The State’s Voluntary Cleanup, Oversight and Assistance Program (VOAP) encourages the redevelopment of brownfields by providing technical assistance and concurrence that a property has been investigated and remediated, if required, to allow for safe reuse. There is a process how to address a Brownfields project in the VOAP. This process includes completing environmental assessments and working with the Division to come to an agreement on how to address contamination and move forth to a Voluntary Agreement and No Further Action Letter. For more information on how to join the VOAP, please view the Voluntary Cleanup Application and associated fees.
Liability for past potential contamination is one of many challenges associated with the redevelopment of brownfields. Because the potential environmental liability at these properties is unknown, prospective purchasers are often unwilling to assume the risk of undetermined cleanup costs. There is a need to redevelop and reuse properties that have buildings, infrastructure, and access to transportation resources that can lower the costs to potential developers. Handled appropriately, brownfields may become assets versus liabilities.
Under TCA 68-212-206 (d), the goal of a remedial action shall be clean up and containment of the site through the elimination of the threat to the public health, safety, and the environment posed by the hazardous substance. Therefore, in order to protect public health, safety, and the environment, TDEC defines a contaminant as a chemical above the chemical’s remediation objective. In order to determine if a contaminant poses a potential risk to human health and the environment, TDEC uses the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Regional Screening Levels, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Maximum Contaminant Levels.
The voluntary cleanup program can offer innocent parties an agreement that 1) gives liability protection for real or perceived contamination; 2) provides protection for third party contribution; and 3) concurrence from the state’s regulatory experts that a property is safe for future planned uses.
Services offered through the Voluntary Cleanup Program:
- Voluntary Agreement and No Further Action Letter
- Voluntary Agreements can be done where the prospective purchaser of a property (who did not release, generate or transport contamination at the property) works with the division to ensure the property is adequately characterized for its next intended use. This program also offers relief from liability under all environmental statutes administered by TDEC, that is transferable to successors in title for matters addressed. The prospective purchaser can work with the division to obtain a No Further Action Letter. An example agreement is available in Adobe .pdf format.
- No Additional Action Letter
- A No Additional Action Letter can be issued when a prospective purchaser, who did not release, generate or transport contamination at the property, of a property submits technical documents for the divisions’ review and concurrence, but no Voluntary Agreement is needed.
- Consent Orders
- Consent Orders can be entered into with entities wishing to voluntarily clean up a site, including responsible parties, which can result in a Letter of Completion. An example Consent Order is available in Adobe .pdf format.
The program uses a risk-based approach to ensure that sites are safe for the next intended use. In many cases, a Notice of Land Use Restrictions may be used to place limits or requirements on future uses at the Property, due to varying levels of cleanup possible, practical, or necessary at the site. Since each site is different, we encourage you to contact us for more information on the program and to assist with any specific questions.