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    Historic Pesticide Contamination Task Force


Findings & Recommendations for the Remediation of Historic Pesticide Contamination - Final Report March 1999
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VI. Recommendations

A. Site Investigation and Remediation

      The Historic Pesticide Contamination Task Force makes the following recommendations to assist those involved in the remediation of agricultural properties that have been developed and that will be developed in the future.

  • Sampling of former agricultural areas, and any necessary remediation, should be conducted prior to site development.

  • Sampling of former agricultural areas, and any necessary remediation, should be conducted for areas with exposed soil that are intensively used by children, such as schools, daycare centers and playgrounds.

  • Sampling and remediation at sites that have already been developed, except as noted above, should be conducted whenever the current or potential future occupant desires. The Department should provide guidance concerning sampling methods and exposure control alternatives to any person concerned with historic pesticide contamination. Practical exposure control alternatives include maintaining grass and landscaping cover over areas with pesticide residues, washing home grown garden vegetables and washing hands after play or any lawn and gardening activity.

  • The Department should provide an appropriate sampling methodology specifically designed for the investigation of pesticide residues in soil at agricultural properties (Addendum 5);

  • The Department should authorize a remedial alternative involving soil blending for pesticide residues in soil in former agricultural areas when it is protective of human health. This represents a substantial departure from current State policy and the Task Force recommends blending as a remedial option only at sites with historical pesticide contamination.

B. Department Oversight

  • At the request of the property owner or developer, the Department should oversee the investigation and remediation of sites with historical pesticide contamination and issue a No Further Action Letter when no contamination is present above the Departmentís residential soil cleanup criteria or when the site has been remediated (i.e., appropriate exposure controls are applied).

  • The Department should provide local authorities (planning and zoning boards, local or county health departments) technical information and training as necessary.

  • No additional action should be required at a site when information obtained by a review of the site history indicates no historic pesticide use or when sampling confirms no pesticide contamination at levels above the Departmentís residential soil cleanup criteria.

C. Application of Remedial Strategies

  • The remedial strategies described in this report are recommended as acceptable for soils with historical pesticide contamination.

  • The remedial strategies described in this report should not apply to other areas of concern on agricultural properties such as underground storage tanks or pesticide mixing and storage areas.

  • One or more remedial options may be used at a site based on site conditions and development plans.

  • The use of grass and landscaping as an exposure control should only be allowed as part of an exposure control strategy when approved by the Department.

D. Real Estate Disclosure

      The disclosure of environmental conditions that can impact the value and/or desirability of a property have been the subject of legislative and judicial debate in recent years. The issues related to historic pesticide contamination and the frequent lack of significant site specific data create a disclosure dilemma for homebuyers, sellers, real estate professionals and others involved in the residential real estate industry.

      The Task Force discussed two issues with respect to disclosing information about soil contamination resulting from the historic use of pesticides. The first issue is how and when to make buyers aware of the potential for historic pesticide contamination when purchasing property. The second is the method to convey information about completed site remediations to the prospective purchasers. The Task Force provides recommendations regarding real estate disclosure issues below.

  • The Department should provide site specific data concerning historic pesticide residue contamination in soil in its geographical information system (GIS) and allow public access through each municipal clerkís office, in accordance with "The New Residential Construction Off-Site Conditions Disclosure Act" (P.L.1995 c.253).

  • Real estate professionals and the Department, should develop model language in contracts informing buyers of soil contamination where appropriate, and create informational materials to explain the issue in some detail and provide buyers with contacts for more information to further educate the public.

  • Sellers should provide prospective buyers with any test results that have been performed to quantify concentrations of residual pesticides that a prospective buyer requests and provide information regarding any deed notice and/or maintenance requirements applicable to the property where pesticide contamination on the property.

  • Sellers should provide a written disclosure to prospective purchasers of the location and conditions of common areas where contaminated soil has been consolidated in accordance with the Departmentís applicable soil remediation criteria.

  • The State should only require a Deed Notice on the actual property where the contaminated soil has been consolidated, such as the common areas, and not on the deed of each individual property in the development.

  • Municipal clerks maintain information concerning the presence of contaminated soil in the common areas for the benefit of subsequent purchasers pursuant to the Off Site Disclosure Act.

E. Public Education and Outreach

      The Department should develop a comprehensive public education program and outreach system for providing historic pesticide contamination information to the public and local authorities. Outreach should include, a Department "Hotline" phone number, brochures and information on the Department web site.

F. Research Needs

      The members of the Pesticide Task Force believe that this report, while presenting a reasonable, logical approach to the problems associated with historic pesticide contamination, is based on scientific data and information that contains limitations and uncertainties. The Task Force recommends that the Department should conduct research to support the conclusions and the recommendations developed by the Historic Pesticide Contamination Task Force. Research topics should include the following:

  • Research the bioavailability of arsenic and other historical pesticides from soils.

  • Evaluate the effectiveness and cost of various remedial strategies for reducing concentrations of historical pesticides in soils, including treatment technologies.

  • Research potential impacts on ground water quality in vulnerable soils within agricultural areas.

  • Monitor the economic impacts of the policies and recommendations.

  • Initiate a state-wide sampling investigation of historical pesticides in soil including sensitive use areas.


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