Working with the Voluntary Cleanup Program

Working with the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) is a partnership toward cleanup. For the most benefit, we suggest joining the VCP as early as possible in the cleanup process.

Cleaning up your property or site

A cleanup site is defined by the extent of the hazardous substance release. In other words, the site is where the contamination is, regardless of property bounadries. A site may include multiple property parcels. You may choose to clean up just your property (property cleanup) or the entire site (site cleanup).

Documenting the cleanup

Our assistance is based on information you provide. Your reports should be complete and accurate. Include relevant background information and a general summary of the site.

If applicable, include:

For a quicker review and opinion of remedial investigation reports, please use our remedial investigation report template.

Professional certification

rubber stamp

Documents containing geologic, hydrogeologic, or engineering work must be stamped by an appropriately licensed professional. For guidance on what work requires a license, refer to:

Submitting electronic data

You must upload your cleanup site sampling data to our Environmental Information Management (EIM) system. Upload data and send us the accompanying reports as soon as possible after collection. Review cleanup site data submittal requirements.

Requesting opinions

We review opinion requests in the order we receive the completed requests. To enter the queue, a complete request for opinion must consist of:

Types of opinions we issue

We issue four types of opinions for cleanup projects:

  • Further Action opinions when further action is necessary, or if a proposed cleanup will not likely meet cleanup requirements.
  • Further Action Likely opinions when further cleanup will likely be necessary or if proposed actions are not likely to meet cleanup requirements.
  • No Further Action Likely opinions when your proposed cleanup will likely meet cleanup requirements.
  • No Further Action opinions when your cleanup meets all requirements.

Opinions are void if any of the information you provide to us is materially false or misleading. We can rescind a No Further Action determination if new information shows that site contamination conditions are inaccurately or inadequately represented.

Using opinions to inform future work

Opinions provide our current understanding of the status of your cleanup. You can use our opinions to help define the scope of additional investigation and cleanup needed to meet Washington’s cleanup law and regulations.

How the VCP charges you

Ecology bills you for the time we work on your cleanup project. Examples of billable activities include communications with your designated customer team, document review, and preparing opinions.

We mail an invoice to your billing contact for each month your project incurs charges.

Full payment is due within 30 days of the invoice date. If we do not receive payment within 30 days, we will notify you and withhold issuing opinions for your project. We stop all work on projects with payments outstanding over 60 days. If you do not pay an invoice within 90 days we may send the outstanding bill to collections.

Customer team

As part of your application to join the VCP, we ask you to designate a customer team with a project manager as our primary point of contact.

Your customer team could be only you or it might include environmental consultants, attorneys, property owners and managers, and billing specialists. You decide who you want us to work with.

Changing your customer team

You can change members of your customer team at any time. If you need to do this, send us a completed change of contact form.

Customer changes

If the customer listed on your VCP agreement changes, the new customer will need to sign a new agreement. The assigned site manager would likely remain the same.

Expectations

  • You will conduct your investigation and cleanup actions independently.

  • Your cleanup will progress. To confirm that, you will respond in a timely manner status update requests.

  • The reports you provide will meet our minimum requirements for report submittals.

  • You will upload all electronic environmental data to the EIM system as soon as possible after collection.

  • You will send us a completed request for opinion form and all required materials when you need us to evaluate your cleanup activities and provide technical help.

  • You will use the change of contact form to inform us of any changes in your customer team.

  • You will maintain a professional and mutually respectful relationship with your assigned site manager.

  • We will respond to your VCP application within about 10 days of our receipt of your application.

  • For sites already in the standard VCP, we attempt to respond to 90% of all requests for review within 90 days of a complete request for opinion. That response could include issuing an opinion or requesting additional information needed to complete our review.

  • Our opinions will be consistent with Washington state laws and regulations.

  • We will respond to email inquiries or phone calls as soon as possible.