming are not allowed in New York City, the unrestricted use standard that is fully protective of all possible uses of property in New York City can be slightly higher (i.e., the restricted-residential standard) than across the state.

 

 

The amendments would also eliminate the need for site owners to conduct long-term monitoring for activities that are not lawful. In addition, by redefining “unrestricted use,” the amendments would encourage more parties enrolled in the VCP to pursue higher-level soil cleanups across New York City.

 

 

 (2)  The Office also oversees and administers the New York City Brownfield Incentive Grant (“BIG”) Program, set forth in Subchapter 2 of Chapter 14, which provides City funds to promote the cleanup and redevelopment of light- to moderately- contaminated sites across the city.  The proposed amendments would:

 

 

● Expand the list of entities that can perform work eligible for reimbursement with City brownfield grants to include (1) workforce development organizations that offer short term employment to trainees and (2) vendors under contract with the City or the NYC Economic Development Corporation that perform eligible services under the city brownfield grant program (§ 43-1416(m)).   

 

 

● Expand an existing City pre-enrollment grant, increase the City pre-enrollment grant award limit to $125,000, and create a new City enrollment grant to reimburse affordable and industrial development projects for cleanup activities undertaken in either the VCP or the State brownfield cleanup program. Affordable and supportive housing projects financed by the City Department of Housing Preservation and Development or the City Housing Development Corporation, as well as industrial development projects supported by the NYC Economic Development Corporation, would be eligible for up to $125,000 to cover investigation costs and up to $250,000 in total to cover investigation and site cleanup costs. Services and activities that can be reimbursed under a City enrollment grant are those performed pursuant to a remedial action work plan issued by the Office or the New York state department of environmental conservation (§43-1417(a)(3); § 43-1417(b)(7); § 43-1418(c)(2); § 43-1418(d); § 43-1419(c)(2); § 43-1422(c)(11); § 43-1422(c)(12)).

 

 

● Make place-based community brownfield planning groups recognized by OER eligible for a technical assistance grant to develop a reuse plan for a development site and a BOA local match grant to identify, screen, and select strategic sites. By expanding eligibility for these grants, the Office seeks to increase the number of community organizations performing community brownfield planning in the city. The BOA program provides State planning grants to community based organizations to develop plans for the redevelopment of neighborhoods with idle, vacant sites. Recently, the State has declined to provide new funds for the BOA program, prompting OER to supplement existing City support for community brownfield planning (§ 43-1416 (b), (l), (n)(5) and (q); § 43-1417(c)(1) and (2); § 43-1418(d)(2)(B), (d)(3)(A)(ii) and (B); (d)(4)(B)(ii)); § 43-1422(a), (c) (3) and (4); § 43-1423 (d)).

 

 

● Expand eligible services and activities for cleanup grants, track one bonus cleanup grants, brownfield opportunity area strategic property bonus cleanup grants, City enrollment grants, e-designation hazardous material remediation grants, climate change resilience bonus cleanup grants, and E-designation/restrictive declaration hazardous material remediation grants to include additional long-term management plans and additional remedial actions commonly required by Office-approved remedial plans. (§ 43-1419(a)(4)). 

 

 

● Require that parties seeking City reimbursement for eligible cleanup expenses have six months from the receipt of a notice of completion, a notice of satisfaction or a certificate of completion to file a complete City brownfield grant application (§ 43-1420(h)).

 

 

● Increase the maximum cleanup grant award available to not-for-profit developers of preferred community development projects to $50,000 and make available to developers of housing and industrial sites supported by City development agencies a consultation service on the feasibility of entering such a site in the State brownfield cleanup program (§ 43-1422(c)(2)). As a result of comments received after publication of the rule, text has been added to § 43-1422(c)(12) indicating that the City will also be making $50,000 cleanup grants available to City-supported affordable housing or industrial projects that enroll in the City Voluntary Cleanup Program.

 

 

● The proposed rule amendments acknowledge the change in nomenclature regarding the program that was formerly known as the “Local Brownfield Cleanup Program”, which is now known as the “City Voluntary Cleanup Program” (§§ 43-1401 to 43-1405, 43-1408 to 43-1410, et al). 

 

 

● The proposal includes numerous technical drafting changes to Subchapters 1 and 2 to ensure consistency and conformity throughout this regulatory scheme.

 

 

Finally, Schedule A (“Grant Awards and Award Limits”) and Schedule B (“Eligible Services and Activities/Reimbursable Allowance”) are repealed and re-promulgated both to reflect the numerous substantive revisions set forth in the proposed rule, and to incorporate improved formatting changes. As the result of comments received after publication of the rule, a new eligible service – “peer advisory services” has been added to the Technical Assistance Grant portion of Schedule B.  “Peer advisory services” consist of professional advice provided to a community based organization on how it can best engage private landowners to advance local economic development. Also with respect to Schedule B, footnote d has been revised to include “community based organizations” in the description of the non-profit status of entities involved with preferred community development projects.

 

Effective Date: 
Thu, 01/28/2016

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments

Agency:
Comment By: 
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

 

 

Section 1403(c) of the New York City Charter and Section 24-105 of the City Administrative Code authorize the commissioner to regulate and control the emission of harmful air pollutants into the open air.

 

Sections 24-109, 24-122, and 24-125 of the Administrative Code respectively authorize the commissioner

1)      To regulate and control emission sources other than those located in one or two family dwellings and motor vehicles by requiring a registration to be filed with the department; and

2)      Set forth general requirements for applications for work permits, certificates of operation, and renewal of certificates of operation; and provide standards for granting work permits.

 

Chapter 2 of title 15 provides performance standards and other engineering criteria for oil-burning boilers. The rules were revised earlier this year, after not having been revised since their original promulgation in 1970.

 

After this year’s revision, DEP received a number of comments from the regulated community. In response, the rule is being amended to expand the universe of individuals who are permitted to be a qualified combustion tester as well as deleting the term qualified combustion tuner, as the term is not used in the rule. The remainder of the paragraphs within the definitions section have been renumbered.

Subject: 

Amendment to Voluntary Hazard Remediation Technician

Location: 
8th Floor Conference Room
59-17 Junction Boulevard 8th Floor
Flushing, NY 11373
Contact: 

Russell Pecunies

Download Copy of Proposed Rule (.pdf): 

Adopted Rules: Closed to Comments

Adopted Rules Content: 

Local Law Number 3 for the year 2014 amends Title 24 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York by adding a new Chapter 10 in relation to the creation of a voluntary master environmental hazard remediation technician registration program.  The law requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to establish a program that provides for the voluntary registration of persons as master environmental hazard remediation technicians.

 

This rulemaking sets forth the determination by the Commissioner of the DEP as to the fee for registration and renewal of registration, as provided for in section 24-1002(f) of the new law, as well as the forms needed to register for the program, as provided for in section 24-1002(d) of the new law.

 

Consistent with the above, DEP promulgates the following new Rule, to be found at 15 RCNY Chapter 35.

 

The Rule is authorized by Section 1043 of the Charter of the City of New York and section 24-1000 et seq. of the Administrative Code.

Effective Date: 
Wed, 09/24/2014

Proposed Rules: Closed to Comments (View Public Comments Received:1)

Agency:
Comment By: 
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Proposed Rules Content: 

Statement of Basis and Purpose of Proposed Rule

Local Law Number 3 for the year 2014 amends Title 24 of the Administrative Code of the City of New York by adding a new Chapter 10 in relation to the creation of a voluntary master environmental hazard remediation technician registration program. The law requires the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to establish a program that provides for the voluntary registration of persons as master environmental hazard remediation technicians. This rulemaking sets forth the determination by the Commissioner of the DEP as to the fee for registration and renewal of registration, as provided for in section 24-1002(f) of the new law, as well as the forms needed to register for the program, as provided for in section 24-1002(d) of the new law. Consistent with the above, DEP promulgates the following new Rule, to be found at 15 RCNY Chapter 35. The Rule is authorized by Section 1043 of the Charter of the City of New York and section 24-1000 et seq. of the Administrative Code.

Subject: 

Voluntary Master Environmental Hazard Remediation Technician Registration Program.

Location: 
DEP 8th Floor Conference Room
59-17 Junction Boulevard 8th Floor
Elmhurst, NY 11373
Contact: 

Russ Pecunies

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):