Before you apply

Find out if the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) is right for your cleanup project. If your questions aren't answered here, you may request a free technical assistance consultation through your site's regional VCP Coordinator.

The VCP’s role is to provide technical assistance for independen cleanups, without Ecology oversight. Cleaning up a site independently, with or without technical assistance from the VCP, doesn't commit you to being liable for a site’s cleanup. The billing contract you sign with us to join the VCP is an agreement to pay for the time we spend providing technical assistance and evaluating cleanup sufficiency. You can leave or re-apply to the VCP at any time, for any reason.

How the process works

After we accept your application to the VCP, we assign a site manager to your project as your primary point of contact. You provide our site manager with documentation of your cleanup. After submitting your document with a completed request for opinion form, our site manager will review the documentation and issue an opinion on whether your cleanup or proposed cleanup meets MTCA requirements.

Our opinions contain written technical assistance. They explain what you need to do to meet state cleanup requirements. They may help determine the scope of a site investigation and cleanup.

When you demonstrate your site meets all cleanup requirements, we issue a No Further Action (NFA) opinion, remove your site from our Confirmed and Suspected Contaminated Sites List, and update the site status in our statewide database.


  • Completing cleanup through the VCP doesn't settle liability with the state.

  • The VCP doesn't provide oversight or approval for cleanups. The VCP is limited to providing opinions on whether a cleanup meets legal requirements, and what additional work may be necessary.

  • Participating in the VCP doesn't ensure your cleanup is “substantially equivalent” to an Ecology supervised cleanup. A court determination of substantial equivalence is required to recover cleanup costs from a liable party.

However, our No Further Action opinions normally provide lenders and other government agencies the information they need to determine whether the cleanup protects people and other living things.


Applying to the Standard VCP process is free. We charge an hourly rate billed monthly for the time we spend providing services.

If your cleanup project qualifies, you may consider a model remedy cleanup. We provide up to two free reviews and opinions after cleanup is completed for sites that qualify for a model remedy cleanup.

Qualifying for the VCP

Your cleanup may be eligible to apply to the VCP if:

  • The contamination affects only soil, groundwater, or indoor air and generally doesn't affect surface water or sediment.

  • The contaminant isn't petroleum, or petroleum contamination isn’t from a tank or tank-piping system (for tank releases, see PLIA).

  • The site isn't part of an Ecology-supervised cleanup with an ongoing Potentially Liable Person dispute.

  • The contamination doesn't pose a significant or immediate threat to people and other living things.

  • The site isn't a landfill.

Contamination from dry cleaning, automotive repair, and spills are typically eligible for VCP. Complete an Eligibility Form to see if your cleanup project may be eligible to apply to VCP. You may also request a free consultation before applying.

Other cleanup options

  • Ecology supervised cleanups: We provide both formal oversight and approval of cleanups through our supervised cleanup process. Cleanup sites that don't qualify to apply to the VCP can contact Ecology’s regional office contacts to discuss supervised cleanup options.

  • Independent cleanups without joining VCP: The majority of cleanups in Washington are conducted as independent remedial actions. Some of these sites may choose to work with the VCP with the end goal of receiving a No Further Action opinion from us. You may also conduct an independent remedial action without applying to the VCP, but there'll be no opportunity to get a No Further Action opinion from us.

  • Petroleum-contaminated sites: The Pollution Liability Insurance Agency (PLIA) provides technical assistance for releases of petroleum or heating oil from tank systems. PLIA is a separate agency and isn't an Ecology program.