Remediation Program Guidance: Guidance for the Investigation and Clean-up of Hazardous Substance Sites in Maine

Emergency Removal
Phase I Environmental Site Assessment
Phase II Environmental Site Assessment
Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS)
Vapor Intrusion
Risk Evaluation & Clean-up Standards
NEW: Proposed Guidance Revisions

Many commercial and industrial processes can lead to the contamination of the environment with hazardous substances, including: painting operations; dry cleaning; solvent use & disposal; metal cleaning and fabrication; military operations; chemical storage, use & disposal; waste oil operations; papermaking; shoe making; tanning; auto repair; wood preserving and disposal of commercial or industrial wastes.  The following process is used in Maine to investigate and when necessary remediate hazardous substance sites. The following basic steps are used in the Uncontrolled Sites Program, Brownfields Program, Voluntary Response Action Program, Superfund Program, and Federal Facilities Restoration Program. See each of these programs for the process used to approve remediation and investigation activities.

  1. Emergency Removal. Determine if at the site there are levels of hazardous substances that have or are in imminent danger of being released that are explosive, corrosive, toxic or are otherwise immediately dangerous to public health or the environment. If there are, immediately contact Response Services:
    To Report Oil Spills call (24 hours)
    To Report Hazardous Material Spills call (24 hours)

  2. Phase I Environmental Site Assessment.  Determine if there was a potential for the release of hazardous substances or petroleum at the site by interviewing knowledgeable people, reviewing facility documents, and reviewing documents at DEP and EPA. In a Phase I Preliminary Assessment report, summarize this paper investigation and identify “recognized environmental conditions” (RECs) that need further investigation. Phase I Preliminary Assessments should meet the standards in, “ASTM E1527 - 05 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process”. (leave DEP)
    ContactNick Hodgkins (207) 592-0882.

  3. Phase II Environmental Site Assessment.  For all RECs, obtain site samples or otherwise determine if there has been a release at the site. This may be done in an iterative manner, with initial data informing further investigation. The Phase II environmental assessment should summarize the nature and extent of contamination, make recommendations for further action, and otherwise meet the standards in: 
    ASTM E1903 - 11 Standard Guide for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process. (leave DEP)
    Contact: Nick Hodgkins (207) 592-0882

  4. Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS).  Investigate the extent of contamination at the site and risk to public health and the environment. Then, determine the universe of options available for cleaning-up the contamination, and narrow these technologies down to the best option for the site. Guidance Manuals for this stage of the process include:
    1. EPA RI/FS Guidance: EPA guidance on Remedial Investigations/Feasibility Studies & Treatability Studies & Costing (leave DEP)
      Contact: Chris Swain (207) 485-3852
    2. ITRC Guidance:  Interstate Technical & Regulatory Council (ITRC) (leave DEP) Guidance documents and education materials on site characterization and remedial technologies.
      ContactIver McLeod (207) 592-2981
    3. Maine DEP Sampling & Data Validation SOPs
      ContactBrian Beneski (207) 592-0246
    4. Vapor Intrusion Guidance: Investigation procedures to determine if contaminants have volatilized from contaminated soil or water into indoor air, & associated risk-based evaluation guidance.
      Contact: Troy Smith (207) 592-0830 or Pete Eremita (207) 592-0592
    5. Conceptual Site Models. Once site history and data has been obtained, compile the information into a Conceptual Site Model. ASTM defines a CSM as “a written or pictorial representation of an environmental system and the biological, physical and chemical processes that determine the transport of contaminants from sources through environmental media to environmental receptors within the system.” See ASTM E1689 - 95(2014) Standard Guide for Developing Conceptual Site Models for Contaminated Sites. The conceptual site model will be refined as more information is gathered in the risk evaluation and feasibility study phases.
      Contact: Nick Hodgkins (207) 592-0882
    6. Risk Evaluation & Clean-up Standards.  Determine the risk posed by a site, and the extent to which a site must be clean-up using the following guidance:
      1. Maine Risk Assessment Manual: Maine DEP and CDC February 2011, Revised Guidance For Human Health Risk Assessments for Hazardous Substance Sites in Maine (pdf format).

        Contact: Andrew Smith (207) 287-5189

      2. Remedial Action Guidelines (RAGs): Maine Remedial Action Guidelines (RAGs) for Sites Contaminated with Hazardous Substances. Effective February 5, 2016 These risk-based RAGs are consistent with the Maine Risk Assessment Manual in terms of protecting public health. They provide an alternative approach to the Maine Risk Assessment Manual for determining contaminant specific clean-up goals for soil, indoor air and groundwater contaminated with hazardous substances or mixtures of petroleum and hazardous substances. These guidelines supersede the Maine Remedial Action Guidelines of May 8, 2013.
      3. Contact: David Wright  (207) 446-4366

        NEW: Proposed Revisions to the Remedial Action Guidelines (RAGs): DEP is seeking comment on proposed revisions to the RAGs by October 8, 2018. DEP is also holding a hearing on September 25, 2018 in Augusta to discuss the revisions. More information is available from Tracy Kelly (207) 287-7688

        Environmental Covenant Templates. An "environmental covenant" is a deed restriction on a parcel of land that meets Maine’s Uniform Environmental Covenant Act, 38 MRS §3001-3013. Environmental covenants are often used as part of a remedy at a site that has been contaminated, but clean-up for unrestricted site use is not feasible. In order to protect public health, limits on land use are placed on the site, so that there will be less exposure of people to the contamination

        Contact: David Wright  (207) 446-4366

      4. Oil Clean-up Guidelines: Remediation Guidelines for Petroleum Contaminated Sites in Maine: Effective May 23, 2014 (PDF) - These risk-based guidelines apply to the investigation and clean-up of petroleum contaminated sites. These guidelines are an amendment to the 2009 guidelines and supersede the prior version. The guidelines address ground water, drinking water, direct soil contact and indoor air impacts resulting from petroleum discharges.
        Contact: Molly King - (207) 287-8169
      5. Approximating VPH & EPH from Historic GRO & DRO results: Development of Risk-Based Cleanup levels for Petroleum Hydrocarbons, Interim Final, Prepared for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection by MACTEC Engineering and Consulting, Inc. in April of 2010. This report presents correlations between diesel range organics (DRO) and gasoline range organics (GRO) to Extractible Petroleum Hydrocarbons (EPH) and Volatile Petroleum Hydrocarbons (VPH). These guidelines complement, and do not replace, the petroleum site clean-up guidelines (above), and in some cases allow the use of DRO/GRO sample results with the EPH/VPH soil clean-up guidelines.
        Contact:  Nick Hodgkins (207) 592-0882
      6. Ambient Air Guidelines: - Maine Center for Disease Control’s Risk-based guidelines for ambient air.
        Contact: Andrew Smith (207) 287-5189
    7. Feasibility Studies. After identifying remedial action objectives, the feasibility study identifies treatment technologies; screens the technologies based on effectiveness, implementability, and cost; and assembles the technologies into alternatives for the contaminated media at the site.  See:
      1. EPA Guidance:  EPA’s overview of the RI/FS process and its detailed guidance.
        ContactDavid Wright (207) 446-4366
      2. ITRC Guidance:  Interstate Technical & Regulatory Council (ITRC) Guidance documents and education materials on site characterization and remedial technologies.
        ContactIver McLeod (207) 592-2981
      3. FRTR Treatment Technologies Screening Matrix: The Federal Remediation Technology Roundtable (FRTR) was established in 1991 as an interagency committee to exchange information and to provide a forum for joint action regarding the development and demonstration of innovative technologies for hazardous waste remediation.  The selection and use of innovative technologies to clean up hazardous waste sites is increasing rapidly, and new technologies are continuing to emerge. The FRTR plans to frequently update the FRTR website to help Remedial Project Managers keep pace with the ever-changing range of technologies available.
        Contact: David Wright (207) 446-4366

  5. Known Sites in Maine. Maps and Lists of sites in Maine that are potentially contaminated and have been reported to Maine DEP are available at: