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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances : Site Investigation & Restoration : SIRS Definitions

 SIRS Definitions


Installing a well at a SIRB siteGlossry of SIRS Definitions & Acronyms

BROWNFIELD DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT (BDA). The BDA is a document signed by a developer who wants to buy a Brownfield site from the property owner and tells DNREC ahead of time that the site may need remediation.  The developer is released of liability and may be eligible for reimbursement depending on the ranking of site within DNREC and the availability of funds.

BROWNFIELD INVESTIGATION (BFI). The BFI only applies to Brownfield sites.   It is an evaluation which combines the assessment of a release or a potential release of a hazardous substance and the assessment of the feasibility of the proposed development plan as a remedial alternative.

CERTIFICATION OF COMPLETION OF REMEDY (COCR). COCR is issued by DNREC once the property owner submits a closure report or O & M report that is approved.  COCR says that remediation is completed as of the date it is signed and approved.  In order to process the COCR, DNREC must have the request for COCR, the approved O & M and/or closure report and a copy of the approved final plan.

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT (FOIA). In accordance with the Delaware Freedom of Information Act, 29 Del. C. Chapter 100 and the Department’s Freedom of Information Act Regulation, any individual may request to review the Division’s public records. Pursuant to 29 Del. C. §10002 (d), a public record is information of any kind, owned, made, used, retained, received, produced, composed, drafted or otherwise compiled or collected, by any public body, relating in any way to public business, or in any way of public interest, or in any way related to public purposes, regardless of the physical form or characteristic by which such information is stored, recorded or reproduced.

FEASIBILITY STUDY (FS). The purpose of the FS is to develop, screen and evaluate options for remedial action.

FORMERLY USED DEFENSE SITE (FUDS). Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS) are defined as real property that was under the jurisdiction of the Secretary of Defense and owned by, leased by, or otherwise possessed by the United States. The FUDS eligibility status of former DoD property is not affected by its being the current responsibility of another federal agency. The FUDS Charter designated the Army as the Executive Agent on behalf of DoD, and charged the Secretary of the Army with meeting all applicable environmental restoration requirements at FUDS, regardless of which DoD component previously owned or used the property. A FUDS Project is a unique name given to an area of an eligible FUDS property containing one or more releases or threatened releases of a similar response nature, treated as a discrete entity or consolidated grouping for response purposes. This may include buildings, structures, impoundments, landfills, storage containers, or other areas where hazardous substance are or have been located, including FUDS eligible unsafe buildings or debris. Projects are categorized by actions described under installation restoration (HTRW and CON/HTRW), military munitions response program, or building demolition/debris removal. An eligible FUDS Property may have more than one project.

FACILITY EVALUATION (FE). If the initial investigation (see below) indicates a release or imminent threat of release, the Department conducts a facility evaluation (FE) to assess the related risk. This evaluation may consist of a review of general facility and existing information and/or a field investigation, including sampling of soil, air, groundwater, surface water, sediments and biota as appropriate. The scope of the evaluation is flexible and dependent on the specific conditions of the facility. The site investigation can be used in conjunction with a facility evaluation.

FACILITY IDENTIFICATION (FI). The Department identifies facilities from which a release of hazardous substances has occurred or is imminent in a number of ways. The HSCA regulations contain reporting requirements for owners, operators or persons controlling activities at facilities to report incidents involving releases of hazardous substances. Such releases may also be identified during environmental audits conducted at a facility or during an environmental assessment of a property prior to transfer or sale. Also, other state or federal agencies may inform the Department when they become aware of a release. The public may also report suspected releases.

GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT ZONE (GMZ) – To be determined (TBD). A delineated land area adjacent to and including a contaminated site where DNREC has determined that new drinking water wells must be restricted in order to protect public health and safety. The GMZ map and associated restrictive language define the area where DNREC will restrict water wells as detailed in a Memorandum of Agreement between the Division of Water Resources and Division of Air and Waste Management.

Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA). In 1990, Delaware enacted its Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA) to deal with other potentially harmful sites in the state that will not receive the attention of the federal government. Delaware's program is also known as the Site Investigation & Restoration Program. In July of 1995, HSCA was amended to encourage voluntary cleanup of sites and restoration of "brownfields".

INITIAL INVESTIGATION. When the Department receives information indicating that a suspected release has occurred or is imminent, an initial investigation is typically conducted to determine if further action is warranted. An initial investigation can be conducted by the Department or its contractor. This investigation usually includes a site visit and an evaluation of reports, audits and other records. Based on the initial investigation, the Department may decide to conduct a facility evaluation (FE), require an immediate response action or decide no further action is warranted at the present time.
INTERIM ACTION. If the Department determines that an interim measure is necessary to prevent, minimize or mitigate harm to the public health, welfare and the environment, it may require interim response activities be conducted prior to the implementation of a final remedial action. These activities may occur any time during the cleanup process.

NO FURTHER ACTION (NFA). No Further Action can be issued at the end of an investigation or the completion of the remedy. NFA means that no danger exists at the site.

OPERATIONS & MAINTENANCE (O&M). Operations and Maintenance includes all activities required to ensure effective operation of the remedy under both standard operation conditions and emergencies. Compliance monitoring is often combined with O&M activities and involves routine testing to determine if the cleanup levels of the contaminated medium have been achieved and if the treated effluent or emission meets discharge requirements.

PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT (PA). In a Preliminary Assessment (PA), EPA attempts to verify the existence of released hazardous waste at a site that may fall under Superfund. PA’s are conducted by the EPA or it’s representatives and usually result from EPA discovering that a hazardous substance may pose a threat to the public or the environment. The purpose of the PA is to determine if a threat exists and what further action should be taken. If the PA shows that there is a serious immediate threat, EPA may use Superfund money to quickly remove the hazardous substance. If the threat is not immediate, EPA will conduct more thorough studies to decide the best way to deal with the problem. Naturally, if no danger exists, no further action will be taken.

PRIORITY LIST. Facilities which are identified as requiring further action after completion of a facility evaluation is placed on a priority list. The Delaware Hazard Ranking Model is used to assign a hazard ranking to each facility on the list. LOW PRIORITY means that an initial investigation has been completed and determined that the site poses little to no threat to the public or environment. A more in depth investigation will be conducted at a later time.

REMEDIAL ACTION (RA). After the remedy is selected in the Final Plan of Remedial Action has been designed and specified, its implementation becomes the remedial action (RA). The remedial action should follow the approved design and achieve all performance measures.

REMEDIAL DESIGN (RD). Remedial design is the process of preparing the engineering documents that detail the remedial action to be performed. The design may include an engineering design report, as well as construction plans and specifications developed in conformance with accept engineering practices.

REMEDIAL INVESTIGATION (RI). A remedial investigation (RI) is conducted at a facility to determine the extent of contamination and the risks to public health, welfare and the environment. The RI typically includes site characterization, field investigations, and performance of a risk assessment as well as collection of engineering data that may be required to complete a feasibility study and or remedial design.

SITE INSPECTION (SI). In a Site Inspection (SI), the EPA focuses on obtaining critical analytical data of waste and environmental samples that are usually not available during the Preliminary Assessment (PA). The goal of the SI is to obtain and analyze environmental samples, to investigate human and environmental exposure to hazardous substances, and to test PA hypotheses that are the basis of the further action conclusion. At the end of the SI, the investigator submits findings to the EPA Regional and State officials who decide whether the site should undergo further investigation (resulting in possible National Priorities List (NPL) placement) or be dropped from further Federal Superfund consideration.

UNIFORM ENVIRONMENTAL COVENANTS ACT (UECA). A UECA is filed by the property owner before the COCR and after the final plan is issued.   The UECA goes with the land, therefore it remains with the property and not the current owner.  A typical UECA has restrictions such as not disturbing the soil without notifying DNREC first and limiting the installation of public drinking water wells.

VOLUNTARY CLEANUP PROGRAM (VCP). When a property is contaminated with hazardous substances there are liabilities associated with the cleanup of the site under Federal and State Superfund laws, regardless of who caused the contamination and when it was caused. Because of this liability, old industrial sites (with contamination) located close to well developed infrastructure do not attract developers or buyers. These individuals prefer to purchase pristine property without contamination known as "greenfield." Under the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) developers and buyers performing the cleanup of contaminated properties would be provided the much needed protection from potential liabilities for past contamination. Thus, they can proceed with the purchase or development of the property with the assurance that they will not be held liable for environmental problems that were a result of past practices at the site.

If you have any questions, please contact the SIRS office at 302-395-2600.

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