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image:trees in mist

Voluntary Cleanup Program

Other Administrative Options



Overview

Under the state cleanup law (known as the Model Toxics Control Act or MTCA), you basically have four options for cleaning up a hazardous waste site:



  1. Independent cleanup without consultation

    Under this option, you perform the cleanup independently without any Ecology involvement, either formal supervision or informal consultations.

  2. Independent cleanup with consultation (VCP). <-- THIS OPTION

    Under this option, you perform the cleanup independently and request technical assistance and opinions from Ecology on the sufficiency of your cleanup.  This option is known as the Voluntary Cleanup Program or VCP.

  3. Ecology-supervised cleanup without settlement.

    Under this option, your cleanup is supervised by Ecology under an agreed order.  That means schedules are negotiated with Ecology and plans are subject to public review and Ecology approval.

  4. Ecology-supervised cleanup with settlement.

    Under this option, your cleanup is supervised by Ecology under a consent decree.  That means, as under the previous option, schedules are negotiated with Ecology and plans are subject to public review and Ecology approval.  Unlike the previous option, though, the decree settles your liability to the state and provides protection from third-party contribution claims.

The following table highlights what each option provides and how the options differ:

    Opinion on
Cleanup
from Ecology
Supervision of
Cleanup
by Ecology
Public
Involvement
Settlement of
Liability
with State
Contribution
Protection
from State
1. Independent
without Consultation
No No No No No
2. Independent
with Consultation
Yes No No No No
3. Ecology-supervised
without settlement
Yes Yes Yes No No
4. Ecology-supervised
with settlement
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Each of these options is discussed separately below and in greater detail in WAC 173-340-515 through 173-340-530.

Independent Cleanup

  • Eligibility

  • You may conduct remedial action independently at a hazardous waste site without Ecology approval if Ecology is not:

  • Supervising remedial action at the site under an order or decree; or
  • Negotiating an order or decree that will govern remedial action at the site.

If Ecology has already commenced negotiations for an order or decree at the hazardous waste site, you may not conduct remedial action independently unless:

  • You provide reasonable notice to Ecology.
  • Ecology does not object to such action.
  • Such action does not foreclose or preempt remedial action under negotiation, or required as part of an order or decree.
  • Such action does not foreclose or preempt the selection of a cleanup action.

See WAC 173-340-515(2).

  • Without Consultation

  • Under this option, you perform the cleanup independently without any Ecology involvement, either formal supervision or informal consultations.   However, you cannot get an opinion from Ecology on the sufficiency of your cleanup or settle with the state your liability for that cleanup.

In summary, under this option:
  • Ecology supervises cleanup.
  • Ecology makes cleanup decisions.
  • Public is involved in cleanup decisions.
  • Ecology determines sufficiency of cleanup.
  • State provides settlement of liability for cleanup.
  • State provides protection from third party contribution claims.

Note:   Icon: "check" = YES, and Icon: " X"= NO.

See WAC 173-340-515(1) through (4)

  • Consultation – Voluntary Cleanup Program

  • Under this option, you perform the cleanup independently and request technical assistance and opinions from Ecology on the sufficiency of your cleanup.  Ecology provides these services for a fee.  However, you cannot settle your liability with the state or obtain protection from third party contribution claims.


    In summary, under this option:

    • Ecology supervises cleanup.
    • Ecology makes cleanup decisions.
    • Public is involved in cleanup decisions.
    • Ecology determines sufficiency of cleanup (opinion letter).
    • State provides settlement of liability for cleanup.
    • State provides protection from third party contribution claims.

    Note:   Icon: "check" = YES, and Icon: " X"= NO.

    See RCW 70.105D.030(1)(i); WAC 173-340-515(5) and (6)

Ecology-supervised Cleanup

  • Without Settlement – Agreed Order

  • Under this option, your cleanup is supervised by Ecology under an agreed order.  That means schedules are negotiated with Ecology and plans are subject to public review and Ecology approval.  However, unlike a consent decree, the agreed order does not settle your liability with the state or provide protection from third party contribution claims.

    In summary, under this option:

    • Ecology supervises cleanup.
    • Ecology makes cleanup decisions.
    • Public is involved in cleanup decisions.
    • Ecology determines sufficiency of cleanup.
    • State provides settlement of liability for cleanup.
    • State provides protection from third party contribution claims.

    Note:   Icon: "check" = YES, and Icon: " X"= NO.

    See WAC 173-340-530.

  • Settlement – Consent Decree

    Under this option, your cleanup is supervised by Ecology under a consent decree.  That means that schedules are negotiated with Ecology and plans are subject to public review and Ecology approval.  However, unlike an agreed order, the consent decree settles your liability to the state and provides protection from third-party contribution claims.

    In summary, under this option:

    • Ecology supervises cleanup.
    • Ecology makes cleanup decisions.
    • Public is involved in cleanup decisions.
    • Ecology determines sufficiency of cleanup.
    • State provides settlement of liability for cleanup.
    • State provides protection from third party contribution claims.

    Note:   Icon: "check" = YES, and Icon: " X"= NO.

    See RCW 70.105D.040(4) and (5); WAC 173-340-520.

    Note: Consent decrees are also used to settle the potential liability of prospective purchasers prior to their purchase of contaminated property.