Site Closures Without Remediation In Indiana

Big changes have taken place in Indiana for contaminated sites seeking closure through any of the regulatory programs at IDEM (Indiana Department of Environmental Management). Closure of sites with releases of hazardous substances and/or petroleum products can now be achieved using consistent risk-based regulations that could allow all contamination to remain in place under certain circumstances.

Pictured: Removal of an 8,000-gallon leaking underground storage tank in Munster, Indiana.

The general concept of a risk-based approach to closure has been available for use in Indiana for about 20 years but it has changed significantly over time and was not consistently applied throughout its various regulatory programs. As of July 8, 2022, the Risk-based Closure Guide replaces the various iterations of risk-based closure, previously known as Remediation Closure Guide (RCG) and Risk Integrated System of Closure (RISC). This newly implemented second revision is referred to as “R2”, and focuses less on “Remediation” and more on “Risk”.

The R2 sets forth a framework for characterizing releases, evaluating risk, and implementing remedies to adequately control contaminated media allowing for closure without the need for soil or groundwater cleanup and/or extended groundwater monitoring. Such remedies include:

  • ERCs (Environmental Restrictive Covenants) are deed restrictions or restrictive covenants that limit land use to protect human health and the environment while allowing contamination to remain in-place.
  • EROs (Environmental Restrictive Ordinances) are any ordinances with respect to land adopted by a municipal corporation (City, Town, or County) that control the use of groundwater to protect human health and the environment from exposure to contamination that is allowed to remain in-place.

IDEM has also developed a new state form, namely “Acknowledgement of Reliance Upon Ordinance to Control Access to Groundwater”, specifically to allow EROs as a component of a risk-based approach to closure. This effectively eliminates years of quarterly groundwater monitoring and no longer requires deed restrictions for individual off-site properties which were typically viewed as onerous and impractical obstacles to closure.

Closing sites with R2 reduces assessment costs, remedial costs, time to closure, and can now more easily facilitate real estate transactions of contaminated properties without the uncertainty of prolonged groundwater monitoring previously required. If you currently own or plan to purchase contaminated property in Indiana, contact PIONEER and let our 30+ years of focused expertise and proven track record determine the most cost-effective and practical remedy to obtain site closure.

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