Type: Law Bulletins
Date: 05/04/2011

IDEM's New Remediation Closure Guide

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) recently released its new Remediation Closure Guide.  The Remediation Closure Guide is a non-rule policy document that provides guidance for the investigation, remedy selection, and risk-based closure of contaminated or potentially contaminated sites.  The Guide replaces IDEM’s Risk Integrated System of Closure (RISC) Technical Guidance and Users Guide, and is the product of House Enrolled Act 1162 (2009), which amended several statutes regulating environmental remediation projects in Indiana. 

As we’ve discussed before, HEA 1162 changed IDEM’s remediation process in several ways.  HEA 1162 requires IDEM to consider institutional controls for controlling exposure pathways, environmental restrictive covenants (municipal groundwater ordinances) in evaluating remediation proposals, and “conditions subsequent” for use in the Voluntary Remediation Program.  Conditions subsequent require responsible parties to satisfy certain conditions of the covenant not to sue in order to maintain the legal protections afforded by the covenant.

We will explore the Guide through a series of blog posts.  But one interesting shift is how IDEM has chosen to define contamination as the presence of chemicals in a concentration above regulatory closure levels. 

“Many regulatory agencies … generate tables of acceptable concentrations for chemicals in various media under specific exposure scenarios.… IDEM has chosen to define a contaminant as a chemical present at a concentration above the chemical’s remediation objective. This definition is consistent with the definition contained in previous guidance, but reflects a shift in terminology away from the use of contaminant of concern.”

Chemicals present at concentrations below regulatory action levels will be referred to as potential contaminants

The Guide will be published in the Indiana Register for public comment.  According to statute, the Guide must be made available for public inspection and comment for at least 45 days before being presented to the appropriate State Environmental Board for approval.  IDEM may put the Guide into effect 30 days after it is presented to the last State Environmental Board. 

For more information on IDEM’s new Remediation Closure Guide, contact Bill Wagner or any member to Taft’s Environmental Practice Group.

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