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§ 6020.501. Response authorities

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated StatutesTitle 35 P.S. Health and Safety

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes
Title 35 P.S. Health and Safety (Refs & Annos)
Chapter 29C. Hazardous Sites Cleanup Act (Refs & Annos)
Chapter 5. Response and Investigation
35 P.S. § 6020.501
§ 6020.501. Response authorities
(a) General rule.--Where there is a release or substantial threat of release of a contaminant which presents a substantial danger to the public health or safety or the environment or where there is a release or threat of a release of a hazardous substance, the department shall investigate and, if further response action is deemed appropriate, the department shall notify the owner, operator or any other responsible person of such release or threat of a release if such persons are known and may allow such person or persons to investigate and undertake an appropriate response, or may undertake any further investigation, interim response or remedial response relating to the contaminant or hazardous substance which the department deems necessary or appropriate to protect the public health, safety or welfare or the environment.
(b) Effect on liability.--No response action taken by any person shall be construed as an admission of liability for a release or threatened release.
(c) Exclusion.--
(1) The department shall not provide for an interim response or remedial response under this section in response to a release or threat of release:
(i) of a naturally occurring substance in its unaltered form, or altered solely through naturally occurring processes or phenomena, from a location where it is naturally found;
(ii) from products which are part of the structure of, and result in exposure within, residential buildings or business or community structures;
(iii) into public or private drinking water supplies due to deterioration of the system through ordinary use; or
(iv) from a coal mining operation under the jurisdiction of the department or from a site eligible for funding under Title IV of the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977 (Public Law 95-87, 30 U.S.C. § 1201 et seq.).
(2) Notwithstanding paragraph (1), to the extent authorized by this section, the department may respond to a release or threat of release when, in the department's discretion, it determines that the release or threat of release constitutes a public health, safety or environmental emergency and that no other person with the authority and capability to respond to the emergency will do so in a timely manner.
(d) Investigations.--The department shall undertake or cause to be undertaken by the owner, operator or any other responsible person as permitted under subsection (a), investigations, monitoring, surveys, testing and other similar activities necessary or appropriate to identify the existence and extent of the release or threat of release, the source and nature of the hazardous substances or contaminants and the extent of danger to the public health or welfare or the environment. The department may also undertake planning, legal, fiscal, economic, engineering, architectural and other studies or investigations necessary or appropriate to plan and direct a response action, to recover the costs of the response action and to enforce the provisions of this act. The department shall undertake the activities described in this subsection in one or more of the following circumstances:
(1) When the department is authorized to act under subsection (a).
(2) When the department has reason to believe that a release of a hazardous substance or a contaminant has occurred or is about to occur.
(3) When the department determines that illness or disease or complaints of illness or disease may be attributable to exposure to a hazardous substance or contaminant.
(e) Notice of investigations.--The department, upon undertaking any investigation, interim response or remedial response under this section, shall give prompt written notice thereof to the owner and operator of the site and to the first mortgagee holding a mortgage on the premises on which the site is located.
(f) Bidding for remedial or removal actions.--
(1) The department may prequalify bidders for remedial or removal actions taken under subsection (d). The department may reject the bid of a prospective bidder who has not been prequalified.
(2) To prequalify bidders, the department shall, as contained in regulations to be proposed by the department and promulgated by the Environmental Quality Board, apply a uniform system of rating bidders. In order to obtain information for rating, the department may require from prospective bidders answers to questions, including, but not limited to, questions about the bidder's financial ability; the bidder's experience in removal and remedial action involving hazardous substances; the bidder's past safety record; and the bidder's past performance on Federal, State or local government projects. The department may also require prospective bidders to submit financial statements.
(3) The department shall utilize the business financial data and information submitted by a bidder under this section only for the purposes of prequalifying bidders and shall not otherwise disclose this data or information.
(g) Emergency response authority.--In addition to the powers and duties set forth in this act, when the Governor determines that there is an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health and welfare or the environment because of an actual or threatened release of a nonhazardous substance and that the person who owns or operates has failed to take appropriate emergency response, the Governor may order or undertake the necessary and appropriate emergency interim response. No more than $2,500,000 from the fund may be expended annually by the Governor for this purpose, except when the General Assembly, by concurrent resolution, deems appropriate.


1988, Oct. 18, P.L. 756, No. 108, § 501, effective in 60 days.
35 P.S. § 6020.501, PA ST 35 P.S. § 6020.501
Current through 2023 Regular Session Act 32. Some statute sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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