Chapter 12: Environment


Section 1: Hazardous Materials or Waste

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It is the Department’s goal to remove the hazardous materials within the right of way prior to letting a project. Ensure that the contractor uses materials that are free from hazardous materials. Unless otherwise specified in the contract, hazardous materials or waste are defined in Section 1.3.60 of the Standard Specifications. Take responsibility for testing and removing, or disposing of hazardous material not introduced by the contractor on sites owned or controlled by the Department, unless the contractor is found to be willing and able as described below. Ensure that the contractor takes responsibility for testing and removing, or disposing of hazardous material introduced by the contractor onto the work locations.

Implement any preventative action plans developed during the design stage for contamination anticipated during construction. Develop and implement procedures to handle or manage unanticipated contamination that may be encountered during construction. Document all actions taken regarding hazardous materials or waste from the time of discovery through closure with regulatory agencies.

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In accordance with Article 6.10, “Hazardous Materials,” the contractor must provide notice when a visual observation or odor indicates that materials in required material sources or on sites owned or controlled by the Department may contain hazardous materials. When notified, and if test results indicate that the materials are hazardous, remove the materials from the site of work in accordance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws, ordinances, specifications, and regulations. If deemed appropriate, suspend work during this timeframe.

There are three methods for mitigating hazardous materials.

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  1. Hazardous materials identified prior to letting a project-Perform mitigation by a specialty contractor prior to beginning work on a project. The Environmental Affairs Division (ENV) retains specialty contractors to perform this work.
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  3. Hazardous materials identified prior to letting a project, where the project work activities are so intrinsic with the mitigation or abatement operations that the work cannot be separated-Mitigation may be set up in the plans to be performed by the prime or a specialty sub-contractor. Obtain Administration (ADM) approval prior to including this work in a project that is to be let.
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  5. Hazardous materials discovered during a project
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    • Work with ENV to identify a specialty contractor to perform the mitigation, or
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    • allow the prime contractor to handle, if they are willing and able. "Able" means the prime contractor has the expertise, licenses, and insurance to perform the mitigation. Coordinate with Construction Division (CST) and ENV for verification of qualifications, and CST for filing of insurance certificates.

Contact CST and ENV for assistance with evaluating the alternative methods for completing the contaminant-related work.

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Hazardous Materials Anticipated during Construction

This section covers hazardous materials identified during the project development process where preventive action has been incorporated into the contract.

Ensure that activities are coordinated between the contractor, specialty contractors, consultants, and subcontractors. Consider phasing of the work, conducting a pre-bid conference, and partnering to facilitate this coordination and minimize scheduling conflicts.

Hazardous material mitigation should be performed in a separate project when possible. ENV retains specialty contractors to remove or abate hazardous materials.

When paint is determined to contain hazardous materials and Item 446, "Cleaning and Painting Steel," will be used, the project should be let separately. Contact for assistance.

If work to mitigate any hazardous material is not let as a separate project, mitigation may be set up in the plans to be performed by the prime or a specialty subcontractor. For this situation, coordinate with CST and ENV to obtain prior approval from ADM. Allow the contractor to obtain their own environmental or safety consultant to assist them in performing the work. Consider special bid and pay Items for work involving the hazardous materials or waste. Ensure compliance with contract requirements for worker and public safety, participation of consultants, specialty quality control contractors, or environmental agencies, and the handling and disposing of hazardous materials or waste. Make the contractor aware of these requirements prior to beginning work on the contract. Document any preventative actions taken.

Responsibilities for anticipated hazardous materials include:

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  • coordination between the prime construction contractor, specialty contractors, consultants, and other subcontractors;
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  • implementation of provisions for worker and public safety as well as the appropriate handling and disposal of hazardous materials or waste;
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  • implementation of oversight provisions for preventive action aspects of the contract; and
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  • documentation of the actions taken for the preventive action.
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Unanticipated Hazardous Materials Encountered during Construction

This section covers unanticipated hazardous materials that may be encountered during construction after the contract is awarded.

Handle through a specialty contractor acquired through ENV or allow the prime or their specialty subcontractor perform the work.

The following may indicate hazardous materials.

Complete the following measures when notified by the contractor of the possible existence of hazardous materials or waste.

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  • Secure the suspected area for worker and public safety as needed.
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  • Suspend work immediately in the impacted area and consider granting a time extension.
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  • If possible, relocate the contractor on the construction project to avoid or minimize construction downtime.
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  • Contact the District Environmental Coordinator to evaluate and determine whether special action is needed.
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  • Secure the suspected area for worker and public safety as needed.
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  • Notify the Area Engineer (AE) and District Construction Office (DCO).
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  • Identify applicable regulatory requirements with ENV assistance. If notification is required or if additional regulatory assistance is desired, the DCO or District Environmental Coordinator will contact the local office of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). ENV is available to assist with communication and coordination with TCEQ.
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  • If possible or practical, identify and notify responsible parties to arrange for preventative action or cost recovery.

At a minimum, take the following steps for unanticipated hazardous materials or waste encountered during construction.

Follow the procedures listed in Chapter 10 when suspending and resuming work.

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Use of Consultants

If determined necessary, obtain a consultant to identify and characterize the contamination through sampling and analytical testing. The objectives of the consultant's investigation include:

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  • determination of the soil, groundwater, and vapor characteristics (e.g., groundwater recovery rates, vertical and horizontal extent of contamination, and chemicals of concern);
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  • assessment of worker safety and public exposure concerns related to the contamination;
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  • determination of the handling or disposal requirements for any contaminated media unearthed during construction;
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  • recommendation of a preventive action plan to ensure the problem is not aggravated and to avoid or minimize Department liability; and
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  • determination of the requirements necessary so that construction may continue.

ENV maintains environmental consulting contracts to assist with assessing hazardous materials and developing management plans to deal with hazardous materials before, and if necessary, during construction. Districts have the option of acquiring their own environmental service contracts through the statewide engineering and environmental consultant program to perform these tasks. Allow consultants to develop special specifications (such as groundwater treatment or filtration systems, ventilation systems, ongoing site monitoring, contaminated material disposal or reuse options, and permitting).

Reference ENV's Hazardous Materials in Project Development: Environmental Documentation, available as part of the Hazardous Materials Toolkit, for additional information regarding Department procedures for handling hazardous materials during advanced planning, right-of-way acquisition, design, and construction.

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Cost Recovery and Accounting

Maintain detailed records of all circumstances and actions taken for unanticipated contamination discovered during construction. At a minimum, include the following information in these records:

These records may be used for:

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Responsible Parties

If possible or practical, contact identified responsible parties before costs are incurred. Allow responsible parties the opportunity to participate in developing preventive action measures. If the responsible party is undergoing other corrective action, they may have the resources to handle the contamination in an acceptable timeframe for the construction project.

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