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Chapter 70.105D RCW Hazardous waste cleanup — model toxics control act
Chapter 70.105D RCW
Hazardous waste cleanup — model toxics control act
Environmental certification programs -- Fees -- Rules -- Liability: RCW 43.21A.175.
Declaration of policy.
(1) Each person has a fundamental and inalienable right to a healthful environment, and each person has a responsibility to preserve and enhance that right. The beneficial stewardship of the land, air, and waters of the state is a solemn obligation of the present generation for the benefit of future generations.
(2) A healthful environment is now threatened by the irresponsible use and disposal of hazardous substances. There are hundreds of hazardous waste sites in this state, and more will be created if current waste practices continue. Hazardous waste sites threaten the state's water resources, including those used for public drinking water. Many of our municipal landfills are current or potential hazardous waste sites and present serious threats to human health and environment. The costs of eliminating these threats in many cases are beyond the financial means of our local governments and ratepayers. The main purpose of chapter 2, Laws of 1989 is to raise sufficient funds to clean up all hazardous waste sites and to prevent the creation of future hazards due to improper disposal of toxic wastes into the state's land and waters.
(3) Many farmers and small business owners who have followed the law with respect to their uses of pesticides and other chemicals nonetheless may face devastating economic consequences because their uses have contaminated the environment or the water supplies of their neighbors. With a source of funds, the state may assist these farmers and business owners, as well as those persons who sustain damages, such as the loss of their drinking water supplies, as a result of the contamination.
(4) It is in the public's interest to efficiently use our finite land base, to integrate our land use planning policies with our clean-up policies, and to clean up and reuse contaminated industrial properties in order to minimize industrial development pressures on undeveloped land and to make clean land available for future social use.
(5) Because it is often difficult or impossible to allocate responsibility among persons liable for hazardous waste sites and because it is essential that sites be cleaned up well and expeditiously, each responsible person should be liable jointly and severally.
(6) Because releases of hazardous substances can adversely affect the health and welfare of the public, the environment, and property values, it is in the public interest that affected communities be notified of where releases of hazardous substances have occurred and what is being done to clean them up.
[2002 c 288 § 1; 1994 c 254 § 1; 1989 c 2 § 1 (Initiative Measure No. 97, approved November 8, 1988).]
Notes: Severability -- 2002 c 288: "If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [2002 c 288 § 5.]
(1) "Agreed order" means an order issued by the department under this chapter with which the potentially liable person receiving the order agrees to comply. An agreed order may be used to require or approve any cleanup or other remedial actions but it is not a settlement under RCW 70.105D.040(4) and shall not contain a covenant not to sue, or provide protection from claims for contribution, or provide eligibility for public funding of remedial actions under RCW 70.105D.070(2)(d)(xi).
(2) "Department" means the department of ecology.
(3) "Director" means the director of ecology or the director's designee.
(4) "Facility" means (a) any building, structure, installation, equipment, pipe or pipeline (including any pipe into a sewer or publicly owned treatment works), well, pit, pond, lagoon, impoundment, ditch, landfill, storage container, motor vehicle, rolling stock, vessel, or aircraft, or (b) any site or area where a hazardous substance, other than a consumer product in consumer use, has been deposited, stored, disposed of, or placed, or otherwise come to be located.
(5) "Federal cleanup law" means the federal comprehensive environmental response, compensation, and liability act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 9601 et seq., as amended by Public Law 99-499.
(6) "Foreclosure and its equivalents" means purchase at a foreclosure sale, acquisition, or assignment of title in lieu of foreclosure, termination of a lease, or other repossession, acquisition of a right to title or possession, an agreement in satisfaction of the obligation, or any other comparable formal or informal manner, whether pursuant to law or under warranties, covenants, conditions, representations, or promises from the borrower, by which the holder acquires title to or possession of a facility securing a loan or other obligation.
(7) "Hazardous substance" means:
(a) Any dangerous or extremely hazardous waste as defined in RCW 70.105.010 (5) and (6), or any dangerous or extremely dangerous waste designated by rule pursuant to chapter 70.105 RCW;
(b) Any hazardous substance as defined in RCW 70.105.010(14) or any hazardous substance as defined by rule pursuant to chapter 70.105 RCW;
(c) Any substance that, on March 1, 1989, is a hazardous substance under section 101(14) of the federal cleanup law, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 9601(14);
(d) Petroleum or petroleum products; and
(e) Any substance or category of substances, including solid waste decomposition products, determined by the director by rule to present a threat to human health or the environment if released into the environment.
The term hazardous substance does not include any of the following when contained in an underground storage tank from which there is not a release: Crude oil or any fraction thereof or petroleum, if the tank is in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local law.
(8) "Independent remedial actions" means remedial actions conducted without department oversight or approval, and not under an order, agreed order, or consent decree.
(9) "Holder" means a person who holds indicia of ownership primarily to protect a security interest. A holder includes the initial holder such as the loan originator, any subsequent holder such as a successor-in-interest or subsequent purchaser of the security interest on the secondary market, a guarantor of an obligation, surety, or any other person who holds indicia of ownership primarily to protect a security interest, or a receiver, court-appointed trustee, or other person who acts on behalf or for the benefit of a holder. A holder can be a public or privately owned financial institution, receiver, conservator, loan guarantor, or other similar persons that loan money or guarantee repayment of a loan. Holders typically are banks or savings and loan institutions but may also include others such as insurance companies, pension funds, or private individuals that engage in loaning of money or credit.
(10) "Indicia of ownership" means evidence of a security interest, evidence of an interest in a security interest, or evidence of an interest in a facility securing a loan or other obligation, including any legal or equitable title to a facility acquired incident to foreclosure and its equivalents. Evidence of such interests includes, mortgages, deeds of trust, sellers interest in a real estate contract, liens, surety bonds, and guarantees of obligations, title held pursuant to a lease financing transaction in which the lessor does not select initially the leased facility, or legal or equitable title obtained pursuant to foreclosure and their equivalents. Evidence of such interests also includes assignments, pledges, or other rights to or other forms of encumbrance against the facility that are held primarily to protect a security interest.
(11) "Operating a facility primarily to protect a security interest" occurs when all of the following are met: (a) Operating the facility where the borrower has defaulted on the loan or otherwise breached the security agreement; (b) operating the facility to preserve the value of the facility as an ongoing business; (c) the operation is being done in anticipation of a sale, transfer, or assignment of the facility; and (d) the operation is being done primarily to protect a security interest. Operating a facility for longer than one year prior to foreclosure or its equivalents shall be presumed to be operating the facility for other than to protect a security interest.
(12) "Owner or operator" means:
(a) Any person with any ownership interest in the facility or who exercises any control over the facility; or
(b) In the case of an abandoned facility, any person who had owned, or operated, or exercised control over the facility any time before its abandonment;
The term does not include:
(i) An agency of the state or unit of local government which acquired ownership or control through a drug forfeiture action under RCW 69.50.505, or involuntarily through bankruptcy, tax delinquency, abandonment, or other circumstances in which the government involuntarily acquires title. This exclusion does not apply to an agency of the state or unit of local government which has caused or contributed to the release or threatened release of a hazardous substance from the facility;
(ii) A person who, without participating in the management of a facility, holds indicia of ownership primarily to protect the person's security interest in the facility. Holders after foreclosure and its equivalent and holders who engage in any of the activities identified in subsection (13)(e) through (g) of this section shall not lose this exemption provided the holder complies with all of the following:
(A) The holder properly maintains the environmental compliance measures already in place at the facility;
(B) The holder complies with the reporting requirements in the rules adopted under this chapter;
(C) The holder complies with any order issued to the holder by the department to abate an imminent or substantial endangerment;
(D) The holder allows the department or potentially liable persons under an order, agreed order, or settlement agreement under this chapter access to the facility to conduct remedial actions and does not impede the conduct of such remedial actions;
(E) Any remedial actions conducted by the holder are in compliance with any preexisting requirements identified by the department, or, if the department has not identified such requirements for the facility, the remedial actions are conducted consistent with the rules adopted under this chapter; and
(F) The holder does not exacerbate an existing release. The exemption in this subsection (12)(b)(ii) does not apply to holders who cause or contribute to a new release or threatened release or who are otherwise liable under RCW 70.105D.040(1) (b), (c), (d), and (e); provided, however, that a holder shall not lose this exemption if it establishes that any such new release has been remediated according to the requirements of this chapter and that any hazardous substances remaining at the facility after remediation of the new release are divisible from such new release;
(iii) A fiduciary in his, her, or its personal or individual capacity. This exemption does not preclude a claim against the assets of the estate or trust administered by the fiduciary or against a nonemployee agent or independent contractor retained by a fiduciary. This exemption also does not apply to the extent that a person is liable under this chapter independently of the person's ownership as a fiduciary or for actions taken in a fiduciary capacity which cause or contribute to a new release or exacerbate an existing release of hazardous substances. This exemption applies provided that, to the extent of the fiduciary's powers granted by law or by the applicable governing instrument granting fiduciary powers, the fiduciary complies with all of the following:
(A) The fiduciary properly maintains the environmental compliance measures already in place at the facility;
(B) The fiduciary complies with the reporting requirements in the rules adopted under this chapter;
(C) The fiduciary complies with any order issued to the fiduciary by the department to abate an imminent or substantial endangerment;
(D) The fiduciary allows the department or potentially liable persons under an order, agreed order, or settlement agreement under this chapter access to the facility to conduct remedial actions and does not impede the conduct of such remedial actions;
(E) Any remedial actions conducted by the fiduciary are in compliance with any preexisting requirements identified by the department, or, if the department has not identified such requirements for the facility, the remedial actions are conducted consistent with the rules adopted under this chapter; and
(F) The fiduciary does not exacerbate an existing release.
The exemption in this subsection (12)(b)(iii) does not apply to fiduciaries who cause or contribute to a new release or threatened release or who are otherwise liable under RCW 70.105D.040(1) (b), (c), (d), and (e); provided however, that a fiduciary shall not lose this exemption if it establishes that any such new release has been remediated according to the requirements of this chapter and that any hazardous substances remaining at the facility after remediation of the new release are divisible from such new release. The exemption in this subsection (12)(b)(iii) also does not apply where the fiduciary's powers to comply with this subsection (12)(b)(iii) are limited by a governing instrument created with the objective purpose of avoiding liability under this chapter or of avoiding compliance with this chapter; or
(iv) Any person who has any ownership interest in, operates, or exercises control over real property where a hazardous substance has come to be located solely as a result of migration of the hazardous substance to the real property through the ground water from a source off the property, if:
(A) The person can demonstrate that the hazardous substance has not been used, placed, managed, or otherwise handled on the property in a manner likely to cause or contribute to a release of the hazardous substance that has migrated onto the property;
(B) The person has not caused or contributed to the release of the hazardous substance;
(C) The person does not engage in activities that damage or interfere with the operation of remedial actions installed on the person's property or engage in activities that result in exposure of humans or the environment to the contaminated ground water that has migrated onto the property;
(D) If requested, the person allows the department, potentially liable persons who are subject to an order, agreed order, or consent decree, and the authorized employees, agents, or contractors of each, access to the property to conduct remedial actions required by the department. The person may attempt to negotiate an access agreement before allowing access; and
(E) Legal withdrawal of ground water does not disqualify a person from the exemption in this subsection (12)(b)(iv).
(13) "Participation in management" means exercising decision-making control over the borrower's operation of the facility, environmental compliance, or assuming or manifesting responsibility for the overall management of the enterprise encompassing the day-to-day decision making of the enterprise.
The term does not include any of the following: (a) A holder with the mere capacity or ability to influence, or the unexercised right to control facility operations; (b) a holder who conducts or requires a borrower to conduct an environmental audit or an environmental site assessment at the facility for which indicia of ownership is held; (c) a holder who requires a borrower to come into compliance with any applicable laws or regulations at the facility for which indicia of ownership is held; (d) a holder who requires a borrower to conduct remedial actions including setting minimum requirements, but does not otherwise control or manage the borrower's remedial actions or the scope of the borrower's remedial actions except to prepare a facility for sale, transfer, or assignment; (e) a holder who engages in workout or policing activities primarily to protect the holder's security interest in the facility; (f) a holder who prepares a facility for sale, transfer, or assignment or requires a borrower to prepare a facility for sale, transfer, or assignment; (g) a holder who operates a facility primarily to protect a security interest, or requires a borrower to continue to operate, a facility primarily to protect a security interest; and (h) a prospective holder who, as a condition of becoming a holder, requires an owner or operator to conduct an environmental audit, conduct an environmental site assessment, come into compliance with any applicable laws or regulations, or conduct remedial actions prior to holding a security interest is not participating in the management of the facility.
(14) "Person" means an individual, firm, corporation, association, partnership, consortium, joint venture, commercial entity, state government agency, unit of local government, federal government agency, or Indian tribe.
(15) "Policing activities" means actions the holder takes to insure that the borrower complies with the terms of the loan or security interest or actions the holder takes or requires the borrower to take to maintain the value of the security. Policing activities include: Requiring the borrower to conduct remedial actions at the facility during the term of the security interest; requiring the borrower to comply or come into compliance with applicable federal, state, and local environmental and other laws, regulations, and permits during the term of the security interest; securing or exercising authority to monitor or inspect the facility including on-site inspections, or to monitor or inspect the borrower's business or financial condition during the term of the security interest; or taking other actions necessary to adequately police the loan or security interest such as requiring a borrower to comply with any warranties, covenants, conditions, representations, or promises from the borrower.
(16) "Potentially liable person" means any person whom the department finds, based on credible evidence, to be liable under RCW 70.105D.040. The department shall give notice to any such person and allow an opportunity for comment before making the finding, unless an emergency requires otherwise.
(17) "Prepare a facility for sale, transfer, or assignment" means to secure access to the facility; perform routine maintenance on the facility; remove inventory, equipment, or structures; properly maintain environmental compliance measures already in place at the facility; conduct remedial actions to clean up releases at the facility; or to perform other similar activities intended to preserve the value of the facility where the borrower has defaulted on the loan or otherwise breached the security agreement or after foreclosure and its equivalents and in anticipation of a pending sale, transfer, or assignment, primarily to protect the holder's security interest in the facility. A holder can prepare a facility for sale, transfer, or assignment for up to one year prior to foreclosure and its equivalents and still stay within the security interest exemption in subsection (12)(b)(ii) of this section.
(18) "Primarily to protect a security interest" means the indicia of ownership is held primarily for the purpose of securing payment or performance of an obligation. The term does not include indicia of ownership held primarily for investment purposes nor indicia of ownership held primarily for purposes other than as protection for a security interest. A holder may have other, secondary reasons, for maintaining indicia of ownership, but the primary reason must be for protection of a security interest. Holding indicia of ownership after foreclosure or its equivalents for longer than five years shall be considered to be holding the indicia of ownership for purposes other than primarily to protect a security interest. For facilities that have been acquired through foreclosure or its equivalents prior to July 23, 1995, this five-year period shall begin as of July 23, 1995.
(19) "Public notice" means, at a minimum, adequate notice mailed to all persons who have made timely request of the department and to persons residing in the potentially affected vicinity of the proposed action; mailed to appropriate news media; published in the newspaper of largest circulation in the city or county of the proposed action; and opportunity for interested persons to comment.
(20) "Release" means any intentional or unintentional entry of any hazardous substance into the environment, including but not limited to the abandonment or disposal of containers of hazardous substances.
(21) "Remedy" or "remedial action" means any action or expenditure consistent with the purposes of this chapter to identify, eliminate, or minimize any threat or potential threat posed by hazardous substances to human health or the environment including any investigative and monitoring activities with respect to any release or threatened release of a hazardous substance and any health assessments or health effects studies conducted in order to determine the risk or potential risk to human health.
(22) "Security interest" means an interest in a facility created or established for the purpose of securing a loan or other obligation. Security interests include deeds of trusts, sellers interest in a real estate contract, liens, legal, or equitable title to a facility acquired incident to foreclosure and its equivalents, and title pursuant to lease financing transactions. Security interests may also arise from transactions such as sale and leasebacks, conditional sales, installment sales, trust receipt transactions, certain assignments, factoring agreements, accounts receivable financing arrangements, easements, and consignments, if the transaction creates or establishes an interest in a facility for the purpose of securing a loan or other obligation.
(23) "Industrial properties" means properties that are or have been characterized by, or are to be committed to, traditional industrial uses such as processing or manufacturing of materials, marine terminal and transportation areas and facilities, fabrication, assembly, treatment, or distribution of manufactured products, or storage of bulk materials, that are either:
(a) Zoned for industrial use by a city or county conducting land use planning under chapter 36.70A RCW; or
(b) For counties not planning under chapter 36.70A RCW and the cities within them, zoned for industrial use and adjacent to properties currently used or designated for industrial purposes.
(24) "Workout activities" means those actions by which a holder, at any time prior to foreclosure and its equivalents, seeks to prevent, cure, or mitigate a default by the borrower or obligor; or to preserve, or prevent the diminution of, the value of the security. Workout activities include: Restructuring or renegotiating the terms of the security interest; requiring payment of additional rent or interest; exercising forbearance; requiring or exercising rights pursuant to an assignment of accounts or other amounts owed to an obligor; requiring or exercising rights pursuant to an escrow agreement pertaining to amounts owed to an obligor; providing specific or general financial or other advice, suggestions, counseling, or guidance; and exercising any right or remedy the holder is entitled to by law or under any warranties, covenants, conditions, representations, or promises from the borrower.
(25)(a) "Fiduciary" means a person acting for the benefit of another party as a bona fide trustee; executor; administrator; custodian; guardian of estates or guardian ad litem; receiver; conservator; committee of estates of incapacitated persons; trustee in bankruptcy; trustee, under an indenture agreement, trust agreement, lease, or similar financing agreement, for debt securities, certificates of interest or certificates of participation in debt securities, or other forms of indebtedness as to which the trustee is not, in the capacity of trustee, the lender. Except as provided in subsection (12)(b)(iii) of this section, the liability of a fiduciary under this chapter shall not exceed the assets held in the fiduciary capacity.
(b) "Fiduciary" does not mean:
(i) A person acting as a fiduciary with respect to a trust or other fiduciary estate that was organized for the primary purpose of, or is engaged in, actively carrying on a trade or business for profit, unless the trust or other fiduciary estate was created as part of, or to facilitate, one or more estate plans or because of the incapacity of a natural person;
(ii) A person who acquires ownership or control of a facility with the objective purpose of avoiding liability of the person or any other person. It is prima facie evidence that the fiduciary acquired ownership or control of the facility to avoid liability if the facility is the only substantial asset in the fiduciary estate at the time the facility became subject to the fiduciary estate;
(iii) A person who acts in a capacity other than that of a fiduciary or in a beneficiary capacity and in that capacity directly or indirectly benefits from a trust or fiduciary relationship;
(iv) A person who is a beneficiary and fiduciary with respect to the same fiduciary estate, and who while acting as a fiduciary receives benefits that exceed customary or reasonable compensation, and incidental benefits permitted under applicable law;
(v) A person who is a fiduciary and receives benefits that substantially exceed customary or reasonable compensation, and incidental benefits permitted under applicable law; or
(vi) A person who acts in the capacity of trustee of state or federal lands or resources.
(26) "Fiduciary capacity" means the capacity of a person holding title to a facility, or otherwise having control of an interest in the facility pursuant to the exercise of the responsibilities of the person as a fiduciary.
[2005 c 191 § 1; 1998 c 6 § 1; 1997 c 406 § 2; 1995 c 70 § 1; 1994 c 254 § 2; 1989 c 2 § 2 (Initiative Measure No. 97, approved November 8, 1988).]
Notes: Findings -- Intent -- 1997 c 406: "The legislature finds that:
(1) Engrossed Substitute House Bill No. 1810 enacted during the 1995 legislative session [1995 c 359] authorized establishment of the model toxics control act policy advisory committee, a twenty-two member committee representing a broad range of interests including the legislature, agriculture, large and small business, environmental organizations, and local and state government. The committee was charged with the task of providing advice to the legislature and the department of ecology to more effectively implement the model toxics control act, chapter 70.105D RCW.
(2) The committee members committed considerable time and effort to their charge, meeting twenty-six times during 1995 and 1996 to discuss and decide issues. In addition, the committee created four subcommittees that met over sixty times during this same period. There were also numerous working subgroups and drafting committees formed on an ad hoc basis to support the committee's work. Many members of the public also attended these meetings and were provided opportunities to contribute to the committee deliberations.
(3) The policy advisory committee completed its work and submitted a final report to the department of ecology and the legislature on December 15, 1996. That report contains numerous recommendations for statutory changes that were agreed to by consensus of the committee members or obtained broad support of most of the committee members. Chapter 406, Laws of 1997 is intended to implement those recommended statutory changes." [1997 c 406 § 1.]
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 wilful 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(7) 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, deed restrictions 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 a deed restriction under this subsection, the department shall notify and seek comment from a city or county department with land use planning authority for real property subject to a deed restriction;
(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(12)(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. 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) Before November 1st of each even-numbered year, the department shall develop, with public notice and hearing, and submit to the ways and means and appropriate standing environmental committees of the senate and house of representatives a ranked list of projects and expenditures recommended for appropriation from both the state and local toxics control accounts. The department shall also provide the legislature and the public each year with an accounting of the department's activities supported by appropriations from the state toxics control account, 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 top two management priorities under RCW 70.105.150, and all funds expended under this chapter.
(4) The department shall establish a scientific advisory board to render advice to the department with respect to the hazard ranking system, cleanup standards, remedial actions, deadlines for remedial actions, monitoring, the classification of substances as hazardous substances for purposes of RCW 70.105D.020(7) and the classification of substances or products as hazardous substances for purposes of RCW 82.21.020(1). The board shall consist of five independent members to serve staggered three-year terms. No members may be employees of the department. Members shall be reimbursed for travel expenses as provided in RCW 43.03.050 and 43.03.060.
(5) The department shall establish a program to identify potential hazardous waste sites and to encourage persons to provide information about hazardous waste sites.
[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).]
Notes: 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.
Findings -- Intent -- 1997 c 406: See note following RCW 70.105D.020.
Severability -- 1994 c 257: See note following RCW 36.70A.270.
Standard of liability — Settlement.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, the following persons are liable with respect to a facility:
(a) The owner or operator of the facility;
(b) Any person who owned or operated the facility at the time of disposal or release of the hazardous substances;
(c) Any person who owned or possessed a hazardous substance and who by contract, agreement, or otherwise arranged for disposal or treatment of the hazardous substance at the facility, or arranged with a transporter for transport for disposal or treatment of the hazardous substances at the facility, or otherwise generated hazardous wastes disposed of or treated at the facility;
(d) Any person (i) who accepts or accepted any hazardous substance for transport to a disposal, treatment, or other facility selected by such person from which there is a release or a threatened release for which remedial action is required, unless such facility, at the time of disposal or treatment, could legally receive such substance; or (ii) who accepts a hazardous substance for transport to such a facility and has reasonable grounds to believe that such facility is not operated in accordance with chapter 70.105 RCW; and
(e) Any person who both sells a hazardous substance and is responsible for written instructions for its use if (i) the substance is used according to the instructions and (ii) the use constitutes a release for which remedial action is required at the facility.
(2) Each person who is liable under this section is strictly liable, jointly and severally, for all remedial action costs and for all natural resource damages resulting from the releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances. The attorney general, at the request of the department, is empowered to recover all costs and damages from persons liable therefor.
(3) The following persons are not liable under this section:
(a) Any person who can establish that the release or threatened release of a hazardous substance for which the person would be otherwise responsible was caused solely by:
(i) An act of God;
(ii) An act of war; or
(iii) An act or omission of a third party (including but not limited to a trespasser) other than (A) an employee or agent of the person asserting the defense, or (B) any person whose act or omission occurs in connection with a contractual relationship existing, directly or indirectly, with the person asserting this defense to liability. This defense only applies where the person asserting the defense has exercised the utmost care with respect to the hazardous substance, the foreseeable acts or omissions of the third party, and the foreseeable consequences of those acts or omissions;
(b) Any person who is an owner, past owner, or purchaser of a facility and who can establish by a preponderance of the evidence that at the time the facility was acquired by the person, the person had no knowledge or reason to know that any hazardous substance, the release or threatened release of which has resulted in or contributed to the need for the remedial action, was released or disposed of on, in, or at the facility. This subsection (b) is limited as follows:
(i) To establish that a person had no reason to know, the person must have undertaken, at the time of acquisition, all appropriate inquiry into the previous ownership and uses of the property, consistent with good commercial or customary practice in an effort to minimize liability. Any court interpreting this subsection (b) shall take into account any specialized knowledge or experience on the part of the person, the relationship of the purchase price to the value of the property if uncontaminated, commonly known or reasonably ascertainable information about the property, the obviousness of the presence or likely presence of contamination at the property, and the ability to detect such contamination by appropriate inspection;
(ii) The defense contained in this subsection (b) is not available to any person who had actual knowledge of the release or threatened release of a hazardous substance when the person owned the real property and who subsequently transferred ownership of the property without first disclosing such knowledge to the transferee;
(iii) The defense contained in this subsection (b) is not available to any person who, by any act or omission, caused or contributed to the release or threatened release of a hazardous substance at the facility;
(c) Any natural person who uses a hazardous substance lawfully and without negligence for any personal or domestic purpose in or near a dwelling or accessory structure when that person is: (i) A resident of the dwelling; (ii) a person who, without compensation, assists the resident in the use of the substance; or (iii) a person who is employed by the resident, but who is not an independent contractor;
(d) Any person who, for the purpose of growing food crops, applies pesticides or fertilizers without negligence and in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
(4) There may be no settlement by the state with any person potentially liable under this chapter except in accordance with this section.
(a) The attorney general may agree to a settlement with any potentially liable person only if the department finds, after public notice and any required hearing, that the proposed settlement would lead to a more expeditious cleanup of hazardous substances in compliance with cleanup standards under RCW 70.105D.030(2)(e) and with any remedial orders issued by the department. Whenever practicable and in the public interest, the attorney general may expedite such a settlement with persons whose contribution is insignificant in amount and toxicity. A hearing shall be required only if at least ten persons request one or if the department determines a hearing is necessary.
(b) A settlement agreement under this section shall be entered as a consent decree issued by a court of competent jurisdiction.
(c) A settlement agreement may contain a covenant not to sue only of a scope commensurate with the settlement agreement in favor of any person with whom the attorney general has settled under this section. Any covenant not to sue shall contain a reopener clause which requires the court to amend the covenant not to sue if factors not known at the time of entry of the settlement agreement are discovered and present a previously unknown threat to human health or the environment.
(d) A party who has resolved its liability to the state under this section shall not be liable for claims for contribution regarding matters addressed in the settlement. The settlement does not discharge any of the other liable parties but it reduces the total potential liability of the others to the state by the amount of the settlement.
(e) If the state has entered into a consent decree with an owner or operator under this section, the state shall not enforce this chapter against any owner or operator who is a successor in interest to the settling party unless under the terms of the consent decree the state could enforce against the settling party, if:
(i) The successor owner or operator is liable with respect to the facility solely due to that person's ownership interest or operator status acquired as a successor in interest to the owner or operator with whom the state has entered into a consent decree; and
(ii) The stay of enforcement under this subsection does not apply if the consent decree was based on circumstances unique to the settling party that do not exist with regard to the successor in interest, such as financial hardship. For consent decrees entered into before July 27, 1997, at the request of a settling party or a potential successor owner or operator, the attorney general shall issue a written opinion on whether a consent decree contains such unique circumstances. For all other consent decrees, such unique circumstances shall be specified in the consent decree.
(f) Any person who is not subject to enforcement by the state under (e) of this subsection is not liable for claims for contribution regarding matters addressed in the settlement.
(5)(a) In addition to the settlement authority provided under subsection (4) of this section, the attorney general may agree to a settlement with a person not currently liable for remedial action at a facility who proposes to purchase, redevelop, or reuse the facility, provided that:
(i) The settlement will yield substantial new resources to facilitate cleanup;
(ii) The settlement will expedite remedial action consistent with the rules adopted under this chapter; and
(iii) Based on available information, the department determines that the redevelopment or reuse of the facility is not likely to contribute to the existing release or threatened release, interfere with remedial actions that may be needed at the site, or increase health risks to persons at or in the vicinity of the site.
(b) The legislature recognizes that the state does not have adequate resources to participate in all property transactions involving contaminated property. The primary purpose of this subsection (5) is to promote the cleanup and reuse of vacant or abandoned commercial or industrial contaminated property. The attorney general and the department may give priority to settlements that will provide a substantial public benefit, including, but not limited to the reuse of a vacant or abandoned manufacturing or industrial facility, or the development of a facility by a governmental entity to address an important public purpose.
(6) Nothing in this chapter affects or modifies in any way any person's right to seek or obtain relief under other statutes or under common law, including but not limited to damages for injury or loss resulting from a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance. No settlement by the department or remedial action ordered by a court or the department affects any person's right to obtain a remedy under common law or other statutes.
[1997 c 406 § 4; 1994 c 254 § 4; 1989 c 2 § 4 (Initiative Measure No. 97, approved November 8, 1988).]
Notes: Findings -- Intent -- 1997 c 406: See note following RCW 70.105D.020.
(1) With respect to any release, or threatened release, for which the department does not conduct or contract for conducting remedial action and for which the department believes remedial action is in the public interest, the director shall issue orders or agreed orders requiring potentially liable persons to provide the remedial action. Any liable person who refuses, without sufficient cause, to comply with an order or agreed order of the director is liable in an action brought by the attorney general for:
(a) Up to three times the amount of any costs incurred by the state as a result of the party's refusal to comply; and
(b) A civil penalty of up to twenty-five thousand dollars for each day the party refuses to comply.
The treble damages and civil penalty under this subsection apply to all recovery actions filed on or after March 1, 1989.
(2) Any person who incurs costs complying with an order issued under subsection (1) of this section may petition the department for reimbursement of those costs. If the department refuses to grant reimbursement, the person may within thirty days thereafter file suit and recover costs by provingthat he or she was not a liable person under RCW 70.105D.040 and that the costs incurred were reasonable. (continued)