Pennsylvania Clean Fill Policy

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In 2004, PADEP established the Management of Fill Policy to provide procedures for determining whether material is clean fill or regulated fill.  This Policy is pertinent to those developing “greenfield” sites requiring fill, and brownfield sites where fill is being imported or exported from the site.  “Regulated fill” may not be used unless a Solid Waste Management Act (SWMA) permit is secured by the entity or individual using the regulated fill. 

 How Do I determine if the material in question is Clean Fill?

The Policy provides that environmental due diligence must be performed on the fill materials.  If the due diligence shows no evidence of a release of a regulated substance, the material may be handled as clean fill. If due diligence shows evidence of a release, the material must be tested to determine if it qualifies as clean fill.  The Policy provides the procedures for sampling of material based on either composite or discrete sampling, with the number of samples required based on the volume of material.  If testing reveals that the fill material contains concentrations of regulated substances that are below the residential limits in Table FP-1a and b of the Management of Fill Policy, the material can be managed as clean fill.

 What is Clean Fill?

Uncontaminated, non water-soluble, nondecomposable inert solid material. The term includes soil, rock, stone, dredged material, used asphalt (except milled asphalt), and brick, block or concrete from construction and demolition activities that is separate from other waste and recognizable as such. The term does not include materials placed in or on the waters of the Commonwealth unless otherwise authorized.

  How do I manage Clean Fill?

Clean fill may be used in an unrestricted manner under the SWMA.  The person using materials as clean fill is still subject to other requirements such as Erosion and Sediment Control (PA Title 25 Chapter 102) and Dam Safety and Water Management (PA Title 25 Chapter 105).  Any person placing clean fill which has been affected by a release of a regulated substance must certify the origin of the fill material and the results of analytical testing on Form FP-001.

 What is Regulated Fill?

Soil, rock, stone, dredged material, used asphalt, historic fill, and brick, block or concrete from construction and demolition activities that is separate from other waste and recognizable as such that has been affected by a spill or release of a regulated substance and the concentrations of regulated substances exceed the values in Tables FP-1a and b of the Policy.

 How do I manage Regulated Fill?

Materials identified as regulated fill are a waste and must be managed in accordance with residual waste regulations.  Regulated fill may be used beneficially under General Permit WMGR096 if the material and the proposed activities for the fill meet the conditions of that permit.

Regulated fill may not be placed on greenfield property that is not planned for development, or on a property currently in residential use or planned for residential use unless otherwise authorized by PADEP.  Fill containing concentrations of regulated substances that exceed the levels in Tables GP-1a and b of the General Permit may not be managed under the Management of Fill Policy or the General Permit, but must be managed instead in accordance with the applicable municipal or residual waste regulations.

A general permit is not required for activities undertaken entirely on an Act 2 site, or if regulated fill is taken from one Act 2 site to another Act 2 site, as long as the procedural requirements of Act 2 are met (including documentation in the Act 2 reports for both sites).  Placement of the regulated fill may not cause the receiving site to exceed the Act 2 standards selected for that site.

If you have questions about management of fill issues in Pennsylvania, please contact Mary King (mking@cecinc.com) with the Pittsburgh office at 800-365-2324.

Useful Pennsylvania Management of Fill Links:

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