MTCA Amendments Open Door for Model Cleanup Remedies

Amendments to the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) last year require the Washington Department of Ecology(DOE) to create model remedies for routine cleanups, such as often occur at gasoline station and former dry cleaner sites. The MTCA amendments are in Substitute Senate Bill (SSB) 5296 require DOE to create the model remedies through regulation, without setting a time table or deadline.

Model remedies could save parties doing such cleanup a substantial amount of time and money by eliminating the4 need to do alternatives analysis and a feasibility study. Given DOE’s constrained resources and higher priorities, it will likely take years for DOE to promulgate model remedy regulations on its own initiative. However, qualified consultants or others may propose any model remedy and, after internal DOE review and public comment, DOE may adopt it as its own. This could greatly speed up the issuance of model remedy regulations.

Model remedies under the MTCA are long overdue: the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a long history of success with its “presumptive” remedies for a variety of cleanups, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in soil and municipal landfills. Based on EPA’s experience, cost savings using presumptive or model remedies can be as high as 60 percent. Whether you are doing a cleanup under a formal agreed order or the Voluntary Cleanup Program, have your consultant consider proposing a model remedy to DOE.

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