Interstate Comparison of Soil Remediation Standards among Six Mid-Atlantic States, USA


To address and help mitigate potential public health and ecological impacts associated with contaminated soil, most state environmental agencies have promulgated cleanup standards or action level criteria that are based broadly on US Environmental Protection Agency risk assessment methodologies. These standards or criteria often are assembled into easy-to-use look-up tables that allow responsible parties (RPs) to determine quickly the extent of remediation that could be required simply by comparing site investigation data to the listed cleanup goal or standard. This paper compares and contrasts soil remediation standards and criteria for 20 common soil pollutants taken from state environmental agency look-up tables for five Middle Atlantic States: New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. We examine the differences between numeric remedial goals for these pollutants and propose a relative rank for each state based on the overall degree of soil cleanup standard or criterion stringency. In order to identify and rank the stringency of the residential cleanup goals or standards published by the six Mid-Atlantic States, a three-step process was used that included compiling in one data set, the numerical (mg/kg), residential or unrestricted use look-up values published by state for each of the 20 contaminants; organizing and grouping those values in numerical sequence into one of three categories ranging from lowest (Most Restrictive) to highest (Least Restrictive); and then ranking each state by the number of first place finishes in each stringency category: Most Restrictive, Moderately Restrictive, and Least Restrictive. The socioeconomic consequences of these ranks were examined relative to their effects on gross state product, unemployment, and health.

Share and Cite:

Blauvelt, R. and Sweet, M. (2014) Interstate Comparison of Soil Remediation Standards among Six Mid-Atlantic States, USA. Journal of Environmental Protection, 5, 811-818. doi: 10.4236/jep.2014.510083.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Muller, J. (2011) Environmental Industry Outlook for 2011. Environmental Business Journal, 24, 4-12.
[2] Newport, F. (2013) State of the States: Alabama, North Dakota, Wyoming Most Conservative States. Gallup, Inc., Washington DC.
[3] Bergstrom, J.C., Boyle, K.J. and Yabe, M. (2004) Trading Taxes vs. Paying Taxes to Value and Finance Public Environmental Goods. Environmental and Resource Economics, 28, 533-549.
[4] Blomquist, G.C., Newsome, M.A. and Stone, D.B. (2003) Measuring Principals’ Values for Environmental Budget Management: An Exploratory Study. Journal of Environmental Management, 68, 83-93.
[5] Hajkowicz, S. (2009) Cutting the Cake: Supporting Environmental Fund Allocation Decisions. Journal of Environmental Management, 90, 2737-2745.
[6] Jennings, A.A. (2012) Analysis of Worldwide Naphthalene Surface Soil Regulatory Guidance Values. Soil and Sediment Contamination, 21, 451-497.
[7] Kowalsky, E.S. and Jennings, A.A. (2012) Worldwide Regulatory Guidance Values for Chlorinated Benzene Surface Soil Contamination. Journal of Environmental Engineering, 138, 1085-1105.
[8] Tenbrunsel, A.E., Wade-Benzoni, K.A., Messick, D.M. and Bazerman, M.H. (2000) Understanding the Influence of Environmental Standards on Judgments and Choices. Academy of Management Journal, 43, 854-866.
[9] Levinson, A. (2001) An Industry-Adjusted Index of State Environmental Compliance Costs. In: Carraro, C. and Metcalf, G.E., Eds., Behavioral and Distributional Effects of Environmental Policy, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.