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Our attorneys stay on top of changes in legislation, agency regulations, case law, and industry trends—then craft timely legal alerts to keep clients up to date on legal developments important to their business.

January 4, 2022

Standards for Emerging Contaminants Among Proposed Changes to NYS Department of Environmental Conservation's Site Cleanup Programs

On December 23, 2021, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced proposed changes to its Brownfield Cleanup Program, State Superfund Program, and other environmental cleanup programs (codified at 6 NYCRR Part 375). The proposed changes include new cleanup standards for the emerging contaminants perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanoic sulfonate (PFOS).

According to the DEC, the proposed changes are intended to increase consistency across programs for the cleanup of contaminated sites administered by the DEC’s Division of Environmental Remediation. Highlights of the proposed changes include:

  • Addition of Soil Cleanup Objectives (SCOs) for PFOA, PFOS, aniline, and nitrobenzene to reflect the designation of these chemicals as hazardous substances
  • Consolidated and updated definition of “change of use,” which is a trigger for notifying the DEC of activities at a regulated site
  • A new section defining the DEC’s site classification and administrative designations
  • Inclusion of considerations including potential for sea level rise, wildlife migration corridors, and habitat disturbance when selecting and implementing a site remedy
  • Updates to program eligibility, cover system requirements, and cleanup tracks for Brownfield sites

The proposed regulatory changes are available for public comment until April 21, 2022, at 8:00 p.m. The DEC will also hold virtual hearings on April 5, 2022, at 2:00 p.m. and April 7, 2022, at 5:30 p.m. 

If you have questions regarding the content of this alert, please contact Yvonne Hennessey, Environmental Practice Area chair, at yhennessey@barclaydamon.com; Tom Paul, counsel, at tpaul@barclaydamon.com; Emma Marshall, associate, at emarshall@barclaydamon.com; Dan Krzykowski, law clerk, at dkrzykowski@barclaydamon.com; or another member of the firm’s Environmental Practice Area. 

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