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Site-Specific Anthropogenic Background Cleanup Goal for PAHs
Author: Guy Graening, Linda Henry and Walt Sadler
Date: 1/211
Preprint, Battelle’s Seventh International Conference on Remediation of Chlorinated and Recalcitrant Compounds, Monterey, CA, May 24-27, 2010

A site-specific, anthropogenic background cleanup goal for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in soil was developed for a landfill removal in Folsom, California. The site-specific cleanup goal of 0.15 mg/kg of benzo(a)pyrene equivalents was 10 times higher than the U.S. EPA Regional Screening Levels (RSLs) used as a default by the regulatory agency. Based on the RSLs for PAHs, large quantities of soil excavated from the landfill were classified as requiring off-site disposal at considerable cost. The revised cleanup goal allowed most of the soil to be backfilled on site saving about $227,000 in transportation and disposal costs. Cal/EPA guidance for using on-site data to develop a background threshold for metals was applied to the development of the PAH cleanup goal. The Cal/EPA approach involves demonstrating whether the data belong to a single population or multiple populations based on tests of the distribution of the data and probability plots. This paper explains the statistical and graphical approaches that were used to demonstrate that the Cal/EPA approach was valid for PAHs and the cleanup levels were consistent with published anthropogenic background levels of PAHs in California and across the United States.

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