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~ Maine Soil Testing Regulations ~

The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MeDEP) governs protection of land, water, and air quality in the state (

MeDEP regulations recognize that background soil conditions in the state typically result from both natural and anthropogenic sources, so "clean soil" is not separately regulated. Soil that has not been impacted by a release generally may be used as fill without further control. Soil that is mixed with debris of any kind, however, must be managed as solid waste or hazardous waste depending on its characteristics.

Soil impacted by a release must be treated and managed in accordance with Soil impacted above the MeDEP Ceiling Level of 10,000 ppm must be treated on-site to a concentration below the Ceiling Level or removed and disposed at an appropriate off-site facility. Concentrations of iron and aluminum in soil are exempted from this Ceiling Level requirement. Further cleanup must be performed to tabulated default Soil Remedial Action Guidelines (RAGs) developed by the MeDEP (
or Site-Specific Target Levels additionally based on Incremental Lifetime Cancer Risk (ILCR) less than 1E-05 and a Hazard Index equal to or less than 1. RAGs are prepared for potential ingestion, dermal contact, and inhalation exposures for resident, outdoor commercial worker, park user, excavation or construction worker, and leaching to groundwater. The MeDEP has prepared comprehensive guidelines for soil sampling ( and other practices ( Of particular interest are two field screening methods for contaminated soil: testing gasoline-impacted soil with a photoionization detector ( and testing of oil-impacted soil using oleophilic dye shake test (

Other solid wastes must be disposed at appropriate landfills licensed by the state (construction & demolition debris landfills, municipal solid-waste landfills, hazardous-waste landfills) -- secure landfills if exhibiting potential for creating leachate ( Specific guidance is provided for car wash grit, ash from wood burning, storm sewer grit, vehicle repair drain solids, backwash filtrate from drinking-water treatment plants, and sanitary wastewater treatment plant solids. Beneficial Use Permits also are available under Chapter 418 for specific reuses. Among the generic Beneficial Use Permits are: (1) use of scrap tire chips for fill, (2) use of emulsified asphalt encapsulated oil contaminated soil as construction fill, (3) use of dewatered dredge material as fill, and (4) use of multi-fuel boiler ash and bottom ash from wood-fired boilers in road construction, parking lots and other traveled ways. Maximum Contaminant Screening Standards for Beneficial Use are set forth in

The MeDEP regulates hazardous waste ( in general accordance with Federal guidelines ( In 1979, the Maine Legislature enacted the Maine Hazardous Waste, Septage and Solid Waste Management Act. This Act directed the State of Maine DEP to issue State regulations for the safe management and transportation of hazardous wastes, tailoring them to Maine's environment and strong reliance on groundwater for drinking water.

Both the MeDEP and the USEPA have hazardous and solid-waste management laws that apply to the handling and disposal of lead-contaminated waste in the state ( In August 2000, USEPA's Office of Solid Waste issued a memo stating that waste generated as a result of lead-based paint activities in residential settings is household waste and is exempt from hazardous-waste testing and other regulation.  Under Maine's Lead Management regulations (Chapter 424 of the MeDEP Rules), all debris from lead abatement activities, including all lead-contaminated debris that will be disposed as household waste, must be
wrapped in a protective covering with all seams taped or placed in closed durable containers resistant to puncture.  Lead debris from non-residential sources must be tested by TCLP to determine whether or not it displays a RCRA hazardous characteristic and then disposed to an appropriate accepting solid-waste or hazardous-waste landfill. Many licensed solid-waste facilities in Maine are permitted to accept non-hazardous demolition debris and other solid wastes from lead-abatement activities, including some local transfer stations.

Contact Info

Maine Department of Environmental Protection

28 Tyson Drive

Augusta, ME 04333

Phone: 207-287-7688

Fax: 207-287-7826


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