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 Volume 20/Issue 2                                   March 2014  
Thank you to our 2013/2014 Platinum Corporate Sponsor

In This Issue
LSPA Sets the Record Straight
Apply for 2014 LSPA Scholarships
LSPA Suggests Revisions to LSP Board Regs
Ecological Risk Technical Updates
PCE Unit Risk Factor
What is Loss Prevention?
Upcoming Greener Cleanup Webinar
Profile: LSP Board Member Gail Batchelder
Crisis of Soil Management
Paddling Professionals
Dec. 2013 Meeting on LNAPL
Down the Cowpath with Gasoline Additives
Science Fair Judges Needed

The President's Message
Looking Forward - The Future of the LSP Board?
By: Matthew Hackman, LSP, President, LSPA  

This year I will continue to write about what the next 20 years might look like for LSPs and the LSPA, the Board of Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professionals (the "LSP Board"), and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection ("MassDEP") Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup. My objective is to get LSPA members thinking about what they want that future to look like, so that we can begin working towards that future. This column focuses on the LSP Board.

The creation of the LSP Board by MGL c.21A, Sections 19-19J, was an integral part of the privatized cleanup program in Massachusetts. The LSP Board was meant to provide the necessary checks and balances by regulating the LSP profession. The enabling legislation created a licensing board within the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs that was meant to be separate and distinct from MassDEP, but which at the same time had significant MassDEP involvement, including the appointment of the Board Chair by the MassDEP Commissioner and Board staff who are MassDEP employees in an administrative sense.

Much like parents guiding their children, the MassDEP involvement in the LSP Board provided it with resources and helped it grow in its developing years. And, much like most parent-child relationships, there was sometimes some strain, as the LSP Board sought to maintain its independence from MassDEP. Here I propose some personal thoughts about how the LSP Board might evolve in its 21st year and beyond.   
  • Independence from MassDEP? As a parent myself, I wrestled with the growing independence of my sons, but like every good parent, I wanted them to make their own way in the world. Is it perhaps time to think of the LSP Board doing the same? Currently, the Chair, Executive Director, and staff are each tied to MassDEP in some fashion - either as direct or indirect employees. Are there reasons why this might not be a good idea?
    • Perception of conflict of interest: While I believe that LSP Board staff strives to be impartial, there is the unavoidable perception of conflict of interest when an LSP staff person participates in each Complaint Review Team and participates in the vote as to whether the complaint will be recommended to the LSP Board for action. Moreover, if an LSP appeals an LSP Board decision, the appeal is heard by a MassDEP administrative judge. The LSP Board requires that LSPs avoid even the perception of conflict of interest. Should this same standard not apply to the LSP Board itself?
    • Independence of the Board: Should the Governor's appointed LSP Board not have control over its budget, hiring (and firing) of its staff, and be answerable equally to all constituencies? I note that Rep. Louis L. Kafka (Democrat, Stoughton) has reintroduced a bill (H.732) in the 188th General Court to establish a "department of environmental protection appeals board" that would have the authority to overrule decisions by the LSP Board. While I don't know the details, the apparent genesis of this concept is that there should be an appeals process that is outside of MassDEP's perceived influence.
  • Change in the makeup of the LSP Board's appointees? The LSP Board consists of eleven members. In addition to the Commissioner's designated chair, who may or may not be an LSP, five LSP Board members are required to be LSPs. The remaining five Board members are not required to be LSPs, and traditionally these seats have not been filled by LSPs (with one exception). This feature of the LSP Board's makeup was deemed politically necessary at the time the privatized program was initiated, but is it necessary going into the future?
    • The Board of Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors consists of 10 members: nine PEs or PLSs (or both) and one public member.
    • The Board of Registration in Medicine consists of seven members: five physicians and two public members.
    • The Board of Registration of Architects consists of five members: four architects and one public member.
    • The Board of Bar Overseers consists of twelve members: eight attorneys and four public members.

So, in similarly licensed professions, the majority of licensing board members are licensees in the profession being regulated. However, all licensing boards have at least one public member. Could some of the LSP Board member positions now held by non-LSPs, for example the member required to be a hydrogeologist, or the members that are required to be members of statewide organizations that promote protection of the environment, be held by LSPs? There appears to be no statutory prohibition against them being LSPs. And, does membership in the LSPA qualify as membership in a statewide organization that promotes the protection of the environment?

  • Regulation of activities other than Waste Site Cleanup? Currently the LSP Board is only empowered to regulate activities of LSPs in conjunction with their rendering of "waste site cleanup opinions." Thus, a LSP who is also a PE or a TURP or a Title V inspector might engage in misconduct, but the LSP Board cannot discipline a LSP for such actions. As discussed in my previous column, LSPs perform environmental services such as third-party UST inspections that are outside the scope of "waste site cleanup." Should the LSP Board's authority be broadened to regulate these additional LSP activities? (Note: the LEP Board in CT has this authority[1].)
  • Graduated licensure? Professional engineers (PEs) and professional geologists (PGs) have embraced the concept of graduated licensure where the demonstration of an applicant's capability is broken into two parts: fundamental knowledge and professional knowledge from experience. Engineers have the engineer-in-training (EIT) certification for applicants who meet the education requirements and have passed the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam; geologists similarly have the GIT and FG exam. Should the LSP Board consider a similar approach of graduated licensure for LSPs and establish an "LSP-in-training" certification to recognize individuals working toward professional licensure?   
  • National (and international) licensure? As I discussed in a prior column, I think there is a case to be made for considering a nationally recognized "Licensed Environmental Professional", analogous to a PE license. Such license would involve both broad "universal" knowledge and experience, but also retain a local component, much as engineers need to be licensed in each state or country. But if such a concept is to evolve over the next generation, the LSP Board would need to work closely with analogous boards in other states and countries to define the balance between "universal" and "local" components of such a license. Yet I think this is possible. Although it took decades, the CHMM and CHMP credentials received accreditation in 2009 from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) under ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024, the international standard for personnel certification programs.
I have been intentionally provocative to get people thinking about the future of the privatized program and the LSP practice. While great strides have been made over 20 years I think it is prudent to consider that structures created more than two decades ago may not be appropriate indefinitely into the future.   If changes are to take place in the future, the discussion of what changes should occur and how to accomplish them needs to begin now. I hope this article helps to stimulate that discussion.



Matthew Hackman, P.E., CHMM, LSP, LEP
LSPA President                                            
[1] RCSA 22a-133v-4(b) (3): "For the purpose of denying an application, suspending or revoking a license, or sanctioning a licensee the term "professional misconduct," as that term is used in section 22a-133v(g) of the Connecticut General Statutes shall include, but not be limited to, an action or omission which: (A) violates any statute, regulation, permit, or other license relevant to the activities for which such licensee is responsible;"

LSPA Sets The Record Straight, in the Boston Globe

By: Wendy Rundle, LSPA Executive Director
A front page February 23, 2014 Boston Globe article drew the ire of many LSPA members for its insinuations regarding the reasons for MassDEP's proposed changes to arsenic and lead standards in subsurface soils, as well as many inaccuracies.  The disjointed piece also contained several inflammatory and misleading quotes. Read the article here.


Later that week, the LSPA submitted two letters in response to the article. The shorter Letter to the Editor was published in the March 3, 2014 Boston Globe letters section. Click here to read that letter.


The LSPA also submitted a longer letter that we did not expect the Globe would publish, but that we nevertheless thought was necessary for a more in-depth response. Click here to read that letter.

Sometimes it takes a village to pull off a 200-word Letter to the Editor and get it published. But the LSPA knew that we needed to do so to set the record straight for the practice and for LSPs. Thanks to Kevin O'Reilly, LSP, of O'Reilly, Talbot, & Okun Associates, for first putting the words down in response to the Globe article, and to the LSPA Regulations Committee for spearheading this.


Outgoing MassDEP Commissioner Kimmell wrote the LSPA in an email: "And thanks to the LSP Association for setting the record straight-good letter in the Globe yesterday."


The Daily Free Press, the independent student newspaper at Boston University, picked up the story on the arsenic and lead angle. They were able to assemble a very balanced piece that was published on February 25, 2014, and included some quotes from the LSPA's very own Susan Chapnick, Board member and Treasurer. Click here to read the article.


The LSPA will continue to look for news stories about brownfields and other topics in our work, and respond to them accordingly.


LSPA Scholarship Fund Applications Accepted through May 1, 2014

The LSP Association (LSPA) Scholarship Fund is pleased to announce that it will be accepting applications for educational scholarships for the 2014 - 2015 academic year. The purpose of the scholarship program is to support continued education within environmental fields of study at colleges and universities throughout Massachusetts and New England.

Our goal is to provide two scholarships, each up to an amount of $5,000, to qualified individuals. One of the scholarships will be awarded to an individual who is part of the LSP community; that is, he or she must be LSP Association members or members of the immediate family of an LSPA member and enrolled in a degree program at an accredited New England college or university.   


The other scholarship will be awarded to a qualified Massachusetts resident who is enrolled in a public and/or private Massachusetts college or university with a major in environmental studies.   


If you or a member of your family is interested in applying for the scholarship or you know of someone who may be interested, application information is available on the LSPA's website at, under the "About Us" heading or by clicking here.


The application deadline is May 1, 2014.  


LSPA Responds to LSP Board's Call for Suggested Amendments to Regulations

By: Wendy Rundle, LSPA Executive Director

Several months ago, the LSP Board of Registration ("LSP Board") solicited comments and suggestions for amendments to its regulations at 309 CMR 1.00-9.00. Click here to read the current regulations.  


The LSPA Loss Prevention, Technical Practices, and Regulations Committees spearheaded a review of these regulations and solicited comments from the entire LSPA membership.   Thank you to all the members who submitted their suggestions.    


On January 31, 2014, the LSPA submitted a cover letter and detailed suggestions for amendments to 309 CMR.  Our suggestions covered a wide range of topics; key areas were:  

  • Revise Continuing Education Credits
  • Refine the Complaint Review Process
  • Clarify Minimum Experience Requirements and Relevant Professional Experience
  • Account for Electronic Communication for Administrative Tasks, including Taking the LSP Exam
  • Describe the Application Review (ARP) Process
  • Clarify Meeting Procedures
  • Clarify Examination Rules and Procedures 

For more information, click here to read the LSPA's letter to the LSP Board and click here to review the matrix of detailed suggestions.


The LSPA appreciated the opportunity to participate in the regulatory reform process.  Our understanding of the next step is that the Regulations Reform Subcommittee of the LSP Board will review the comments they received, consider suggestions of their own, and make recommendations to the full Board on specific amendment to its regulations.


The LSPA will keep up-to-date on this effort through attendance at each monthly LSP Board meeting, and share pertinent info with LSPA members.  Please feel free to contact me for further information at or (617) 484-4027.


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Ecological Risk Technical Updates:  A "Get Out of Jail Free" Card?

By: Stephen Clough, Ph.D., DABT, Haley & Aldrich, Inc., and Technical Practices Committee

In 2006, MassDEP published seven Interim Technical Updates (TUs) to help streamline the Ecological Risk Characterization (ERC) process [1] .  Many LSPs, however, don't understand that the TUs, which were principally developed to address sediments in aquatic risk assessments, were intended to reduce the number of smaller sites that were needlessly entering the MCP process.  Although some LSPs view the aquatic TU recommendations as onerous, it is the author's opinion that a properly designed field study, coupled with the utilization of one or more of the criteria of the Technical Updates, more often than not results in the declaration of a condition of "No Significant Risk." These often-overlooked TUs are discussed below, along with a few simple rules-of-thumb to keep in mind when employing these guidelines.


The four TUs discussed below were developed to provide relief under the Stage I ERC MCP guidelines: 


Revised Sediment Screening Values

This update increased the Sediment Screening Values for metals from the TECs (Threshold Effect Concentrations) to the PECs (Probable Effect Concentrations).  Although these are only "screening values", exceedances of the PECs will trigger a Stage II ERC.  However, regardless of whether Site conditions meet or exceed the Sediment Screening Values, Site conditions that are consistent with Local Conditions (LCs) can be said to pose No Significant Risk and do not require a Stage II ERC. 


Rule-of-Thumb:  Always define Local Conditions (LCs) by sampling upstream sediments or unimpacted areas within the same water body.  LCs may be higher than background but attributable to other sources.  Ideally, it is recommended to obtain at least three samples to represent LCs.


Ecological Value of Surface Water Features

This update addresses the ecological value of a wetland, eliminating certain man-made waterbodies from risk assessment requirements.  This may include stormwater retention basins, poorly drained areas with wetland-dependent vegetation, or wetlands induced by the presence of OHM (e.g., ditches at the base of landfills). 


Rule-of-Thumb:  All is not what meets the eye regarding wetlands.  Many apparent wetland areas are created by manmade runoff.  Consider a certified wetland delineation before a site investigation starts not only to identify the 'true' wetland boundaries, but also to assess functional endpoints and ecological values.  Default wetland maps can be viewed for most properties using the National Wetland Inventory's "Wetlands Mapper" [2]. 


Area-Based Screening for Sediment Contamination

This update addresses how a small area of contamination (<1000 sq. ft.) may be exempted from the risk assessment process.  This TU considers the surface area impacted when screening for sediment contamination; however, persistent/bioaccumulative compounds, such as PCBs and mercury, cannot be exempted.  Savvy LSPs know that an area of contaminated sediment which exceeds Sediment Screening Values but is "less than 1000 sq. ft." can be safely eliminated from an ERC.  They are often unaware, however, of the provision for rivers and streams, where contamination not encroaching on greater than "50% of the width" and/or "extend(ing) more than 500 linear feet" along the length of the waterbody can also be eliminated from an ERC.  This is important as the hydrodynamics of runoff, tributaries or point sources typically force contamination to 'hug' the proximal shoreline of a river or stream.  Thus, depending on the width of a stream and the field study design, a significant segment of a stream can have contamination but still not require a formal Stage II ERC.   Unfortunately, this 'area' needs to be contiguous, i.e. it cannot consist of a number of discrete, smaller areas that can be added up to see if the sum falls below the criterion.   The MassDEP TU "Averaging Area for Benthic Invertebrate Assessments" provides additional guidance on how the scale of the site may affect the development of exposure point concentrations for sediment sites. 


Rule-of-Thumb:  Use transects perpendicular to flow to identify concentration trends within the riparian zone (recommend 0 - 6" depth interval).  Collect 'step out' samples if you encounter an elevated 'outlier.'  This TU can prove very useful at urban/suburban sites where levels observed as LCs may change the way you approach the risk assessment.


The remaining TUs mainly apply to Stage II ERCs, which reflect the MassDEP belief that invertebrate "organism level endpoints" are more appropriate than "community level endpoints":


  • Assessing Risk of Harm to Benthic Invertebrates - Recommendations for assessing effects on benthic invertebrates
  • Assessment Endpoints for Benthic Invertebrates - Advises placing more weight on toxicity tests than other measurements
  • Freshwater Sediment Toxicity Tests - Provides MassDEP guidance for laboratory toxicity testing

The essential message of these three TUs is that direct measurements (e.g., sediment bioassays) yield more objective results (e.g., growth or no growth; survival or death) while taxonomic metrics developed from natural benthic communities are often more subjective and, with regard to cause and effect, more difficult to interpret.   


The Freshwater Sediment Toxicity Tests TU recommends conducting laboratory sediment bioassays to assess "survival, fecundity and growth" on benthic macroinvertebrates cultured in a laboratory.   Lab studies remove natural confounding factors, but the results can sometimes be counterintuitive (e.g., toxicity with low levels of OHM; "no effect" at elevated OHM).  The TU lists a number of tradeoffs based on the size and nature of the site and the degree of contamination (e.g., number of test organisms, acute vs. chronic exposures, number of site vs. reference samples, etc.). 


Rule-of-Thumb:  If possible, rather than the recommended two species, choosing one test species allows the performance of twice the number of tests.  Hyalella spp. are typically more sensitive to metals, whereas Chironomus larvae are more sensitive to pesticides/organic compounds.  Reproductive endpoints are typically more variable than growth so it is not a robust test metric.


More often than not, the advantage of using toxicity tests lies with the owner because most sites are located in fairly disturbed areas where local conditions typically mask any effects contributed from the site.  Bioavailability is often much lower than expected in depositional areas with fine grained sediments, at older sites where OHM has weathered, or in wetlands with elevated levels of organic carbon (>3%).   Additionally, laboratory protocols can easily be customized to include methods used in toxicity identification evaluation (TIE) protocols to help tease out the cause of toxicity (e.g., addition of adsorptive media). 


Rule-of-Thumb:  Don't skimp on reference samples (consider a ratio of 1 reference sample for every 3 site samples).  Take a tour of the laboratory you are using and also request interim test results.  Include internal TIE controls to help identify the actual cause of toxicity.


This author is a strong advocate for utilizing the MassDEP TUs to their fullest potential because they can legitimately help a client avoid a lengthy risk assessment and, more importantly, expensive site cleanups.  When it comes to assessing the ecological effects of OHM, the 'apparent' risks that are calculated on paper are, in almost every instance, exaggerated due to the compounding of uncertainties that are inherent in the 'assumptions' of the paradigm or model.  Although the information in the TUs are based on science and research (e.g., a small area won't negatively affect a population), they also include some policy bias (e.g., a strong preference for toxicity tests), so it is important that you know how to apply them.  When in doubt, it is best to consult an experienced ecological risk assessor, preferably early in the process. 


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Tech Practices Corner - MassDEP Releases New PCE Unit Risk Factor

By: Denise Kmetzo, DABT, Collaborative Risk Solutions, and Co-Chair Technical Practices Committee
Tetrachloroethylene, or PCE, is recognized as a toxic chemical and is considered likely to be carcinogenic in humans by all routes of exposure. The degree of its toxicity has been debated for years, especially for the inhalation route of exposure. Two years ago, the EPA finalized PCE toxicity factors, including an inhalation Unit Risk (UR) factor, which is used to assess carcinogenic risk via inhalation. The LSPA encouraged MassDEP to adopt the EPA toxicity values, including the UR. Instead, during its recent reevaluation of PCE toxicity, MassDEP's Office of Research and Standards (ORS) relied upon a UR for PCE that it had previously derived.


ORS conducted a review and update of its PCE UR because the basis of EPA's 2012 UR differed from that previously used by MassDEP and EPA. In January 2014, MassDEP released an updated PCE UR which is lower (i.e., less conservative) than MassDEP's previously derived value, but remains greater than ten times higher (i.e., more conservative) than the EPA value. Dr. Sandra Baird of ORS will describe the derivation process at the LSPA's April 10, 2014 membership meeting.


The changes to MassDEP's PCE values summarized below assume a cancer risk level of 1 in 100,000 (1E-5).   


Previous Value

Current Value

Unit Risk

1E-5 per μg/m3

3E-6 per μg/m3

Residential No Significant Risk Level

2 μg/m3

8 μg/m3

Workplace No Significant Risk Level

10 μg/m3

40 μg/m3

Residential Imminent Hazard

10 μg/m3

50 μg/m3

Workplace Imminent Hazard

60 μg/m3

200 μg/m3

GW-2 Standard (Based on Indoor Air Background)

50 μg/L

20 μg/L


MassDEP updated the Shortforms for Human Health Risk Assessment under the MCP in January 2014. Practitioners should use the current MassDEP inhalation unit risk of 3E-6 per μg/m3 in MCP risk assessments. 

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What is Loss Prevention?  
By: The LSPA Loss Prevention Committee 

Why should LSPs care about Loss Prevention?  For LSPs, a "loss" is any adverse practice outcome.  A loss can often be avoided through proactive management strategies.  So "Loss Prevention," as used by the LSPA, is essentially proactive risk management.


Everything undertaken and said by an LSP in the conduct of business comes with some level of risk.  An LSP's goal should be to provide an appropriate level of professional services with minimal risk.  For the LSPA Loss Prevention Committee, an unacceptable risk is a risk that likely will lead to loss of income, loss of license, or loss of professional reputation.


An LSP provides Waste Site Cleanup Activity Opinions under the LSP Board's Rules of Professional Conduct and the applicable provisions of the MCP (especially the section on RAPS).  An LSP needs to act with reasonable care and diligence, and apply the knowledge and skill ordinarily exercised by LSPs in good standing practicing in the Commonwealth at the time the services are performed.  The rendering of Waste Site Cleanup Activity Opinions and services associated with the rendering of such Opinions are referred to as Professional Services by the Board of Hazardous Waste Site Cleanup Professionals.  In providing Professional Services, an LSP interacts with many parties, including the client (generally the PRP); other professionals and related service providers; regulators and authorities; and sometimes the public.  Each of these interactions has the potential for adverse outcomes.


The LSP has a substantial arsenal of tools available to manage these risks.  The LSPA, through its Loss Prevention Committee (LPC), is committed to assisting its members by providing the information needed to put these tools in place.  In general, these professional risk management tools fall into four categories.  Each category is identified below with some examples of risk-reduction steps an LSP can take:


A. Professional Practice:
  • Achieve the level of knowledge and skill of LSPs in good standing
  • Know the limitations of your knowledge and skill
  • Identify and use necessary technical and complementary professionals and services
  • Know practice issues
  • Know developing technologies
  • Know current regulatory requirements, interpretations and expectations
  • Be involved with regulation development and changes
  • Know practice standards expected for your license
  • Establish and follow standard operating procedures
  • Clearly and precisely present your assumptions and support your conclusions
  • Qualify findings based on data available and don't overstate work outcomes
  • Know what you don't know   
B. Business:
  • Learn what is needed to run a profitable business
  • Manage work scope and financial commitments using contracts with clients         
  • Manage promises to clients; don't over-commit and under-budget
  • Track and communicate to your client regulatory submittal deadlines
  • Establish standard contracts that are firm and share risks in accordance with rewards
  • Establish standard contracts with subcontract professionals and service providers
  • Communicate both good and bad news to clients in a timely manner
  • Communicate regularly with your client regarding work progress, budget, tasks and outcomes.
  • Take proactive measures to try to avoid unanticipated problems
  • Take prompt measures to address problems when they arise
  • Take active role in professional organizations  
C. Legal Strategies:
  • Know the benefits and obligations of various legal structures for your business; use those that are appropriate
  • Understand and use available asset protection strategies, as appropriate
  • Understand and use contract terms that limit liability
  • Consider contract terms that limit litigation to alternative dispute resolution or arbitration
  • Use third party reliance restrictions in your contracts and deliverables  


  • Understand the protections provided by various forms of insurance and your obligations
  • Have appropriate amounts of insurance in place for potential exposures, or self-insure   
The LPC has worked since the founding of the LSPA to communicate information on risks and to provide LSPA members with guidance, tips, and resources to help manage risks.  Management techniques for these various risks have been the subject of numerous articles and presentations by the LPC.  The LPC works hard to have a column in each newsletter. Each year lessons learned from the review of MassDEP Notices of Audit Findings are communicated in the newsletter and presented at a membership meeting.  These presentations often include case histories demonstrating areas that could benefit from improvements in professional practices.Top-ten lists of practice issues are periodically created to provide lessons learned from the MassDEP work product reviews.  In addition, tips on how to better manage your business practices are often provided.The compendium of articles and presentations produced in the past five years found here provide examples of the depth of resources available. We hope you use these terrific resources!   

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Upcoming Webinar on the ASTM Standard Guide for Greener Cleanups
ASTM Greener Cleanup Standard Guide: An Introduction - April 25, 2014, 1:00PM-3:00PM EDT (17:00-19:00 GMT). 

ASTM International, Inc. released its Greener Cleanup Standard Guide E2893-13, (the "Guide") in November 2013. The Guide offers remediation professionals a clear, step-wise approach to implementing green remediation projects, and is the most direct guidance of its kind. This webinar is provided through a collaboration of the Guide's Development Team and USEPA. The Guide sets forth a 5-step decision-making process to reduce the environmental footprint of contaminated site assessment and cleanup projects. Through this webinar, participants will gain insight on the genesis of this ASTM effort, potential applications of the Guide, the mechanics of actually using it at a project, and how stakeholders are considering its use. This two-hour Webinar includes a 30-minute closing Q&A session and will be instructed by John Simon, lead of the Development Team, as well as Carlos Pachon and Deb Goldblum of USEPA.


For more information and to register, click here.



Thomas M. Potter, Chief, Clean Energy Development Coordinator

MassDEP, Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup, Boston Headquarters Office

One Winter Street, 6th Floor, Boston, Massachusetts 02108

T + 617.292.5628 | F + 617.292.5530


Clean Energy Results Program website:


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Gail L. Batchelder, Ph.D., P.G., L.E.P: Board Member, LSP Board of Registration
By: Katherine Robertson, Robertson Associates, and the LSPA's media consultant

This is the first in a series of articles profiling current members of the LSP Board of Registration.


The fact that geologists practicing in Massachusetts were on the losing side of an effort to get recognized as professionals stuck in Gail Batchelder's craw. A licensed geologist in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, Batchelder was not recognized as a licensed professional in her home state of Massachusetts despite her strong credentials and her doctorate in geology from UMass Amherst with a research focus on hydrogeology and low-temperature geochemistry.  


So in 1992, Batchelder was quite pleased by the creation of the Commonwealth's "new" privatized program and the licensing of engineers, geologists, and other scientists to oversee the assessment and remediation of contaminated properties. By virtue of the program, geologists and scientists could become licensed and be viewed in the marketplace as professionals rather than contractors. Batchelder had planned to become an LSP herself, but missed the initial application deadline when a complicated project in Connecticut - where she subsequently became licensed as an LEP - kept her from getting her application in on time.      

Four years later, that lapse proved fortuitous when a call from former LSP Board Director Alan Fierce to discuss LSP Board approval for a continuing education course turned around, with Fierce making a pitch for her to throw her hat in the ring for consideration for the board's recently-vacated hydrogeologist seat. Although not specified in the LSP Board's enabling statute, it had become the board's policy that the hydrogeologist seat should be held by a non-LSP, which Batchelder said was explained to her as a compromise between the environmental consultants who wanted a majority of board members to be LSPs with the appropriate technical expertise to judge their peers, and legislators who did not want to give the newly minted LSPs too much power.


Batchelder jumped at the opportunity. "I thought, 'Aren't I lucky that I didn't get everything together on time,'" said Batchelder. "To me it was important to have a part in shaping the program. This was an opportunity to be involved in something that created a new profession," she said. "Being a licensed professional means something. It was important to be part of that process."


Appointed in 1997, Batchelder is the longest sitting member of the current LSP Board. She intends to step down this year once a disciplinary complaint that she is involved in concludes and revisions to the LSP exam have been completed. Even though she intends to leave the Board, she still feels a strong sense of responsibility to the organization and to the individuals impacted by the decisions it makes.


Serving on the Board has been an incredible experience, said Batchelder, who views the Commonwealth's privatized program as the best in the nation and a model for other states. "When you see how it was put together, you realize how incredibly brilliant the team was that put the process in place," she said. "The public has to believe in LSPs for the program to work," she said. By prequalifying and licensing LSPs, professionalizing the practice, and establishing a structure for audits and oversight, the creators laid the foundation for a novel and forward-looking approach to clean up contaminated properties and return them to active reuse.


The LSP Board's agenda has changed since the Board promulgated its initial regulations in 1993, Batchelder says, and its duties have evolved from creating the new program to maintaining the process and the quality of the profession. "In the beginning, we used to have a lot of very good philosophical conversations regarding the board's role and how to interpret its own regulations," Batchelder said. "It was really interesting and challenging because it made you think about questions such as: What level of performance is appropriate to maintain the integrity of the profession? How can the Board hold an LSP to such standards? And most broadly, how can the Board help the program work effectively?"


"We spent a lot of time working out procedural matters," Batchelder said. "Once the procedures were in place, our primary focus seemed to transition more into the investigation of complaints and related disciplinary activities."


"The Board worked really well together because we liked and respected each other, even when we disagreed," Batchelder recalled. "It was fortunate that we really enjoyed each other's company because we spent a lot of time together."


Early on, the Board saw only a handful of complaints a year, a fact that Batchelder attributed to MassDEP's willingness to work with LSPs rather than penalize them. "In the beginning not too many complaints were filed," Batchelder said. "The Department was just getting into the audits and was figuring out how to handle them. It seemed they were much more willing to work with LSPs, and found "deficiencies" instead of "violations" because they understood people were learning the program."


That changed as the program matured, and the Department began "inundating" the Board with complaints, Batchelder said. "The program got a little older, and it seemed that the Department figured that people should know better by that time. They saw the same LSPs doing the same things over and over. It was just the process of the program aging."


The complaint process is the toughest and least understood part of being a board member, Batchelder said. "The time and thought that goes into complaints is enormous," she said. "To sit in judgment is the most stressful aspect of being a Board member."


"We read every bit of the complaint files ourselves," Batchelder said, recalling how former LSP Board member Gretchen Latowsky once brought a milk crate full of documents pertaining to a single case to an LSPA membership meeting featuring a panel of LSP Board members. "We felt it was very important to be personally familiar with every aspect of a case," she said. "It is extraordinarily stressful for a board member to be investigating a complaint and to sit across from someone, especially someone you know," Batchelder said. "But we said we would do our job to ensure that LSPs were practicing in a way that was protective of the public and that was our objective. Everyone took that very seriously."


The flow of complains has dropped off considerably in recent years, said Batchelder, and the Board's focus has shifted to education, outreach, rewriting the LSP exam and reviewing applications for licensure. The exam needs to be revamped to address the regulatory changes expected to come down from MassDEP within the next few months, Batchelder said, and education is an ongoing process. Batchelder expects the Board will look more toward distance learning to complement the face-to-face learning. But, she said, she hopes the Board will keep a balance between the two. "The real learning doesn't happen in the eight-hour presentation," she said. "Where you learn and get really engaged is when you interact with others. There is so much value in discussing various topics with fellow professionals to provide a broader perspective on how other LSPs might handle a particular issue."


Even with its shift in focus, the Board still has the responsibility to maintain the integrity of the profession and the law that created it, Batchelder said. Being appointed to the Board means something, and should not be pursued if a candidate is not totally committed to the Commonwealth's privatized program and willing to do the required work. The position - which pays nothing, not even expenses - is time-consuming, and anyone considering a seat on the board should expect to spend a minimum of between 10 and 20 hours a month on Board work, depending on the agenda.


Batchelder also feels that it is critical that the Board maintain the statutorily established separation between itself and MassDEP. The two are separate entities, the only links being the Board Chair and the fact that the LSP Board staff are MassDEP employees, she said. "The clear distinction between the two entities was intended to be maintained and is a fundamental part of making the program successful," Batchelder said. By and large, MassDEP, the LSP Board, and the LSP community work well together, but when differences of opinion arise, it is important to remember that while MassDEP has the authority to decide whether a violation of the MCP has occurred, it is within the jurisdiction of the LSP Board to decide whether an LSP's actions constitute a violation of the LSP Board's regulations and rise to a level at which discipline by the LSP Board is warranted, she explained.


"The most important role for the LSP Board is to continue to support the LSP program by maintaining the integrity of the profession," Batchelder said. "It has a responsibility to make sure the proper people are licensed and that LSPs maintain, and hopefully improve, their skill level. When an issue with an LSP arises, Board members must continue to respect the LSPs but remember that they still have the responsibility to protect public health, safety, welfare, and the environment. LSP Board members take an oath when they accept the position, and honoring that responsibility is important to me." 


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The Crisis of Soil Management: LSPA's November Membership Meeting

By: Marilyn Wade, LSP, URS Corporation, LSPA Regulations Committee, and LSPA Board member

The LSPA Regulations Committee developed and provided an informative "for credit" presentation on the topic of The Crisis of Soil Management at the November 14, 2013, LSPA monthly meeting. You may ask:  Is the management of soil really a crisis?  Well, based on feedback from the audience, it is undeniably so. 


The evening opened with a review  by Michelle O'Brien, Esq. (Mackie, Shea & O'Brien, PC) on "Soil Management 101" and some sobering statistics compiled by Kelly McQueeney (LSP, Harvard University).  Some food for thought from Kelly's presentation: using some basic assumptions and based on prior trends in non-residential development, over the next 5 years an estimated 4 million cubic yards of urban fill could be generated at development sites in the greater Boston area.  An additional 2 million cubic yards of excess native soil could also be generated.  These are soils that cannot be reused on site and need to find a home elsewhere.  The options for where to take them are very limited and the ability to accept this soil varies dramatically among potential receiving facilities.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to predict, from a cost and schedule standpoint, just what impacts the disposal of soil will have on a given project. Developers and contractors have to wrestle with arranging for multiple outlets for disposal, increased requirements for characterization with long lead times, and increased budget requirements for longer hauls and increasing tipping fees. Not a great situation.


To further illustrate the challenges, Bryan Sweeney (PE, Haley & Aldrich) described typical scenarios encountered when attempting to bid, contract and execute a building project that requires soil management.  While the classic risks for developer clients that relate to unknown subsurface conditions used to be the more typical geotechnical or "buried treasure" issues, more and more often the cost of managing what comes out of the subsurface is presenting a significant risk to schedule and budget.  Challenges to the preferable management options (stockpile and reuse on site or excavate, load and transport to a pre-determined facility at the contract bid price) have become routine; these include:


  • no facility is open to take the materials at the bid price,
  • the only available facility is farther away than the budget anticipated,
  •  there is a facility but it limits the daily volume it will take, and
  • on-site reuse isn't feasible because the soil has contaminants that won't meet the MCP's "similar soils" requirements. 

To minimize adverse impacts to economic development in Massachusetts, more locations for appropriate disposal or reuse are needed.


Paul Locke (Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup (BWSC), MassDEP) presented an overview of what the agency has in store to help address the "crisis."  He noted that the BWSC's "Similar Soils Policy" is now final and available on line.  This policy addresses a small chunk of the universe of soils in need of a home, and facilitates the implementation of 310 CMR 40.0032(3).  The new policy works well as far as it goes and provides clear direction on when and how you need to sample a receiving location, and what it means to be "not significantly less than"; it also includes tables, sampling considerations and performance standards.  But what about the rest of the universe of soils?  These include soils from MCP sites that are not remediation waste, soils whose contamination did not result from an MCP release, and soils that have levels of constituents between RCS-1 and RCS-2.   Unfortunately, there is no immediate solution for dealing with these soils, but Paul noted that finding a path forward for their management is a high priority for MassDEP in 2014.  (He also noted at a recent BWSC Advisory Committee meeting, "The Department's overarching goal is that non-21E soils do not become 21E sites.") 


By this point in the evening there appeared to be consensus that a soil management crisis exists, and the final presentation of the evening provided a glimpse of what needs to happen in the future if the crisis is to be alleviated. Jim Doucette (Bureau of Waste Prevention, MassDEP)  presented information about the solid waste constraints to soil management.  He noted that soil is not solid waste by definition, and that contaminated soils can be used in the right circumstances under Comm 97-001 (the policy governing the reuse and disposal of soils at Massachusetts landfills) without prior approval.  Solid waste landfill closure has historically provided a reasonable outlet for soils from development, but the capacity for this reuse is limited and shrinking.  Soils from development projects could provide a beneficial resource in getting old landfills closed and capped properly, but local concerns are a major issue.  Jim noted that Comm 97-001 was and continues to be a success.  Success stories include 19 unlined landfills that have been closed using contaminated soils since 1999, several quarries that were filled and closed as part of the Central Artery Project soil management, and a significant amount of soil that has been used by active landfills for daily cover.   As the landfill closure opportunities are diminishing, however, other resources will need to be evaluated, such as the closure of quarries and other potential fill projects. 


MassDEP is looking at addressing soil management on multiple fronts.  The agency continues to press forward through BWSC to develop policies for managing soils, building on the success of the Similar Soils Policy.  At the same time, the BWP is also working towards solutions through its review and approval of fill projects, both via the permitting process for landfill closure and through potential non-landfill options. 


Stay tuned. This is clearly a crisis that needs solutions, and developing these solutions will require the participation of a broad range of stakeholders and the coordinated efforts of multiple departments at MassDEP.


Click here to see slides from the November 2013 LSPA membership meeting on the soil management crisis. 


Professionals Paddling with Purpose & Poise (?): Kayaking with the LSPA Tech Practices Committee

By: Wendy Rundle, LSPA Executive Director  

Right about now, I'll bet many of you are wondering how many more months until summer officially arrives.  (I'll also bet that Duff Collins is someone who actually knows...)


If you aren't crazy about all this white fluffy stuff that is great for skiing, snowshoeing, and snowball making, step into the warmer past with these photos from the August 2013 outing of the LSPA's Technical Practices Committee (TPC).

The TPC's 2103 annual summer outing was a kayaking trip on the Charles River.  Eleven hardy, seaworthy souls embarked from the Kendall Square location of Charles River Canoe and Kayak, and set out to explore the lower  Charles River Basin, between the Esplanade  and the Science Museum.  It was a great way to unwind after a day at the office - perfect temperature, a balmy breeze, and the river spotted with sailboats, paddle boarders, and the occasional Duck Boat.


We noted the electric plant sitting on

Jim Occhialini, Alpha Analytical Labs 

the Cambridge side, as well as the Hatch Shell on the Boston side.  We discussed the chronology of activities by both the public and private sectors to improve water quality in the river. Some of us even remembered Governor William Weld's 1996 plunge, fully clothed, into the river to prove his commitment to cleaning it up.  We agreed that, while there is still much to do, the river ecosystem and water quality have improved in the 21st century.  We considered taking a few surface water samples to prove our point but then decided against it - much to the chagrin of fellow paddler Jim Occhialini of Alpha Analytical Labs (see photo). 



Wes Stimpson and Denise Kmetzo 
I am happy to report that there were no mishaps, even though the paddling expertise of some left much to be desired.  Wes Stimpson chose to be chauffeured by Denise Kmetzo (rather than risk paddling on his own).

After about an hour, all of us managed to make our way back to the starting point, where we posed for this photo to document our adventures.  We then made our way to a nearby restaurant to reward ourselves with pizza and salads. 

Like to kayak?  Golf?  Bowl?  While discussing technical topics related to hazardous waste site cleanup? Consider joining the TPC so you can have fun at the 2014 outing. Contact Co-Chairs Denise Kmetzo at and Glen Cote at



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LNAPL - Assessment, Quantification and Immobilization Technologies

By: Jonathan D. Kitchen, LSP, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. and LSPA Member Services and Programs Committee

The December 2013 LSPA meeting was all about oil, or LNAPL if you like.  While light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) has been on the minds of many LSPs this winter, as we anticipated the long- awaited regulatory changes to the MCP, our speakers gave us three different perspectives on the subject. 


From the world of field assessment, Matt Ednie from Zebra spoke about utilizing Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF) to collect high resolution real time data on the distribution of LNAPL in the subsurface.  Coupling LIF with conductivity data, it is possible to simultaneously collect field data on both changes in stratigraphy and changes in the presence and relative concentration of LNAPL.  For more information on LIF and to view Matt's presentation,  click here.   


Brandon Fagan, LSP, PG, of GEI Consultants reviewed various laboratory techniques for evaluating the mobility of LNAPL.  The methods included UVL photography of soil cores, and tests of LNAPL soil saturation, residual saturation, capillary pressure, and relative permeability.  For more information on these laboratory techniques and to view Brandon's presentation, click here.


Fayaz Lakhwala, Ph.D., from FMC Corporation, presented an innovative approach for in-situ geochemical stabilization (ISGS) of NAPL.  NAPL in a soil matrix can act as a secondary source which supports an on-going groundwater contaminant plume.  FMC's technology is a blend of permanganate and mineral salts that form a stable mineral precipitate which creates a "crust" on soil particles.  This crust immobilizes NAPL and reduces permeability and the flux of NAPL into groundwater.  For more information on ISGS and to view the FMC presentation, click here.      


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Down the Cow Path with Gasoline Additives - Part 2: Ethanol

By: Lisa Alexander, BWSC Audits & Enforcement Coordinator, MassDEP

(The LSP Association does not edit any articles submitted on behalf of any government agency or the LSP Board, other than for formatting purposes.)

If the history of 1900s gasoline additives is a cow path, then the history of ethyl alcohol for fuel is a rabbit hole in Wonderland. Ethanol may seem like something new to those who don't know history, but alcohol has been a fuel since the 1800s. The earliest cars ran on ethyl alcohol. Ethanol didn't just "appear" as a possible fuel additive a couple of decades ago because someone decided cars should get "greener." It has a long, somewhat forgotten history, complete with colorful conspiracy theories. In researching ethanol as a fuel or fuel additive, the problem is not finding information, but rather, determining what to omit.


An alcohol blend known as "camphene" (made from alcohol, turpentine and camphor) was used in the 1800s for a number of applications, including lighting, for 30-40 years before oil was discovered in Pennsylvania [i] . Ethanol was used in the first prototype internal combustion engine by Samuel Morey in the U.S. in 1826. This invention was all but lost in the short-lived enthusiasm for steam engines. It wasn't until three decades later that ethanol was used again in a four stroke engine by Nicholas Otto in Germany and by Henry Ford in the U.S. Ford imagined ethanol would be the fuel that would power his cars and advocated for it well into the 1930s.


There were other forces in play in the U.S. regarding ethanol. In the late 1800s, about the time kerosene become widely available, a temporary $2.08 per gallon tax (about $44 dollars today) was put on alcohol/ethanol to pay for the Civil War[ii]. Although the intention was only to tax beverages, it was broadly applied and a 90 million gallon per year agriculture based alcohol distilling industry collapsed almost overnight. The tax made ethanol too expensive to use as fuel. The transition to kerosene for lighting and to gasoline for cars, then considered a "waste product" from the oil refining industry, was almost instantaneous. Gasoline, at that time, was a far cheaper alternative; the tax ensured it was quickly adopted.


Meanwhile, according to some ethanol advocates, almost anyone could have made alcohol in their backyard, from grains, bad apples, potatoes, vegetables or even grasses unfit for consumption, etc., thereby avoiding the tax [iii].  There have been suggestions that John D. Rockefeller (secretly) funded the Temperance movement as a scheme to prevent home-distillers brewing their own alcohol "for fuel" through the 1920s, further ensuring that new drivers would have to buy gasoline [iv].


Meanwhile, Europe had adopted a gasoline-ethanol blend, adding far higher percentages (30-50%) of ethanol than are in use in the U.S. today. Ethanol was the European octane booster of choice until Tetraethyl Lead proved a better option in World War II.


During the debates over ethanol versus MtBE, some touted MtBE as the better additive, preserving the integrity of gasoline over time and improving mileage.  Eventually the impacts to groundwater and drinking water supplies became too numerous and too severe. 


Those arguing for ethanol talked about a revival of farming and energy independence. Ethanol was touted as a "green," "home-grown," "less polluting" octane-boosting gasoline additive that would help decrease dependence on foreign oil. Ethanol critics pointed to its affinity for water which would spoil the gasoline and potentially cause corrosion.  They also questioned whether there was a net energy loss: rather than furthering energy independence, arguing that the production of ethanol required more energy than the final product contained, and its use reduced mileage.


A 10% blend was mandated by the Federal government in 2005, and soon after, corn based ethanol became the subsidized source of most of that ethanol.


To read some of the recent articles, it seems the ethanol love affair is already over[v], at least for farmers if not the big ethanol producers. A recent push to increase the percentage of ethanol in gasoline was defeated by opposition from a number of fronts. It is unclear what the future holds for this "latest and greatest solution to cleaner, greener fuels."


In the U.S., most ethanol is currently made from corn (the kernels, not the whole plant), but the industrial farming practices are controversial, including the vast corn monocultures, the use of genetically modified crops, conversion of food crops to fuel crops,  increased soil erosion, and increased use of herbicides.  As farms expand, the loss of buffer strips along the edges and borders of farms has destroyed habitat for bees, birds and butterflies [vi]. Just this week, the Federal government has chosen to fund efforts to replant some of those edges in hopes of protecting foraging honeybees [vii].  


Meanwhile, research continues for better, less polluting, safer fuels, whether it's cellulosic alcohol from switchgrass, trees or other grasses. Interestingly, recent research on large grazing animals being allowed to roam freely in forests and grasslands suggests it may have far greater ecological restorative and carbon capturing benefits (and healthier cattle and meat) than trying to grow a marginally cleaner fuel from grains [viii]. Biodiesel is offered up from time to time, including production methods using algae, but it seems to be a way off. More efficient cars, solar charged electric cars and fuel cells are occasionally touted, but the one thing that is clear, this most recent solution, using ethanol in the quest for a cleaner, greener car fuel, is just another twist in the cow path.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Note that in the U.S., as in most countries, anyone wishing to make their own ethanol fuel needs to get a "small fuel producer" permit from the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The site explains the details. 

[iv] Kovarik.


Article discussing some of the environmental downside of corn-based ethanol.

[vii] News release about trying to restore some of the plants and wildflowers used by bees and butterflies in farm areas.


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