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Environmental Law Alert: Significant Environmental Hazard Law

July 2, 2015

New "Significant Environmental Hazard" Law Takes Effect

Connecticut law, Conn. Gen. Stat. section 22a-6u, requires that an environmental professional that discovers certain "significant environmental hazards" during a site investigation report those to his or her client, and to the property owner, who is generally required to report them to the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.  Amendments to the law that change the threshold of what constitutes an "environmental hazard," and when such hazards require reporting, went into effect July 1, 2015. The new requirements only apply to those conditions discovered after July 1, 2015.

Important changes include:

  • Lowering the hazard thresholds for metals and polychlorinated biphenyls in soils for industrial or commercial properties within 300 feet of a residential use; residential use includes schools, recreational areas and playgrounds.
  • Lowering the hazard thresholds for all contaminants for residential properties.
  • Lowering the hazard thresholds for volatile organic compounds in groundwater or soil vapor below buildings, and extending the applicability to groundwater or soil vapor within 15 feet of, but not under, a building.
  • Adding a requirement to report free product in groundwater that is entering a surface water.
  • Requiring the reporting of contamination within 200 feet upgradient or side gradient (formerly 500 feet) of a drinking water supply well. 

The changes to the law also include a number of new "self-implementing" means of confirming or abating the identified hazard. 

The new law can be found here.  The CTDEEP's Significant Hazard webpage includes the forms for notification, guidance documents; updated FAQs and a fact sheet are coming soon.  

For more information, contact Pamela Elkow at (203) 252-2672 or pelkow@carmodylaw.com, or Anne Peters at (203) 784-2647 or apeters@carmodylaw.com