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§ 6020.503. Information gathering and access

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. § 6020.503
§ 6020.503. Information gathering and access
(a) Authority.--The authority of this section shall be exercised when there is a reasonable basis to believe there may be a release or threat of release of a hazardous substance or contaminant. The authority of this section shall be exercised for the purposes of determining the need for response, choosing or taking a response action under this act or otherwise enforcing the provisions of this act.
(b) Information.--
(1) The department shall have access to information relevant to any of the following:
(i) The identification, nature and quantity of materials which have been or are generated, treated, stored or disposed of at a site or other place or property or transported to a site or other place or property.
(ii) The nature or extent of a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance or contaminant at or from a site or other place or property.
(iii) Information relating to the ability of a person to pay for or to perform a response action.
(2) A person who has or may have information under paragraph (1) shall, upon reasonable notice, either:
(i) grant the department access at all reasonable times to a site or other place or property to inspect and copy all documents or records relating to the matter; or
(ii) copy and furnish to the department all the documents or records.
(c) Right of entry.--The department may enter at reasonable times a site or other place or property in one or more of the following circumstances:
(1) A hazardous substance or contaminant may be or has been generated at, stored at, treated at, disposed of at or transported from the place.
(2) A hazardous substance or contaminant has been or is being or threatens to be released.
(3) Entry is needed to determine the need for response to a hazardous substance or contaminant or the appropriate response or to effectuate a response action under this act.
(4) A release of a hazardous substance or contaminant has occurred on a nearby property, and entry is required to determine the extent of the release.
(5) There is a container or impoundment which is typical of those used to contain or impound hazardous substances and entry is needed to determine the existence of a hazardous substance.
(d) Inspection.--
(1) The department may inspect and obtain samples from a site or other place or property referred to in subsection (c) or from a location of a suspected hazardous substance or contaminant. The department's right of inspection shall include the sampling of solids, liquids and gases; excavations for soil sampling; drilling and maintenance of wells to monitor groundwater; and the installation and maintenance of other equipment to monitor the nature or extent of a release of a suspected hazardous substance or contaminant. The department may inspect and obtain samples of containers or labeling for suspected hazardous substances or contaminants. Each inspection shall be completed with reasonable promptness.
(2) When the department obtains samples, before leaving the premises, it shall give to the owner, operator, tenant or other person in charge of the place from which the samples were obtained a receipt describing the sample obtained and, when requested, a portion of the sample. A copy of the results of an analysis made of the samples shall be furnished promptly to the owner, operator, tenant or other person in charge when the person can be located.
(e) Duty to cooperate with response action.--
(1) The following persons shall allow the department access or right of entry and inspection as may be reasonably necessary to determine the nature and extent of a release of a hazardous substance or contaminant:
(i) A person who owns or occupies land on which there is a release or threat of a release of a hazardous substance or contaminant.
(ii) A person who owns or occupies land which is near the site of a release or threatened release.
(iii) A person who owns or occupies land on which there is a container or impoundment typical of those used to contain or impound hazardous substances.
(iv) A person who is a responsible person under section 701.1
(2) The following persons shall allow the department access or right of entry and inspection as may be reasonably necessary to perform a response under section 501:2
(i) A person who owns or occupies land on which there is a release or a threat of release of a hazardous substance or contaminant.
(ii) A person who owns or occupies land which may be affected by the release of a hazardous substance or contaminant.
(iii) A person who is a responsible person under section 701.
(f) Remedies.--
(1) In addition to any other remedy provided by this act, the department may enforce the provisions of this section by issuing orders requiring access to information, requiring entry onto property and restraining interference with any response action. An order issued under this section may be appealed to the board under the act of July 13, 1988 (P.L. 530, No. 94), known as the Environmental Hearing Board Act.3
(2) The department may immediately apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to enforce its order, unless the board has issued a supersedeas. The court shall immediately enforce the department's order upon finding all of the following:
(i) The order is authorized by this act.
(ii) There has not been full compliance with the order.
(3) In lieu of issuing an order under paragraph (1), the department may apply immediately to a court of competent jurisdiction for the same relief.
(4) When the board reviews an order issued under paragraph (1), or when a court reviews the department's request for immediate relief under paragraph (3), the board shall uphold the department's order and the court shall grant the requested relief where all of the following are established:
(i) The department has a reasonable basis to believe that there may be a release or a threat of a release of a hazardous substance or contaminant.
(ii) The order or relief requested is reasonably related to determining the need for a response, to choosing or taking any response or to otherwise enforcing the provisions of this act.
(5) Except as provided in this subsection, there shall be no administrative or judicial review of action by the department or its agents to obtain access to information, to obtain entry onto property or to perform work on the property in connection with a response action. Neither the board nor any court may restrain action of the department under this section unless all of the following apply:
(i) The person seeking to restrain the department has given the department a 30-day written notice of his intent to do so.
(ii) The department has failed to issue an order within the 30-day period.
(6) The minimum civil penalty assessed under section 11044 for a violation of an order issued under this section shall be $5,000 for each day the order is violated.
(g) Other remedies.--Nothing in this subsection shall preclude the department from securing access or obtaining information in any other lawful manner.
(h) Public records.--
(1) Except as provided in this subsection, records, reports or other information obtained under this act shall be available to the public for inspection or copying during regular business hours. The department may, upon request, designate records, reports or information as confidential when the person providing the information demonstrates all of the following:
(i) The information contains the trade secrets, processes, operations, style of work or apparatus of a person or is otherwise confidential business information, including information obtained under subsection (b)(1)(iii).
(ii) The information does not relate to health or safety effects of a hazardous substance or contaminant.
(2) When submitting information to the department under this act, a person shall designate the information which the person believes is confidential or shall submit that information separately from other information being submitted.
(i) Use of force.--When a person refuses to allow the department to have access to information or entry onto property under this section, the department shall not use force to obtain the information or entry unless one of the following applies:
(1) The department has obtained a search warrant or initiated an action under subsection (f).
(2) Immediate action is needed to protect the public health or safety or the environment.

Credits

1988, Oct. 18, P.L. 756, No. 108, § 503, effective in 60 days.

Footnotes

35 P.S. § 6020.701.
35 P.S. § 6020.501.
35 P.S. § 7511 et seq.
35 P.S. § 6020.1104.
35 P.S. § 6020.503, PA ST 35 P.S. § 6020.503
Current through 2022 Regular Session Act 20. Some statute sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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