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MTCA Cleanup Rule

Summary of the project

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

Page updated 11-20-2019.  Most recent additions in bold and listed first: 


The Cleanup Rule Stakeholder and Tribal Advisory Group (STAG) is a group of about 20 to 25 key stakeholders and representatives of tribal interests who have practical experience with contaminated site cleanups in Washington state.

Contaminated site cleanups are driven by Washington's environmental cleanup law and regulations: the Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) and the Cleanup Rule. Both the 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've recruited the advisory group to help. 

What will this group do?

  • 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, 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 proposed 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.

When will the group meet during 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 here and in the Cleanup Rulemaking webpage, Chapter 173-340 WAC.  See the STAG Meeting Workplan 2019–2020 for more detail.

No. Date Agenda Location
#1  Wed, Sept 25, 2019 (Kickoff meeting) Meeting No. 1 Embassy Suites Hotel, Bellevue WA
#2 Thurs, Nov 21, 2019 Meeting No. 2  Embassy Suites Hotel, Bellevue WA
#3 Thurs, Jan 30, 2020    
#4 Thurs, March 5, 2020    
#5 Spring 2020  (date to be determined)    

Why is STAG input vital for updating the 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.  

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: 

Check out Ecology's work to clean up Washington's 13,300 contaminated sites: 

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