M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal — Women in Business — October 22 - November 18, 2021 — 15D


Women in Business By Meredith Hayes, GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. Overcoming environmental challenges at brownfield sites near waterways


rownfield redevelop- ment sites on or near waterways can present

the agency. Standards for the remediation of contaminated soil, groundwater, and sur-

vidually, but LSRPs have lim - ited discretion with sediments compared to soil, groundwater,

tween the LSRP and regulator to reach consensus, which can delay site redevelopment and case closure. LSRPs and their sediment experts can proac- tively work to build regulatory consensus during the entire remedial process when sedi- ments are involved to avoid unexpected delays. The challenges of address- ing sediments associated with brownfield sites should not deter redevelopment if they are carefully considered by professionals experienced in addressing these types of sites. Redevelopment of all or

a portion of the site can often proceed alongside the investi- gation of contaminated sedi- ments, and it is also important to note that investigation of sediments does not necessar- ily mean the sediment will require remediation. However, if sediments are ignored dur- ing the overall site evaluation process it can potentially lead to costly site reopeners down the line. Meredith Hayes is se- nior project manager/sed- iment practice director at GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc. MAREJ

unique chal- lenges during the environ- mental due diligence and site remedia- tion process. If adjacent to a r i ver , stream, or

Brownfield redevelopment sites on or near waterways can present unique challenges during the environmental due diligence and site remediation process.

face water are clearly defined under New Jersey administra - tive code; however, no such standards exist for the reme- diation of contaminated sedi- ments. The cleanup goals at each site are determined indi-

and surface water. The clean- up goal for sediments must be approved by the regulatory agency. This can effectively result in the traditional (pre- LSRP program) iterative loop of comment and response be-

Meredith Hayes

wetland, evaluating the po- tential for contaminants to have migrated from the site and impacted the sediments in the waterbody is crucial to developing a realistic reme- dial cost estimate, remediation strategy, and site closure time- line. Even stormwater drain - age ditches within a site, that may not appear to be valuable environments, may be con- nected to larger waterbodies downstream and, therefore, must be considered. Sediments are unconsoli- dated material that settles from the water column to the bottom of a surface water body or wetland. The physical and chemical processes governing contaminant distribution in sediments differ from those in soil – simply put, sedi- ments cannot be looked at as wet soils. Remedial costs and approaches from the upland should not be applied to a waterbody without carefully considering the challenges of sediments. For example, many brownfield sites are in urban areas that have been indus- trialized for several decades. Contaminants from multiple industrialized sites and urban runoff are often comingled. Therefore, site related impacts must be distinguished from other off-site and background sources. Otherwise, the scope and cost of the cleanup can increase beyond what is truly needed, with an undue pro- portion unjustly assigned to the property owner or other responsible party. The regulatory drivers for addressing sediment contami- nation differ in each state. In New Jersey, Licensed Site Remediation Professionals (LSRPs) certified by the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) guide the site’s remedial process fol- lowing criteria set forth in a series of guidance documents established by the NJDEP, but with little oversight from

Environmental sampling at brownfield site

Foundation recommendations for warehouse development

Land use consulting


Our engineers and scientists provide geotechnical engineering, environmental services, and land-use consulting, supporting New Jersey’s development: • Over five decades of award-winning geotechnical experience • LSRP leadership and four decades of award- winning environmental experience • Resiliency, dam engineering and other water resources consulting • Comprehensive ecological and land-use planning and permitting experience

For more information about GZA’s services:

Southern NJ/Philadelphia John J. Oberer, LSRP John.Oberer@gza.com 215.591.3800 Northern NJ David Winslow, Ph.D., PG David.Winslow@gza.com 973.774.3300 Central NJ Eugene Gallagher, P.E. Eugene.Gallagher@gza.com 732.356.3400 Melick-Tully, a Division of GZA

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