SFDPH Maher Ordinance: Soil Testing in San Francisco

The Maher Ordinance refers to oversight for the characterization and mitigation of hazardous substances found in soil, soil vapor, and groundwater in areas designated on the Maher Map. Our firm is experienced in all aspects of Maher Ordinance planning and compliance for developers, design firms & contractors.

What is the Maher Ordinance

Historically low-lying areas or properties too wet to build on in San Francisco were, at the time, being leveled with foreign fill to allow for their development. The contents and origin of the fill material used as part of the initial development of these areas have been found to contain an array of contaminates.

Originally created in 1986, the Maher Ordinance (also referred to as San Francisco Health Code Article 22A) was primarily established to address the potential presence of contaminated soil and groundwater from the historic use of foreign fill material. It primarily relies on if a property is based in the Maher Zone.

The Maher Ordinance requires a subsurface investigation and soil analysis for a specified list of inorganic and organic chemicals at construction sites where at least 50 cubic yards of soil are disturbed; construction on the bay side of the historic high-tide line; there is reason to believe that hazardous waste may be present.

Speak with one of our Maher Experts today to discuss your needs and how we can quickly and efficiently meet them.

Call us at +1-800-595-7616 or use our quick and easy to fill out contact form.  We are here to serve you!

Is My Project In The Maher Zone?

The Maher Zone has been largely mapped out and is located primarily on properties along the bay and Interstate 280. It includes:

  • areas with current or historical industrial use or zoning
  • areas within 100 feet of current or historical underground tanks
  • filled former bay, marsh, or creek areas
  • areas within 150 feet of a current or former elevated highway

Depending on the circumstances, the Maher Ordinance requires a subsurface investigation and soil analysis for a specified list of inorganic and organic chemicals at construction sites. These include:

  • sites where at least 50 cubic yards of soil are disturbed
  • sites where construction falls on the bayside of the historic high-tide line
  • sites where there is reason to believe that hazardous waste may be present

Yet, location isn’t everything. A historic environmental investigation of a property is necessary to determine if a development project is affected by the Maher Ordinance. A Phase 1 Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) identifies any known sources of contamination or recognized environmental conditions.

If found to have a clean environmental history, the San Francisco Department of Public Health may deem a site compliant and require no further investigation.

Maher Compliance

Maher Ordinance

The Maher Ordinance is a San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) stipulation that covers areas with a current or historical industrial use or zoning; areas within 100 feet of current or historical underground tanks; and filled former bay, marsh or creek areas. In addition, areas within 150 feet of a current or former elevated highway.

The Maher Ordinance requires a subsurface investigation and soil analysis for a specified list of inorganic and organic chemicals at construction sites where at least 50 cubic yards of soil are disturbed; construction on the bay side of the historic high-tide line; there is reason to believe that hazardous waste may be present. Speak with one of our friendly client representatives today to discuss your needs and how we can quickly and efficiently meet them. Call us at +1-800-595-7616 or use our quick and easy to fill out contact form.
We are here to serve you!

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Maher Compliance

Site Mitigation

Depending on the nature of the future development of a property, further investigation may be required. If your project requires the removal of 50 cubic yards of soil from the site, the San Francisco Department of Public Health must oversee the characterization and mitigation of hazardous substances.

To determine the extent of contamination on a project site due to the presence of foreign fill or historic industrial activity, a subsurface investigation for a specified list of organic and inorganic chemicals is necessary. 

Laboratory analysis of soil and groundwater from a project site provides data to characterize material for either off-site disposal or use onsite. In scenarios where the soil analysis reveals hazardous chemicals, a site mitigation plan is required to limit the health risks of workers and future tenants of the property.