Department's powers and duties.
(1) The department may exercise the following powers in addition to any other powers granted by law:
(a) Investigate, provide for investigating, or require potentially liable persons to investigate any releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, including but not limited to inspecting, sampling, or testing to determine the nature or extent of any release or threatened release. If there is a reasonable basis to believe that a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance may exist, the department's authorized employees, agents, or contractors may enter upon any property and conduct investigations. The department shall give reasonable notice before entering property unless an emergency prevents such notice. The department may by subpoena require the attendance or testimony of witnesses and the production of documents or other information that the department deems necessary;
(b) Conduct, provide for conducting, or require potentially liable persons to conduct remedial actions (including investigations under (a) of this subsection) to remedy releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances. In carrying out such powers, the department's authorized employees, agents, or contractors may enter upon property. The department shall give reasonable notice before entering property unless an emergency prevents such notice. In conducting, providing for, or requiring remedial action, the department shall give preference to permanent solutions to the maximum extent practicable and shall provide for or require adequate monitoring to ensure the effectiveness of the remedial action;
(c) Indemnify contractors retained by the department for carrying out investigations and remedial actions, but not for any contractor's reckless or willful misconduct;
(d) Carry out all state programs authorized under the federal cleanup law and the federal resource, conservation, and recovery act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 6901 et seq., as amended;
(e) Classify substances as hazardous substances for purposes of RCW 70.105D.020 and classify substances and products as hazardous substances for purposes of RCW 82.21.020(1);
(f) Issue orders or enter into consent decrees or agreed orders that include, or issue written opinions under (i) of this subsection that may be conditioned upon, environmental covenants where necessary to protect human health and the environment from a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance from a facility. Prior to establishing an environmental covenant under this subsection, the department shall consult with and seek comment from a city or county department with land use planning authority for real property subject to the environmental covenant;
(g) Enforce the application of permanent and effective institutional controls that are necessary for a remedial action to be protective of human health and the environment and the notification requirements established in RCW 70.105D.110, and impose penalties for violations of that section consistent with RCW 70.105D.050;
(h) Require holders to conduct remedial actions necessary to abate an imminent or substantial endangerment pursuant to RCW 70.105D.020(17)(b)(ii)(C);
(i) Provide informal advice and assistance to persons regarding the administrative and technical requirements of this chapter. This may include site-specific advice to persons who are conducting or otherwise interested in independent remedial actions. Any such advice or assistance shall be advisory only, and shall not be binding on the department. As a part of providing this advice and assistance for independent remedial actions, the department may prepare written opinions regarding whether the independent remedial actions or proposals for those actions meet the substantive requirements of this chapter or whether the department believes further remedial action is necessary at the facility. Nothing in this chapter may be construed to preclude the department from issuing a written opinion on whether further remedial action is necessary at any portion of the real property located within a facility, even if further remedial action is still necessary elsewhere at the same facility. Such a written opinion on a portion of a facility must also provide an opinion on the status of the facility as a whole. The department may collect, from persons requesting advice and assistance, the costs incurred by the department in providing such advice and assistance; however, the department shall, where appropriate, waive collection of costs in order to provide an appropriate level of technical assistance in support of public participation. The state, the department, and officers and employees of the state are immune from all liability, and no cause of action of any nature may arise from any act or omission in providing, or failing to provide, informal advice and assistance; and
(j) Take any other actions necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter, including the power to adopt rules under chapter 34.05 RCW.
(2) The department shall immediately implement all provisions of this chapter to the maximum extent practicable, including investigative and remedial actions where appropriate. The department shall adopt, and thereafter enforce, rules under chapter 34.05 RCW to:
(a) Provide for public participation, including at least (i) public notice of the development of investigative plans or remedial plans for releases or threatened releases and (ii) concurrent public notice of all compliance orders, agreed orders, enforcement orders, or notices of violation;
(b) Establish a hazard ranking system for hazardous waste sites;
(c) Provide for requiring the reporting by an owner or operator of releases of hazardous substances to the environment that may be a threat to human health or the environment within ninety days of discovery, including such exemptions from reporting as the department deems appropriate, however this requirement shall not modify any existing requirements provided for under other laws;
(d) Establish reasonable deadlines not to exceed ninety days for initiating an investigation of a hazardous waste site after the department receives notice or otherwise receives information that the site may pose a threat to human health or the environment and other reasonable deadlines for remedying releases or threatened releases at the site;
(e) Publish and periodically update minimum cleanup standards for remedial actions at least as stringent as the cleanup standards under section 121 of the federal cleanup law, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 9621, and at least as stringent as all applicable state and federal laws, including health-based standards under state and federal law; and
(f) Apply industrial clean-up standards at industrial properties. Rules adopted under this subsection shall ensure that industrial properties cleaned up to industrial standards cannot be converted to nonindustrial uses without approval from the department. The department may require that a property cleaned up to industrial standards is cleaned up to a more stringent applicable standard as a condition of conversion to a nonindustrial use. Industrial clean-up standards may not be applied to industrial properties where hazardous substances remaining at the property after remedial action pose a threat to human health or the environment in adjacent nonindustrial areas.
(3) To achieve and protect the state's long-term ecological health, the department shall prioritize sufficient funding to clean up hazardous waste sites and prevent the creation of future hazards due to improper disposal of toxic wastes, and create financing tools to clean up large-scale hazardous waste sites requiring multiyear commitments. To effectively monitor toxic accounts expenditures, the department shall develop a comprehensive ten-year financing report that identifies long-term remedial action project costs, tracks expenses, and projects future needs.
(4) Before December 20th of each even-numbered year, the department shall:
(a) Develop a comprehensive ten-year financing report in coordination with all local governments with clean-up responsibilities that identifies the projected biennial hazardous waste site remedial action needs that are eligible for funding from the local toxics control account;
(b) Work with local governments to develop working capital reserves to be incorporated in the ten-year financing report;
(c) Identify the projected remedial action needs for orphaned, abandoned, and other clean-up sites that are eligible for funding from the state toxics control account;
(d) Project the remedial action need, cost, revenue, and any recommended working capital reserve estimate to the next biennium's long-term remedial action needs from both the local toxics control account and the state toxics control account, and submit this information to the appropriate standing fiscal and environmental committees of the senate and house of representatives. This submittal must also include a ranked list of such remedial action projects for both accounts; and
(e) Provide the legislature and the public each year with an accounting of the department's activities supported by appropriations from the state and local toxics control accounts, including a list of known hazardous waste sites and their hazard rankings, actions taken and planned at each site, how the department is meeting its waste management priorities under RCW 70.105.150, and all funds expended under this chapter.
(5) The department shall establish a program to identify potential hazardous waste sites and to encourage persons to provide information about hazardous waste sites.
(6) For all facilities where an environmental covenant has been required under subsection (1)(f) of this section, including all facilities where the department has required an environmental covenant under an order, agreed order, or consent decree, or as a condition of a written opinion issued under the authority of subsection (1)(i) of this section, the department shall periodically review the environmental covenant for effectiveness. Except as otherwise provided in (c) of this subsection, the department shall conduct a review at least once every five years after an environmental covenant is recorded.
(a) The review shall consist of, at a minimum:
(i) A review of the title of the real property subject to the environmental covenant to determine whether the environmental covenant was properly recorded and, if applicable, amended or terminated;
(ii) A physical inspection of the real property subject to the environmental covenant to determine compliance with the environmental covenant, including whether any development or redevelopment of the real property has violated the terms of the environmental covenant; and
(iii) A review of the effectiveness of the environmental covenant in limiting or prohibiting activities that may interfere with the integrity of the remedial action or that may result in exposure to or migration of hazardous substances. This shall include a review of available monitoring data.
(b) If an environmental covenant has been amended or terminated without proper authority, or if the terms of an environmental covenant have been violated, or if the environmental covenant is no longer effective in limiting or prohibiting activities that may interfere with the integrity of the remedial action or that may result in exposure to or migration of hazardous substances, then the department shall take any and all appropriate actions necessary to ensure compliance with the environmental covenant and the policies and requirements of this chapter.
(c) For facilities where an environmental covenant required by the department under subsection (1)(f) of this section was required before July 1, 2007, the department shall:
(i) Enter all required information about the environmental covenant into the registry established under RCW 64.70.120 by June 30, 2008;
(ii) For those facilities where more than five years has elapsed since the environmental covenant was required and the department has yet to conduct a review, conduct an initial review according to the following schedule:
(A) By December 30, 2008, fifty facilities;
(B) By June 30, 2009, fifty additional facilities; and
(C) By June 30, 2010, the remainder of the facilities;
(iii) Once this initial review has been completed, conduct subsequent reviews at least once every five years.
[2009 c 560 § 10. Prior: 2007 c 446 § 1; 2007 c 225 § 1; 2007 c 104 § 19; 2002 c 288 § 3; 2001 c 291 § 401; 1997 c 406 § 3; 1995 c 70 § 2; prior: 1994 c 257 § 11; 1994 c 254 § 3; 1989 c 2 § 3 (Initiative Measure No. 97, approved November 8, 1988).]
| Intent -- Effective date -- Disposition of property and funds -- Assignment/delegation of contractual rights or duties -- 2009 c 560: See notes following RCW 18.06.080.|
Application -- Construction -- Severability -- 2007 c 104: See RCW 64.70.015 and 64.70.900.
Effective date -- 2002 c 288 §§ 2-4: See note following RCW 70.105D.110.
Severability -- 2002 c 288: See note following RCW 70.105D.010.
Part headings not law -- Effective date -- 2001 c 291: See notes following RCW 43.20A.360.
Severability -- 1994 c 257: See note following RCW 36.70A.270.