Voluntary Evaluation Program

An uncontrolled site is a site, facility, plant, or location where hazardous or toxic wastes have been released into the environment and there is no federal environmental program which can handle the problem. The staff of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has records of more than 2000 sites that, at a minimum, need additional evaluation, and the Assessment/Remediation Branches, consisting of seven (7) staff members, is working with about 250 sites currently. Work previously underway on a number of sites had been stopped due to limited resources. Because of these limitations, staff members have been forced to place some sites on the “back burner,” resulting in an inability to review site information in a timely manner.

Realizing that MDEQ was underfunded and understaffed, the Mississippi Legislature passed and the governor signed into law Section 17-17-54 of Mississippi Code, which created the Uncontrolled Site Evaluation Trust Fund. This fund has established the Uncontrolled Site Voluntary Evaluation Program, which allows accepted parties the opportunity to participate in a program that will expedite the evaluation of site information. The Program allows the staff of the USS to more effectively prioritize sites. Sites are prioritized according to

  • actual or potential threat to the public health
  • actual or potential threat to the environment
  • whether the site is currently being considered for economic development
  • whether the site is currently participating in the Uncontrolled Site Voluntary Evaluation Program.

The actual weight values are determined internally by MDEQ personnel.

The company must submit an application to be accepted into the Program by MDEQ and pay all costs associated with MDEQ’s administration and evaluation of the site. An agreement (Agreed Administrative Order) is entered into by the Mississippi Commission on Environmental Quality (“Commission”), MDEQ, and the company.