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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 50 Pa.B. 4000 (August 1, 2020).

25 Pa. Code § 245.309. Site characterization.

§ 245.309. Site characterization.

 (a)  Upon confirming that a release has occurred in accordance with §  245.304 (relating to investigation and reporting of suspected releases) or after a release from a storage tank system is identified in another manner, the responsible party shall perform a site characterization.

 (b)  The objectives of a site characterization are to accomplish the following:

   (1)  Determine whether additional interim remedial actions are necessary to abate an imminent hazard to human health or the environment.

   (2)  Determine whether additional site characterization work is required upon completion of an interim remedial action.

   (3)  Determine or confirm the sources of contamination.

   (4)  Provide sufficient physical data, through field investigations, to determine the regulated substances involved, and the extent of migration of those regulated substances in surface water, groundwater, soil or sediment.

   (5)  Determine, from measurements at the site, values necessary for fate and transport analysis including hydraulic conductivity, source dimensions, hydraulic gradient, water table fluctuation and fraction organic carbon.

   (6)  Provide sufficient information to select a remediation standard.

   (7)  Provide sufficient information to allow for completion of a remedial action plan or a design for remedial action.

 (c)  The responsible party shall conduct the site characterization activities necessary to satisfy the objectives in subsection (b). The site characterization shall include the following tasks, as necessary, based on the nature, extent, type, volume or complexity of the release:

   (1)  Identifying the need for and initiating additional interim remedial actions.

   (2)  Opening storage tanks and analyzing samples of the contents to determine the regulated substances stored in the tanks.

   (3)  Performing tightness testing or other release detection testing and monitoring to determine the structural integrity of the storage tank system.

   (4)  Identifying and analyzing samples of affected water supplies and water supplies with the potential to be affected which were not previously identified or sampled under §  245.306(a)(4) (relating to interim remedial actions). The responsible party shall restore or replace an affected or diminished water supply in accordance with §  245.307 (relating to affected or diminished water supplies). The responsible party shall provide a copy of the sample results to the water supply owner and the Department within 5 days of receipt of the sample results from the laboratory.

   (5)  Determining the location of the ecological receptors identified in §  250.311(a) (relating to evaluation of ecological receptors).

   (6)  Reviewing the history of operations, releases and corrective actions at the site.

   (7)  Reviewing and analyzing data collected during removal from service and interim remedial action activities.

   (8)  Using geophysical survey techniques to locate storage tanks and to determine geologic and hydrogeologic characteristics of affected hydrogeologic zones and hydrogeologic zones with the potential to be affected.

   (9)  Using soil survey techniques which include drilling soil borings and analyzing soil samples to determine soil characteristics and the horizontal and vertical extent of soil contamination.

   (10)  Using direct push probes, piezometers, well points, monitoring wells, public and private wells, and other resources to:

     (i)   Determine the direction of groundwater flow.

     (ii)   Determine soil, geologic, hydrogeologic and aquifer characteristics, including parameters necessary for fate and transport analysis.

     (iii)   Determine the horizontal and vertical extent and evaluate the properties of free product in the subsurface.

     (iv)   Analyze groundwater samples to determine the horizontal and vertical extent of groundwater contamination.

   (11)  Analyzing surface water and sediment samples to determine the extent of surface water and sediment contamination.

   (12)  Assessing potential migration pathways, including sewer lines, utility lines, wells, geologic structures, hydrogeologic conditions and vapor intrusion into structures.

   (13)  Performing site surveying and topographic mapping.

   (14)  Developing a conceptual site model that describes the sources of contamination, fate and transport of contaminants, actual and potential receptors, and an evaluation of the vapor intrusion pathway.

   (15)  Handling and disposing of site characterization wastes.

   (16)  Preparing and implementing a site-specific plan for the provision of the following:

     (i)   Worker health and safety in accordance with OSHA requirements in 29 CFR 1910.120 (relating to hazardous waste operations and emergency response), including health and safety policies, medical monitoring, training and refresher courses, emergency and decontamination procedures, personal protective equipment and standard work practices.

     (ii)   The identification, management and disposition of solid, hazardous, residual and other wastes generated as part of the site characterization.

     (iii)   Establishment of data quality objectives and a quality assurance/quality control program for the performance of site characterization field activities and for the accurate collection, storage, retrieval, reduction, analysis and interpretation of all data that will be collected during the corrective action, according to appropriate standards and guidelines for environmental remediation.

   (17)  Analyzing the data collected as a result of the site characterization.

   (18)  Selecting a remediation standard.

   (19)  Demonstrating that groundwater is not used or currently planned to be used in accordance with the selected remediation standard.

   (20)  If the site-specific standard is selected, performing a risk assessment in accordance with Chapter 250, Subchapter F (relating to exposure and risk determinations).

   (21)  Developing preferred remedial action options to attain the selected remediation standard.

   (22)  Identifying additional investigations or pilot studies needed to design and implement the preferred remedial action options.

   (23)  Performing additional tasks necessary to meet the objectives in subsection (b).

   (24)  Notifying the Department by telephone or e-mail as soon as practicable, but no later than 24 hours, after the initiation of site characterization activities.


   The provisions of this §  245.309 amended November 30, 2001, effective December 1, 2001, 31 Pa.B. 6615; amended December 21, 2018, effective December 22, 2018, 48 Pa.B. 7875. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (331047) to (331049).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  245.306 (relating to interim remedial actions); and 25 Pa. Code §  245.310 (relating to site characterization report).

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