57th Legislature

                      2002 Regular Session


Passed by the House March 11, 2002

  Yeas 93   Nays 0




Speaker of the House of Representatives







Passed by the Senate March 7, 2002

  Yeas 48   Nays 0



I, Cynthia Zehnder, Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives of the State of Washington, do hereby certify that the attached is ENGROSSED SUBSTITUTE HOUSE BILL 1411  as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate on the dates hereon set forth.




                          Chief Clerk






President of the Senate




Approved Place Style On Codes above, and Style Off Codes below.               




Governor of the State of Washington

                   Secretary of State

                  State of Washington






                     AS AMENDED BY THE SENATE


             Passed Legislature - 2002 Regular Session


State of Washington      57th Legislature     2002 Regular Session


By House Committee on Agriculture & Ecology (originally sponsored by Representatives Veloria, Pennington, Cody, Campbell, Romero, Kenney, Keiser, Schual‑Berke, Santos, Dunn, Linville, Boldt, Tokuda, Kagi, Cooper, McIntire and Rockefeller)


Read first time 02/08/2002.  Referred to Committee on .

Providing public notice of releases of hazardous substances.   

    AN ACT Relating to public notification of releases of hazardous substances; amending RCW 70.105D.010, 70.105D.030, and 70.105D.050; adding a new section to chapter 70.105D RCW; prescribing penalties; and providing an effective date.




    Sec. 1.  RCW 70.105D.010 and 1994 c 254 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:

    (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.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 2.  A new section is added to chapter 70.105D RCW to read as follows:

    (1) Except as provided in subsection (5) of this section, any owner or operator of a facility that is actively transitioning from operating under a federal permit for treatment, storage, or disposal of hazardous waste issued under 42 U.S.C. Sec. 6925 to operating under the provisions of this chapter, who has information that a hazardous substance has been released to the environment at the owner or operator's facility that may be a threat to human health or the environment, shall issue a notice to the department within ninety days.  The notice shall include a description of any remedial actions planned, completed, or underway.

    (2) The notice must be posted in a visible, publicly accessible location on the facility, to remain in place until all remedial actions except confirmational monitoring are complete.

    (3) After receiving the notice from the facility, the department must review the notice and mail a summary of its contents, along with any additional information deemed appropriate by the department, to:

    (a) Each residence and landowner of a residence whose property boundary is within three hundred feet of the boundary of the property where the release occurred or if the release occurred from a pipeline or other facility that does not have a property boundary, within three hundred feet of the actual release;

    (b) Each business and landowner of a business whose property boundary is within three hundred feet of the boundary of the property where the release occurred;

    (c) Each residence, landowner of a residence, and business with a property boundary within the area where hazardous substances have come to be located as a result of the release;

    (d) Neighborhood associations and community organizations representing an area within one mile of the facility and recognized by the city or county with jurisdiction within this area;

    (e) The city, county, and local health district with jurisdiction within the areas described in (a), (b), and (c) of this subsection; and

    (f) The department of health.

    (4) A notice produced by a facility shall provide the following information:

    (a) The common name of any hazardous substances released and, if available, the chemical abstract service registry number of these substances;

    (b) The address of the facility where the release occurred;

    (c) The date the release was discovered;

    (d) The cause and date of the release, if known;

    (e) The remedial actions being taken or planned to address the release;

    (f) The potential health and environmental effects of the hazardous substances released; and

    (g) The name, address, and telephone number of a contact person at the facility where the release occurred.

    (5) The following releases are exempt from the notification requirements in this section:

    (a) Application of pesticides and fertilizers for their intended purposes and according to label instructions;

    (b) The lawful and nonnegligent use of hazardous household substances by a natural person for personal or domestic purposes;

    (c) The discharge of hazardous substances in compliance with permits issued under chapter 70.94, 90.48, or 90.56 RCW;

    (d) De minimis amounts of any hazardous substance leaked or discharged onto the ground;

    (e) The discharge of hazardous substances to a permitted waste water treatment facility or from a permitted waste water collection system or treatment facility as allowed by a facility's discharge permit;

    (f) Any releases originating from a single-family or multifamily residence, including but not limited to the discharge of oil from a residential home heating oil tank with the capacity of five hundred gallons or less;

    (g) Any spill on a public road, street, or highway or to surface waters of the state that has previously been reported to the United States coast guard and the state division of emergency management under chapter 90.56 RCW;

    (h) Any release of hazardous substances to the air;

    (i) Any release that occurs on agricultural land, including land used to grow trees for the commercial production of wood or wood fiber, that is at least five acres in size, when the effects of the release do not come within three hundred feet of any property boundary.  For the purposes of this subsection, agricultural land includes incidental uses that are compatible with agricultural or silvicultural purposes, including, but not limited to, land used for the housing of the owner, operator, or employees, structures used for the storage or repair of equipment, machinery, and chemicals, and any paths or roads on the land; and

    (j) Releases that, before the effective date of this section, have been previously reported to the department, or remediated in compliance with a settlement agreement under RCW 70.105D.040(4) or enforcement order or agreed order issued under this chapter or have been the subject of an opinion from the department under RCW 70.105D.030(1)(i) that no further remedial action is required.

    An exemption from the notification requirements of this section does not exempt the owner or operator of a facility from any other notification or reporting requirements, or imply a release from liability under this chapter.

    (6) If a significant segment of the community to be notified speaks a language other than English, an appropriate translation of the notice must also be posted and mailed to the department in accordance with the requirements of this section.

    (7) The facility where the release occurred is responsible for reimbursing the department within thirty days for the actual costs associated with the production and mailing of the notices under this section.


    Sec. 3.  RCW 70.105D.030 and 2001 c 291 s 401 are each amended to read as follows:

    (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 section 2 of this act, 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.


    Sec. 4.  RCW 70.105D.050 and 1994 c 257 s 12 are each amended to read as follows:

    (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 proving that he or she was not a liable person under RCW 70.105D.040 and that the costs incurred were reasonable.

    (3) The attorney general shall seek, by filing an action if necessary, to recover the amounts spent by the department for investigative and remedial actions and orders, and agreed orders, including amounts spent prior to March 1, 1989.

    (4) The attorney general may bring an action to secure such relief as is necessary to protect human health and the environment under this chapter.

    (5)(a) Any person may commence a civil action to compel the department to perform any nondiscretionary duty under this chapter.  At least thirty days before commencing the action, the person must give notice of intent to sue, unless a substantial endangerment exists.  The court may award attorneys' fees and other costs to the prevailing party in the action.

    (b) Civil actions under this section and RCW 70.105D.060 may be brought in the superior court of Thurston county or of the county in which the release or threatened release exists.

    (6) Any person who fails to provide notification of releases consistent with section 2 of this act or who submits false information is liable in an action brought by the attorney general for a civil penalty of up to five thousand dollars per day for each day the party refuses to comply.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 5.  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.


    NEW SECTION.  Sec. 6.  Sections 2 through 4 of this act take effect January 1, 2003.


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