As the push for development in and around urban areas continues to grow, real estate developers are being forced to move their projects into previously environmentally unsuitable areas —– namely, ones with historical fill.

Proper environmental management of this fill material on these building sites, which includes how to dispose of any materials found to be hazardous to one degree or another, is a challenge for developers, regulators and even the surrounding community.

It is not unusual for contaminated soils to be found at a site where there is no evidence of an obvious spill or any other contamination release attributed to it. This is often the consequence of historical fill materials, which are known as non-native material site to create useable land by filling water bodies, wetlands or topographic depressions, and which was contaminated prior to emplacement.

More often than not, this material was previously contaminated because the fill material itself was a byproduct of industrial processes. Historical fill material can be composed of coal ash, wood ash, municipal solid waste, incinerator ash, construction and demolition debris, dredged sediments, railroad ballast, refuse and land clearing debris, to name a few.

Once contaminated soil is deposited on a property, the process of removal can become difficult and often but not always quite expensive if not properly coordinated. Aside from the cost of actually removing the contaminated fill, there are costs associated with analyzing the materials for toxicity screening, and depending on sampling results, there will typically be costs associated with sending such materials to be disposed of at the appropriate waste facility. Furthermore, the act of simply sending historical fill material to a waste facility does not simply remove legal liability.

The attorneys at Periconi, LLC can assist with:

  • Determining which state program to apply in order to accomplish proper historical fill management
  • Understanding requirements and regulations that may affect construction, site development, and solid or hazardous waste disposal
  • Negotiating with regulatory agencies on your behalf
  • Developing appropriate clean-up or management plans with consultants for the site
  • Evaluating strategies for assuming or transferring risk while examining potential liability exposures
  • Evaluating strategies and potential risks to neighboring properties or communities affected by any contaminated fill onsite

Sometimes, there is more to a development site than meets the eye. Each project is different; you cannot always assume a prospective site is free of environmental risks simply because there is no patent or obvious contamination on site. If you are interested in learning more about how a historical fill can be managed or remediated, contact the attorneys at Periconi, LLC through this website or by calling 646-733-4487 and they will help you navigate any transactional and redevelopment uncertainties.