This page provides answers to frequently asked questions about the wait list for new and existing VCP sites.
What wait lists has Ecology established?
Ecology has established two different wait lists:
Only VCP projects currently without an Ecology site manager are included on the wait lists. Once a VCP project is assigned an Ecology site manager, it is removed from the wait list.
Most VCP projects currently have an Ecology site manager, and therefore are not included on the wait lists. Currently, Ecology’s Central and Eastern regions don’t have any VCP projects on either wait list.
How will Ecology prioritize sites on the wait list?
Our first priority is existing VCP projects without an Ecology site manager. These projects will be assigned a new Ecology site manager and sorted by the date an opinion was requested. Submitting the request for opinion form determines your place in line.
Our next priority is new VCP projects without an Ecology site manager. These projects will be sorted by the date Ecology accepted the VCP application.
How can I view and download the current wait lists?
To view and download the current wait lists:
Why is Ecology setting up a wait list now?
Ecology has set up a wait list in response to increased demand and reduced budget and staff. Ecology had a record number of requests for VCP opinions last year. In 2015, there were 493 requests statewide. Contrast this with the 380 requests we saw just five years ago, in 2011. The clear trend is an increasing need for these services. We have also seen a record number of new sites (401 in 2015). Over 200 of these ended up in the VCP. Compounding the challenge, we are also down a number of staff and have limited ability to rehire. Because of the revenue constraints, we are holding vacancies at twice the normal rate. Essentially, the workload has increased and continues to trend upward while our staff resources are doing the opposite. Ecology sees the wait list as a temporary mechanism as we figure out a viable path forward.
How long should I expect my site to stay on the wait list?
Ecology endeavors to respond to requests for written opinions within three months. Given the challenges described above, it’s likely that timeframe may double to six months, especially in our busiest region (Northwest). Please sign up for our LISTSERV to receive program updates.
Given how long it may be until you are able to get to new projects, should I enter the VCP now to reserve my place in line?
No. Please wait until you need something specific from us before submitting a VCP application. Ecology will not accept applications if written opinions or technical assistance are not requested at the time of application.
If my site is on the wait list and I conduct additional remedial actions before Ecology conducts its review, will Ecology review those actions as well?
Yes, if that is what you want. Ecology understands environmental investigation and cleanup work will continue to move forward. When you are assigned a site manager, they will contact you to determine whether any additional remedial actions have occurred and whether you still want an advisory opinion.
Will Ecology prioritize reviews of completed remedial actions (such as completed cleanups) over reviews of work plans?
Not at this time. Right now, it’s easiest and fairest to simply sort by date. Note that we expect the wait list to be a temporary measure.
Some regions have no wait list. Why can’t they work on my site?
Ecology takes workload demands into consideration when assigning regional staff. Having local staff to conduct site visits is important. They are also well-versed in issues affecting their region. The increased demand for VCP services is happening primarily on the west side of Washington, and those are the regions under stress. Eastern regions are working at capacity. Flux in workload is typically offset by using headquarters staff (three positions at this time). However, even that measure is not enough to handle the incoming workload.
What should I do if I need a no further action opinion to get my loan or permit approval?
Please let Ecology know if you have urgent time constraints. We will do our best to keep the wait list moving forward.
Will Ecology still respond to my application within 10 days of receipt?
Ecology will communicate to the applicant (via email or mailed letter) about the status of their application. We will strive to respond within 10 days, but it may take longer due to VCP demand and limited staff resources.
This page updated January 9, 2017
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