PA 07-81—sSB 1224

Environment Committee

Planning and Development Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING LICENSED ENVIRONMENTAL PROFESSIONALS

SUMMARY: This act expands the sanctions that can be imposed on licensed environmental professionals (LEPs) who falsify information, engage in professional misconduct, or otherwise violate relevant environmental laws or regulations. It makes the use of an LEP to verify the investigation and remediation of contaminated property standard procedure unless the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) commissioner, at her discretion, chooses to review and approve the clean-up herself. It specifies that the law on investigation and remediation of contaminated real property applies to political subdivisions of the state that own such land. It requires an LEP to submit documentation to the commissioner when a site investigation required by the Transfer Act has been completed, and to notify the commissioner when remediation begins. It makes other minor and conforming changes.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2007

LEP SANCTIONS

By law, the State Board of Examiners of Environmental Professionals (board) may investigate an LEP's conduct. Prior law required the board to authorize the commissioner to either (1) revoke or suspend an LEP's license or (2) deny his license application if the board found the LEP had (a) submitted false or misleading information; (b) engaged in professional misconduct, including either knowingly or recklessly falsely verifying a remediation; or (c) violated any relevant environmental law or regulation. The act broadens the range of available sanctions by allowing the board to authorize the commissioner to impose any other sanction the board deems appropriate. As under prior law, the board must notify the LEP of the proposed sanction and provide an opportunity for a hearing.

INVESTIGATION AND REMEDIATION OF CONTAMINATED PROPERTY

By law, LEPs may determine if certain contaminated sites, such as those in the voluntary remediation program, have been properly cleaned up (see BACKGROUND). Prior law required the commissioner to tell the property owner if she or an LEP would review the remedial action.

The act instead requires, as standard procedure, that an LEP verify the investigation and remediation. He must do so by determining if the site was investigated using prevailing standards and guidelines and remediated according to DEP standards. However, the commissioner may notify the property owner that she must review and approve the remedial action. Under the act, as under existing law, the commissioner must do this in writing within 30 days after receiving a description of the property's environmental condition.

Under prior law, once the commissioner notified a property owner that the commissioner need not formally review and approve the remediation of the property, the owner had 90 days to submit a statement and a schedule showing how he or she intended to investigate and remediate the parcel. The act requires all property owners, not just those whose property the commissioner will not formally review, to submit this statement and schedule. They must do so within 90 days after submitting an environmental condition assessment. Prior law authorized the commissioner to (1) require the property owner to submit copies of technical plans and reports related to the investigation and remediation and (2) notify the owner if the commissioner determined her review and written approval of the statement, schedule, and accompanying technical reports was necessary. The act specifies that the commissioner must notify the property owner if she determines, at any time, that she needs to review and approve in writing only the technical plans and reports.

LEP Verification and Notice to Abutting Landowners

Under prior law, a property owner had to provide the commissioner a copy of an LEP's written verification that the property was properly remediated. The act specifies that the LEP must also verify the parcel was investigated using prevailing standards and guidelines. It requires the property owner to submit the LEP's original verification, not a copy, to the commissioner on a form she prescribes.

Prior law required that before beginning to clean up a contaminated parcel, the property owner had to (1) publish notice of the planned remediation in the newspaper, (2) notify the local health director, and (3) either erect a six by four foot sign on the property, or notify every property owner on the town's last completed grand list by mail. The act allows an owner of contaminated property who chooses the mail notification option to send notice only to those landowners whose property abuts the contaminated parcel. The landowner must send the notice to the abutting property owner's last known address on the last-completed grand list of the town where the land is located.

LEPS AND THE TRANSFER ACT

The Transfer Act governs the sale or other conveyance of certain property where hazardous waste was generated, used, or stored. It requires such property to be investigated and pollution properly remediated. It also regulates “establishments,” which include certain businesses, and property where (1) more than 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of hazardous waste was generated in a calendar month or (2) hazardous waste was recycled, reclaimed, reused, stored, handled, disposed of, transported, or treated.

The law requires anyone transferring an establishment to complete one or more of four different forms, depending on the presence of hazardous waste or hazardous substances, and the status of investigations and remediation.

In the case of a Form III or Form IV, a “certifying party” is a person associated with the transfer of an establishment who agrees to investigate a parcel according to prevailing standards and properly remediate pollution. A certifying party files a Form III when (1) a hazardous waste or hazardous substance leak has occurred, but has not been fully remediated or (2) he or she does not know the environmental conditions at the establishment. The certifying party agrees to properly investigate and remediate the parcel. A certifying party files a Form IV when there has been a leak and all remediation actions have been completed except for post-remediation monitoring or the recording of an environmental land use restriction.

Under prior law, the commissioner had 45 days from receiving a complete Form III or Form IV to notify the certifying party whether (1) the commissioner needed to review the remediation and approve it in writing, or (2) an LEP could verify the investigation and remediation. Under the act, a certifying party must have an LEP verify the investigation and remediation unless the commissioner notifies him, within 45 days of receiving a complete Form III or Form IV, that her review is needed.

The act also conforms certain verification requirements to existing law.

NOTIFICATION THAT INVESTIGATION IS COMPLETE OR REMEDIATION BEGUN

Under prior law, within 30 days after receiving notice from the commissioner that an LEP may verify the investigation and remediation, a certifying party submitted an investigation and remediation schedule. By law, the schedule provides for completing the investigation within two years, and beginning remediation within three years, after the owner receives the notice, unless the commissioner specifies a later date in writing.

Under the act, unless the commissioner states that her review and written approval is needed, the certifying party instead has 75 days from notification that his Form III or Form IV is complete to submit the investigation and remediation schedule. As under prior law, the commissioner may extend the 75-day deadline. She must do so in writing.

The act requires the certifying party to submit documentation that the investigation has been completed and notify the commissioner, on forms the commissioner prescribes, when remediation has begun. The party must submit the investigation documentation and remediation notification within two years and three years, respectively, after receiving notice that the Form III or Form IV is complete, unless the commissioner has specified a later date in writing. The commissioner may, at any time, determine that her review and written approval is needed, and must so notify the certifying party.

BACKGROUND

Voluntary Remediation Program

This program is available to political subdivisions of the state and owners of (1) establishments under the Transfer Act, (2) property on the hazardous waste disposal site inventory, or (3) property located in an area where there is groundwater DEP classifies as suitable for drinking without treatment (CGS 22a-133x).

Related Act

PA 07-233 expands the role of LEPs in overseeing remediation and establishes procedures for documenting, verifying and auditing their work.

OLR Tracking: PF: JM: CR: TS