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News // Changes in the management of contaminated areas in Brazil

Date // 30th November -0001

Changes in the management of contaminated areas in Brazil

After several months of internal discussions, CETESB (São Paulo State Environmental Regulator) has released the new Board of Directors Decision (DD 038/2017) on February 07, 2017. This new DD brings important changes on the way CETESB manages the contaminated areas in the São Paulo State.

One of the most significant changes is the implementation of a fee for the issuing of technical opinion letters. The value depends on the size of the site, and starts with approximately USD 5,800.00 and is required for change of use, evaluation of the Intervention Plan (step in the end of the assessment and prior the remediation) and in the areas considered as critical by CETESB.

The most controversial point of this collection is the necessity of request technical letters for the reports not approved by CETESB in order to know the technical reasons of the negative.

One important change is the definition of the level of effort on the assessments based on information gathered on the Phase 1 (Preliminary Assessment). Areas with data gaps will have to be assessed using other technics but soil and groundwater sample collection, as screening methods (passive soil gas sampling), high resolution investigation methods, etc.

The necessity of the conduction of Vapor Intrusion Studies where Phase 1 indicate potential impact by VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) is registered for the first time ever in a CETESB regulating document. The document also reflects the changing of posture observed on CETESB over the last years, where the agency is more concerned about the management of the environmental liability, since technically justified, rather than try to define unreachable remediation goals and deadlines. An example to illustrate this change is the possibility of presenting the remediation system evaluation reports every 5 years, if the contamination is managed and controlled.

Informatization is also arriving on the most important Environmental Agency in the country. The reports now must be presented only electronically. On CDs on a first moment, but soon an online platform will be launched so the reports will be uploaded into the system. Most of the 65 pages of the document are a recipe for each kind of assessment and the content of the reports. This part is not a surprise for the good environmental consulting companies in Brazil and just a little modification will be necessary, as to inform on the same report the destination of the waste produced on the work. Many breakthroughs in detailing some procedures, but when it comes to enforcing internal deadlines, DD failed when do not include any obligation on CETESB's side for a maximum time for the analyses of the reports or for the issuing of the pay technical opinion letter.

CETESB is now conducting sections to explain the market their perspectives around this new regulation. The Brazilian consulting market and environmental attorney firms are still digesting the potential impacts on the legal, economic and technical perspectives of the management of these areas. ANGEL Ambiental, the Brazilian Inogen partner, understands that costs of these projects are likely to increase, due the necessity of more detailing on the assessment. In the other hand, a more predictable and streamlined process on the CETESB side might increase the efficiency and diminish the long deadlines associated to these projects in São Paulo.

Contact for More Information:
Tatiana Fernandes

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