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Hazardous Waste Cleanup Bureau

Photo of reclaimed meadow.

The Hazardous Waste Cleanup Bureau plans, implements, and oversees remedial actions at facilities with hazardous or deleterious substance (e.g. petroleum) releases. These typically occur at commercial and industrial facilities, transportation facilities, municipal landfills, and similar facilities (e.g., leaking underground storage tank [UST] facilities, railroad facilities, refineries, tank farms, bulk plants, wood-treating plants, dry cleaning or auto repair facilities, and metal-plating facilities). The Bureau uses legal authorities under the Montana Comprehensive Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act (CECRA), the Montana Underground Storage Tank Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Montana Water Quality Act .

The Bureau is organized into three primary workgroups. The Petroleum Tank Cleanup Section oversees petroleum releases from USTs and above-ground storage tanks. The State Superfund Unit oversees all other releases of hazardous or deleterious substances, except abandoned mine land (AML) or National Priority List (NPL) facilities. The Federal Facilities and Brownfields Section manages cleanup at federally-owned facilities and assists with the development or redevelopment of properties with environmental challenges.

The Hazardous Waste Cleanup Bureau is responsible for determining whether a particular hazardous or deleterious substance release, or threat of release, poses an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment, and ranks facilities with releases according to this risk. The ranking data is used to allocate the Bureau's resources for addressing various problems with the goal of reducing or eliminating threats to public health, safety and welfare, and the environment. This Bureau has a key role in DEQ’s efforts to revise and implement new rules and guidelines for remedial actions at petroleum-contaminated facilities to provide for risk-based corrective action (RBCA). Bureau staff assess historical, operational, and ownership information to determine persons that may be responsible for cleanup.

This Bureau works with the Petroleum Tank Release Compensation Board to identify and reimburse reasonable and necessary costs incurred from investigating and cleaning up petroleum releases from USTs. The Board determines eligibility for sites that request reimbursement from the Petroleum Tank Release Cleanup Fund.

To complement the Remediation Division's technical resources, this Bureau often hires technical consultants, construction contractors, or university researchers to assist with field studies and remedial design; to oversee and implement remedial actions; and to conduct risk assessment, laboratory analyses, and technology development. Contracted services are generally sought to assist with investigation and cleanup of facilities being addressed under CECRA or the Leaking Underground Storage Tank (LUST) Trust Fund when PLPs are absent, insolvent, or recalcitrant.