Environmental Response and Remediation
2021 State of the Environment Report

The Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) works to prevent environmental contamination and restore land to beneficial use by partnering with communities and industry. 

DERR’s programs provide a wide variety of cleanup and environmental response services.  

DERR Responsibilities include:

  • Managing the state’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) and Brownfields programs, services that facilitate the cleanup of contaminated properties for development
  • Overseeing cleanups under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Liability Act (CERCLA), better known as Superfund
  • Preventing and minimizing releases from underground storage tanks (USTs)
  • Managing the DEQ Spills line
  • Helping communities respond to chemical emergencies through its participation in the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC)
  • Developing tools such as the Interactive Map and spills database  to make information readily available to the public
  • Conducting and assisting with community outreach on Superfund cleanups

“Undertaking a project like The Swift Building would be a big lift for any city, and it has been no different for us in Ogden. We’ve had our hands full with coordinating an EPA Response, conducting a LUST cleanup, extensive asbestos abatement and demolition, and full site characterization with potential additional cleanup. Such a project would not have been possible, given our limited staff resources, without the attention given by Bill Rees and his professional team in the Voluntary Cleanup Program. Their technical knowledge, follow up, and effective response has been a key factor in keeping our project on track. With a project this large and complex, things haven’t always gone as anticipated or expected. The VCP team has always been willing to hear and understand our objectives in the context of regulatory guidelines and worked with us diligently to find balanced solutions to many different challenges. We feel proud that we took significant action to protect the public’s health and safety related to remediating the Swift Building, and are grateful to have experienced a shared vision with dedicated people at the VCP. Our work together in the last few years will have a positive impact on the community for generations to come.”

–Brandon Cooper, Deputy Director
Ogden City Community and Economic Development

Underground Storage Tank Rate of Compliance at time of Inspection = 78% (up from 69% in 2019)

14 Brownfield Tools Issued

Success Story: From Chemicals to Kayaks: The Swift Building Site Cleanup

For more than 100 years, the Swift Building sat vacant on the banks of the Weber River in Ogden. The facility was originally a meatpacking plant and then was sold and used to store surplus military items. At one time it was also leased out to a chemical manufacturer.

Unfortunately, tens of thousands of containers, including flammables, corrosives, and other dangerous chemicals were abandoned inside the building, leaving a legacy of environmental impacts and contamination.

To return the site to beneficial use, DERR and EPA first partnered to remove the abandoned containers. Ogden City then applied to the DEQ’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP). With the buildings safely emptied of hazardous waste, the building was demolished and samples were taken under the building foundations and along the banks of the Weber River. The data allowed Ogden City to develop an Interim Remedial Action Plan and a Corrective Action Plan to cleanup contaminated soil, groundwater, and an underground storage tank (UST) that was discovered during demolition work. 

In 2021, Ogden City got to work along the Weber River. Excavation was conducted over a period of five months, and wrapped up in October 2021. Approximately 8,500 tons of impacted soil was removed and 85,000 gallons of impacted groundwater was pumped and treated. The cleanup restored the area to a safe corridor and working environment for Ogden City to conduct a parallel river restoration project and construction of an outdoor recreation kayak park bordering the site. 

Additional analysis and possible remediation for the remaining portions of the site are planned in 2022 to address any remaining concerns and facilitate future commercial development on this once blighted property.

Environmental Assurance Paves the Way for Convention Hotel

Petroleum contaminated soil was discovered during an environmental assessment in preparation for construction of the new Salt Lake City Hyatt Regency Convention Hotel. The contamination was the result of a former gas station that occupied the property from 1946 to 1965.

The impacted soils were found deeper than 30 feet below the ground surface, presenting a unique challenge for the hotel developer. To address this uncertainty prior to acquisition and construction, the developer requested an Enforceable Written Assurance (EWA) from the Division. After a thorough assessment, an EWA provides assurance to prospective buyers that DEQ will not bring an enforcement action against the EWA holder, as long as the holder continues to satisfy the ongoing obligations (Reasonable Steps) associated with the written assurance. 

The DERR reviewed the information and worked with the developer to establish Reasonable Steps for the property. Steps included working with the Underground Storage Tank Program to develop a soils management plan (SMP) to address impacted soils that would be disturbed during the construction.

Approximately 62 cubic yards of petroleum impacted soil was excavated and taken to an approved disposal facility. Confirmation soil samples were collected, and all results were below levels of concern for human health or the environment. In January 2021, DERR issued a “No Further Action” Letter for the site.