MassDEP AUL Audit Requirement Eliminated

Paul Locke, MassDEP’s acting head of the Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup, was the lead speaker at the September 13th Licensed Site Professional Association (LSPA) membership meeting.  In his remarks, Locke repeatedly advised LSPs to be “on the lookout” for upcoming changes in the Department’s programs and structure.  However, he provided scant details about the changes and was very cagey about “not wanting to spill the beans” in advance of the commissioner’s announcement of the changes, expected sometime in October.

One change he was specific about was the elimination of the previous requirement that any site with Activity and Use Limitation (AUL) would be subjected to a MassDEP compliance audit.  This announcement was the first many in the audience had heard of this change.  Locke said the change was welcomed at the Department because it gave MassDEP greater flexibility to target audits in this time of decreasing resources.

The elimination of the “guaranteed audit” may remove one of the  disincentives for using AULs as a site closure tool.  While an audit is still a real possibility at any MCP site, there may be a shift in the perception of “audit risk” with this policy change.   It makes sense that if the use of AULs is perceived to be less risky, then their use will be given greater consideration in more situations.

If more AULs are used, this may result in a higher percentage of permanent site closures; an outcome that MassDEP and the regulated community would smile upon.