Application submission requirements for parties using the Maine Voluntary Response Action Program (VRAP)

November 14, 2017

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A key to a timely and thorough review of a VRAP application is submittal of a complete and comprehensive application. This guidance outlines what a complete VRAP application should include, and also outlines the changes to the VRAP fee structure that will occur on January 1, 2018.

When applying to VRAP, the following issues must be addressed in order for VRAP staff to review the submittal and make decisions regarding the need for further assessment and/or remediation:

  • Determination of the presence or absence of private or public water supplies located within a 2500-foot radius of the subject property; the locations of any identified water supplies within 2500 feet of the subject property should be included on a map.
  • Determination of the appropriate classification of the project in the VRAP Public Communication Decision Matrix.
  • Two (2) hard copies of all documents must be submitted. Phase I environmental site assessments should be current and performed in accordance with the federal “all Appropriate Inquiry” rule or ASTM Standard Practice E1527-13. Documents must not be combined in one binder; each document (application, Phase I, Phase II, etc.) should be bound and submitted as a single, unique document.
  • Submittal of a CD with all VRAP application documents, including reports and maps, in pdf format. Additional documents and/or maps produced after the submittal of application must also be submitted to the VRAP in pdf format using our file naming convention (attached).  Additional documents may be submitted electronically directly to the project manager via an email link to an online file sharing service. Also, please do not separate single documents into multiple pdfs unless you have oversized maps or figures that are too large to be included in the electronic document. The electronic copy should appear the same as the hard copy submittal (i.e. one bound Phase I should be one pdf file).
  • An aerial photo-type map clearly depicting the site location.
  • Provide all data in EDD format to the DEP. Guidance for doing this is available here.
  • A Maine Certified Geologist must stamp any work that includes hydrogeological interpretation; a Maine Licensed Professional Engineer must stamp any engineered remedial designs.

In general, any Phase I or Phase II’s submitted that rely heavily on any previous reports must include copies of those referenced reports. Also, it should be made clear by the consultant to the client that they will receive requests for reimbursement from VRAP for our costs associated with the review, oversight and final certification of their site if the application is accepted by December 31, 2017. The initial application fee is still $500 for applications accepted by December 31, 2017. Those applications accepted by that date will be invoiced for VRAP services at the end of the project, even if project completion is in 2018 or beyond. The party signing the VRAP application is responsible for the costs, and will receive the invoices for VRAP costs.

For those applications received on or after January 1, 2018, the new VRAP fee process, as established by an amendment to 38 MRS  342, sub- 15, will be followed. For these applications, the entire VRAP fee, which is equal to 1% of the assessed value of the property (land and buildings), must be submitted with the application. This fee is not to exceed $15,000. The assessed value is the most recent value the municipality places on the property for tax purposes. A copy of the municipal tax record showing the assessed value must be included with the application. No other fees will be assessed by VRAP, regardless of the level of effort for the project.

Checks for all VRAP fees should be made payable to the Treasurer, State of Maine for deposit into the Maine Uncontrolled Sites Fund. All fee payments are non-refundable.

After the initial submittal of the application materials, all additional submittals for a project (i.e. workplans, final remedial reports, etc.) should also include the appropriate number of hard copies and an electronic copy of the documents.

Following this guidance when submitting an application, will help the VRAP make timely decisions regarding proposed actions at a property. VRAP will not act on any applications that are not complete.

Beginning immediately, this application guidance should be followed for all VRAP applications. The VRAP application is available in Word format to be used prior to January 1, 2018 and in fill-in PDF format to be used after January 1, 2018. The application package should also contain a cover letter listing what is being submitted and the purpose of the submittal.

Direct any questions to nick.hodgkins@maine.gov or call (207) 592-0882.

When completed, mail the original copy of the application along with the applicable environmental report(s), CD, and fees to:

Maine Department of Environmental Protection
Bureau of Remediation and Waste Management
Division of Remediation
17 State House Station
Augusta, Maine 04333-0017
Attention: Nicholas J. Hodgkins, VRAP


Search for public or private water supplies at Maine Voluntary Response Action Program (VRAP) sites

This guidance clarifies what constitutes a sufficient effort to determine if public or private water supplies are within 2500 feet of a VRAP site.

Given that VRAP sites can be both hazardous materials and petroleum, 2500 feet was chosen as an appropriate radius.  If you have an area that is not serviced by public water, we will assume that all the properties have private water supplies and you need only supply the location of the closest water supply in each direction from the site (i.e. no pre-determined radius requirement).

For all other sites that are apparently serviced by public water supplies, the first course of action should be to inquire about the service area for the water company, insuring that all areas within a 2500 foot radius are serviced with waterlines, and that the source of the public water is not located within 2500 feet of the site.  Secondly, water company personnel should be asked if they know of any private wells or properties that are not connected within the prescribed radius.  Ultimately, you will also need to ensure that all the properties (as defined on a municipal tax map) with structures are being billed by the water company.  Any public or private wells identified during the survey should be identified on a map accurately depicting the location of these wells in relationship to the subject site.

In addition to contacting the water company, you may also choose to check the Maine Geological Survey’s private well database at http://www.maine.gov/dacf/mgs/pubs/digital/well.htm, and/or do a windshield/physical survey if the information provided by the water company is inconclusive.

If a site is located in close proximity to a major surface water body, the radius does not need to extend in that direction.  Brooks, streams and farm ponds are not considered “major surface water bodies” for the purposes of this guidance.

Well survey materials collected during the investigation of nearby VRAP sites is also acceptable as part of the submission.  Our intent is not to “reinvent the wheel” when perfectly good information is readily available.  If well survey material is greater than three years old, however, it should not be relied upon in meeting this application submission requirement.


Procedure for naming pdf project files submitted to VRAP

In addition to submitting hard-copies of all reports/documents to VRAP for review, you will now be required to submit a compact-disk or thumb drive containing pdf files of all documents, maps, etc. that you submit.  This effort represents the initial steps in moving VRAP towards electronic filing, which hopefully will make file reviews simpler and less time consuming in the future.

This guidance establishes the procedure for naming the pdf files that you submit to VRAP.  Below is the naming format:

Town-site-document-date.pdf

In this format, “town” is the municipality the site is located in, “site” is the site name, “document” is the type of document (i.e. Phase I, Phase II, etc.), and date is the date of the document (mmddyy).  All words in the file name must be separated with a dash (-).  The dash will aid in electronic file searches when this feature becomes available in the future.  For example:

Anytown-nasty-property-phase2-111417.pdf

Also, when naming a property in an application, please use the Maine DEP name for the project if one exists at the time of application submission (e.g. a name from another program).  If not, please supply your own project name, but try to avoid street address and/or the use of the word “former” when naming the site.

Please follow this procedure for any future VRAP submissions.