States Evaluate Institutional Control Monitoring and Oversight
A recent study by the Association of State Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) highlighted the importance of cleanup site land use controls (LUCs) and listed needed improvements and further research. “[T]here is an ever increasing universe of sites relying on LUCs as an integral part of an overall protective remedy” for cleanup of environmentally impaired property. The success of these cleanups and subsequent redevelopment, according to ASTSWMO, “will rest on understanding and effectively using LUCs.”
According to the study, states monitor LUCs by either conducting site visits or reviewing property owner self-certifications, and this monitoring ranges in frequency from about 1 to 5 years. Local governments, according to the study, are not significantly involved with LUC oversight. Improved efforts to keep locals aware of LUCs, the study concluded, would be a first step in creating state-local partnerships and would likely result in greater LUC compliance. Monitoring the rising number of LUCs will continue to strain state resources, according to the study.
The study also listed “underlying themes” for the future success of LUC monitoring, including: 1) better awareness of the presence of LUCs; 2) better understanding of the activities restricted and obligations imposed by LUCs; 3) a regular monitoring and oversight program seems to be key to ensure LUC compliance. In light of these findings and given the increasing strain on state resources, the study recommended future “research on identifying specific monitoring and oversight methods that are efficient and cost effective and that also increase awareness and voluntary compliance with LUC.”
California, as the study notes, relies on Terradex, Inc. to perform daily monitoring of the LUC sites across the state. At Terradex, we agree that better awareness and regular monitoring holds the key to the success of the thousands of LUCs (and the redevelopment they protect) across the country. Having helped prevent LUC violations for years, we proudly continue to strive on the cutting edge of sustainable LUC stewardship for protection of people and the environment. And in doing so, we bring the power of technology to increase the efficiency and cost effectiveness of this evolving endeavor.
ASTSWMO’s study highlights the importance of LUCs, the significant progress across the states, and needed improvements including better awareness, communication with local government, and more efficient monitoring. To read the study, visit http://www.astswmo.org/publications_cercla.htm.
J. Michael Sowinski, JD
Environmental Law and Policy Analyst