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Tiered Approach to Corrective Action Objectives (TACO)
Fact Sheet 3: No Further Remediation Letters

What is a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter?

A No Further Remediation (NFR) letter, issued by the Illinois EPA's Bureau of Land (BOL), acknowledges that a site owner or operator has satisfied the respective BOL laws and regulations. A site qualifies to receive an NFR letter once the owner or operator meets all program requirements and the applicable TACO remediation objectives.

Why isn't there a generic NFR letter?

TACO changes remediation requirements in two ways:

  1. Responsibility for choosing among remediation objectives lies with the site owner or operator instead of the Illinois EPA.

  2. The remediation objectives can be tailored to the intended post remediation land use.

Because of this, it is not feasible to issue a single generic letter for all situations.

What's the difference between each BOL program's NFR letter?

Each BOL program's authorization to issue an NFR letter comes from separate laws and regulations.

Under the Leaking Underground Storage Tank program (35 IAC 732), an NFR letter signifies that no further corrective action is required in response to a LUST release.

Under the Site Remediation Program (35 IAC 740), a comprehensive NFR letter signifies that a site is protective of human health and the environment.

A focused NFR letter signifies that either the remediation area is only a portion of a larger parcel of property, or that the site owner has elected to limit the environmental investigation and related contaminants of concern to be remediated, or both.

Under Section 4(y) of the Environmental Protection Act, the Illinois EPA may issue a letter signifying that a person is no longer responsible for preventive or corrective action at a site.

Under RCRA Subtitle C, an Acceptance of Certification of Closure for a specific RCRA Unit may be obtained. Also, a determination of no further remediation may be obtained for solid waste management units investigated and/or remediated under the RCRA corrective action requirements of RCRA permits issued by the Illinois EPA.

Must I participate in an Illinois EPA BOL program to obtain an NFR letter?

Yes.

Is there any other way I can get an NFR letter?

No. However, a site undergoing a voluntary cleanup may not need an NFR letter. For example, during a property transaction a buyer and seller can agree to manage a site using TACO without the BOL's Site Remediation Program oversight and approval.

Can the NFR letter serve as an institutional control?

Yes. The NFR letter can restrict land use to prevent exposure to the remaining contaminants. An institutional control is a legal mechanism for imposing limits on land use, such as a deed restriction or local ordinance (See Fact Sheet 4). We anticipate many persons will opt for less stringent cleanup objectives and accept the restrictions.

What are the conditions of an NFR letter?

The conditions vary by site depending on the intended post remediation land use, remaining contamination, and the risk level posed by the remaining contamination.

For example, the conditions of an institutional control may prohibit groundwater beneath a site from being used as drinking water. Or, another condition could prohibit a site from residential use. Any violation of a site-specific restriction would be grounds for voidance of the NFR determination.

Why do I need to record an NFR letter with the county recorder?

You must record the NFR letter to ensure current and future users of the property will be informed of conditions of the institutional controls and protected from unwitting exposure to environmental health risks. The NFR letter provides a chain of notification when filed with the local county recorder's office, and becomes indexed to the property.

Do I have to pay a separate fee to obtain the NFR letter?

Only those sites in the Site Remediation Program pay a fee. Sites in the LUST and RCRA programs do not.

How can an NFR letter be voided?

The validity of the NFR letter depends on the continued observance of institutional controls to protect human health.

The Illinois EPA may seek to void an NFR letter if any of the following occurs:

  • violation of the land use restriction,

  • failure to operate and maintain preventive or engineering controls,

  • improper disturbance or removal of contamination,

  • failure to comply with recording requirements,

  • obtaining the NFR letter by fraud or misrepresentation,

  • subsequent discovery of contaminants not identified as part of the investigation upon which the NFR letter was based, or

  • failure to pay the NFR Assessment Fee or Site Remediation Program fees (both applicable only to the Site Remediation Program).

Can I obtain a supplemental NFR letter?

Yes. For example, if a site originally received an NFR letter restricting the land use to industrial/ commercial, an owner or operator can later enter the Site Remediation Program to receive a new NFR. Upon successful completion of appropriate remedial activities, the BOL will issue a new NFR letter that supersedes the initial NFR letter and allows an alternative land use.

What is an environmental cover letter?

The Illinois EPA, with the assistance of county recorders, has developed a one page cover letter that simplifies the recording process. The cover letter is provided by the Illinois EPA at the time it issues the NFR letter. The owner or operator files the NFR letter by recording both the cover letter and NFR letter with the county recorder.

Can I transfer my LUST site into the Site Remediation Program? And, if I do, would the NFR letter from the SRP satisfy my LUST requirements?

Yes, a site may be transferred from LUST to the Site Remediation Program providing the proper application is made to the SRP. It is important to note, however, that once an agreement is signed with the SRP, the owner/operator is no longer eligible for reimbursement from the UST Fund.

The NFR letter from the SRP will state whether or not you have satisfied the requirements of the LUST program. If the LUST requirements have not been met under the SRP, you must continue remediation under the LUST program. Any subsequent corrective action performed to meet the LUST requirements is not eligible for reimbursement either.

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