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

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 and Federal Facilities Program, and RCRA Corrective Action and Closure Programs. 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 - 13 Standard Practice for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase I Environmental Site Assessment Process". (leave DEP)
    Contact: Nick Hodgkins 207-592-0882.

  3. Conceptual Site Models. As you are obtaining site history and data, 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 - 20 Standard Guide for Developing Conceptual Site Models for Contaminated Sites. (leave DEP) The conceptual site model is a living document that will be refined as more information is gathered in the Site evaluation, risk assessment and clean-up process, guiding what actions to take.
    Contact: Nick Hodgkins 207-592-0882 or Sean Dougherty 207-441-7159

  4. 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 - 19 Standard Guide for Environmental Site Assessments: Phase II Environmental Site Assessment Process. (leave DEP)
    Contact: Nick Hodgkins 207-592-0882

  5. Remedial Investigation Investigate the extent of contamination at the site. Guidance Manuals for this stage of the process include:
    1. EPA RI/FS Guidance: Superfund Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (Site Characterization) (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.
      Contact: Iver McLeod 207-592-2981
    3. Maine DEP Sampling & Data Validation SOPs
      Contact: Becky Blais 207-446-2564
    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: Sean Dougherty 207-441-7159 or Pete Eremita 207-592-0592

  6. Risk Evaluation & Clean-up Guidelines. Determine the risk posed by a site, and the extent to which a site must be clean-up using the following guidance:
    1. Remedial Action Guidelines (RAGs):
      1. Maine Remedial Action Guidelines (RAGs) for Contaminated Sites (PDF). Effective November 15, 2023. Maine developed the risk-based RAGs for soil, sediment, indoor air, groundwater and fish tissue, using EPA's Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund.(leave DEP).  Ambient air guidelines were developed using EPA’s “Air Toxics Risk Assessment Reference Library”   The RAG guidance has three main parts:
    • Risk-based tables & narrative provide an alternative approach to undertaking a full Risk Assessment for common scenarios and routes of exposure. The tables are an efficient way to determine whether a site poses risk to public health and therefore action is needed, establish contaminant specific clean-up goals, and determine when sites are clear for reuse.
    • The Technical Support Document describes how the RAG tables were developed using EPA's Regional Screening Levels(leave DEP) (RSLs) calculator and provides the inputs that were used to derive the Maine RAG tables.
    • The Supplemental Guidance for Conducting Site-Specific Risk Assessments contains the Maine specific factors and protocols that should be used when developing a full risk assessment for a Maine site using EPA's Risk Assessment Guidance for Superfund.
    • The “Petroleum Addendum” clarifies how the RAGs are applied to petroleum remediation and where alternative approaches are recommended or required

    These guidelines supersede the Maine Remedial Action Guidelines of October 19, 2018 and the Remediation Guidelines for Petroleum Contaminated Sites in Maine: Effective May 23, 2014

      These guidelines supersede the Maine Remedial Action Guidelines of February 5, 2016.

      DEP Contact: Sean Dougherty 207-441-7159
      Maine Center for Disease Control Contact: Dr. Andrew Smith 207-287-5189

    1. Approximating VPH & EPH from Historic GRO & DRO results: Development of Risk-Based Cleanup levels for Petroleum Hydrocarbons, Interim Final April 2010 (PDF), Prepared for the Maine Department of Environmental Protection by MACTEC Engineering and Consulting, Inc. (now Wood Environmental). 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 conversion of historic DRO/GRO sample results to the EPH/VPH soil clean-up guidelines.
      Contact: Nick Hodgkins 207-592-0882
    2. Background Levels of PFAS and PAHs in Maine Shallow Soils, Study Report dated April 2022

  7. Feasibility Study. 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: Superfund Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (Site Characterization). (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.
      Contact: Iver 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: Chris Redmond 207-215-8597

  8. 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. 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
  9. Environmental Covenant Template / Subordination Agreement Template for mortgage / Subordination Agreement Template for Easement (MS Word format)

    Contact: Chris Redmond 207-215-8597

  10. Known Sites in Maine. Maps and Lists of sites in Maine that are potentially contaminated and have been reported to Maine DEP are in the Remediation Sites (Institutional Controls) Database (available at: and
  11. Contact: Chris Redmond 207-215-8597, Nick Hodgkins207-592-0882, or Sean Dougherty 207-441-7159 .