The Connecticut Property Transfer Act
What Is the Transfer Act? The Connecticut Property Transfer Program (Transfer Act) (Connecticut General Statutes [CGS] Section 22a-134 et. seq.) requires certain properties or businesses, which meet the statutory definition of an “establishment,” to disclose the environmental condition of the property to the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (CTDEEP) when ownership is being transferred. The statute and its associated regulations establish the process, the standard of care, and a time line for determining the environmental conditions present.
What is an Establishment?
An establishment is defined as any property that meets one or more of the following conditions:
A) Any property that has generated more than one hundred kilogram of hazardous waste in any single month since November 19, 1980. (Exceptions are made for sites where the hazardous waste generation was the result of remediation activities that required the removal of polluted soil or groundwater.)
B) Any property housing a facility that recycles, reclaims, reuses, stores, handles, treats, transports, or disposes of hazardous waste.
C) Any property where a commercial dry cleaner has operated since May 1, 1967.
D) Any property where a furniture stripper has operated since May 1, 1967.
E) Any property where a vehicle body repair facility was located since May 1, 1967.
Although the regulations provide limited exemptions, the majority of ownership transfers involving these types of properties will require compliance with the Transfer Act.
What are the requirements of the Transfer Act?
When a property is being transferred:
When ownership of an establishment (either a business or property) is transferred, documentation must be submitted by the transferor and transferee to the CTDEEP. A property transfer form, which varies depending on the level of investigation completed, and a fee must be submitted to the CTDEEP within ten days of the closing.
In addition, an Environmental Condition Assessment Form (ECAF) must be submitted to the CTDEEP along with the proper form filing. An ECAF provides the CTDEEP with a general overview of all of the potential environmental issues on-site, if there are any known release areas on-site, the level of investigation and remediation completed on-site to date, and the degree and extent of contamination identified on-site.
Preparation of the ECAF must include oversight and approval by a Connecticut Licensed Environmental Professional (LEP). The LEP program allows the CTDEEP to designate the oversight of any additional investigation or remediation activities to a private environmental professional, rather than having the State maintain control of the project.
Levels of Investigation Required:
Within two years of the transfer, the following tasks must be completed:
- Phase I Environmental Site Assessment (Phase I):
The initial step of each investigation is a Phase I, during which a property is evaluated for all of the potential release areas on-site. This is determined by looking at both the current and historical operations conducted on the property of concern and any adjacent properties with the potential to affect the environmental condition of the subject property.
- Phase II Subsurface Investigation (Phase II):
Once the potential release areas have been identified, a Phase II investigation is performed to determine if a release has actually occurred on the property. A Phase II consists of the collection and laboratory analysis of soil and groundwater samples at locations throughout the property where a potential release may have occurred.
- Phase III Subsurface Investigation (Phase III):
In the event that a release is identified during the Phase II investigation, a subsequent subsurface investigation must be performed in order to fully characterize the degree and extent of any contamination identified during the Phase II. The Phase III must vertically and horizontally define the plume(s) of contamination identified in the soil and groundwater during the Phase II.
- Remedial Action Plan
If soil and/or groundwater contaminant levels exceed the Connecticut Remediation Standard Regulations (RSRs), remediation will be necessary. The Remedial Action Plan (RAP) is a report that details the evaluation and selection of the remediation strategy for the site. The RAP is also used for the development of a scope of services that will be necessary to complete the remediation.
In the event that the contamination identified on the property under investigation is in excess of the CTDEEP RSRs, a RAP must be designed and implemented in order to clean up the site and bring it to regulatory closure. An appropriate RAP must be designed by an LEP and approved by the CTDEEP.
Time Line: Any remediation necessary at the subject property must be initiated within three years from the date of the submission of the Transfer Act Form Filing with the CTDEEP and completed within eight years of the filing. A public notice of remediation must be issued prior to commencement of any remedial action. Annual progress reports must be submitted to the CTDEEP once remedial actions at the property have begun.