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Q 11 - Short EAF (Part 2) Evaluating Hazards

Short Environmental Assessment Form Workbook

Will the proposed action create a hazard to environmental resources or human health?

Background

This question evaluates hazards that include any solid or hazardous waste. These substances can be toxic, infectious, inflammable, or corrosive. They can occur as solids, liquids, semi-solids, or gases. Whatever the form they take, hazardous substances can adversely affect the environment and human health if not properly handled and disposed of. Both solid and hazardous wastes are regulated by New York State.

Other hazards may result from previous land uses, such as agriculture or landfills. Pesticide residue, such as in orchards, may persist in the soils and groundwater for decades, and can be a source of potential exposure by direct human contact or drinking water. Landfills may generate leachate, which can also be a source of groundwater or surface water pollution and subsequent human exposure. Landfills can also generate methane or toxic gases, which can be a safety or human health threat.

Hazards may also result from failures of impounded areas such as dams that create reservoirs, or storage facilities such as retention ponds and waste lagoons. In these cases, a hazard could occur as a result of leakage or dam failure that releases water or waste into the environment.

Applicable Part 1 Information

Some of the Part 1 questions that should be specifically reviewed when answering this question are:

Analysis

In order to decide if impacts will occur, the reviewing agency should look at the available information and ask:

  • Does the proposed project include the commercial, recreational, or industrial use or application or storage of pesticides, herbicides, or known contaminants beyond normal household use, in or around any water body, well or water sources?
  • Will there be any bulk storage of petroleum or chemical products and if so, what type of storage will be used?
  • Are there any alterations to or construction of new dams, ponds or lagoons planned, and if so, do they meet safety criteria?
  • Will the proposed project generate hazardous air pollutants? If so, how much?
  • Is the proposed site an active or inactive solid or hazardous waste site, or has the site previously been exposed to pollutants or contamination?
    • If so, is it undergoing or planned to undergo remediation?
  • Will there be any solid or hazardous wastes to be disposed of on or off the site? If so, where and how much?
  • Is there to be any unearthing of solid or hazardous materials?
  • Does the site contain a former agricultural use that is known to have used pesticides

Will there be an impact?

There is not likely to be any impact if the proposed project:

  • Does not use or store any pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals (Commercial, industrial, or recreational properties only).
  • Does not impound liquids.
  • Does not produce any hazardous air emissions.
  • Does not generate any solid wastes.
  • Does not disturb or create an existing solid or hazardous waste disposal area.
  • Does not expose people to residual chemicals from chemical or fuel storage, disposal, spills, or agricultural applications.

If you determine that the project is such that it will not generate, use, store or disturb hazardous materials in these ways, then there is not likely to be any impact. In this case, you can check, "no, or small impact may occur" on the Part 2 table, and when all questions from Part 2 are completed, proceed to Part 3.

If the proposed project is likely to generate, use or store hazardous materials then this impact must be evaluated as to its size.

If there is an impact, how big will it be?

If there will be an impact, the reviewing agency must then evaluate the magnitude of that impact. This will depend on the overall scale and context of the proposed project as described in the Introduction to Part 2. The reviewing agency should be reasonable when conducting this review.

No Impact to Small Impact

No impact to a small impact could occur, and no significant impacts to human health are anticipated, if the project will result in one or more of the following:

  • Storage of pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals will take place, but is done in a completely enclosed structure that meets appropriate storage requirements, and the site is greater than 300 feet from any water body, well or water source used for irrigation.
  • An existing impoundment or storage lagoon is altered or expanded.
  • Air emissions will occur at a level that does not require a state air emission permit.
  • Solid or hazardous waste will be generated in an amount easily handled at a permitted disposal facility.

In these cases, check "no, or small impact may occur" on the Part 2 table, and when all of Part 2 are completed, then proceed to Part 3.

Moderate Impact

Moderate impacts may occur if:

  • Storage of pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals will take place on a site that is greater than 100 feet but less than 300 feet from any water body, well or surface water source used for irrigation.
Moderate to Large Impact
  • An new impoundment or storage lagoon is proposed.
  • Air emissions will occur at a level that requires a state air emission permit, and that produces large amounts of greenhouse gases.
  • Solid or hazardous waste will be generated in an amount that may require additional capacity to be developed at an existing or new permitted disposal facility.
Large Impact
  • Storage of pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals will take place on a site that is within 100 feet of any water body, well or water source used for irrigation.

In these scenarios, check "moderate to large impacts may occur" in the Part 2 table and when all questions of Part 2 are completed, then proceed to Part 3.

Recording your decision

If you have determined that there are no impacts, or that only a small impact may occur, no further analysis of this topic is needed. Simply check the box under "No, or small impact may occur" next to the question and move on to Part 3. You may choose to include an explanation in Part 3 as to why you decided there were no, or only small impacts, but you are not required to do so.

If you have determined that one or more moderate to large impacts may occur, then additional analysis of this impact will be required in Part 3. You should note what the impacts are, and the reasoning that lead to your decision before moving on to Part 3.

Examples

Scenario 1: A facility for large truck repair is proposed that includes an accessory structure for storage of oils and other chemicals.

  • The storage site is located 100' from a DEC regulated wetland
  • The accessory building used for storage will be completely enclosed and fitted with drainage that sends any liquid to an underground closed storage system

Then: The Planning Board determined that even though the storage is enclosed and leakage addressed, because the site is near a regulated wetland and a spill or accident is always a possibility, that this would be a small impact. They checked "No, or small impact may occur" on Part 2.

Scenario 2: A five-lot residential development is proposed.

  • Each new house will have its own well and septic system.
  • There are no wetlands, streams, or regulated water bodies nearby or associated with the parcel.
  • Future owners will generate solid waste typical of a residence and there is capacity at the local landfill to accommodate this.
  • Some pesticides or herbicides may be used for lawn care.

Then: The Planning Board determined that this proposed subdivision will not create any hazard to environmental resources or human health and checked "No, or small impact may occur" on Part 2.

Scenario 3: A five-lot residential development is proposed.

  • Each new house will have its own well and septic system.
  • There are no wetlands, streams, or regulated water bodies nearby or associated with the parcel.
  • The site is a former apple orchard that is known to have used lead arsenate based pesticides.

Then: The Planning Board determined that this proposed subdivision may create a hazard to human health due to documented potential for groundwater contamination or contact with contaminated soil. They checked "Moderate to large impact may occur" on Part 2.

Scenario 4: An industrial use is planned on a 45-acre 'green field' site.

  • The use will include manufacturing of a product that requires use of a variety of chemicals, some of which are flammable.
  • The site is on a former agricultural field and has a regulated DEC stream flowing along one boundary.
  • The site is located over limestone bedrock known to have numerous caves, cracks, and sinkholes.
  • All potable drinking water used by area residents in the area comes from wells drilled into the limestone bedrock aquifer.

Then: The Planning Board determined that this proposed industrial use has the potential for contamination of underground water supplies because of the presence of limestone bedrock and considered this a moderate to large potential impact for Part 2

Back to Part 2 Impact Assessment || Continue to Part 3 - Determination of Significance


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