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Owners of contaminated sites face stringent new cleanup standards, effective July 1, 2011, under Reg. 153/04. Many owners want to cleanup under the existing, less stringent standards, but cannot finish the cleanup by next July. They can buy an extra 18 months to finish the cleanup, but only if they file an election to keep using the old numbers; the election must be filed by December 31 of this year.

However, many owners have missed a hidden trap — they can extend the time for meeting the current cleanup standards, but they cannot extend the time for using their existing environmental reports. After July 1, 2011, every Phase I and Phase II Environmental Site Assessment that is used to support a record of site condition must meet stringent new standards for such reports. Few existing reports will meet these standards. Accordingly, there may be a significant additional cost to allowing any cleanup to extend past June 30, 2011.

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