Contained-in policy for contaminated soil and groundwater

Cleaning up or redeveloping a contaminated site can be costly. By using our contained-in policy, you may be able to reduce disposal costs by testing contaminated soil and groundwater to show that it is below toxicity thresholds, and therefore manage it as solid (nonhazardous) waste.

Follow the testing and submission guidelines on this page. We will work with you to make a determination.

Wait for approval before shipping

It is imperative you DO NOT ship any hazardous waste to a solid waste landfill until you have received an approved determination from us under this policy. Doing so could result in a penalty.

Contained-in policy background

Our contained-in policy stems from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) contained-in policy. Before this policy was established, any amount of soil or groundwater contaminated with a listed hazardous waste, even at very low concentrations, had to be managed as dangerous waste. This policy outlines how sites can apply for approval to manage these volumes as nonhazardous waste provided they meet certain criteria.  

How to submit a request for approval

It is ideal to submit your request before excavating soil, but this is not required. If you submit your request after excavation, additional sampling may be needed.

Email the following information outlined under each section below to the regional contact for your county:

After you submit your request

Your regional contact will respond to your request typically within one to three weeks.

Depending on the completeness of your request and site-specific project, we may need additional sampling or clarifying data. This could extend the time it takes for us to provide you with a final determination.

DO NOT ship any contaminated soil or groundwater until you have received a final determination approval from us. Doing so could result in a penalty.

Frequently asked questions