§1364. Powers and duties of the department

Link to law: http://legislature.maine.gov/legis/statutes/38/title38sec1364.html
Published: 2015

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§1364. Powers and duties of the department

1. Technical services. 
The commissioner shall establish a technical services capability within the department
to assist in the identification, evaluation and mitigation of uncontrolled hazardous
substance sites.

1983, c. 569, §1 (NEW)

2. Rules. 
The board may adopt rules related to the handling of hazardous substances; the investigation,
abatement, mitigation and cleanup of spills of hazardous substances; and the investigation,
designation and mitigation of uncontrolled hazardous substance sites. The board may
provide by rule that any person who knows or has reason to believe that any hazardous
substance is present in ground water or soils beneath a site which is owned or operated
by that person provide notice of that condition to the department if the concentration
of the hazardous substance in ground water exceeds state or federal recommended contaminant
levels for drinking water or the concentration in soils exceeds contaminant levels
established by the board.

1993, c. 355, §60 (AMD)

3. Investigation and evaluation. 
The commissioner may investigate and sample sites where hazardous substances are
stored or handled to identify uncontrolled hazardous substance sites. During the course
of the investigation, the commissioner may require submission of information or documents
that relate or may relate to the site under investigation from any person whom the
commissioner has reason to believe may be a responsible party. The information may
include the nature and amounts of hazardous substances or other wastes that arrived
or may have arrived at the site, manner of transportation, treatment or disposal of
the hazardous substances or other wastes and any other information relating to the
site or to threats posed by the potential site.

1989, c. 890, Pt. A, §40 (AFF);
1989, c. 890, Pt. B, §266 (AMD)

4. Designation. 
In accordance with section 1365, the commissioner may declare a site to be an uncontrolled
hazardous substance site. The designation may be appealed only upon the issuance of
an order pursuant to section 1365, subsection 2, as provided in section 1365, subsection

1987, c. 419, §13 (AMD)

5. Mitigation. 
The commissioner may take whatever action necessary to abate, clean up or mitigate
the threats or hazards posed or potentially posed by an uncontrolled site or to protect
the public health, safety or welfare or the environment, including administering or
carrying out measures to abate, clean up or mitigate the threats or hazards, and implementing
remedies to remove, store, treat, dispose of or otherwise handle hazardous substances
located in, on or over an uncontrolled site, including soil and water contaminated
by hazardous substances. When the necessary action includes the installation of a
public water supply or the extension of mains of an existing water utility, the department's
obligation is limited to construction of those works that are necessary to furnish
the contaminated or potentially contaminated properties with a supply of water sufficient
for existing uses. The department is not obligated to contribute to a water utility's
system development charge, nor to provide works or water sources exceeding those required
to abate the threats or hazards posed by the uncontrolled site. The department may
pay the costs of operation, maintenance and depreciation of the works or water supply
for a period not exceeding 20 years if funds are available from Other Special Revenue
or proceeds from the sale of bonds. If a water supply well is installed after October
1, 1994 to serve a location that immediately before the well installation was served
by a viable community public water system, and the well is or becomes contaminated
with a hazardous substance:

A. Neither the commissioner nor any responsible party is obligated under this chapter
to reimburse any person for the expense of treating or replacing the well if the well
is installed in an area delineated by the department as contaminated as provided in
section 548, subsection 1; and [1995, c. 462, Pt. A, §78 (AMD).]

B. The obligation of the commissioner or any responsible party under this chapter with
regard to replacement or treatment of the well is limited to reimbursement of the
expense of installing the well and its proper abandonment if the well is installed
in an area other than one described in paragraph A. The well owner is responsible
in such a case for other expenses of replacing or treating the water supply well,
including the cost of any pump or piping installed with the well. [1995, c. 462, Pt. A, §78 (AMD).]

For purposes of this subsection, "viable community public water system" has the same
meaning as in section 548.

1995, c. 462, Pt. A, §78 (AMD)

6. Accept funds. 
The department may accept any public or private funds which may be available for
carrying out the purposes of this chapter. The Uncontrolled Sites Fund is established
to be used by the department as a nonlapsing revolving fund for carrying out the purposes
of this chapter, including the long-term oversight of uncontrolled hazardous substance
sites. Money in the fund, not needed currently to meet the obligations of the department
in the exercise of its responsibilities under this chapter, shall be deposited with
the Treasurer of State to the credit of the fund and may be invested in such a manner
as is provided for by law. Interest received on that investment shall be credited
to the fund.

1987, c. 192, §29 (AMD)

7. Acquisition of property; authority. 
The department may acquire, by purchase, lease, condemnation, donation or otherwise,
any real property or any interest in real property that the board in its discretion
determines, by 2/3 majority vote, is necessary to conduct remedial actions in response
to threats or hazards posed or potentially posed by an uncontrolled site, including,
but not limited to:

A. Actions to prevent further threats or hazards and to mitigate or terminate the threats
or hazards; [1991, c. 312, §2 (NEW).]

B. Actions to clean up soils and ground water and remove hazardous substances from
an uncontrolled site; and [1991, c. 312, §2 (NEW).]

C. Replacement of water supplies contaminated or threatened by hazardous substances. [1991, c. 312, §2 (NEW).]

The department may exercise the right of eminent domain in the manner described in
Title 35-A, chapter 65, to take and hold real property for any of the purposes described
in this subsection. The commissioner shall report on the circumstances of any taking
by eminent domain to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction
over natural resource matters during the next regular session following the acquisition
of any property by eminent domain. The department may transfer or convey to any person
real property or any interest in real property once acquired.

1991, c. 312, §2 (NEW)


1983, c. 569, §1 (NEW).
1985, c. 746, §§33,34 (AMD).
1987, c. 192, §29 (AMD).
1987, c. 419, §13 (AMD).
1989, c. 792, (AMD).
1989, c. 890, §§A40,B266, 267 (AMD).
1991, c. 66, §A40 (AMD).
1991, c. 312, §§1,2 (AMD).
1993, c. 355, §60 (AMD).
1993, c. 621, §7 (AMD).
1995, c. 462, §A78 (AMD).