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Voluntary Cleanup Program

The Requirements

This page identifies the requirements governing the cleanup of hazardous waste sites and provides guidance on how to meet those requirements.  Upon completion of your Site or Property cleanup, Ecology may issue a “No Further Action” opinion if your cleanup meets those requirements.

Laws and Rules

The cleanup of hazardous waste sites is governed by the state’s cleanup law:

The cleanup requirements are set forth in the rules adopted under that law:

Cleanup Requirements

The cleanup requirements set forth in the above rules can be split into two categories: substantive and administrative. 

  • The substantive requirements govern the sufficiency of a cleanup.  They directly affect the cleanup and the condition of the environment upon completion of the cleanup.

  • The administrative requirements govern the cleanup process.  They generally govern, for example, documenting and reporting planned or completed remedial actions.  

The substantive requirements are the same for Ecology-supervised and independent cleanups.  However, the administrative requirements are different.

Upon completion of your cleanup, Ecology can determine whether your cleanup meets the substantive requirements.  If your cleanup meets those requirements, then Ecology can issue you a “No Further Action” opinion.

Guidance on Cleanup

To help you determine whether your cleanup meets the substantive requirements of MTCA, Ecology has developed the following guidance:

For additional guidance on how to meet the substantive requirements, please refer to the following TCP web pages:

Checklists and Templates for Plans and Reports NEW!

Starting June 1, 2016, independent remedial action plans and reports submitted for Ecology review under the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) need to include the information specified in the following checklists, as applicable: 

Ecology Response

Ecology will not accept a plan or report for review until it is complete.  If a plan or report is incomplete, Ecology will notify you in writing within 90 days and identify deficiencies using the applicable checklists.

If you submitted an incomplete plan or report before June 1, 2016, Ecology will review and provide you an opinion.  However, you may receive a further action opinion that closely follows and even includes the checklist.

Format and Templates

Your plan or report does not need to be the same in title or format as the documents required under MTCA.  However, your plan or report must still contain sufficient information to serve the same purposes as those documents.  The scope and level of detail required depends on site-specific conditions and the complexity of the cleanup.  See WAC 173-340-515(3) and (4).

If your Remedial Investigation report depends on information or data contained in previous reports, your report should:

  • Include a general summary of the site with relevant background information.
  • Include or specifically reference information from the previous reports.
  • Include both historic and new data for review in figures and tables.  

For Remedial Investigation reports, you may use the template Ecology has developed.  The template mirrors the corresponding checklist and provides more information, with suggestions and links to existing guidance materials.  We encourage you to use the template, but it is not required.  

Suggestions

Do you like the checklists and template?  Do you think they could be improved?  We want your feedback!  Email valerie.bound@ecy.wa.gov with any comments.

Reporting Requirements

Please comply with the following reporting requirements when requesting written opinions on planned or completed remedial actions: 

  1. Cover Letter.  Include a cover letter describing the plan or report and specifying the desired Ecology action or response.  See WAC 173-340-840(1).

  2. Number of Copies.  Provide an electronic copy and one hard copy of the plan or report.  Ecology may require additional hard copies.  See WAC 173-340-840(2).

  3. Certification.  Documents submitted containing geologic, hydrologic, or engineering work must be under the seal of an appropriately licensed professional.  See Chapter 18.220 RCW and Chapter 18.43 RCW.  For additional guidance, refer to the following:
    1. Geologists:
    2. Engineers:

  4. Data Submittal.  Environmental sampling data must be submitted in both a printed form and an electronic form capable of being transferred into Ecology’s data management systems. For instructions on how to submit the data, please refer to the following web site: http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/tcp/data_submittal/Data_Requirements.htm.

Failure to comply with these and other reporting requirements may result in unnecessary delays.  Please note that Ecology will not issue a No Further Action (NFA) opinion unless these requirements are satisfied.   

For a complete list of these and other reporting requirements, see WAC 173-340-840.

Environmental Covenants

If your cleanup is not permanent, then institutional controls are required to meet the substantive requirements of MTCA.  Such controls prohibit or limit activities on a property that may interfere with the integrity of engineered controls or result in exposure to hazardous substances.  Except under certain specified circumstances, such controls must be executed through an environmental covenant on the affected property. 

For guidance on when institutional controls are required, and when such controls must be executed through an environmental covenant, see WAC 173-340-440.

If an environmental covenant is required as part of your cleanup, see Procedure 440A for detailed procedures on how to establish the covenant and an Ecology-approved boilerplate for use in drafting the covenant.  Ecology may either draft the covenant or request that you draft the covenant using the boilerplate.

For additional direction on how to execute, amend, or terminate a covenant, see Chapter 64.70, Uniform Environmental Covenants Act (UECA).


This page last updated September, 2016