Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 10.1. Conservation
Chapter 12.1. Brownfield Restoration and Land Renewal Act
10/28/2021

§ 10.1-1234. Limitations on liability.

A. The Director may, consistent with programs developed under the federal acts, make a determination to limit the liability of lenders, innocent purchasers or landowners, de minimis contributors or others who have grounds to claim limited responsibility for a containment or cleanup that may be required pursuant to the Virginia Waste Management Act (§ 10.1-1400 et seq.), the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.), the State Air Pollution Control Law (§ 10.1-1300 et seq.), or any other applicable law.

B. A bona fide prospective purchaser shall not be held liable for a containment or cleanup that may be required at a brownfield site pursuant to the Virginia Waste Management Act (§ 10.1-1400 et seq.), the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.), or the State Air Pollution Control Law (§ 10.1-1300 et seq.) if (i) the person did not cause, contribute, or consent to the release or threatened release, (ii) the person is not liable or potentially liable through any direct or indirect familial relationship or any contractual, corporate, or financial relationship or is not the result of a reorganization of a business entity that was potentially liable, (iii) the person exercises appropriate care with respect to hazardous substances found at the facility by taking reasonable steps to stop any continuing release, prevent any threatened future release, and prevent or limit human, environmental, or natural resource exposure to any previously released hazardous substances, and (iv) the person does not impede the performance of any response action. These provisions shall not apply to sites subject to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq.).

C. An innocent land owner who holds title, security interest or any other interest in a brownfield site shall not be held liable for a containment or cleanup that may be required at a brownfield site pursuant to the Virginia Waste Management Act (§ 10.1-1400 et seq.), the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.), or the State Air Pollution Control Law (§ 10.1-1300 et seq.) if (i) the person did not cause, contribute, or consent to the release or threatened release, (ii) the person is not liable or potentially liable through any direct or indirect familial relationship or any contractual, corporate, or financial relationship or is not the result of a reorganization of a business entity that was potentially liable, (iii) the person made all appropriate inquiries into the previous uses of the facility in accordance with generally accepted good commercial and customary standards and practices, including those established by federal law, (iv) the person exercises appropriate care with respect to hazardous substances found at the facility by taking reasonable steps to stop any continuing release, prevent any threatened future release, and prevent or limit human, environmental, or natural resource exposure to any previously released hazardous substances, and (v) the person does not impede the performance of any response action and if either (a) at the time the person acquired the interest, he did not know and had no reason to know that any hazardous substances had been or were likely to have been disposed of on, in, or at the site, or (b) the person is a government entity that acquired the site by escheat or through other involuntary transfer or acquisition. These provisions shall not apply to sites subject to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. § 6901 et seq.).

D. A person that owns real property that is contiguous to or otherwise similarly situated with respect to, and that is or may be contaminated by a release or threatened release of a hazardous substance from real property that is not owned by that person shall not be considered liable for a containment or cleanup that may be required pursuant to the Virginia Waste Management Act (§ 10.1-1400 et seq.), the State Water Control Law (§ 62.1-44.2 et seq.), or the State Air Pollution Control Law (§ 10.1-1300 et seq.) if the person did not cause, contribute, or consent to the release or threatened release, the person is not liable or potentially liable through any direct or indirect familial relationship or any contractual, corporate, or financial relationship or is not the result of a reorganization of a business entity that was potentially liable, and if such person provides full cooperation, assistance and access to persons that are authorized to conduct response actions at the facility from which there has been a release.

E. The provisions of this section shall not otherwise limit the authority of the Department, the State Water Control Board, the Virginia Waste Management Board, or the State Air Pollution Control Board to require any person responsible for the contamination or pollution to contain or clean up sites where solid or hazardous waste or other substances have been improperly managed.

2002, c. 378.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.