Fact Sheet 3: No Further Remediation Letters
- What is a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter?
- Why isn't there a generic NFR Letter?
- What's the difference between each BOL program's NFR Letter?
- Must I participate in an Illinois EPA BOL program to obtain an NFR Letter?
- Is there any other way I can get an NFR Letter?
- Can the NFR Letter serve as an institutional control?
- What are the conditions of an NFR Letter?
- Why do I need to record an NFR Letter with the county recorder?
- Do I have to pay a separate fee to obtain the NFR Letter?
- How can an NFR Letter be voided?
- Can I obtain a supplemental NFR Letter?
- What is an environmental cover letter?
- 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?
What is a No Further Remediation (NFR) letter?
A No Further Remediation (NFR) Letter, issued by Illinois EPA's Bureau of Land (BOL), acknowledges that a site owner or operator has satisfied the respective BOL program's statutory and regulatory requirements. A site qualifies to receive the NFR Letter once the owner or operator meets all program requirements and the applicable Tiered Approach to Corrective Action Objectives (TACO-35 Ill. Adm. Code Part 742) remediation objectives.
Why isn't there a generic NFR Letter?
TACO allows the development of remediation requirements in two ways:
- Responsibility for choosing remediation objectives lies with the site owner or operator instead of the Illinois EPA.
- 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 (LUST-35 Ill. Adm. Code Part 734), the NFR Letter signifies that no further corrective action is required in response to a LUST release.
Under the Site Remediation Program (SRP-35 Ill. Adm Code Part 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 the remediation of the related contaminants of concern, or both.
Under Section 4(y) of the Illinois 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?
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 any 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). The responsible party may opt for less stringent cleanup objectives and accept the restrictions.
What are the conditions of an NFR Letter?
The conditions vary by site and program 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 a drinking water source. 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 Letter and closure 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. The NFR Letter is not executed until it has been recorded with the county.
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.
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 Letter. 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?
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 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?
No. Effective April 5, 2022, the owner/operator of a site subject to State or federal Underground Storage Tank laws is not authorized to transfer the site to the Site Remediation Program (SRP), in compliance with Section 58.1(a)(2)(iii) of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and 35 Ill. Adm. Code Section 740.105(a)(3).