Asset Management Grant Program Available in MA

Calling All Water Utilities!

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) and the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust (the Trust) are currently promoting Asset Management Programs (AMPs) by offering subsidized State Revolving Fund (SRF) financing for communities looking to improve one or more of their water-related utilities.

With the help of Asset Management Programs, water, wastewater, and stormwater utilities are poised to make beneficial financial decisions for the future. The goal of AMPs is to achieve long-term sustainability and deliver the required level of service in a cost-efficient manner. Financial decisions surrounding asset repairs, replacements, or rehabilitations, as well as the development and implementation of a long-term funding strategy can only help a utility.

Through the Asset Management Grant Program, MassDEP and the Trust are encouraging water utilities to focus on AMP development, maintenance, or improvements. This program is also aimed at helping communities and their utilities meet the Engineering Plan and Financial Sustainability Plan requirements for SRF construction loans. With that, the program will award grants with a maximum award of $150,000 or 60% of the total eligible project cost (whatever is less).

If awarded a grant, the recipient will be required to supply documentation of a full appropriation of funding mechanisms for the entire cost of the project to qualify. There are no requirements on the size or scope of the project. MassDEP will favor proposals that include a clear description of the applicant’s current asset management status and goals, and those that demonstrate a strong commitment to participate in their AMP.

Apply Today!

Tata & Howard encourages all MA utilities to apply for this special grant funding. Proposals and Project Evaluation Forms are due on August 23, 2019 by 12 pm.

For more detailed information concerning requirements and deadlines, please view the Guidelines for Proposal Submittal and Project Selection provided by MassDEP.

Asset Management

As one of MassDEP’s pre-qualified consulting engineering firms, Tata & Howard provides industry expertise in both Asset Management and funding assistance. For more information on Asset Management or how Tata & Howard can assist with your grant application, visit our website or contact us directly. We are happy to assist.

State Revolving Fund Loan Program

Financial Assistance through the State Revolving Fund

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), is now accepting Project Evaluation Forms (PEFs) for new drinking water and wastewater projects seeking financial assistance in 2019 through the State Revolving Fund (SRF).  The SRF offers low interest loan options to Massachusetts cities and towns to help fund their drinking water and clean water projects. PEFs are due to the MassDEP Division of Municipal Services by August 24, 2018, 12:00 PM.

Water Main ReplacementFinancing for The Clean Water SRF Program helps municipalities with federal and state compliance water-quality requirements, focusing on stormwater and watershed management priorities, and green infrastructure. The Drinking Water SRF Program, provides low-interest loans to communities to improve their drinking water safety and water supply infrastructure.

This year, the MassDEP Division of Municipal Services (DMS) announced the following priorities for SRF proposals.

  • Water main rehabilitation projects which include full lead service replacement (to the meter) – this is a high priority for eligibly enhanced subsidy under the Drinking Water SRF.
  • Reducing Per- and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) contaminants in drinking water.
  • Asset Management Planning to subsidize Clean Water programs.
  • Stormwater Management Planning for MS4 permit compliance and implementation.

In addition, Housing Choice Communities will receive a discount on their SRF interest rate of not less than 1.5%.

Summaries of the Intended Use Plans (IUP), will be published in the fall, which will list the project name, proponents, and costs for the selected projects. After a 30-public hearing and comment period, Congress will decide which programs may receive funding from the finalized IUPs.

To Apply for SRF Financing

Tata & Howard is experienced with the SRF financing process and is available to help municipalities develop Project Evaluation Forms along with supporting documentation, for their local infrastructure needs.

Please contact us for more information.

The MassDEP Division of Municipal Services are accepting Project Evaluation Forms until August 24, 2018 by 12:00 PM.

 

We Can Help

For more information on the MassDEP State Revolving Fund and assistance preparing a PEF contact us.

PFAS – Emerging Contaminants in Drinking Water

PFAS – Emerging Contaminants in Drinking Water

Health Advisory Guidelines for Per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substances Detected in Public Water Systems

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) announced in early June, and through the Office of Research and Standards (ORS), its recommendations on the Unregulated Contaminant Monitoring Rule 3 (UCMR 3) for emerging contaminants-specifically Perflourinated Alkyl Substances (PFAS).

PFAS or Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are a group of man-made compounds that include perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perffluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perflouroheptanoic acid (PFHpA), and perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS).

US map of PFASAccording the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), all these UCMR 3 PFAS compounds have been detected in public water supplies across the US. Since PFAS are considered emerging contaminants, there are currently no established regulatory limits for levels in drinking water. However, in 2016, the EPA set Health Advisory levels (HA) of 0.07 micrograms per liter (µg/L) or 70 parts per trillion (ppt) for the combined concentrations of two PFAS compounds, PFOS and PFOA.

MassDEP’s ORS established drinking water guidelines that follows the EPA’s recommendations for health advisory levels at 70 ppt, which applies to the sum total of five PFAS chemicals – PFOS, PFOA, PFNA, PFHXS, and PFHpA.  And, if the level of contamination poses unacceptable health risks to its customers, Public Water Systems (PWS) must take action to achieve safe levels. They also must provide public notice.

The EPA and MassDEP’s recommended guidelines for PFAS include:

  • Public Water Suppliers take immediate action to reduce levels of the five PFAS to be below 70 ppt for all consumers.
  • Susceptible health-risk groups (pregnant women, infants, and nursing mothers) should stop consuming water when the level is above 70 ppt.
  • Public Water Systems must provide a public Health Advisory notice.

Water testingThe EPA also recommends that treatment be implemented for all five PFAS when one or more of these compounds are present.

Although, PFAS are no longer manufactured in the United States, PFAS are still produced internationally and can be imported in to the country1.  PFAS have been in use since the 1940’s and are persistent chemicals that don’t breakdown, accumulate over time in the environment and in the human body.  Evidence shows that prolonged exposure PFAS can have adverse effects on human health and the ecology.

PFAS can be found in:

  • Agricultural products grown in PFAS-contaminated soil or water, and/or handled with PFAS-containing equipment and materials.
  • Drinking water contaminated from chemical groundwater pollution from stormwater runoff near landfills, wastewater treatment plants, and firefighter training facilities2.
  • Household products, including nonstick products (e.g., Teflon), polishes, waxes, paints, cleaning products, and stain and water-repellent fabrics.
  • Firefighting foams2, which is a major source of groundwater contamination at airports and military bases where firefighting training occurs.
  • Industrial facilities that manufactured chrome plating, electronics, and oil recovery that use PFAS.
  • Environmental contamination where PFAS have built-up and persisted over time – including in fish, animals and humans.

While most states are relying on the EPA’s Health Advisory levels (including Massachusetts), some, such as Connecticut, Minnesota, New Jersey, Arizona, and Colorado have addressed other UCMR 3 PFAS pollutants as well.

Boy drinking waterMost research on the effects of PFAS on human health is based on animal studies. And, although there is no conclusive evidence that PFAS cause cancer, animal studies have shown there are possible links. However, PFAS ill-health effects are associated with changes in thyroid, kidney and liver function, as well as affects to the immune system.  These chemicals have also caused fetal development effects during pregnancy and low birth weights.

PFAS are found at low levels throughout our environment—in foods we consume and in household products we use daily. PFAS in drinking water at levels higher than the EPA’s recommendations does not necessarily mean health risks are likely. Routine showering and bathing are not considered significant sources of exposure. And, while it is nearly impossible to eliminate all exposure to these chemicals, the risk for adverse health effects would likely be of concern if an individual continuously consumed higher levels of PFAS than the guidelines established by the EPA’s Health Advisory.

MassDEP is continuing its research and testing for PFAS in Public Water Systems.  Large Public Drinking Water Systems have already been tested and sampling indicated that approximately 3% had levels of PFAS detected. MassDEP is currently working with smaller Public Water Systems to identify areas where PFAS may have been used or discharged to the environment.

As more information and regulations develop on this emerging contaminant, MassDEP will continue to communicate their findings. Tata & Howard is also available for any questions that may arise, as well as, assist with testing and recommend treatment options for our clients.

 

1 In 2006, the EPA and the PFA industry formed the PFOA Stewardship program to end the production of PFAs.

2 MassDEP in partnership with the Massachusetts Department of Fire Services (MassDFS), announced in May a take-back program to remove hazardous pre-2003 firefighting foam stockpiles and be neutralized. Manufacturers stopped making PFAS foam in 2002 and have since developed fluorine-free and more fluorine stable foams that are safer to the environment.

MassDEP Beyond Compliance Awards

MassDEP Beyond Compliance Awards

Tata & Howard Clients Receive 2018 Public Water System Awards

MassDEP

MARLBOROUGH, MA Tata & Howard, Inc., a leading innovator in water, wastewater, stormwater, and environmental engineering solutions, is pleased to announce several of its clients were selected to receive the 2018 Public Water System Beyond Compliance Awards from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP).

The 2018 Public Water System Beyond Compliance Awards were presented to fifty-eight Public Water Systems in four different categories, including Nontransient Noncommunity (NTNC), small community, consecutive, and medium/large community, who achieved excellence in compliance with state and federal drinking water regulations.

In addition, these public water systems received zero violations in the past 5 years. They went above and beyond compliance regulations by testing for secondary contaminants and having adequate capacity.

“This award appropriately reflects the exceptional efforts and work our clients do every day to provide safe drinking water to the communities they serve,” said Patrick S. O’Neale, Senior Vice President, Tata & Howard. “We congratulate our clients on this well-deserved recognition.”

The annual awards ceremony was held at the Boston Statehouse on Drinking Water Day, Tuesday, May 8, 2018 during the week-long celebration of National Drinking Water Week (May 6 through 12, 2018).

Tata & Howard Client Award Winners:

Consecutive

Mattapoisett River Valley Water District

Medium and Large Community

Fairhaven Water Department – Fairhaven, MA
Mashpee Water District – Mashpee, MA
Newburyport Water Department – Newburyport, MA
Sandwich Water District – Sandwich, MA
Swampscott Water District, Swampscott, MA
Upper Cape Regional Water Cooperative – Sandwich, MA             

To review the entire list of this year’s award winners and nominations, visit to the MassDEP website.

UST Removals in Massachusetts

Photo courtesy of https://www.enviroequipment.com
Photo courtesy of https://www.enviroequipment.com

As of August 7, 2017, MassDEP’s closure requirement 310 CMR 80.15 mandates all single-walled steel underground storage tanks (USTs) to be closed-in-place or removed. Covered under this regulation are tanks and associated piping that have more than ten percent of their volume underground and hold petroleum products or hazardous substances listed in the U.S. Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation Liability Act. With the deadline now less than one year away, it is important to fully understand single-walled USTs, their potentially harmful impact on the environment, and how to properly plan to remove them.

Single-Walled USTs Explained

USTs have been used for many years to store hazardous substances and petroleum products used by a wide variety of businesses. In addition to the tank itself, a “UST system” includes the underground piping that is used to fill the tank and draw product from it. Until the mid-1980s, most USTs were made of bare steel, which is likely to corrode and leak over time. These leaks can exist undetected for years and cause pollution of the surrounding soil and even groundwater. The piping in the system can also leak if not properly installed and maintained. In many cases, contaminant leaks do not get discovered until the owner or operator realizes that a significant amount of product in a tank goes missing or when the tank is removed and contaminants are found in the underlying soil. Another indication of a leaking UST is neighbors complaining of odors in their buildings or experiencing problems with their drinking water.

Leaking USTs, specifically single-walled steel USTs, have caused considerable environmental damage in Massachusetts, affecting public and private water supplies, wetlands, and soil. In some cases, vapors from contaminated soil and water have permeated homes and businesses. Many millions of dollars have already been spent on cleaning up these leaks, but fully protecting public health and the environment from UST leaks relies on removing or closing the storage tanks altogether.

Benefits of the MassDEP UST Removal Requirements

The site of a former gas station transformed into a pocket park in Hamilton, Ohio. Photo courtesy of https://www.journal-news.com
The site of a former gas station transformed into a pocket park in Hamilton, Ohio. Photo courtesy of https://www.journal-news.com

The removal or permanent closure of aging, single-walled USTs benefits many areas of a community. The new MassDEP regulations will benefit human health, ecosystem functions, and land productivity.

Human health benefits are among the top reasons why single-walled USTs are now required to be removed by August 7, 2017. Contaminated well water and vapor intrusion are the most critical threats to human health from failing USTs. Leaks from USTs can endanger residents for miles through contamination of groundwater, and increased cancer rates and blood disorders have been attributed to exposure to petroleum products, which are commonly found in USTs. The petroleum vapors which are emitted are highly flammable and are potentially dangerous when found in people’s homes. Vapors can travel through soil, sewer lines, storm drainage systems, and other pathways to enter homes and other buildings.

Many single-walled USTs are located in old gas stations, providing the opportunity to add aesthetic and ecological benefits to a community. If a UST leaks into soil, the site becomes contaminated and is considered a brownfield. Removing or closing USTs and making the site usable again decreases the need for development elsewhere and helps preserve greenfields, such as pastures or forests. Many old gas stations are situated in quite visible locations within towns or neighborhoods and can be reused for purposes such as gateways, town centers, or pocket parks. Such redevelopment opportunities improve a locality’s appeal and create recreational value.

Removing or closing-in-place single-walled USTs results in several ecological benefits. Preventing leakage of hazardous material can reduce surface water contamination – protecting fish and other wildlife. Below the ground, removing USTs ensures that leaking tanks will not compromise underground aquifers for future generations. In the long run, this will better protect our drinking water’s taste and purity. Removing USTs also greatly improves land use because former UST sites with a “clean bill of health” will be more likely to develop and prosper without environmental restrictions.

Are there any exceptions to the new regulations?

Soil contamination from a UST which leaked hundreds of gallons of oil. Photo courtesy of https://mde.maryland.gov
Soil contamination from a UST which leaked hundreds of gallons of oil. Photo courtesy of https://mde.maryland.gov

The MassDEP has included exceptions to the UST removal regulations. Tanks are not required to be removed or closed-in-place if they are consumptive use tanks – such as for heating oil in homes – and single-walled tanks that were relined prior to August 8, 2007 in accordance with API 1631. For these relined tanks to be exempt, the owner or operator must possess a permit and approval issued by the head of the local fire department, or a current legally valid warranty for relining. Other exceptions to the new regulations include single-walled steel tanks that have been wrapped with fiberglass, aramid, carbon fiber, or plastic compounds. It is important to note that single-walled steel tanks that are temporarily out-of-service are NOT exempt from the closure requirement, even if they are consumptive tanks for onsite usage. USTs that are not actively used or temporarily out of service are considered abandoned and must be removed or closed-in-place by August 7, 2017.

MassDEP’s UST closure regulation allows tanks to be permanently closed-in-place only if they cannot be removed from the ground without removing a building, or the removal would endanger the structural integrity of another UST, structure, underground piping, or underground utilities. When closing a tank in place, it is required to clean all contaminants out of the tank to prevent future leaks.

In Conclusion

Meeting MassDEP’s closure requirements means more than just being up to code. Removing hazardous USTs benefits everyone involved. It improves a property’s environmental footprint, removes high risk conditions, and reduces an owner’s environmental liability. Compared to the cost of cleaning up hazardous materials after a UST leak, removing a single-walled UST is well worth it. There is only one year left to comply with the MassDEP UST regulations, so it is imperative to start planning now to remove or close-in-place your single-walled USTs.

Please feel free to contact us for any questions on MassDEP’s requirement or for assistance with UST removals and closures.

 

A Roadmap to Massachusetts MS4 Stormwater Compliance

The long-anticipated 2016 Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit, which replaces the 2003 Small MS4 General Permit, was finally signed on April 4, 2016 and jointly issued by the U.S. EPA and MassDEP on April 13, 2016, with an effective date of July 1, 2018. While this date may seem a long way off, it actually affords municipalities limited time to efficiently and effectively determine Massachusetts MS4 compliance needs.

The Time to Plan is Now

Marlborough-stormwater-pretty-300x225In addition to the six Minimum Control Measures included in the original 2003 Permit, the 2016 Massachusetts MS4 General Permit also specifically includes limits to Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs). TMDLs set pollution limits for affected waterways. These pollution limits represent the maximum amount of pollutant a specific body of water can handle before marine life, wildlife, and/or recreational uses become adversely affected. Because stormwater has the potential to have a significantly negative impact on waterways, TMDLs are a necessary protection measure. Unfortunately, addressing stormwater contributions to TMDLs will require that many communities make some structural and treatment modifications to their stormwater systems, and these take both time and money.

A Notice of Intent (NOI) to apply for coverage under the Permit must be filed to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) by September 29, 2018. The Permit is expected to increase municipalities’ stormwater costs substantially for the duration of the permit term — an increase that simply may not seem affordable to some communities. And, non-compliance is not an option as it brings with it its own costs including the potential for regulatory action and fines.

The best course of action to establish compliance with the 2016 Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit is a proactive, systematic approach. Municipalities should be evaluating current MS4 stormwater measures including stormwater system mapping, best management practices (BMPs), illicit discharge monitoring and elimination, etc., and assessing whether or not they are still in compliance with the new Permit. In addition, municipal stormwater systems should be carefully evaluated for cost-efficient and effective means of becoming fully compliant as well as provided with a proposed 5-year budget for compliance. In this way, small MS4 stormwater systems can approach local government officials with a clear and defendable stormwater budget so that nobody is caught unprepared..

Mid-CityScrap_condition1-225x300Fortunately, stormwater assessments that are conducted by licensed professional engineers, such as Tata & Howard’s MS4 Compliance Assessments, provide a significant return on investment. As part of the assessment, the entire system is meticulously evaluated for the most budget-conscious ways in which to fully meet compliance. Permit exclusions will also be assessed and all previous stormwater work will be documented to establish proper credit. The assessment also provides a well-planned course of action that is defendable when justifying projects and procuring funding.

Key Dates:

  • July 1, 2018: Revised MS4 Permit effective date
  • September 29, 2018: Notice of Intent (NOI) to apply for coverage under the permit due to EPA/MassDEP (90 days from effective permit date)
  • July 1, 2019: 5-year Stormwater Management Plan (SMP) must be posted publically (one year from the effective permit date)

While the 2016 Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit has received critical attention and is likely to increase municipalities’ stormwater costs, it is also likely to significantly increase protection to the Commonwealth’s waterways. The fact also remains that the revised MS4 Permit has already been signed and issued. Therefore, finding a balance between compliance and budgetary constraints must be a priority for all MS4 communities.

JonGregory400-150x150

Jon Gregory, P.E., Tata & Howard’s Stormwater Manager, has dedicated his career to water environment engineering consulting and has over 18 years of experience in the design, permitting, and construction of water related projects. He is currently working on numerous stormwater projects throughout Massachusetts including assisting communities with MS4 compliance. 

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The Criticality of Unidirectional Flushing (UDF) Programs for Water Utilities

water_tap-300x188Water utilities today are faced with a unique set of difficulties. Population growth has resulted in unprecedented demand while climate change has caused supply to dwindle. Increased regulations have forced utilities to invest more and more capital into treatment while budgets have shrunk. In addition, our nation’s aging infrastructure has forced water utilities to heavily invest in repair and replacement of the distribution system. Therefore, it has become critical that utilities utilize the most cost-effective and efficient methodologies in order to maintain and improve their water systems.

A key issue in distribution systems is tuberculation, or build-up, on distribution pipe walls. These deposits, most frequently caused by corrosion and microbial activity, affect both the quality and quantity of the water supply. Excessive tuberculation greatly reduces distribution system efficiency and has a negative impact on water quality. In fact, AWWA has noted that distribution system deficiencies are responsible for over 25 percent of waterborne disease outbreaks in the United States each year.

Silver fire hydrant is spraying water after valve opened with red wrench.

Fortunately, implementation of a planned, systematic Unidirectional Flushing (UDF) Program helps to reduce these issues. UDF is utilized to maintain a distribution system and provides the added benefit of learning critical information about the system. This information allows utilities to efficiently plan and make the most imperative improvements to the system. And while the primary goal of UDF is to clean water mains, there are also several peripheral benefits. A routinely implemented UDF Program helps to regularly exercise hydrants and valves, prolonging the life of the valves and helping to locate any closed or broken valves. Flushing also helps to pinpoint the cause of water quality or pressure issues in a specific area of the system while determining discrepancies between the hydraulic model and the distribution system. Flushing frequently enables system issues to be discovered before they become critical and require emergency service, giving utilities sufficient time to address and budget them.

Manchester-By-The-Sea-UDF-Zone-4-199x300Because demand is highest in summer and would make flushing impractical, and low temperatures in winter would cause unsafe conditions from flushed water freezing on roadways and sidewalks, flushing is typically performed in the spring and fall. Currently, Tata & Howard is assisting the communities of Haverhill and Manchester By The Sea, MA and Norwalk First Taxing District in Norwalk, CT with their annual UDF Programs. Both AWWA and MassDEP recommend that UDF be performed on an annual basis, at a minimum. If a distribution system is too large to perform UDF annually, flushing should instead be scheduled in rotation so that all parts of the distribution system are exercised on a regular basis.

A regularly scheduled UDF Program is one of the simplest and most cost-effective ways of maintaining the health and safety of a water distribution system. For comprehensive information on UDF Programs including case studies, please download our UDF whitepaper instantly here.

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MassDEP agrees to co-issuance of new MS4 stormwater permit with EPA

MassDEPDespite serious concerns over costs to municipalities and timing of implementation, MassDEP has agreed to co-issue the new MS4 stormwater permit with EPA. According to a March 31, 2016 letter from MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg to US EPA Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding, MassDEP agreed to co-issue the permit in spite of concerns in order to remain involved with cities and towns on permit implementation. The letter states, “MassDEP would have preferred some time for additional discussion of important issues. Nevertheless, MassDEP needs to be involved with EPA and cities and towns on how this permit is implemented. This is too important an issue for our environment, for our cities and towns and for the Commonwealth.”

The letter further stated that EPA had not addressed all comments previously submitted by MassDEP, and that the proposed permit would present significant hurdles to municipalities. The complete letter can be read here.

WMA Permits and SWMI: What You Need to Know

Water Management Act/Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI) Summary

Water Management Act (WMA) permits that expired between 2010 and 2015 were extended for four years by two Legislative Permit Extension Acts. Permit renewals are currently proceeding based on MassDEP’s schedule, although delays are expected. Basins with renewal applications on file will likely be extended, and correspondence will be sent. For renewals not yet on file, and particularly those not scheduled for renewal for several years, no determination has been made for extension.

Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI) Requirements

swmi_streamflow
Hydrologist measuring streamflow

SWMI Sustainable Management Practices:

  • Natural streamflow estimates
  • Cumulative water balance picture
  • Baseline water use
  • Streamflow criteria, biological categories, and groundwater withdrawal categories

Demand Projections: 

  • MassDEP and DCR developed demand projections to be used as the basis for new permitted volumes for each PWS.
  • In many cases, allowable withdrawal volumes are being reduced.

WMA Permit Conditions

Existing — Requirements All Based on Water Conservation

  • Residential Gallons Per Capita Per Day (RGPCD) water use: 65 RGPCD
  • Unaccounted-for-Water (UAW): 10%
  • Leak Detection and Metering: 100% metering; annual master meter calibration; program to test all meters over 10 years old
  • Pricing: Pricing system should reflect the full cost of supplying water; water supply system operations should be fully funded by water supply system revenues
  • Plumbing: Enforcement of the March 1, 1989 plumbing code; retrofit all public buildings with water saving devices; make retrofit devices available to customers if RGPCD water use exceeds performance standard
  • Education: Develop a public education program; include bill stuffers with water conservation tips or water saving messages to customers

New, Additional Requirements

swmi map
To access MassDEP’s interactive SWMI map, please click on the photo above.

Baseline defined by MassDEP = higher of 2003-2005 average use plus 5%, or 2005 use plus 5%, provided that baseline cannot exceed the previous maximum authorized volume.

Mitigation programs required for systems using or requesting volumes greater than Baseline based on Tier classification of basin.

  • Mitigation credits will be determined by MassDEP but recently watershed groups played a major role in approving credits allowed for Mitigation programs.
  • Tier 2 and Tier 3 permittees must undertake mitigation commensurate with the impact of their increased withdrawals.
  • Applicants that cannot avoid changing the Biological Category or Groundwater Withdrawal Category of a sub basin (backsliding) that have no feasible alternative sources will be required to implement the highest level of mitigation.
  • A mitigation plan should estimate the required volume of mitigation, identify feasible mitigation options, and include a timeline for the implementation of the mitigation options.

Minimization: All tiers of permittees with withdrawals in subbasins having August net groundwater depletion of 25% or greater must minimize the impact of their withdrawals in those subbasins. The minimization plan must be approved by DEP and should reflect the following three analyses:

  • Desktop Optimization: Evaluate whether the applicant’s existing sources, or any available alternative sources, could be utilized or operated at prescribed rates or times in a way that could reduce environmental impacts while still meeting water demands.
  • Water Releases and Returns: Evaluate releases from surface water supply impoundments and measures that could return water to the subbasin or basin to improve flow.
  • Additional Conservation Measures: Evaluate reasonable and cost-effective indoor and outdoor conservation measures consistent with public health and safety that go beyond standard WMA permit conditions.

water restrictionsColdwater Fishery Resource (CFR) Protection: All tiers of permittees with withdrawals that impact streamflow at a CFR must evaluate reducing impacts to CFRs through a desktop optimization. Tier 2 and Tier 3 applicants must evaluate further protection of their CFRs as part of their required mitigation planning.

Alternative Source Analysis: Tier 3 permittees must show that they have no feasible alternative source that is less environmentally harmful.

Outdoor Water Use Restrictions: New outdoor water use restrictions will be required based on streamflow and or groundwater conditions, basin criteria and PWS compliance with performance standards. Limits include watering one or two days per week, no watering 9am to 5pm.

For more information on the SWMI final framework, please visit MassDEP’s website here. For questions or assistance with SWMI or WMA, please contact us.

Online UST data management system goes into effect August 1, 2015

MassDEPThe Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) has announced a new online data management system for Underground Storage Tank (UST) registrations and third-party inspections (TPIs). As of August 1, 2015, MassDEP will no longer accept paper UST forms FP-290, FP-290R and FP-289 and will instead require all registrations and inspections to be filed electronically.

In preparation for the new requirement, MassDEP will be offering a webinar on “Data Management System Training for UST Owners, Operators, and Third-Party Inspectors” beginning on July 15. In addition, they will be offering hands-on training sessions for UST system owners, operators, and staff responsible for preparing and/or submitting UST registration documents, TPI reports, and compliance certifications. These training sessions, which require advance registration, will be offered in Fall River, Holyoke, Worcester, and Danvers. For your convenience, the original MassDEP press release is copied below in its entirety.

If you have any questions or require assistance with TPIs or compliance certifications, please contact Jonathan O’Brien, LSP, LEP at 508-386-9338 or jobrien@tataandhoward.com.


Original letter from MassDEP:

Dear Class A, A/B and B Operators and Third-Party Inspectors:

Beginning in July, MassDEP is transitioning from the current paper based Underground Storage Tank (UST) Program registration and reporting forms (FP-290, FP-290R and FP-289), to a new online data management system that provides UST system owners and operators a more convenient, electronic way to update facility registration information and submit applicable reporting documents.

The new data management system will be available for user registration by mid-July.  MassDEP will notify all Class A, A/B and B operators and third-party inspectors when the data management system is ready for use.

UST Program Reporting Transition Schedule

  1. Effective July 31, 2015, MassDEP will no longer accept FP-290, FP-290R and FP-289 documents for purposes of compliance with UST registration and third-party inspection reporting requirements under 310 CMR 80.00.
  2. Effective August 1, 2015:
    1. All new and updated UST registration submittals shall be made electronically through MassDEP’s new online UST data management system.  Registration information may be submitted as a paper document, if accompanied by a hardship request.
    2. All third-party inspection results shall be reported electronically by third-party inspectors using the new Third-Party Inspection (TPI) Report provided through the new online data management system.  The third-party inspector will then electronically forward the TPI Report to the UST system owner or operator for signature and submittal to MassDEP.

Compliance with Third-Party Inspection Reporting Requirements
To provide UST system owners, operators and third-party inspectors time to register as users in the data management system and become familiar with the system and new Program requirements, TPI Reports due between August 1, 2015 and October 31, 2015 will be allowed up to October 31, 2015 to submit their required TPI Report using the new online data management system.

All TPI Reports for this period received after October 31, 2015 may be subject to enforcement.

Compliance Certification Submittals
The Compliance Certification submittal requirement goes into effect November 1, 2015. MassDEP will issue 90-Day Reminder notifications in July to UST system owners and operators with  Compliance Certifications due in November 2015.

Data Management System Training for UST Owners, Operators, and Third-Party Inspectors

  1. Third-Party Inspector Online Webinar Training
    Data management system overview:
  • Registering as a user
  • Data management system navigation
  • Initiating a TPI and “sharing” a TPI Report with a UST system owner or operator.

Webinar Training Dates
No pre-registration is required to participate. Further information on webinar call-in number and conferencing service will be emailed to all TPIs prior to date of scheduled training and posted on MassDEP’s UST webpage.

  • July 15, 1 – 3pm
  • July 22, 1 – 3pm
  • July 30, 1 – 3pm
  • Aug 27, 1 – 3pm
  1. UST System Owners and Operators Training

This is “hands on” training for UST systems owners, operators and staff responsible for preparing and/or submitting UST registration documents, TPI Reports and Compliance Certifications.

Space is limited and available on a first come, first serve basis (system owners and operators with most imminent submittal due dates will receive priority). Additional sessions will be added as demand requires.

To reserve space, please submit your name, company, and preferred date and session to: dep.ust@state.ma.us.

Date July 17, 2015 July 21, 2015 July 27, 2015 July 28, 2015
Facility Bristol CC Holyoke CC Worcester State University North Shore CC
City/Town Fall River, MA Holyoke, MA Worcester, MA Danvers, MA
Room Capacity 28 23 25 18
Session #1 10am – Noon 10am – Noon 10am – Noon 10am – Noon
Session #2 1pm – 3pm 1pm – 3pm 1pm – 3pm 1pm – 3pm

Data Management System Training Materials on MassDEP’s Webpage
The following materials will be posted on MassDEP’s UST webpage (https://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/toxics/ust/) at the time the UST Data Management System goes “live”.

  1. Data Management System User Guide
  2. “What Do You Want To Do” Guide
  3. Required Data Elements of Data Management System
  4. Audio Power Point Presentations
  5. DEP Hotline #

If you have any questions concerning the introduction of the new UST online Data Management System, please email the Program at: dep.ust@state.ma.us, or call the MassDEP UST Program Hotline at (617) 556-1035 Ext. 2.

Tom DeNormandie, Branch Chief
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Underground Storage Tank/Stage I & II Vapor Recovery Programs
One Winter Street – 7th floor
Boston, MA  02108
Phone: 617-292-5763
Fax: 617-556-1063