Demolition debris law – “unfunded mandate”

This story idea came from an obscure item on a Carpentersville board meeting agenda.

Laws construction costs leave municipalities reeling
By Tara García Mathewson

demolition debris

A new mandate calling for municipalities to test construction debris has local engineers reeling about higher costs and undefined standards. The city of Geneva has a huge dirt pile officials are waiting to get rid of until they know what is considered “contaminated.”

A Senate bill that called for more extensive testing of construction debris from municipal and private projects breezed through the General Assembly, but it is now suffering whiplash as municipalities across the state voice opposition to added costs and a lack of defined standards.

The bill, which originally set goals for recycling of TVs and computer equipment, was amended to require additional testing for each construction project to ensure that volatile organic compounds don’t make it into fill sites that lack liners. Clean construction and demolition debris requirements were passed in 2005, but the new amendments are much stricter and apply to soil instead of just other debris like concrete and asphalt.

Now municipal engineers and public works departments are dealing with unexpected costs and unknown standards that will affect almost every construction project they start.

Tim Schmitz, a state representative from Batavia and one of the few to vote against the bill, said it was all the moving parts that turned him off — undefined terms and unspecified fees and the burden it would place on locals.

In Carpentersville, it’s an extra $9,000 for the design phase of a street project. Officials aren’t sure how much it will add to construction costs because everyone is still trying to figure out what the law means.

“The construction cost implications could potentially be much greater,” said Scott Marquardt, Carpentersville’s village engineer.

Read the full story here.

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