Remedial investigation and feasibility study.

(1) Purpose. The purpose of a remedial investigation/feasibility study is to collect, develop, and evaluate sufficient information regarding a site to select a cleanup action under WAC 173-340-360 through 173-340-390.
(2) Timing. Unless otherwise directed by the department, a remedial investigation/feasibility study shall be completed before selecting a cleanup action under WAC 173-340-360 through 173-340-390, except for an emergency or interim action.
(3) Administrative options. A remedial investigation/feasibility study may be conducted under any of the procedures described in WAC 173-340-510 and 173-340-515.
(4) Submittal requirements. For a remedial action conducted by the department or under a decree or order, a report shall be prepared at the completion of the remedial investigation/feasibility study. Additionally, the department may require reports to be submitted for discrete elements of the remedial investigation/feasibility study. Reports prepared under this section and under an order or decree shall be submitted to the department for review and approval. See also subsection (7)(c)(iv) of this section for information on the sampling and analysis plan and the safety and health plan. See WAC 173-340-515(4) for submittal requirements for independent remedial actions.
(5) Public participation. Public participation will be accomplished in a manner consistent with WAC 173-340-600.
(6) Scope. The scope of a remedial investigation/feasibility study varies from site to site, depending on the informational and analytical needs of the specific facility. This requires that the process remain flexible and be streamlined when possible to avoid the collection and evaluation of unnecessary information so that the cleanup can proceed in a timely manner. Where information required in subsections (7)(c) and (8)(c) of this section is available in other documents for the site, that information may be incorporated by reference to avoid unnecessary duplication. However, in all cases sufficient information must be collected, developed, and evaluated to enable the selection of a cleanup action under WAC 173-340-360 through 173-340-390. In addition, for facilities on the federal national priorities list, a remedial investigation/feasibility study shall comply with federal requirements.
(7) Procedures for conducting a remedial investigation.
(a) Purpose. The purpose of the remedial investigation is to collect data necessary to adequately characterize the site for the purpose of developing and evaluating cleanup action alternatives. Site characterization may be conducted in one or more phases to focus sampling efforts and increase the efficiency of the remedial investigation. Site characterization activities may be integrated with the development and evaluation of alternatives in the feasibility study, as appropriate.
(b) Scoping activities. To focus the collection of data and to assist the department in making the preliminary evaluation required under the State Environmental Policy Act (see WAC 197-11-256), the following scoping activities may be taken before conducting a remedial investigation:
(i) Assemble and evaluate existing data on the site, including the results of any interim or emergency actions, initial investigations, site hazard assessments, and other site inspections;
(ii) Develop a preliminary conceptual site model as defined in WAC 173-340-200;
(iii) Begin to identify likely cleanup levels for the site;
(iv) Begin to identify likely cleanup action components that may address the releases at the site;
(v) Consider the type, quality and quantity of data necessary to support selection of a cleanup action; and
(vi) Begin to identify likely applicable state and federal laws under WAC 173-340-710.
(c) Content. A remedial investigation shall include the following information as appropriate:
(i) General facility information. General information, including: Project title; name, address, and phone number of project coordinator; legal description of the facility location; dimensions of the facility; present owner and operator; chronological listing of past owners and operators and operational history; and other pertinent information.
(ii) Site conditions map. An existing site conditions map that illustrates relevant current site features such as property boundaries, proposed facility boundaries, surface topography, surface and subsurface structures, utility lines, well locations, and other pertinent information.
(iii) Field investigations. Sufficient investigations to characterize the distribution of hazardous substances present at the site, and threat to human health and the environment. Where applicable to the site, these investigations shall address the following:
(A) Surface water and sediments. Investigations of surface water and sediments to characterize significant hydrologic features such as: Surface drainage patterns and quantities, areas of erosion and sediment deposition, surface waters, floodplains, and actual or potential hazardous substance migration routes towards and within these features. Sufficient surface water and sediment sampling shall be performed to adequately characterize the areal and vertical distribution and concentrations of hazardous substances. Properties of surface and subsurface sediments that are likely to influence the type and rate of hazardous substance migration, or are likely to affect the ability to implement alternative cleanup actions shall be characterized.
(B) Soils. Investigations to adequately characterize the areal and vertical distribution and concentrations of hazardous substances in the soil due to the release. Properties of surface and subsurface soils that are likely to influence the type and rate of hazardous substance migration, or which are likely to affect the ability to implement alternative cleanup actions shall be characterized.
(C) Geology and groundwater system characteristics. Investigations of site geology and hydrogeology to adequately characterize the areal and vertical distribution and concentrations of hazardous substances in the groundwater and those features which affect the fate and transport of these hazardous substances. This shall include, as appropriate, the description, physical properties and distribution of bedrock and unconsolidated materials; groundwater flow rate and gradient for affected and potentially affected groundwaters; groundwater divides; areas of groundwater recharge and discharge; location of public and private production wells; and groundwater quality data.
(D) Air. An evaluation of air quality impacts, including sampling, where appropriate, and information regarding local and regional climatological characteristics which are likely to affect the hazardous substance migration such as seasonal patterns of rainfall, the magnitude and frequency of significant storm events, temperature extremes, prevailing wind direction, variations in barometric pressure, and wind velocity.
(E) Land use. Information regarding present and proposed land and resource uses and zoning for the site and potentially affected areas and information characterizing human and ecological populations that are reasonably likely to be exposed or potentially exposed to the release based on such use.
(F) Natural resources and ecological receptors.
(I) Information to determine the impact or potential impact of the hazardous substance from the facility on natural resources and ecological receptors, including any information needed to conduct a terrestrial ecological evaluation, under WAC 173-340-7492 or 173-340-7493, or to establish an exclusion under WAC 173-340-7491.
(II) Where appropriate, a terrestrial ecological evaluation may be conducted so as to avoid duplicative studies of soil contamination that will be remediated to address other concerns, such as protection of human health. This may be accomplished by evaluating residual threats to the environment after cleanup action alternatives for human health protection have been developed. If this approach is used, the remedial investigation may be phased. Examples of sites where this approach may not be appropriate include: A site contaminated with a hazardous substance that is primarily an ecological concern and will not obviously be addressed by the cleanup action for the protection of human health, such as zinc; or a site where the development of a human health based remedy is expected to be a lengthy process, and postponing the terrestrial ecological evaluation would cause further harm to the environment.
(III) If it is determined that a simplified or site-specific terrestrial ecological evaluation is not required under WAC 173-340-7491, the basis for this determination shall be included in the remedial investigation report.
(G) Hazardous substance sources. A description of and sufficient sampling to define the location, quantity, areal and vertical extent, concentration within and sources of releases. Where relevant, information on the physical and chemical characteristics, and the biological effects of hazardous substances shall be provided.
(H) Regulatory classifications. Regulatory designations classifying affected air, surface water and groundwater, if any.
(iv) Workplans. A safety and health plan and a sampling and analysis plan shall be prepared as part of the remedial investigation/feasibility study. These plans shall conform to the requirements specified in WAC 173-340-810 and 173-340-820.
(v) Other information. Other information may be required by the department.
(8) Procedures for conducting a feasibility study.
(a) Purpose. The purpose of the feasibility study is to develop and evaluate cleanup action alternatives to enable a cleanup action to be selected for the site. If concentrations of hazardous substances do not exceed the cleanup level at a standard point of compliance, no further action is necessary.
(b) Screening of alternatives. An initial screening of alternatives to reduce the number of alternatives for the final detailed evaluation may be appropriate. The person conducting the feasibility study may initially propose cleanup action alternatives or components to be screened from detailed evaluation. The department shall make the final determination of which alternatives must be evaluated in the feasibility study. The following cleanup action alternatives or components may be eliminated from the feasibility study:
(i) Alternatives that, based on a preliminary analysis, the department determines so clearly do not meet the minimum requirements specified in WAC 173-340-360 that a more detailed analysis is unnecessary. This includes those alternatives for which costs are clearly disproportionate under WAC 173-340-360 (3)(e); and
(ii) Alternatives or components that are not technically possible at the site.
(c) Content. A feasibility study shall include the following information as appropriate.
(i) General requirements.
(A) The feasibility study shall include cleanup action alternatives that protect human health and the environment (including, as appropriate, aquatic and terrestrial ecological receptors) by eliminating, reducing, or otherwise controlling risks posed through each exposure pathway and migration route.
(B) A reasonable number and type of alternatives shall be evaluated, taking into account the characteristics and complexity of the facility, including current site conditions and physical constraints.
(C) Each alternative may consist of one or more cleanup action components, including, but not limited to, components that reuse or recycle the hazardous substances, destroy or detoxify the hazardous substances, immobilize or solidify the hazardous substances, provide for on-site or offsite disposal of the hazardous substances in an engineered, lined and monitored facility, on-site isolation or containment of the hazardous substances with attendant engineering controls, and institutional controls and monitoring.
(D) Alternatives may, as appropriate, include remediation levels to define when particular cleanup action components will be used. Alternatives may also include different remediation levels for the same component. For example, alternatives that excavate and treat soils at varying concentrations may be appropriate to evaluate. See WAC 173-340-355 for detailed information on establishing potential remediation levels to be evaluated in the feasibility study.
(E) If necessary, evaluate the residual threats that would accompany each alternative and determine if remedies that are protective of human health will also be protective of ecological receptors. See subsection (7)(c)(iii)(F) of this section.
(F) The feasibility study shall include alternatives with the standard point of compliance for each environmental media containing hazardous substances, unless those alternatives have been eliminated under (b) of this subsection, and may include, as appropriate, alternatives with conditional points of compliance.
(G) Each alternative shall be evaluated on the basis of the requirements and the criteria specified in WAC 173-340-360.
(H) A preferred cleanup action may be identified in the feasibility study, where appropriate.
(I) Other information may be required by the department.
(ii) Permanent alternatives.
(A) Except as provided in (c)(ii)(B) of this subsection, the feasibility study shall include at least one permanent cleanup action alternative, as defined in WAC 173-340-200, to serve as a baseline against which other alternatives shall be evaluated for the purpose of determining whether the cleanup action selected is permanent to the maximum extent practicable. The most practicable permanent cleanup action alternative shall be included.
(B) The feasibility study does not need to include a permanent cleanup action alternative under any of the following circumstances:
(I) Where a model remedy is the selected cleanup action;
(II) Where a permanent cleanup action alternative is not technically possible; or
(III) Where the cost of the most practicable permanent cleanup action alternative is so clearly disproportionate that a more detailed analysis is not necessary, as determined through the screening process in (b)(i) of this subsection.
(9) Additional requirements.
(a) Cleanup levels. Unless otherwise specified under this chapter, cleanup levels shall be established for hazardous substances in each medium and for each pathway where a release has occurred, using WAC 173-340-700 through 173-340-760. These are typically initially established during the scoping of the remedial investigation and may be further refined during the remedial investigation and/or feasibility study.
(b) Compliance with other laws. The department may require that a remedial investigation/feasibility study include additional information or analyses to comply with the State Environmental Policy Act or other applicable laws. This includes information necessary to make a threshold determination (see WAC 197-11-335(1)), or information necessary to integrate the remedial investigation/feasibility study with an environmental impact statement (see WAC 197-11-262).
(c) Treatability studies. The department may require treatability studies as necessary to provide sufficient information to develop and evaluate cleanup action alternatives for a site.
(d) Other information. Other information may be required by the department.
[Statutory Authority: Chapter 70.105D RCW. WSR 01-05-024 (Order 97-09A), § 173-340-350, filed 2/12/01, effective 8/15/01; WSR 91-04-019, § 173-340-350, filed 1/28/91, effective 2/28/91; WSR 90-08-086, § 173-340-350, filed 4/3/90, effective 5/4/90.]
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