Through the Site Cleanup Program (SCP), formerly the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), provides oversight of environmental investigations and cleanup of contaminated sites that are not contaminated as a result of an underground storage tank (UST) release (as of July 1, 2015, EH is no longer certified as a Local Oversight Program [LOP] and all open LOP cases were transferred to the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board [CCRWQCB]). In accordance with Santa Cruz County Code (Chapter 7.100), “any person who has knowledge or observes any release of a hazardous materials which he/she knows or reasonably suspects to be unauthorized shall report the known or suspected instance of unauthorized release to the Health Officer immediately or as soon as practically possible.” EH staff review and manage all projects in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements and industry practices. Oversight activities include:
- Review of Phase I and Phase II investigations, site assessment and remediation workplans
- Review of project reports
- Review of required monitoring and sampling operations
- Inspection and oversight of field investigations and remediation and/or mitigation activities, including verification monitoring
- Planning/Building Department requirements and land use change requirements for review of potential contamination impacts
- Analysis of sampling data
- Evaluations of potential risks
- Establishment of site cleanup criteria
When site conditions meet state and local cleanup criteria, and it is demonstrated that conditions do not pose a threat to human health or the environment, a Site Closure/No Further Action (NFA) letter is issued by ECP.
ECP Application Information and Requirements:
- To initiate the process, interested responsible parties (RP) are encouraged to contact CSCEHD ECP staff directly to discuss project(s) before formally applying for regulatory oversight. The SCP requires RPs enter into a Remedial Action Agreement (RAA). The RAA must be in place before the CSCEHD ECP begins regulatory oversight of a project. A site-specific RAA will be created after the CSCEDH ECP staff receives the initial ECP Application and after all notifications have been made.
- Submit a completed ECP Application to CSCEHD along with electronic and paper copies of all documents relating to the assessment and/or remediation to be conducted at the site. All documents containing geologic interpretation and/or contaminant migration interpretations must be signed by an experienced professional with the appropriate California engineering or geologic registration or certification. For more information on document submittal requirements please see our ECP Standards.
- A non-refundable fee for the first four hours of preliminary review will be collected to determine if the project can have oversight by the ECP. Fees are based on the current hourly rate as specified in CSCEHD fee schedule.
- If the source of the contamination does not appear to be an identifiable UST and a remedial action case does not appear to have been opened by another agency, the California Health and Safety Code Sections 101480 through 101490 authorize the local agencies to enter into voluntary agreements for the oversight of remedial action at contaminated sites. CSCEHD considers this approach to be the most efficient for all parties on this type of case because it allows motivated parties who can fund site cleanup to conduct assessment and mitigation of contaminated sites. Upon determination of eligibility for local oversight, the ECP staff will notify the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (CCRWQCB) of intent to oversee the case. If either agency opts to oversee the case, they will notify the ECP staff within 10 business days (update to 30 days in accordance with AB 304, signed 10/8/21) and the case will be transferred to the appropriate agency.
- Oversight activities will be initiated once the 10-day notification period is complete, and an additional deposit is received. This deposit covers the first ten hours of oversight time. If more time beyond the initial 10 hours is necessary, additional payment will be required for oversight to continue. As the cleanup project continues, additional payment reimbursements for ECP staff oversight will be required. Projects will be reviewed quarterly for billing purposes. Applicant will be notified of additional balances to be reconciled. Agency oversight or issuance of a No Further Action (NFA) letter will not be provided until all billable hours have been reconciled.
- Under certain circumstances, the applicant or ECP staff may withdraw from the oversight agreement at any time prior to the issuance of an NFA letter. If the agreement is canceled, the case will be referred to the appropriate state agency for oversight.
- After determining that the RP has completed the necessary site assessment and remediation work, the CSCEHD ECP staff will provide the RP with a Site Closure/NFA letter, which will describe the activities conducted at the site and will confirm, based upon available data, that residual contamination at the site does not pose a continuing significant threat to groundwater resources, human health, safety or the environment.
The goal of the CSCEHD’s ECP is to work collaboratively with stakeholders to facilitate more efficient and effective site cleanup. We look forward to working with you on this project and encourage your regular communication and involvement to achieve environmental site closure as quickly and efficiently as possible. If you have any non-site-specific questions and/or want more information about the SCP, please contact the CSCEHD at (831) 454-20221 or EnvironmentalHealth@santacruzcounty.us.