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Environmental Cleanup & Brownfields

COVID-19 Update

In response to many questions received concerning Executive Order 202.6 concerning activities overseen by DEC's Division of Environmental Remediation, DEC considers the following activities to be essential in remedial and bulk storage programs:

  • Remedial construction activities, including new construction starts, at sites that DEC has determined pose a significant threat to public health and/or the environment, including Class 2 sites on the Registry of Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites and significant threat sites in the Brownfield Cleanup Program,

  • Completion of remedial construction already under way at non-significant threat sites as necessary to ensure site safety and prevent exposure to site contaminants, including completion of site cover systems,

  • Operation and maintenance activities for active remedial systems that are necessary for the continued protection of human health and the environment,

  • Interim remedial measures to address imminent human exposures and/or threat of significant contaminant migration,

  • Spill response actions,

  • Investigation, including pre-design investigations, of petroleum and hazardous waste releases as determined by DEC on a case-by-case basis to be necessary to address potential human exposures and/or threat of significant contaminant migration,

  • Construction, operation, and maintenance activities at registered bulk storage facilities determined to be Essential Businesses or Services by the State of New York. This includes, but is not limited to, the repair, testing, replacement, inspection, and maintenance of system components needed to meet regulatory compliance.

For regions/areas that have not entered Phase 1 of re-opening, only the above essential activities are permitted. Contact your Regional DEC site project manager for any specific questions.

For regions/areas that are currently in Phase 1 or beyond of re-opening, remedial activities, including site investigations (that is, probing, drilling, test pits, etc.), excavation work, remedial system design and installation, remedial system O&M and sampling can resume.

These criteria are subject to change and refinement as the response to the Covid-19 pandemic is fluid. Essential work must continue to comply with the guidance and directives for maintaining a clean and safe work environment issued by the Department of Health and every business, including, but not limited to, maintaining social distance to the extent possible and wearing appropriate face coverings/PPE when social distancing is not possible (that is, when work is necessary in small spaces or requires activities in close proximity to people).

A brownfield site is any real property where a contaminant is present at levels exceeding the soil cleanup objectives or other health-based or environmental standards, criteria or guidance adopted by DEC that are applicable based on the reasonably anticipated use of the property, in accordance with applicable regulations.

DEC's mission to promote and regulate environmental cleanup and safe brownfield redevelopment is accomplished through programs of the Division of Environmental Remediation.

Promoting Site Cleanups

Technical Guidance and Policy on Investigations and Cleanups Overseen by DEC

Site-specific Information

Looking for More Information?

Contaminated Sites Email Listservs


DEC's Division of Environmental Remediation is committed to informing and involving the public during the investigation and cleanup of contaminated sites being addressed under the State's various remedial programs. As a listserv member, you will periodically receive site-related information/announcements for all contaminated sites in the counties you select. DEC invites you to receive site information by email by signing up at the appropriate county listserv(s), which can be found on the page titled Contaminated Sites Emails by County.

Need to Contact Local DEC Environmental Cleanup Staff?


More about Environmental Cleanup & Brownfields:

  • Toxic Release Inventory - Information on toxic chemical releases and other waste management activities reported annually by certain covered industry groups as well as federal facilities.