Changes to the Voluntary Cleanup Program Application

The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) Application was updated in November 2012.  Many of the changes were cosmetic (the Application was made “prettier” and easier to read) or made completing the application easier (use of a Microsoft Word Form).  There were, however, some noteworthy changes to the language and substance of the Application:

  1. The VCP was formed in 1997 to provide State oversight for voluntary cleanups of properties contaminated with hazardous substances.  In 2004 the Maryland legislature modified certain VCP requirements which allowed oil contaminated properties to be eligible for the VCP.  Prior to this update, the Application did not include oil contaminated properties. This change simply brings the Application into agreement with the Regulation through the addition of the phrase “and oil” to the Application Review and Approval Section on page 1 of the Application.

    [Note: This is the only place in the Application that the change was made.  Arc Environmental brought it to the attention of the VCP that the definitions of “No Further Requirements Determination” and “Responsible Person” in Sections IV and V of the Application, respectively, should also be updated to include oil contaminated properties.  The VCP has indicated this change will be made to the next revision of the Application, which is expected early this year.]
  1. A new Future Property Use, Tier 4 (Public Recreational Areas), was added.  This is not only a change to the Application, but also a change in the way VCP will evaluate certain properties.  This new category allows for the planned use of the property by all populations for recreational purposes, and there are three subcategories which are based on the expected frequency of use: High, Medium, and Low Frequency Use.  The new Recreation Property Use falls somewhere between the existing Residential and Commercial Property Uses in terms of the expected duration of exposure (how much time is spent at the property) and which populations are expected to access the property. These variables effect the outcome of the risk assessment which the VCP utilizes to determine if a property will qualify for a No Further Requirements Determination (NFRD) or if a Response Action Plan (RAP) must be completed prior to issuance of a Certificate of Completion (COC).

    The definition of a High Frequency Use Recreation Area gives examples which include day care facilities and schools.  These are not typically thought of as recreation areas and historically VCP has called these residential land uses.  But, because the frequency of use for these types of facilities is less than a Residential property and more than a Commercial property they qualify for the new Tier 4 Property Use.
  1. The Certification of Property Ownership and the Certification of Position Regarding Environmental Contamination on the Inculpable Person Affidavit were updated to reference the applicable Sections of the Environmental Article.  The definition of a person who holds 10% or greater interest in an entity was changed from “shareholder” to “owner” in the Certification Regarding Related Entities section of the Inculpable Person Affidavit.
  1. Additional minor changes were made to the VCP Application Checklist.  Several of the Checklist questions were consolidated from the previous Application and two questions were added.  The added questions request documentation regarding an interview with the User of the Environmental Site Assessment to identify environmental liens and documentation of other regulatory programs that have involvement with the property.

The VCP has indicated they will issue another revision of the Application early this year that will correct some omissions and errata, and will remove Jim Henry as the contact person for the Department of Business and Economic Development.

For more information about the Voluntary Cleanup Program and application process, contact Christie Pulvino at 410-659-9971, cpulvino@arcenvironmental.com.