127.22 Off-Site Borrow, Spoil, and Staging Areas

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Additional Information
Guidelines for Obtaining Environmental Clearance for Project Specific Locations

Most MoDOT projects now use contractor-furnished borrow material, which is designated on the plans, quantified, and paid for as embankment in place. Also, contractors may choose spoil deposit sites or staging areas that are outside the project footprint and therefore have not been previously addressed by National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requirements for the project and other environmental approvals. Borrow, embankment in place and excess material quantities are clearly indicated in the grading quantities on the plans. Where the plans provide more than one borrow or excess area, the plans should clearly indicate which areas are used in specific balances and specify the approximate quantities involved. Costs of borrow easements obtained on right of way projects are not accountable as a right of way item. Such costs are charged to the construction of the project. MoDOT guidance on how to address these sites can be obtained from the resident engineer or the MoDOT environmental unit.

The contractor is required to clear land disturbance areas (e.g., borrow, spoil, staging, etc.) for environmental concerns, unless the necessary clearances have already been obtained and the contractor provides documentation to the Resident Engineer (RE). The requirements of Section 4 (f) of the Department of Transportation Act and Section 106 of the National Historic Presentation Act will apply to all areas of land disturbance. For borrow sites, if the appropriate quantity of material for a project is available from several sources, the contractor is required to designate the specific source from which the materials are to be obtained. Large areas of Missouri have undergone mining for lead, zinc and other heavy metals and the resulting waste and residue from mining activities have contaminated rights of way and land. Spoil in these areas must remain on MoDOT right of way unless laboratory testing for heavy metals confirms it is not regulated. Borrow must meet the requirements of Sec 1001.12. The contractor must provide written certification to the RE that the proposed site of land disturbance has been cleared for environmental concerns under all applicable federal and state laws and regulations. These include, but are not limited to, the following laws and regulations (with the regulatory agency in parentheses): Clean Water Act (COE and DNR); the Endangered Species Act (USFW and MDC); the National Historic Preservation Act (SHPO); the Farmland Protection Act (NRCS); Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (DNR); Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (DNR); and RSMo Chapter 194, Section 194.400, Unmarked Human Burial Sites (SHPO). Certification shall include, attachments, clearance letters and other evidence of coordination with the appropriate regulatory agencies.

The plans may indicate suggested spoil disposal sites for excess material but do not specify mandatory disposal sites unless such mandatory sites are justified economically with respect to a particular federal-aid project or a combination of federal-aid projects. Disposing of spoil or establishing a staging area are considered land disturbance activities and require the same environmental consideration as described above for borrow material. The FHWA may concur in and may approve the designation of a mandatory site based solely on environmental considerations, provided the environment would thereby be substantially enhanced without excessive cost. Specifying a mandatory disposal site is rare, and in most instances, the contractor is given the option on the disposal site. This does not prohibit the specifying of disposal sites on state-financed projects.

Neither borrow or spoil activities are allowed to impact (either directly or indirectly) MoDOT wetland mitigation sites. These sites may be located on, adjacent, or significantly beyond MoDOT right of way. To verify that activities will not impact a wetland mitigation site, contact MoDOT’s environmental unit.