Cleanup Rule exploratory rulemaking

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The Cleanup Rule sets standards and procedures for cleaning up contaminated sites under Washington's environmental cleanup law, the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA). Both the rule and law help us remove contamination that can pose risks to your health and the environment. 

In January 2018, we began an exploratory scoping process to update the Cleanup Rule in three stages called "rulemakings." We officially launched the first rulemaking in December 2018. This page tells you how we got there and where we're planning to go next. 

What's an "exploratory rulemaking process?"

The exploratory rulemaking process is a new approach for updating the Cleanup Rule. Instead of updating it all at once, we're doing so in three stages called "rulemakings" over several years. Each rulemaking will focus on a few selected topics. This approach will help speed adoption of the changes that are most urgent for people who use the rule.

What's the plan?

First rulemaking (2018–2022): We're updating parts of the rule that contain administrative and procedural requirements for site cleanups. We won't change the technical cleanup standards during the first rulemaking. For details, read the CR-101 announcement at Chapter 173-340 WAC.

Second rulemaking (expected to begin 2023): We'll update the technical cleanup standards.  

Third rulemaking (expected to begin 2024): We'll address previously deferred topics and new issues that emerge during the first two rulemakings.

How can I participate?

  1. Read the suggested rule changes we've received 2009–2018.
  2. Find out about Stakeholder & Tribal Advisory Group (STAG) meetings and attend as an observer; public input will be welcome during the last 30 minutes of each meeting.
  3. Listen to the April 2018 statewide scoping webinar using your Chrome browser or download the slides.
  4. Visit Chapter 173-340 WAC for timelines, documents, and next steps in the First Rulemaking of the Cleanup Rule Update.
  5. Subscribe to Cleanup Rule email notices.
  6. Check our public events listing for upcoming public listening sessions and opportunities to comment.

What's the Stakeholder & Tribal Advisory Group?

The Stakeholder & Tribal Advisory group (STAG) is a group of about 20 to 25 participants. They'll offer diverse perspectives and advice to Ecology staff during the first and second rulemakings through 2022. STAG meetings began in September 2019 in Bellevue. Visit the STAG EZView site to learn more about the group.

How did the 2018 statewide scoping event help shape the rulemakings?

Participants who attended the statewide listening session in April 2018 provided many ideas on which topics we should consider for the official rulemaking process. The online event was hosted in Bellevue and at our regional offices in Lacey, Union Gap, and Spokane. Watch the webinar in your browser and download the slides

Figure 1. Rule changes suggested by the public during the Cleanup Rule Exploratory Rulemaking between February 14 and May 11, 2018. Download a narrative description of Figure 1 pie chart.

How long will it take to update the Cleanup Rule?

It may take several rulemakings over the next five to ten years to update this complex rule. Your input during the formal rulemakings will help us plan this work over the coming years; watch for opportunities to comment and attend public meetings. Please note that we may need to change the planned rulemaking and review schedule, based on public input or circumstances beyond our control.

Where can I learn more about MTCA?

Visit our Model Toxics Control Act page to learn how Washington's cleanup law is working to protect your health and environment.

Exploratory rulemaking communications

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