Maine DEP Publishes Revised Remedial Action Guidelines On Hazardous Substances For Comment

The Remedial Action Guidelines (RAGs) are useful – if conservative – default cleanup guidelines used by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).  DEP proposed changes in 2012, and has just proposed changes again, with a new deadline for comment.  The RAGs are used for cleanup of contaminated property, addressing hazardous waste releases, and in the Voluntary Response Action Program (VRAP).

The RAGs will be of interest to anyone who has to address contaminants in the environment.  These revised RAGs would incorporate new changes in worker exposure scenarios but continues to propose use of a “single-contaminant” approach, clarifying the application of the RAGs at many sites where there may in fact be more than one contaminant present.  New Bureau Director Melanie Loyzim has also signaled that she wants to promote consistency across DEP programs, which should simplify application of the RAGs and reduce the ability to pick and choose among programs.

Among the other updates are higher background numbers for commonly encountered roadway run-off contaminants such as PAHs, new toxicological information from U.S. EPA, and revisions to the approach on vapor intrusion.  The links to the relevant DEP documents can be found here.  DEP continues to emphasize that the RAGs can be supplemented or replaced by a site-specific risk assessment, though that can be an additional cost.

DEP intends to hold a public meeting in Augusta on March 19 (yes, very short notice), but will accept written comments until April 10.  

If you have questions, please contact Ken Gray (207-791-1212 or, Dixon Pike (207-791-1374 or or Tom Doyle (207-791-1214 or

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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