The HazMat Program provides investigative services for the Washington State Department of Transportation. Investigative services involve a systematic process that incorporates existing regulations. Investigations range from historical research (Discipline Reports and Phase I Environmental Site Assessments) to physical investigations of soil and groundwater (Phase II Environmental Site Assessment).
Hazardous material investigations allow staff to make informed transportation project decisions, such as the selection of alternatives, mitigation measures and associated costs, and/or determining when it’s necessary to initiate early coordination with relevant regulatory agencies. The appropriate level of investigation varies and is dependant on project and/or site specifics. Based on the needs of the project, hazardous materials investigations can identify applicable regulatory considerations, information used to help prepare real estate transactions, contract bids and specifications, spill prevention plans, and/or hazardous waste management plans.
Hazardous Materials Discipline Report
The purpose of the Hazardous Materials Discipline Report is to identify and evaluate known or potentially contaminated sites that may
- affect the environment during construction,
- create significant construction impacts, and/or
- incur cleanup liability to the department.
The HazMat Program developed guidance for consultants who prepare Hazardous Material Discipline Reports and for the WSDOT staff who review them.
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I ESA)
The purpose of a Phase I ESA is to evaluate the potential for contamination to be present on or adjacent to a specific property. Unlike a Discipline Report, a Phase I ESA is performed on single properties rather than looking at an entire project area.
A Phase I ESA is typically conducted prior to property acquisition. A Phase I ESA will be used to determine if any recognized environmental conditions exist for the property. Recognized environmental conditions are defined in American Society for Testing and Material (ASTM) E 1527-05 as “the presence or likely presence of any hazardous substances or petroleum products on a property under conditions that indicate an existing release, a past release, or a material threat of a release of any hazardous substances or petroleum products into structures on the property or into the ground, groundwater, or surface water of the property. The term includes hazardous substances or petroleum products even under conditions in compliance with laws. The term is not intended to include de minimis conditions that generally do not present a material risk of harm to public health or the environment and that generally would not be the subject of an enforcement action if brought to the attention of appropriate governmental agencies.”
Addition Phase I ESA guidance is available for consultants preparing documents for WSDOT.
Phase II ESA
A Phase II ESA may be preformed if recognized environmental conditions exist for a site. A Phase II ESA characterizes soil and or groundwater at a site. A Phase II ESA should be completed in accordance with applicable Model Toxics Control Act (MTCA) and ASTM standards.
Details on Hazardous Materials Discipline Reports, Phase I, and Phase II ESA investigations are provided in Section 447.05 of the Environmental Procedures Manual (EPM).