Recommendation to Contact CalEPA to Stop Vapor Intrusion Guidance Document that Will Thwart Development of Contaminated Properties in Your City

CaliforniaCityNews has a special message for you from Matt Winefield, an engineer and businessman who has been supporting the redevelopment of contaminated properties since 1989.

California Mayors, Councilmembers and City Managers,

We are writing to inform your city about CalEPA’s proposed new Vapor Intrusion (VI) Guidance, which has put a halt to real estate investment and development in California communities. We recommend that you contact CalEPA’s Secretary, Jared Blumenfeld (Office of the Secretary: michelle.sinclair@calepa.ca.gov) and CalEPA’s State Water Resources Control Board (Office of the Chief Deputy Director, Jonathan Bishop: jonathan.bishop@waterboards.ca.gov) to express your concerns. The CalEPA VI Guidance should consider impacts on real estate development projects and the effects on blighted communities.

Here are brief highlights of the challenges:

  1. The CalEPA Vapor Intrusion (VI) Guidance document will result in very low soil and ground water cleanup levels compared to current practices (which are already the strictest in the nation), thereby making commercial and residential development cost prohibitive in your city.
  2. This proposed VI Guidance will reduce certain soil and groundwater clean-up limits by over 95%, to the point where no remediation technology can achieve the new standards.
  3. There is no current public health crisis prompting this proposed VI Guidance, because the 2011 CalEPA DTSC specifications for VI management have been significantly protective of human health and the environment.
  4. The new VI Guidance is based on empirical US EPA data from only six (6) locations throughout the State. Nonetheless, CalEPA has begun enforcing new standards while VI research continues.
  5. Contaminated sites can no longer be cleaned up to make way for housing or commercial development. Until now, CalEPA issued No Further Action letters for similar sites for commercial and residential development using defensible, site-specific analyses.
  6. The absence of NFAs will thwart debt financing for thousands of projects statewide.
  7. Even though the VI Guidance is still being developed and no public participation has occurred, local environmental agencies have been told to stop using existing clean-up criteria/practices, and many development projects have been brought to a halt.
  8. There are approximately 200,000 contaminated sites in California. Many of these sites could be converted to commercial/residential facilities with appropriate remediation, but CalEPA’s new VI Guidance will scare away brownfield investors, because the “how clean is clean” question is being obfuscated.
  9. CalEPA’s VI Guidance is exacerbating blight and the housing crisis in our communities as developers are unable to buy, finance, and insure sites in the absence of No Further Action letters.

As a result of CalEPA’s VI Guidance, Winefield & Associates has already been forced to redirect $70 million of brownfields real estate investment funds out of California.

Please contact me (562-618-0037 or mw@winefieldinc.com) or CalEPA for further information.

Sincerely,

 

Winefield & Associates, Inc.
Matt Winefield, MS, MBA, PE
President & Principal Environmental Engineer

 

Your agency can submit its own letter to Secretary Blumenfeld and the Water Resource Control Board, or you can use the form below which will submit a letter electronically.


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