Policies and guidance for site cleanups
MTCA Cleanup Regulations updated
We’ve updated the MTCA Cleanup Regulations. The amended rule went into effect Jan. 1, 2024.
If you’re cleaning up contaminated sites in Washington, you'll need to meet the requirements of the state’s cleanup law, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) and the rules adopted under it: MTCA Cleanup Regulations and Sediment Management Standards.
We have policies and guidance that interpret the laws and rules. They'll help you meet MTCA's requirements so you can navigate your cleanup more easily.
Cleaning up contaminated sites?
We’ve developed policies and guidance that interpret Washington’s cleanup law and help you clean up contaminated sites. These interpret the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) and its two adopted rules: the MTCA Cleanup Regulations, also known as the "Cleanup Rule" (for cleanups on land or groundwater) and the Sediment Management Standards, also known as the "SMS Rule" (for cleanups in freshwater or marine environments).
- Policies interpret specific cleanup requirements. Some include templates pre-loaded with standard language. Policies help cleanup managers apply MTCA across many types of cleanups — as different as tanks leaking petroleum into the Columbia River, to dry-cleaners seeping toxic chemicals into the soil.
- Procedures put policies into action. They often identify roles and responsibilities, such as who files an environmental covenant to make sure a remedy keeps working in the future.
- Implementation memoranda and guidance answer frequently asked questions and offer best practices for successful cleanups.
Why do we need policies and guidance to interpret MTCA?
MTCA's requirements can be challenging to navigate — especially when cleanups are complex or involve contaminated sediment along a shoreline. Policies and guidance help you meet the requirements found in:
- Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) – Chapter 70A.305 RCW (MTCA law)
- MTCA Cleanup Regulations (aka the MTCA Cleanup Rule) – Chapter 173-340 WAC (for all cleanups)
- Sediment Management Standards (aka the SMS Rule) – Chapter 173-204-WAC (for sediment cleanups)
Who develops these documents?
Our Toxics Cleanup Program's Policy and Technical Support Unit develops policies and guidance in collaboration with cleanup project managers and technical staff statewide. These scientists, engineers, toxicologists, lawyers, hydrologists, and writers also provide technical assistance to people involved in a cleanup, such as cleanup project managers, property owners, environmental consultants, and local governments.
Legal disclaimer: These documents represent the Toxics Cleanup Program’s interpretation of the Model Toxics Control Act. These documents are not intended, and cannot be relied on, to create rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable by any party in litigation with the State of Washington. Ecology may act at variance with them depending on site-specific circumstances, or modify or withdraw them at any time. Changes to the statute or regulations may affect the statements contained in these documents.