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Model remedies under the Model Toxics Control Act

Model remedies are standard ways to clean up contaminated sites. We’ve developed 23 of them to streamline and speed up the selection of cleanup actions. Each of these methods protects people’s health and the environment. Each one prefers a permanent cleanup solution as much as possible. All of them were developed under our state’s environmental cleanup law, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA).

So far, we’ve developed arsenic and lead model remedies for soil contaminated by the Tacoma Smelter plume. We’ve also developed petroleum model remedies for soil and groundwater. Since our petroleum model remedies are new, we’re still evaluating how well they're working.

If you have a low-risk site that meets specific criteria, you might be able to use one of these model remedies for your cleanup.

What is a model remedy?

Model remedies are standardized methods for cleaning up routine contamination at sites that pose lower risks to people and the environment.

Our state's cleanup law, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA), defines model remedies as: “a set of technologies, procedures, and monitoring protocols identified by Ecology for use in routine types of cleanup projects at facilities that have common features and lower risk to human health and the environment.”

Why are we developing model remedies?

In 2013, the Washington Legislature made significant changes to MTCA. One of the changes gave us new directions about these standardized cleanup methods. As now required by MTCA, our Toxics Cleanup Program (TCP) has developed model remedies for common cleanup situations.

How did we develop them?

We held several public meetings in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The public provided comments and feedback on the development process. We incorporated some of those comments into our final guidance documents and prepared a response to all the public comments.

What are the goals for model remedies?

  • To simplify the selection of cleanup actions that protect human health and the environment.
  • To use cleanup solutions that are permanent, to the maximum extent practical.
  • To evaluate in 2017 whether it would be beneficial to develop more model remedies.

How do you know if a model remedy can be used for your site?

Model remedies are most appropriate for routine cleanup projects at lower risk sites, and usually more applicable to independent cleanups like those in the Voluntary Cleanup Program. Before you consider a model remedy, you'll need to make sure these steps in the MTCA cleanup process have been completed:

  1. A release to the environment has been confirmed.
  2. Ecology has been notified of the release.
  3. Emergency/interim actions have been implemented (if appropriate).
  4. An adequate site characterization has been completed.

Review our two petroleum model remedies guidance documents (see links below), then contact your region's cleanup project manager or Model Remedies Coordinator Mark Gordon. They can help you confirm if a model remedy is appropriate for your site.

What have we done so far?

  1. How MTCA and model remedies facilitate contamination cleanups in Washington.
  2. Which model remedies were used before 2013 and the new ones we’ve developed since then.
  3. How we engaged the public in the development process.
  4. Opportunities for using model remedies in the future.
  5. Our next steps.

How can I get involved or learn more?

Contact Mark Gordon, Ecology’s Model Remedies Coordinator, to sign up for our distribution list and include "Email Distribution List” in the subject line.  We'll use this list to occasionally send you updates on vapor intrusion and empirical demonstrations, too.