May 2014 Newsletter

Observations on FY 2013 NOAFs Addressing LNAPL   
By: Wesley E. Stimpson, LSP, Loss Prevention Committee

The LSPA's Loss Prevention Committee conducts an annual review of Notice of Audit Findings (NOAFs) issued by MassDEP to identify the issues and concerns of MassDEP auditors.  This article presents the audit findings for Sites where the presence of light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) was indicated to exist or once existed. Fourteen of the 357 NOAFs issued by MassDEP in 2013 were placed in this category.    

Nine of the LNAPL NOAFs were for inspections of remedial systems or systems in use as part of an Immediate Response Action or Release Abatement Measure.  It appears that MassDEP conducted these  audits by completing the MassDEP L2 Audit Pre-Inspection Screening Checklist or the Remedial System Audit Inspection formThe most common systems were skimmers resulting in low or no LNAPL recovery. Notices of Non-Compliance were not issued for any of these inspections even though some of the systems were not operational. MassDEP obtained indoor air samples at one site.

The remaining five NOAFs were for Phase reports and Response Action Outcome Statements (RAOs). Missed submittal deadlines were noted in many of the NOAFs. Most of the audits concluded that there was insufficient information to support the conclusions in the deliverable. Each of these NOAFs received a Notice of Non-Compliance. 

Issues presented in the NOAFs addressing LNAPL included the following:

  • In an NOAF reviewing a 5-year periodic review of a Class C RAO and associated Inspection and Monitoring Reports, MassDEP identified as noncompliance the failure to measure, in two wells presumed to contain LNAPL, the LNAPL thickness over a ten-year period. MassDEP noted that, because concentrations in groundwater had fallen below applicable standards, measuring LNAPL had become an "important metric" for whether progress is being made at the site.  
  • In an NOAF reviewing Comprehensive Response Actions, MassDEP indicated that the operation, maintenance and monitoring plan (OMM Plan) should have been updated to reflect two changes. The first was a change from one-time to repetitive application of ORC® to achieve remedial goals. The second change, made in light of completion of an Immediate Response Action to address the identification of over two feet of LNAPL in a well, was to include the proposed frequency of manual LNAPL recovery and monitoring of the LNAPL condition. 
  • In an NOAF reviewing a Class A-2 RAO, MassDEP indicated that the RAO failed to adequately discuss the presence of LNAPL in a particular well. Thirty inches of LNAPL had been observed in a groundwater well, but the accuracy of this observation had been questioned by the LSP. The RAO did not document a determination that this apparent LNAPL measurement had been either discounted or verified, and the RAO did not identify LNAPL as a potential source or describe response actions taken to address it. In the same NOAF, MassDEP indicated that information on the installation date and construction of certain wells should have been provided, and that information on two recovery wells and trenches noted on a diagram should also have been provided.  
  • MassDEP conducted a field inspection and file review of an active remedial system to address hydraulic oil underneath a building, and found no noncompliance. However, MassDEP also reviewed the Class A-2 RAO for a different release of hydraulic oil at the same address. While not identified as noncompliance, MassDEP stated that the source of this release had not been investigated, and may have been related to the hydraulic oil release that is being actively remediated. MassDEP requested that the PRP evaluate whether the RAO remained supportable and that the LSP provide the results of that evaluation in the next status report.  
  • MassDEP conducted a field inspection and file review of an active remedial system to address LNAPL and found no noncompliance. However, MassDEP noted that noncompliance associated with LNAPL that had been identified in a 2008 NOAF remained outstanding. The NOAF identified questions about the adequacy of the work associated with each of the subsequent submittals. MassDEP established an interim deadline by which a Class C-1 RAO and OMM Plan were to be submitted.