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[Portal ID #1988]

MTCA Cleanup Rule

Summary of the project


Updating the MTCA Cleanup Rule: 
Stakeholder & Tribal Advisory Group (STAG)


Ecology has shared preliminary draft rule language from the first rule making (2018-2021) for following focal topics:

  • Site discovery and reporting (Section 300)
  • Initial Investigation, Site Hazard Assessment, Listing and Delisting (Sections 310-330)
  • Biennial program plans and expenditures (Section 340)
  • Leaking Underground Storage Tanks (Section 450)
  • Remedy selection: Remedial investigation, feasibility study and disproportionate cost analysis (Sections 350-370)

Website updated 11-18-2020.  Most recent additions in bold:


What is the Stakeholder & Tribal Advisory Group?

The Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) Cleanup Rule Stakeholder and Tribal Advisory Group (STAG) is a group of 22 key stakeholders and representatives of tribal interests who have practical experience with contaminated site cleanups in Washington state.  Check out the member roster.

Contaminated site cleanups are driven by Washington's environmental cleanup law and regulations--the Model Toxics Control Act and the MTCA Cleanup Rule.  Both law and rule set standards that help ensure cleanups protect your health and environment. 

The Cleanup Rule hasn't been fully updated since 2001.  In December 2018, the Washington State Department of Ecology began a multi-year process to update it and we recruited the advisory group to help. 

What will this group do?

  • STAG Meeting Workplan 2019–2020
  • Provide diverse perspectives, advice, and feedback as Ecology staff update the Cleanup Rule over the next few years.  Learn about the rulemaking plan, below.
  • Serve as ambassadors who represent the diverse interests and concerns of their organizations or communities.
  • Build a shared understanding of the rulemaking process, options, and emerging proposals.
  • Meet in Bellevue, WA, and meet online via Zoom webinar, about 12 times between September 2019 and December 2022. 
  • Reimbursement for travel expenses will be possible for those outside the Seattle/Bellevue metropolitan area.
  • Read the STAG charter.

What do STAG members have in common?  

  • Real-world experience with the MTCA cleanup process, including consultants, site owners or operators, public managers, and members of affected communities.
  • An interest in making improvements to the Cleanup Rule and willingness to work within MTCA's fundamental statutory framework.
  • Experience working successfully and collaboratively in an advisory group setting.
  • Ability to serve through at least the first and second rulemakings through 2022, and participate in up to 12 STAG meetings in Bellevue, WA, during that time.
  • A willingness to reach out to their organization or constituency, keep them informed, and bring their constituency's ideas and advice back to the table.

Why is STAG input vital for updating the MTCA Cleanup Rule?

There are more than 13,300 contaminated sites in Washington. 7,000 of these sites have been cleaned up, but 200 to 300 new ones are discovered and reported each year. It will be critical to gather input from diverse voices, perspectives, and geographic areas as we update the rule. We'll be seeking STAG input such as language changes to make the rule easier to understand; process changes to make cleanups more efficient, and (during the 2nd rulemaking) input on changes to the cleanup standards themselves.  


When will the group meet during the First Rulemaking?

Sept 25, 2019 (Wed) (Kickoff) Agenda No. 1 Notes 09-25-2019  Embassy Suites, Bellevue WA
Nov 21, 2019 (Thurs) Agenda No. 2 Notes 11-21-2020  Embassy Suites, Bellevue WA
Jan 30, 2020 (Thurs) Agenda No. 3 TBD Embassy Suites, Bellevue WA
March 5, 2020 (Thurs) Agenda No. 4 TBD Embassy Suites, Bellevue WA
May 28, 2020 (Thurs) Agenda No. 5A TBD Zoom
June 8, 2020 (Mon) Agenda No. 5B TBD Zoom
June 25, 2020 (Thurs) Agenda No. 5C TBD Zoom


Five STAG meetings are planned for the first rulemaking.  Please note that meeting dates are subject to change based on factors beyond our control, such as changes to the economic review schedule in mid-2020.  Watch for schedule updates on this page and the Cleanup Rulemaking webpage--Chapter 173-340 WAC.  See more details in the STAG Meeting Workplan 2019–2020.


How does Ecology plan to update the Cleanup Rule?

We plan to update the rule in three stages (called “rulemakings”) through 2027:

  1. In the first rulemaking (underway now through 2020), we’ll consider changes related to our processes and procedures for cleaning up sites, including: a) a new system for ranking hazards at contaminated sites; b) a streamlined process for initial investigation, ranking, and listing of sites; and c) improved ways of communicating with the public about sites.
  2. In the second rulemaking (expected to begin 2021), we’ll update the technical cleanup standards.
  3. In the third rulemaking (expected to begin 2023), we’ll address any deferred topics or new issues that emerge during the first two rulemakings.


More ways you can participate in the rulemaking process: 

Learn more about Ecology's work to clean up Washington's 13,300 contaminated sites: 

Please send questions or comments about this website to MTCARule@ecy.wa.gov


Stakeholder & Tribal Advisory Group members are advising Ecology on proposed changes to the MTCA Cleanup Rule, Chapter 173-340.
Members of the MTCA Cleanup Rule Stakeholder & Tribal Advisory Group convened for the first time in Bellevue, Washington, on September 25, 2019, with facilitator Elizabeth McManus of Ross Strategic.
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