Voluntary Cleanup Program

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Coronavirus (COVID-19) update

April 1, 2020 – At this time we are using our regulatory flexibilty to temporarily accept applications and agreements for the VCP program using electronic signatures. If you need assistance filling out and signing the VCP forms electronically, we have an instruction sheet that show you how to do this using Acrobat Reader or Microsoft Word.

If you have any questions or need further help with your application, please contact Eileen Webb at 360-407-7620 or eileen.webb@ecy.wa.gov.

We want everyone to stay safe and healthy, and appreciate your understanding.

Under the Voluntary Cleanup Program, people who independently clean up a contaminated site may request fee-based services from Ecology, including:

  • Technical assistance on how to meet cleanup requirements
  • Written opinions on whether your cleanup meets those requirements

Should I apply?

Under the state’s cleanup law, you have several options for cleaning up a contaminated site and achieving regulatory closure.

The Voluntary Cleanup Program is designed for simpler sites with routine cleanups. Under the program, you can perform a cleanup independently and request technical assistance and written opinions from Ecology on the sufficiency of your cleanup. Such opinions are often required by lenders when buying or selling contaminated property. However, you cannot settle your cleanup liability under the Voluntary Cleanup Program.

Request a free consultation to decide if the Voluntary Cleanup Program is the best option for you.

Which technical assistance program should I apply for? 

Washington now has three technical assistance programs:

  1. Ecology's Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), 
  2. Pollution Liability Insurance Agency's (PLIA's) Heating Oil Technical Assistance Program (HOTAP); and
  3. PLIA's Petroleum Technical Assistance Program (PTAP).

Use our Agency Determination Checklist to determine which program your site is eligible to use. Please note, if your site is eligible for PLIA's PTAP, we cannot accept it in the VCP.

VCP for local governments

Local governments may qualify to receive funding for independent cleanups from Ecology’s Independent Remedial Action Grant program.

Beginning January 1, 2020, local governments seeking an Independent Remedial Action Grant from us must enter the Voluntary Cleanup Program before ground-disturbing activity is started. We will conduct a cultural resource consultation per Executive Order 05-05, unless the consultation requirements have already been met by a review by another agency.

VCP Application

To apply for the Voluntary Cleanup Program, please read the Application Instructions and submit the following:

  1. Application Form, including any required attachments (such as maps)
  2. Agency Determination Checklist, Ecology Publication No. 17-09-059
  3. Agreement

Our goal is to respond within 10 days of receiving your application. We may request additional information if your application is incomplete. We will inform you of our decision in writing.

Ecology currently has a waiting list in some regions due to reduced budget and staff.

Requesting services

Under the Voluntary Cleanup Program, you may request the following services from us:

  • Technical assistance on how to meet cleanup requirements
  • Written opinions on whether your planned or completed actions meet those requirements

To request a written opinion, please submit the following:

  1. Request for Opinion Form.
  2. Independent remedial action plan or report. A complete submittal of your plan or report contains three parts:
    1. Two complete hardcopies of the plan or report, which includes all lab reports,
    2. An electronic copy (pdf) of the plan or report; and
    3. Data that has been accepted in the EIM database, for all data required by Ecology Policy 840 (all required data collected since July 2005).
  3. Terrestrial Ecological Evaluation Form (required for all VCP sites).

We will only accept complete, independent remedial action plans or reports that comply with reporting requirements.

If your plan or report is complete, our goal is to respond within 90 days of receiving your request. Ecology may request additional information if your plan or report is incomplete. We will inform you of our decision in writing.

Paying for services

You are responsible for paying all costs incurred by Ecology staff or attorneys when providing services you request. Hourly rates range from about $100 to $200.

We will send you an invoice each month that includes a summary of our costs, payments received, staff involved, and time spent. Please pay the required amount within 30 days after the invoice date. If payment is late, we may withhold requested opinions and stop work.

We encourage the use of model remedies. Sites using model remedies will be accepted into the Voluntary Cleanup Program, and the cost of reviewing completed cleanups using such remedies will be waived.

Changing contacts

Please notify us if any of your project contacts or their contact information change by submitting the Change of Contact Form.

Withdrawing from the program

You may withdraw from the Voluntary Cleanup Program at any time and without cause. To withdraw, please submit the Withdrawal Notice to the unit manager for the region in which your site is located.