Site Assessment and Remediation

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CNMI State Response Program

Under the Brownfields Program or State Response Program, DEQ has set up several projects which are intended to meet the program's requirements to establish and/or enhance DEQ's Response Program for contaminated sites in the CNMI.

I. Saipan Unexploded Ordnance Survey Project: The CNMI Division of Environmental Quality, as part of it effort to establish and enhance the CNMI’s response program to address contaminated sites, including those contaminated with unexploded ordnance (UXO), has contracted to conduct a UXO historical research and UXO assessment for the island of Saipan. The project entail compiling existing and newly gathered information on Saipan properties contaminated or potentially contaminated with UXO. The properties will then be selected by DEQ for UXO assessments and determine the extent of the contamination and evaluation for remedial action if required. The scope of this project will be further expanded in the future to include detailed assessments, cleanup, and redevelopment of brownfields sites which may be contaminated with UXO. A UXO brownfields site is known or suspected to contain, military munitions and exploded ordnance and therefore may present an explosive hazard. Such UXO brownfields sites are inhibited from development in Saipan. UXO may remain on portions of the island from the United States and Japanese battle for Saipan and the U.S. build-up for the attacks on the Japanese mainland. After the capture of Saipan, the U.S. developed much of the island into a supply base for long-range bombing and aerial attacks against Japan, as well as a staging area for an invasion of Japan. At the conclusion of the World War II, much of the ordnance stored on Saipan was left in place with subsequent but incomplete attempts at its removal from the island.

II. Development of Environmental Screening Levels Project: The CNMI DEQ has developed and adopted the use of Environmental Screening Levels (ESLs) for chemicals commonly found in soil and groundwater at sites where releases of hazardous chemicals have occurred. ESLs are numeric concentrations based on human health and ecological concerns and are well below levels that would cause immediate or acute health effects. The ESLs were developed to assist in the rapid identification of common environmental concerns at sites with contaminated soil and groundwater. The concerns addressed by ESLs include: Impacts From Contaminated Surface and Groundwater - Threats to drinking water resources - Threats to aquatic habitats - Intrusion of surface vapors into buildings - Gross contamination and general resource degradation concerns Impacts From Contaminated Soil - Direct-exposure and threats to human health - Intrusion of subsurface vapors into buildings - Leaching and subsequent impacts to groundwater resources - Threats to terrestrial habitats - Gross contamination and general resource degradation concerns In general, the presence of a chemical in soil, soil gas or groundwater at concentrations below the corresponding ESL, could be assumed to not pose a significant, long-term, chronic threat to human health or the environment. Conversely, the presence of a chemical in soil, soil gas or groundwater above an ESL may require additional evaluation and possible remediation, depending on site specific conditions and considerations.

III. Brownfields Site Survey and Inventory Project: In October 2005, the Division of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”) hired Duenas and Associates, Inc. (“D&A”) to create a Brownfields Site Survey Report for potential Brownfields sites on Saipan, CNMI. The purpose of this report is to identify and locate potential Brownfields properties on Saipan in support of DEQ’s Brownfields 128a program and to facilitate the development of useful data associated with such properties. A Brownfield site is defined as “real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.” The findings of this site survey will be used as a tool in the selection of the Brownfield properties for a comprehensive site evaluation using the American Society for Testing and Materials (“ASTM”) Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (“ESA”) approach, and are based solely on the data provided and reviewed as part of this investigation, including observations of conditions that existed at the time of the site reconnaissance activities between October 13-15, 2005. ESAs are used to evaluate the potential for a recognized environmental condition to exist at the property and to satisfy appropriate environmental due diligence. A recognized environmental condition can be defined as the presence or likely presence of hazardous materials or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate a release, past release, or potential release into structures, ground, groundwater, or surface water. The scope of work for this assessment consists of the following: • Non-intrusive visual site inspection of the property, which included a review of site operations, hazardous materials and petroleum projects handling, storage, and disposal practices, such as stained soil or stressed vegetation. • Review of available local, state, and federal regulatory database records and aerial photographs • Limited investigation of the adjacent property use.

IV. Brownfields Inventory Database: Along with the Brownfields Site Survey and Inventory, D&A also created the Brownfields Inventory Database (“BF Database”). There are a total of 27 potential Brownfields sites on the database. The BF Database contains all the information collected during the site survey conducted by D&A. Sites may be added or deleted in the database. The BF Database also allows DEQ to add, edit, and delete information on each site. The BF Database includes information such as: • Site use • GIS coordinates of the site • Phase I and II Site Assessment information • Ownership status • Cleanup information • Sampling results.

V. Community Notification – Revolving Loan Fund Gant Applications Under The Brownfields Program: The DEQ, in partnership with the CNMI's Commonwealth Development Authority ("CDA") and the Department of Public Lands ("DPL"), wish to announce to the general public the availability of latest grant application guidelines and federal funds from the US EPA, which can be tapped for brownfields assessment, clean-up, and/or revolving loan funds (RLF). The principal purpose of brownfields is to assist impacted communities across the United States and its insular areas to identify, assess, and clean-up contaminated brownfields eligible sites to greenfields--restoring properties to productive use and revitalizing impact neighborhoods for redevelopment, restoration, residential homesteading, and public reuse. On behalf of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, CDA will be the primary applicant to the US EPA for the Revolving Loan Fund grant applications. Additionally, DEQ and DPL will submit assessment and/or clean-up grant applications. Please contact any of the referenced agencies for more information. (DEQ- Ray Masga at 664-8500; DPL- John Gonzales at 234-3751/2; CDA- Greg Calvo at 234-6245). The deadline for both the Brownfields RLF, Assessment, and Clean Up Grant Applications is DECEMBER 8, 2006. OR Click "Environmental Resources" and then Click "Brownfields 128a Program FY06 Guidance"

VI. Brownfields Grant Application - Fiscal Year 2007: The CNMI again applied for Brownfields grants for the 2007 grant cycle. First, the Commonwealth Development Authority (primary applicant) joined with the Department of Public Lands and the Division of Environmental Quality (coalition members) to apply for a $2 million Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grant. If awarded, the grant will be used as loans and sub-grants through CDA to cleanup brownfields in the CNMI for redevelopment and/or greenspace. Second, the Division of Environmental Quality also applied for Brownfields Assessments Grants. DEQ submitted two proposals, one for petroleum sites and the other for hazardous substance sites. Each proposal is for $200K. The grant funding, if awarded, will be used to conduct assessments at brownfields sites impacted with petroleum and hazardous substance contamination. The grant proposals were submitted on December 8, 2006. These proposals can be viewed on the Site Assessment and Remediation Branch (SAR) webpage on the main DEQ website, under "Documents". This year, 2006, the Department of Public Lands received Brownfields grant worth $550K to conduct assessment of the Marpi Homestead site impacted with unexploded ordnance and assessments of other DPL properties impacted with petroleum and hazardous substance. The Public is encouraged to comment on these proposals. For more information on the respective Brownfields grants, contact DEQ, DPL, or CDA.(DEQ- Ray Masga at 664-8500; DPL- John Gonzales at 234-3751/2; CDA- Greg Calvo at 234-6245).

VII. Brownfields Survey and Inventory on Tinian and Rota: The Site Assessment and Remediation Branch recently conducted a Brownfields Site Survey and Inventory for the islands of Tinian and Rota during the week of September 24-27, 2007. The purpose of the Site Survey and Inventory was to identify and list any potential Brownfields sites for Tinian and Rota. The SAR Branch interviewed DPL employees and residents of each respective island to inquire about any knowledge about site history and any potential contamination that may pose a threat to human health and the environment. The SAR branch also took GPS coordinates and photographs of the potential Brownfields sites, similar to the Brownfields Site Survey and Inventory conducted on Saipan. The SAR branch will now work on compiling information gathered from the project and enter them into the Brownfields Database. For questions or comments, please feel free to contact our Main Office at (670)664-8500, or email us through our DEQ website at www.deq.gov.mp.

VIII. “EPA Awarded DEQ and DPL more Brownfields Money”: The DEQ Site Assessment and Remediation Branch recently attended the Brownfields National Conference 2008 in Detroit, Michigan that was held from May 5-7, 2008. The US Environmental Protection Agency awarded the Division of Environmental Quality with Brownfields grants of $200,000 for the assessment of sites contaminated with PETROLEUM and $200,000 for sites contaminated with HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCES. The petroleum grant was awarded to DEQ in 2007, while the hazardous substances grant was awarded this year. Another notable awardee was the CNMI Department of Public Lands, which received a $200,000 Brownfields Cleanup grant for the cleanup of the proposed Marpi Homestead site. The award ceremony was sponsored by EPA Region 9. The CNMI representatives attended several panel discussions regarding different Brownfields issues. The DEQ also participated as a panelist for the “No Man is An Island: Territory and State Response Programs” panel and was joined by panelists from Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and Guam. To see more pictures from the 2008 Brownfields National Conference please see the Site Assessment and Remediations Branch Photo Gallery.

REVOLVING LOAN FUND GRANT APPLICATION for FY 2009: The Division of Environmental Quality (“DEQ”), in partnership with the CNMI's Commonwealth Development Authority ("CDA") and the Department of Public Lands ("DPL"), recently applied for the Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) grant for FY 2009. On behalf of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, CDA will be the primary applicant to the US EPA for the Revolving Loan Fund grant application. This is third time that this coalition (CDA, DPL, and DEQ) has applied for this highly competitive grant. The principal purpose of the RLF grant is to assist impacted communities across the United States and its insular areas to conduct environmental cleanups of contaminated brownfields sites through loans and subgrants. If awarded, the RLF will be administered by the CDA, with applicants also enrolling in the DEQ Voluntary Response Program to ensure that cleanups are completed. The goal of the Brownfields RLF grant is to provide funding to property owners and developers to cleanup contaminated idle properties for commercial/economic redevelopment or greenspace i.e. parks. Please contact any of the referenced agencies for more information. CDA- Greg Calvo at 234-6245; DEQ- Ray Masga at 664-8500; DPL- Mario Cepeda at 234-3751.

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