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New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services

Institutional Controls

Institutional controls are actions, such as administrative and legal controls, that help minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination by ensuring appropriate land or resource use. Although it is NHDES’s expectation that treatment or engineering controls will be used to address principle sources of contamination and that groundwater will be returned to its beneficial use whenever practicable, institutional controlss can and do play an important role in remedies.

Institutional controlss are often an important part of the overall cleanup strategy for a site. Institutional controlss are used when contamination is first discovered, when remedies are ongoing and when residual contamination remains onsite at a level that does not allow for unrestricted use and unlimited exposure after cleanup.

There are two types of institutional controlss one can use for a contaminated site in New Hampshire, a groundwater mangament pemit (GMP) and an activity and use restriction (AUR). When some sites are cleaned up and no sources of contamination are left in place, the groundwater at the site may still be contaminated above standards. In this case, a GMP would be required. This GMP would serve as a institutional controls and be approved by the NHDES and then a notice of GMP is recorded in the chain of title for the property at the local registry of deeds.

Activity and use restrictions are used to manage sites activities and uses to achieve or maintain protection of the public health and the environment. AURs are normally used when waste is left onsite and when there is a limit to the activities that can safely take place at the site, i.e., the site cannot support unlimited use and unrestricted direct contact exposure. In some cases, contaminated soil that constitutes a direct contact hazard to the public could remain on site if properly secured and maintained by the use of an AUR. AURs typically contain requirements for inspection and maintenance of any protective structures, such as engineered caps or pavement.

For more information on how to apply for either one of these institutional controls, the groundwater management permits or activity and use restrictions, please refer to Env-Or 600 Contaminated Site Management.

NH Department of Environmental Services | 29 Hazen Drive | PO Box 95 | Concord, NH 03302-0095
(603) 271-3503 | TDD Access: Relay NH 1-800-735-2964 | Hours: M-F, 8am-4pm

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