DEEP Adopts Amended Regulations to Speed Pollution Cleanup
(HARTFORD, CT) – The Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) today announced the adoption of significant changes to two sets of regulations that govern the cleanup of pollution – the Remediation Standard Regulations (RSRs) and the Environmental Use Restriction Regulations (EURs).
The adoption of the RSR and EUR amendments will accelerate the pace of the cleanup of pollution that threatens human health and the quality of our land, water and other natural resources, and often poses an impediment to redevelopment. These changes fulfill goal #5 set out in DEEP’s 20BY20 initiative, a set of 20 goals that focus on improving the predictability, efficiency, and transparency of DEEP’s regulatory processes.
These regulatory amendments provide flexibility and cost savings for property owners engaged in the remediation of polluted soil and groundwater, while maintaining or increasing the degree of protectiveness of cleanup efforts in Connecticut.
“Businesses and environmental leaders have been calling for the reform of our Property Transfer Act and cleanup regulations for many years. These amendments, combined with the release-based regulations in development, will protect our environment and our communities while enabling environmentally informed, efficient, and affordable clean-up and redevelopment,” said DEEP Commissioner Katie Dykes.
These regulatory amendments are an important step in the implementation of Public Act No. 2-9 of the September Special Session and the move away from the law known as the Transfer Act (a transactional and property-based cleanup program) to a release-based cleanup program.
Under this Act, DEEP and the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) are working with legislative leaders, and a variety of stakeholders to chart a new path for Connecticut’s cleanup program. DEEP and DECD have co-convened a working group to receive advice and feedback for regulations to be adopted by DEEP. More information about on-going stakeholder opportunities can be found on DEEP’s webpage here.
These newly-adopted regulations feature some important improvements. Key changes include:
- Faster completion of remediation through the authorization of licensed environmental professionals (LEP) to use Engineered Control or Widespread Polluted Fill Variance without Commissioner approval.
- Expanded opportunities for compliance based on environmental and human health risk through the consideration of a broader range of release-specific remedies. For example, alternative surface water protection criteria using the new aquifer dilution calculation as a release-specific remedy that will drive faster cleanups.
- The RSRs and EURs allow, for the first time, use of Notices of Activity and Use Limitation, an environmental use restriction that can be implemented by an LEP without approval from the Department.
- The EURs create a category of minor excavations called “allowable disturbances,” which can be authorized by LEPs to quickly authorize minor site-work that would otherwise be prohibited by a recorded restriction.