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

 Site Investigation and Restoration Section


ADVISORY: A public hearing on proposed amendments to 7 DE Admin. Code 1375 will be held Jan. 9, 2019 at 6 p.m. in the DNREC Auditorium at the Richardson & Robbins Building, located at 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901.  For directions and additional information on providing comments, please visit Delaware's State Meeting Calendar

Delaware Drycleaner Initiative Report: Drycleaners and the Chlorinated Solvent ProblemDNREC-SIRS contracted with an environmental consultant to collect, analyze, and map various datasets pertaining to businesses that currently use and/or may have potentially used chlorinated solvents within the state of Delaware. The objectives of the investigation were to identify current and former potential sources of chlorinated solvent contamination, particularly, drycleaning facilities in the municipalities of Dover, Georgetown, and Newark; and to collect, analyze, and input the data into a working geographical information system (GIS) application to evaluate the impact of the operations on groundwater. The report is available here.

ADVISORY: The EPA announced on May 15, 2018 that it will list the Hockessin Groundwater Site on the National Priorities List (NPL). The listing allows EPA to use Superfund authority and resources to work with DNREC to help resolve groundwater concerns in the Hockessin area. Information is available on the Hockessin Groundwater Site.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also listed the Newark South Groundwater Plume Site on the NPL on Jan. 18, 2018. More information is available on the Newark South Groundwater Plume Site.

ADVISORY: Artesian Water Company and the City of New Castle Municipal Services Commission detected perfluorooctanoic sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in public water supply wells in the New Castle County Airport area that are above the U.S. EPA’s 2016 lifetime health advisory level of 0.07 parts per billion. The public drinking water is treated to remove the contaminants. More information is available at: PFAS Fact Sheet New Castle Public Supply Wells (includes PFOS/PFOA).

The Division of Waste & Hazardous Substances' Site Investigation and Restoration Section (SIRS) is responsible for the identification, evaluation and remediation of sites within the state of Delaware that had past releases of hazardous substances. The Section manages the hazardous substance release sites in Delaware in accordance with the Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA). The SIRS Administrator is Tim Ratsep.  He can be reached at 302-395-2600. The SIRS office address is 391 Lukens Drive, New Castle, DE 19720 (Map & Driving Directions).   

Delaware enacted its Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act (HSCA) in 1990 to address sites potentially contaminated with hazardous substance releases in the state that would not be addressed under the federal superfund program. Three major programs are administered under HSCA. They are the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), the Brownfields Program, and the HSCA Enforcement program. We also have a Prospective Purchaser Agreement Program and an Application for that program is available.

The Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) has been developed to assist the responsible parties to voluntarily clean up properties contaminated by the release of hazardous substances. The benefit of participating in the VCP is that it can eliminate the need for costly litigation. 

In July of 1995, HSCA was amended to encourage voluntary cleanup of sites and in 2001, enabling legislation that introduced brownfields was enacted.  On August 3, 2004 the Brownfields Development Act was signed to extend certain liability protection to developers of properties that DNREC certifies as Brownfields in an effort to encourage development. The Brownfield program allows developers and prospective purchasers who did not contribute to the contamination on their site to clean up their site and not be liable for pre-existing contamination.

DNREC has made funds available for eligible activities related to environmental remediation and investigation as detailed in the Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act Policy on Brownfields Grants. Brownfields are defined as abandoned, vacant, or underused real property where development or redevelopment may be hindered by the reasonably held belief that the property may be environmentally contaminated. A study was recently conducted by the University of Delaware to quantify the significant economic benefit of the brownfields program. You may read more about the study in a press release written about it, and will also find the the brownfields study online.

You may also want to visit the Delaware Brownfields Marketplace. The Marketplace is an interactive database that contains a list of market-ready brownfield sites available for redevelopment in Delaware. The inventory is designed to make it easier for potential buyers and developers to locate available brownfield properties. Brownfields property owners may also submit their properties for potential listing on the Marketplace.

The HSCA Enforcement program requires the responsible party to clean up sites contaminated with hazardous substances and allows DNREC to recover the costs from the responsible party in the event that DNREC must perform the cleanup. It also allows the use of the HSCA fund to cleanup sites where a viable responsible party is not identifiable. 

SIRS conducts Natural Resource Damage Assessments and Restoration (NRDAR) with DNREC's Division of Fish & WildlifeDivision of Water, and various federal agencies including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) to restore habitat and recreation that was lost due to contamination.

SIRS assists EPA with oversight for CERCLA sites, including Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection (PA/SI) and National Priorities List (NPL) sites. SIRS also provides oversight for active Department of Defense (DoD) sites and Formerly Used Defense Sites (FUDS). 

SIRS Mission Statement

The mission of the Site Investigation and Restoration Section (SIRS) is to identify sites with releases of hazardous substances, prioritize them for cleanup based on the risk posed by these sites to public health, safety and the environment, and to promote the reuse of contaminated properties. 

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