Policy Brief: Risk Remediation

House Bill 1575: Accelerate Remediation of Manufacturing Sites

Remediation refers to the restoration of a contaminated environmental site to the condition where it does not threaten human health or other life forms. Risk-based remediation requires a clean up according to the anticipated future use of the site, meaning partial cleanups may occur and the site may stay at unhealthy contamination levels.

There are areas in North Carolina that are contaminated by hazardous waste and toxic materials, which threaten the health and safety of the public and the environment. In North Carolina, over 50% of the population depends on groundwater for its drinking water and the population is growing. It is in the public’s best interest that contaminated sites are cleaned up in a manner that protects the health and welfare of the public and the environment. Risk-based remediation does not guarantee full site cleanup.

House Bill 1575 is an act to expand the circumstances under which the Department of Environment and Natural Resources shall allow for risk-based remedial action at contaminated manufacturing sites. In order to speed up remediation at contaminated manufacturing sites, this bill will allow risk-based remediation and would therefore weaken state requirements for cleanup of contaminated groundwater at these sites. The bill would also allow polluters to pay a fee instead of fully cleaning their contaminated sites and therefore North Carolina Sierra Club opposes H1575. Currently sitting in the House Committee on Environment and Natural Resources, NC Sierra Club will be tracking H1575 throughout the 2010 Short Session.

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