Title 23
Health and Safety

Chapter 19.14
Industrial Property Remediation and Reuse Act

R.I. Gen. Laws § 23-19.14-5

§ 23-19.14-5. Environmental equity and public participation.

(a) The department of environmental management shall consider the effects that clean-ups would have on the populations surrounding each site and shall consider the issues of environmental equity for low income and racial minority populations. The department of environmental management will develop and implement a process to ensure community involvement throughout the investigation and remediation of contaminated sites. That process shall include, but not be limited to, the following components:

(1) Notification to abutting residents when a work plan for a site investigation is proposed;

(2) Adequate availability of all public records concerning the investigation and clean-up of the site, including, where necessary, the establishment of informational repositories in the impacted community; and

(3) Notification to abutting residents, and other interested parties, when the investigation of the site is deemed complete by the department of environmental management.

(4)(i) Whenever a site that is known to be contaminated or is suspected of being contaminated based upon its past use is considered for possible reuse as the location of a school, child-care facility, or as a recreational facility for public use, the person proposing such reuse shall, prior to the establishment of a final scope of investigation for the site and after the completion of all appropriate inquiries, hold a public meeting for the purposes of obtaining information about conditions at the site and the environmental history at the site that may be useful in establishing the scope of the investigation of the site and/or establishing the objectives for the environmental clean-up of the site. The public meeting shall be held in a city or town in which the site is located; public notice shall be given of the meeting at least ten (10) business days prior to the meeting; and following the meeting, the record of the meeting shall be open for a period of not less than ten (10) and not more than twenty (20) business days for the receipt of public comment. The results of all appropriate inquiries, analysis and the public meeting, including the comment period, shall be documented in a written report submitted to the department.

(ii) No work (remediation or construction), shall be permitted at the property until the public meeting and comment period regarding the site’s proposed reuse has closed except where the director determines that such work is necessary to mitigate or prevent:

(A) an imminent threat to human health, public safety or the environment; or

(B) off-site migration of known or suspected contamination.

(iii) The public notice, meeting and comment required by this section shall be in addition to any other requirements for public notice and comment relating to the investigation or remedy of the site and may be made part of another meeting pertaining to the site provided that the minimum standards established by this section for notice and comment are met. Any investigation or remediation undertaken prior to the completion of the public comment period shall be limited to measures necessary to define and/or mitigate the imminent threat and/or off-site migration.

(iv) The director shall establish, by regulation, standards and practice, which are consistent with federal practices, for purposes of satisfying the requirement to carry out all appropriate inquiries for the purposes of this chapter, the standard for the reporting of the results of those inquiries, and the process for notification to the public of the public meeting, the standards and practices for conducting the public meeting, and reporting on public comment.

(b) Effective until January 1, 2007, the community involvement process may be coordinated, as appropriate, with the public notice and comment opportunity provided in § 23-19.14-11.

(c) The department of environmental management will develop and implement a process by which a person that is or may be affected by a release or threatened release of a hazardous material at a site located in the community in which the person works or resides may request the conduct of a site assessment; and a decision process, with objective criteria, specifying how the department will consider and appropriately respond to such requests.

(d) The department of environmental management will maintain, update not less than annually, and make available to the public a record of sites, by name and location, at which remedial actions have been completed in the previous year and are planned to be addressed under the state site remediation and Brownfields program in the upcoming year. The public record shall identify whether or not the site, on completion of the remedial action, will be suitable for unrestricted use and, if not, shall identify the institutional controls relied on in the remedy.

History of Section.
P.L. 1995, ch. 187, § 1; P.L. 2002, ch. 186, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 250, § 1; P.L. 2006, ch. 275, § 1.