The Division of Environmental Response and Remediation (DERR) protects public health and the environment by cleaning up chemically contaminated sites, ensuring that underground storage tanks are properly managed, and making important chemical usage and emission data available to local response agencies and the public.
DERR’s programs provide a wide variety of cleanup and environmental response services. The Division:
- Manages the state’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) and Brownfields programs, services that facilitate the cleanup of contaminated properties for development.
- Oversees cleanups under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Liability Act (CERCLA), better known as Superfund.
- Prevents and minimizes releases from underground storage tanks (USTs)
- Manages the DEQ Spills line.
- Helps communities respond to chemical emergencies through its participation in the State Emergency Response Commission (SERC)
- Develops tools such as the Interactive Map and spills database that make information readily available to the public.
- Conducts and assists with community outreach on Superfund cleanups.
Brownfields include property where the expansion, redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. This contamination can hinder or delay development of these sites, resulting in lost economic opportunities. The assessment and cleanup of these sites is a significant step in returning Brownfields properties to beneficial use.
Brownfields grants assist developers, communities, and states with site cleanup, returning these properties to productive use and protecting the public from residual contamination that could impact human health.
Underground Storage Tanks
The Underground Storage Tank (UST) program protects human health and the environment from leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs). Staff oversee the installation, inspection, and removal of underground storage tanks to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, prevent petroleum releases, and remediate contamination from leaking tanks.
Currently, there are more than 3,000 leaking UST sites in Utah. These sites have resulted in contaminated groundwater and in some cases, explosive situations. Many more USTs in Utah could leak or have yet to be discovered in the future adding to the existing problems. Federal regulations for USTs are designed to:
- Prevent leaks and spills.
- Find leaks and spills.
- Correct the problems created by leaks and spills.
- Ensure the owners and operators can pay for clean-up associated with leaking USTs.
Success Story: Former Mayflower Mine Cleanup–Voluntary Cleanup Program
The historic Mayflower Mine was once a prosperous gold, silver, and lead mine in the Park City area. Shuttered years ago, the mine site was presumed to be contaminated from previous operations. A developer who was interested in acquiring the property for development approached DERR for assistance with the cleanup of the former mine.
The first step was the issuance of an Enforceable Written Assurance (EWA). An EWA is issued prior to the acquisition of a property to ensure it is cleaned to designated standards. The developer then worked with DERR to commence the cleanup of the property through the Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP). Site characterization of the mine site showed mining-related metals and petroleum contamination under a Remedial Action Plan (RAP).
The cleanup will take place in phases due to the large size of the site. Phase 1 (433 acres) will house a proposed mixed-use commercial development, including a ski village with homes and access to the Deer Valley Resort. Cleanup is underway on this section of the project and slated to be ready for development in late 2020.
The Mayflower Mine project is a great example of the environmental and economic benefits of the VCP program. VCP projects provide communities and businesses with a mechanism for partnering with DERR to solve difficult environmental challenges on contaminated properties. This program protects public health and the environment and helps return impacted properties to beneficial reuse, which creates new economic opportunities.