Managing CCDD Material in Illinois

Well now that the dust has settled on the CCDD regulations, many of us are figuring out how we are going to manage the material in order to comply with the law. Basically, the process for many of us will be some modification of the following:

Determine if the excavation is near a Potentially Impacted Property or PIP

If near a PIP and not returning the material to the excavation,

  1. Place excavated material in a pile separated from other material
  2. Mark the pile in some manner to designate where it came from
  3. Arrange for testing of the material and if not contaminated receive form LPC-663 signed by a PE/PG
  4. If testing shows material is not contaminated, take material with form LPC-663 to a CCDD fill operation
  5. If testing shows material is contaminated, take the material to a landfill


If NOT near a PIP and not returning the material to the excavation,

  1. Place excavated material in a pile separated from other material
  2. Mark the pile in some manner to designate where it came from
  3. Arrange for pH testing of the material and if not contaminted, fill out form LPC-662
  4. If testing shows material is not contaminated (a pH between 6.5 and 9.0), take material with form LPC-662 to a CCDD fill operation
  5. If testing shows material is contaminated, take the material to a landfill

If CCDD material has been painted, it cannot be placed in a CCDD fill operation unless the owner is able to certify the paint meets certain requirements and indicates this using form LPC-667.

What each company and agency will have to work out will be if they are requiring crews to fill out a customized form for each excavation to document handling of that material, who will perform all the testing, and where material will be placed while it is being tested. For some, the cost of testing material excavated near a PIP will be more than the cost to just take it to a landfill. In those cases, the policy might be to take all soil excavated from a location near a PIP directly to a landfill.

In order to assist in the management of CCDD material, companies and agencies can set up websites to inform and track the material and testing status. I put together a Google Sites template that can be used for this purpose – you can view it here: CCDD Management Site. To use this to create your own site, click the "Use Template" button in the top right corner of that site. This will bring you to the Google Sites page (make sure you are signed into your Google account – if you don't have one, you can visit this site to find out how to get one: Social Media in Public Works 101 – Introduction/Email). Your template is already selected so all you need to do is type in a name for your site, make sure the URL is what you want, then type in the funny looking characters to let Google know you are not a robot. Google will then create your site.

After your site is created, you can begin editing and customizing it for your own purposes. The CCDD Status Table can be edited and all entries and column headings changed as needed. You can also add or delete anything to the pages depending on what you want your group to see when they visit your site. Also, make sure to go in and edit any viewing permissions. Right now the site is set up to be viewed by the public. You might want to change this so only those who you give the link to or those who you invite to the site can view or edit it. Another benefit of a site like this is that users can subscribe to the site so they are notified whenever changes are made. Below is a screenshot of the sample site:

CCDD Management Site


CCDD Update – Get the Scoop on CCDD & Let IEPA Know What You Think

If you’re involved in construction in Illinois, you are probably well aware of new CCDD law passed last year and made effective immediately by our state legislators and governor. Many of us have been struggling to understand this new law because it was created with little guidance but severe penalties for noncompliance. Fortunately the Chicago Chapter of APWA is helping to spread the news about CCDD by hosting a traveling seminar throughout the region. So, if you live or work in the Chicago Metro region, here are two possible seminars you can attend – just click on the title to go to the registration page (I know I’ll be at the one on the 27th!). You don’t have to be an APWA member to attend:

Continue reading “CCDD Update – Get the Scoop on CCDD & Let IEPA Know What You Think”


A CCDD Update – February 2011

Background information for those just wandering into this legislative disaster:

Last year, some of our Illinois legislators passed a law to regulate and impose a fee on anyone trying to dump dirt in a hole. At least that's the way it started out. As you will see from this update, the IEPA has worked to amend the requirements of the law.

The bill started out as an Electronic Recycling bill but was soon changed to regulate the dumping of soil from a construction site. No one working in the industry seemed to be aware of it until a day or so after Governor Quinn signed it into law. This was when contractors began calling inspectors on their jobs asking the owner's professional engineer to sign the form that was now required to dump any load of dirt.

Because of the uproar and confusion over this law, the IEPA had a few meetings to try to find out what all the fuss was about. The meetings were only open to a select few, and from talking to those who did attend, it appears no further guidance or information was obtained from the sessions. Then, winter hit, and construction shut down.

And now the update:

Anyway, what we have all been wondering is, what's the current status?

First of all, we need to understand they are really still working through the formal rules. It appears the official rules will not be decided until next year even though we can be charged with a felony if they feel we haven't complied. So the following information, from what I understand, is the best we will get until they figure out what the law they passed really means.

Next, I heard through the grapevine (meaning this is totally unverified) that the aggregate industry was behind this. They supposedly wanted to minimize their liability in receiving construction material.

It also appears IDOT moved quickly to sign an intergovernmental agreement with the IEPA establishing their obligations. IDOT was obviously affected dramatically by this law since it immediately went into effect in the middle of the construction season. With millions of dollars of construction projects at stake, IDOT could not wait around for two years for everyone else to figure out what was really going on.

For the rest of us, there are now two levels of certification. If soil is obtained from an area that is historically considered to be residential, the Source Site Certification by Owner or Operator LPC-662 form must be filled out. This does NOT need to be signed by a professional engineer.

If soil is obtained from a commercial/industrial area, but is uncontaminated, the Uncontaminated Soil Certification by Licensed Professional Engineer LPC-663 form must be filled out. This form MUST be signed by a professional engineer. And of course not all of us who have PE licenses are comfortable with signing this based on our expertise. So many are hiring engineers with a background in soil contamination to sign for their projects.

And I guess there is still no official decision on whether moving dirt on the same jobsite from one hole to another is a problem. Here is the information on the IEPA website:

How does this apply at the "ground" level?

The advice I heard so far from other engineers is to create a map of your city that is broken into two areas: one colored for residential and one colored for commercial/industrial. For public works departments, crews can then use this map to figure out what form to use for the material they excavate and need to dump. One idea is to create separate piles for residential and commercial/industrial. Then when the piles need to be hauled out and dumped, the proper form can be filled out and signed if necessary. Some cities are hiring engineers to analyze the commercial/industrial pile and then sign the form if found to be uncontaminated. If there is contamination, the pile is hauled to a special waste site.

The other idea is to just haul all material from a commercial/industrial site straight to a transfer station. Then the station is responsible for disposing of the material.

For projects, many are talking about having the residential form filled out and placed in the proposal documents for residential areas. For commercial/industrial areas, an engineer has to be hired during design to analyze the area and sign the form if necessary. This form is also included in the proposal. Also, provisions must be in the proposal for disposal of contaminated soil if found. And because a load that is certified to be uncontaminated can later be turned away, there must be provisions for who is responsible for disposing of that load. Because the soil from my project might be ok, but the contractor could go pick up a contaminated load and come back and try to tell me that was my soil. Now we have to pay for its disposal at a special waste site. And how am I to know? This is one area where it just makes everything that much more confusing and difficult to manage.

Some final tips:

Make sure you separate the pavement material from the soil. I was told having pavement material mixed in the soil will make it contaminated.

Also, tell the crews on the jobsite NOT to throw paint cans into the loads. This is a very typical practice on construction sites. But your clean load will come up contaminated at the dump site if this is done.

And finally, make sure you do your own research and talk to your attorney before deciding your process because no one still seems to know what is really going on. Feel free to post your own comments or experiences dealing with this law.


Illinois’ CCDD Law Update

Most people working in the construction industry in Illinois are now aware of the new Clean Construction and Demolition Debris (CCDD) law that has rocked our world. With no notice and still no mention of it in the Illinois EPA news feed, this law has shut down jobs in a time when they are most needed and flooded EPA information sessions with angry, upset contractors, engineers, and others working in the industry. Since my last post on this subject, Illinois – Land of Nonengagement, I have learned more from those lucky enough to have attended these sessions. Here is a list of comments and observations they have shared:

First, not everyone is allowed in the sessions. As I pointed out before, the IEPA started out with only a handful of sessions to help explain this law to everyone. Even though I signed up, I was sent an email telling me there was no room. More sessions were scheduled, and I again sent in my request to attend. However, I never even received back any confirmation or invite or an email telling me they had no room. So professional engineers are tasked by the law with having to sign off that CCDD is clean, but we have no way of finding out what this means.

  • People attending said there was really no guidance offered at these sessions anyway. No handouts, 10 minutes of upfront introduction and basic information about the law, then 50 minutes of angry, upset people yelling, complaining, and arguing with the IEPA representatives about the complete lunacy of this law.
  • They said about four IEPA representatives ran the meeting with two trying to talk to everyone and two on laptops typing furiously as people expressed their frustration. Some felt that the group probably studied questions and statements from earlier groups to help answer the same questions that came up at later sessions.
  • Contractors at the meeting worried that they will bear the ultimate responsibility as they already have on jobs currently under way when this law hit. No owner of a project is going to sign off on these certifications; instead the contractor will have to provide a professional engineer's signature on each load hauled off a jobsite. He will also face the consequences of any dirt being rejected at the dump which means he will then lose that driver for a significant part of the day as he takes the load to a landfill. The bottom line to all this is much higher costs for all projects which will be paid by taxpayers for public projects.
  • Right now, the way the law is written, dirt hauled from home construction would be covered by this. So the cost to build homes goes up since the dirt on the site must either be tested to ensure it is clean, or the contractor will just tack on an amount to deal with any surprises. So all home construction just went up.
  • Many expressed the thought that all this will lead to "fly dumping" or the practice of sneaking out into the night at secluded areas to get rid of loads. Then the government, or taxpayers, pay to send out someone to dispose of this dirt in a landfill.
  • Others said many will just not bother with trying to get the certification – they will just take all dirt to a landfill. This just means we will need more landfills to hold dirt for no good reason. So we need more landfills to open up. And because it costs significantly more to landfill dirt, costs of all projects will go up.
  • IEPA reps could not tell anyone what the parameters were for ensuring dirt is clean or what defined contamination. They said it is up to the professional engineer to make that decision. Wow – that sure puts a lot of burden on our profession. And because we are so conservative, the tests we would take would greatly increase the cost of the project. Because who wants to put their license on the line for a load of dirt? Again this means higher costs for each project to pay for all that testing. And this does not allow for any uniformity which seems to increase the chance for litigation.
  • The IEPA reps also indicated that they felt the law governed moving dirt on a project. Someone asked if they removed dirt at station 1+00 could it be put back in the ground 100 feet away at 2+00 – they said no. That dirt would have to be hauled off the jobsite. What? That means all those years of learning the guiding principle of earthwork – mass balance – goes out the window! Based on what they said, we can no longer balance cuts and fills.
  • The other concern expressed is that at the dump, there will be someone with a device used to determine contamination. But this device only picks up volatile contaminants. If there are other wastes in the dirt such as heavy metals, no one can tell this without extensive testing. So if an engineer signs off on it, not knowing about the metals or other non-volatile contaminants, it is accepted at the dump, and then years later they test this area of the dump and decide it's a problem, is that engineer liable? No one at the session could answer this.
  • Some I have talked to said they were told by the IEPA to just sign it based on what they knew to the best of their knowledge about the excavation and tried to assure them it wasn't a big deal. But we rely on our professional engineer's license as the foundation of our career. Few of us want to jeopardize our whole career for one load of dirt. We are not trained to be so flippant and uncertain about what we sign off on.
  • The problem cities have is that we often need to dispose of dirt from water main breaks or small projects. Because this dirt from many sites can sometimes be stockpiled at a public works site, one person asked what address should be noted on the document to indicate the location from which the dirt was excavated. They said to use the address of the public works facility. But then if one of those piles was found to be contaminated, the whole pile would be contaminated and the public works site would be flagged as contaminated. The original site from where the dirt was dug would go uncited. But no further guidance was offered on how to handle this.
  • The other problem indicated is that a certified load could easily be switched out for a "hot" load. How is the engineer going to be assured that the load for which he signed is the actual load dumped with his certification? So if loads are switched out, the wrong person can end up paying to dispose of the problem material. Again, no help in how to address this concern.

There are many more problems like this – the list could go on and on. And it would be interesting to see the transcription from those sessions. Everyone seemed to agree that the IEPA was "the horse they tied this cart to." They didn't seem prepared for the onslaught of questions and complaints. And although they tried to reassure everyone the law had input from all agencies such as IDOT, the IDOT representatives at these sessions said the law was news to them, and no one from IDOT was going to sign off on these certifications. Based on what I heard, I wonder if anyone from the IEPA had any input into it. Instead attendees came away with the impression it was a law passed swiftly by our legislators and pushed by the governor to make some special interest group happy.

As engineers, we are concerned about the environment and understand the need to take steps to protect it, but we also don't believe in making decisions without considering all aspects of that step. In this case, it appears no thought was given to how this would be implemented, how it would impact the industry, what level of protection is really needed, what impact this will actually have on the environment, and how much it will cost taxpayers. All projects – public and private – will experience a significant increase in cost to accommodate this law, particularly because of its uncertainty.

Here are the legislators who sponsored this law:

Senate Sponsors Sen. Don Harmon – John J. Millner – Dan Cronin and Martin A. Sandoval

House Sponsors Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie – Jim Sacia – Patrick J. Verschoore – Thomas Holbrook – Mike Fortner, Angelo Saviano, Brandon W. Phelps, Marlow H. Colvin, Edward J. Acevedo and Luis Arroyo)

Below is a listing of all the legislators who voted on this law – at least for me, I can say my representatives were the few reasonable ones who voted NO. 

Illinois Senate vote on Public Act 96-1416, CCDD


Illinois House vote on Public Act 96-1416, CCDD