Voluntary Cleanup Program

The Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) helps property owners who are independently cleaning up their site. We provide technical assistance for a fee. Successful cleanups completed through the VCP receive a No Further Action opinion, which can be helpful when selling a property or applying for a loan.

Over 2,800 formerly contaminated sites have received No Further Action letters through the VCP since it began in 1999.

Helping people with their independent cleanup projects

There are two main options for cleaning up sites under Washington’s cleanup law, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA): Ecology-supervised cleanups and independent cleanups. The majority of cleanups in Washington are conducted independently. Independent cleanups are also called Independent Remedial Actions.

Some independent cleanup projects work with the VCP to receive a No Further Action opinion.

You may conduct an independent remedial action without joining the VCP.

All cleanups must meet state standards

Whether a site is cleaned up with our supervision or independently, the cleanup must meet Washington state standards as laid out in the Model Toxics Control Act. The VCP helps property owners meet MTCA standards. Cleanup projects must also comply with other state and local rules, such as cultural resource regulations.

Two VCP processes

Starting July 6, 2020, VCP applicants have the option of enrolling in either the Standard or Expedited VCP process.

Standard VCP process

Application to the standard VCP process is free, and customers pay only a portion of our costs for review and assistance. Customers can apply at any point in the cleanup process. We encourage early application.

There may be a wait list for new sites in the Standard VCP process. There is also a list for sites already in the process which are waiting for a new cleanup project manager.

Expedited VCP process

The new Expedited VCP process offers a more predictable turn-around time for opinions. Customers must pay all of Ecology’s costs, including a nonrefundable application fee. When they apply, customers must provide a cleanup schedule and a thorough remedial investigation report.

Grants for local governments

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

Beginning Jan. 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.

Affordable housing waiver

We may waive VCP review costs when affordable housing is the end use of the cleanup project.