Expedited Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) process
The Expedited VCP (Voluntary Cleanup Program) process is designed to encourage cleanup and redevelopment. This process has higher expectations, fees, and cost recovery rates than the Standard VCP process. This helps us make the process more efficient and allows us to deliver opinions on predictable timelines.
The types of opinions we issue are the same as opinions for any VCP project. Expedited VCP projects must meet the same cleanup standards as any cleanup project in Washington.
Due to limited capacity, the Expedited VCP process will accept applications only during specific times. Subscribe to the Expedited VCP email list to get notices when we open or close application periods.
Qualifying for the Expedited VCP process
The project must be eligible for Standard VCP. In addition:
Projects that are already in the Standard VCP process are not eligible for the expedited process unless they are on a VCP wait list. If we accept a project that is on a wait list, we will terminate the Standard VCP agreement and start a new Expedited VCP agreement. If we reject the application, the project will keep its spot on the wait list.
You must have an ownership interest in the property being cleaned, operate the property's facility, or have an interest in purchasing the property. Consultants, lawyers, or other contractors may not sign the Expedited VCP agreement unless they have ownership interest or operate the facility.
The remedial investigation or equivalent report submitted with the application must meet the requirements in the Remedial Investigation Checklist.
Applicants must not have any outstanding cleanup charges. We may reject an Expedited VCP application based on a history of payment delinquency in either VCP process.
Working with Expedited VCP
For details on any part of this process, see the complete Expedited VCP process guidance.
Recommended VCP consultation (optional)
We provide a free consultation to help guide applicants into the correct cleanup process (the Standard VCP process, Expedited VCP process, PLIA’s technical assistance programs, or Ecology-supervised cleanup). Consultations cover the VCP processes, application materials, and expectations to help determine if the project appears eligible. They are an opportunity to discuss eligibility concerns for the Expedited VCP process, especially site-specific conditions. These consultations are not for requesting technical assistance on how to clean up the site.
Applying to Expedited VCP
You must submit a complete application, including a remedial investigation (RI) or equivalent report. The report must meet the requirements in the Remedial Investigation Checklist. By focusing the first opinion on the remedial investigation, we can gain a more complete understanding of the site and improve the speed of responses to future requests for technical assistance and written opinions.
We will send an invoice for a nonrefundable application fee. Within 10 calendar days of receiving the fee, we will decide whether to accept or reject the application.
Unless waived by Ecology, the Ecology site manager and the customer team will meet (in-person or virtually) to review expectations and discuss project specific details. We expect to hold the intake meeting within 30 calendar days of signing the agreement.
We expect to provide a written opinion on the remedial investigation report within 90 calendar days of accepting an Expedited VCP application. We expect to provide later opinions within 90 calendar days of receiving a completed request, as long as you maintain communication regarding adjustments to timelines and project schedule.
Cost and billing
When you apply, we will send an invoice for the nonrefundable application fee. If your project is accepted, you must submit an initial prepayment within 30 calendar days of the invoice date. We charge an hourly rate for any services you request. We deduct these costs from your prepayment. We reserve a portion of the prepayment for the close out fee, which is deducted when the agreement ends.
Expedited VCP customers pay for the full cost of the process, so the hourly rate is higher than the rate for the Standard VCP process. For complete cost information and associated policies, see the Expedited VCP guidance.
Leaving the Expedited VCP process
You may terminate the Expedited VCP agreement at any time, for any reason. We will not refund the application fee. We will deduct outstanding costs and the Agreement Close-out fee from the prepayment balance and refund the rest, if over $10, within 45 calendar days.
If you sell the property while it is involved in an Expedited VCP project, you may choose to transfer enrollment to the new owner of the property. The new owner will not pay the application fee if they follow the procedures in the guidance.
We designed the Expedited VCP process to help foster a collaborative and responsive relationship with the customer team.
We will encourage a professional and mutually respectful relationship with you and your customer team.
Our opinions will be consistent in how we interpret and implement our policies and procedures, and Washington State law.
- We will be helpful and supportive and have a positive attitude and passion for what we do for a cleaner Washington.
We will provide all official correspondence by email, followed by a hard copy, if needed.
We will respond to communications within seven calendar days.
We will provide timely and consistent updates regarding scheduling communications, responding to questions, and setting target dates for opinion letters, including advance notice of schedule changes.
- We will provide monthly financial statements showing the current deposit balance and a summary of the previous month’s activity.
We will not bill you for any extra costs incurred because of changes in our staff. However, we will bill you for any costs incurred for changing site managers as a result of switching between the Expedited and Standard VCP processes.
You will maintain a professional and mutually respectful relationship with your assigned site manager and any Ecology staff.
Your requests for opinion will be complete and meet all guidance.
You will upload all electronic environmental data to the EIM system as soon as possible after collecting samples.
You will respond to any of our communications within seven calendar days.
You will notify us at least 30 days before an expected property transfer.
You will send us a completed change of contact form to inform us of any changes in your contact information or your customer team contact information.
Why we created the Expedited VCP process
In April 2019, the state Legislature passed SHB 1290 authorizing a new expedited process for qualifying cleanups under the Voluntary Cleanup Program. The Expedited VCP process is designed to let us respond to the needs of developers working under compressed schedules within predictable time frames.
The new process will not divert funding or staff from other VCP projects. Expedited VCP revenue will fund dedicated site managers supporting the Expedited VCP process. Revenue is deposited into a separate Voluntary Cleanup Account. In July 2021, the Expedited VCP process began funding itself.
Customers must make several commitments to improve program efficiency and help us provide opinions in a predictable time frame. For example, customers must provide a cleanup schedule and a complete remedial investigation report with the application.