image:filtered light in the forest

Toxics Cleanup Program

 

2013 MTCA Legislation

Overview

In 1988, Washington voters approved creation of the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), Chapter 70.105D RCW, which governs the cleanup of contaminated sites in the state. Voters also approved a tax on toxic chemicals, such as petroleum products and pesticides, to help pay for cleanups and state and local programs to prevent releases of these chemicals and protect people and the environment from exposures to these chemicals.

In 2013, the Washington Legislature made significant changes to MTCA. The Washington Department of Ecology (Ecology) is working to better understand the changes and to implement them to the extent feasible with existing resources.

  • Brownfield Cleanup
    The legislation makes several changes to facilitate the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield properties. Ecology is directed to consider land reuse potential of contaminated sites when allocating staff and financial assistance. Ecology is authorized to make several changes to the remedial action grant program. And local governments are authorized to establish redevelopment opportunity zones where additional tools and resources are made available.

  • Model Remedies
    The legislation authorizes Ecology to establish standardized cleanup methods for lower risk sites, called “model remedies.” At sites where they are used, feasibility studies of cleanup alternatives are not required. This helps speed up cleanup. Ecology must identify under what conditions model remedies may be used at a site. Model remedies and their use at specific sites are subject to public review and comment. Ecology may waive its costs of reviewing independent cleanups using model remedies.

  • Toxics Accounts
    The legislation makes several changes to the fiscal provisions in MTCA that change both the distribution of tax revenue among the different MTCA accounts and the use of the money in the accounts.

  • Stormwater Funding
    The legislation creates a more stable and effective stormwater funding program for local governments. In addition to funding cleanup-related source control projects, the legislation also establishes a competitive grant program to address impacts from existing development.  Ecology’s Water Quality Program is working with stakeholders to develop the program. For more information about water quality grants and loans, see www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/funding/funding.html.

  • Accountability
    The legislation expands Ecology’s reporting requirements to improve transparency and accountability in the use of public funds and the achievement of MTCA’s purposes.

The Legislation

The following bills amending MTCA were passed by the Legislature in 2013:

  • SB 5296 (Concerning the Model Toxics Control Act)
    This bill makes several changes to facilitate the cleanup and redevelopment of brownfield properties, authorizes Ecology to establish model remedies for lower-risk sites, creates the environmental legacy stewardship account, changes the distribution of tax revenue among the MTCA accounts and the uses of those accounts, establishes a competitive grant program to address stormwater impacts from existing development, and expands Ecology’s reporting requirements.
     
    View session law
    View bill information

  • HB 2079 (Concerning the Environmental Legacy Stewardship Account)
    This bill changes the use of money in the environmental legacy stewardship account, which was created under SB 5296.

    View session law
    View bill information

  • SB 5034 (Provisions in Operating Budget)
    This bill includes several provisions that change the use of money in the MTCA accounts.
     
    View excerpts
    View session law
    View bill information

  • SB 5035 (Provisions in Capital Budget)
    This bill includes several provisions that change the use of money in the MTCA accounts.
     
    View excerpts
    View session law
    View bill information

Implementation

Remedial Action Grant Rule Making

On August 29, 2014, Ecology repealed Chapter 173-322 WAC and adopted new Chapter 173-322A WAC, Remedial Action Grants and Loans. The new chapter modifies and replaces the repealed chapter. The rules govern the issuance of remedial action grants and loans to local governments for investigating and cleaning up hazardous waste sites. Ecology adopted the new chapter to implement legislative and other changes to improve the program. The new chapter becomes effective on September 29, 2014.   Learn more.


Graphic: "Spotlight"

Legislative Implementation Plan 

Remedial Action Grants Rule Adopted (08-29-14)

House Environment Committee Work Session (10-23-13) 

Presentation on MTCA Changes (10-23-13)

Focus on MTCA Changes

State sending millions to cities, counties to fight stormwater




Graphic: "Contact"

Richelle Perez
Toxics Cleanup Program
360-407-7235
richelle.perez@ecy.wa.gov

Michael Feldcamp
Senior Legal and Policy Analyst
Toxics Cleanup Program
360-407-7531
michael.feldcamp@ecy.wa.gov