Arizona Revised Statutes § 49-1017 Powers Of Director; Corrective Actions

49-1017. Powers of director; corrective actions

A. The director may take corrective action with respect to a release of a regulated substance that is petroleum into the environment from an underground storage tank if the director determines that action is necessary to protect human health, safety or the environment and any of the following conditions exist:

1. The department cannot locate, within ninety days or a shorter period necessary to protect human health or the environment, a person who is all of the following:

(a) An owner or operator of the tank concerned.

(b) Subject to the corrective action requirements of section 49-1005.

(c) Financially or technically capable of properly carrying out the corrective action required by section 49-1005. If the owner or operator and the department jointly determine that the owner or operator is not financially or technically able to carry out the corrective action, the department and the owner may enter into a contract under which the department acts as manager of the corrective action on behalf of the owner or operator. The existence of a management contract with the department does not relieve the owner of any liability for costs that are not payable by the department under this chapter.

2. Corrective action costs at a facility exceed the amount of coverage required by section 49-1006 and expenditures from the underground storage tank revolving fund are necessary to ensure effective corrective action.

B. In determining whether to take a corrective action pursuant to subsection A of this section, the director shall consider and make written findings regarding all of the following factors:

1. The physical and chemical characteristics of the type of petroleum released, including its toxicity, persistence and potential for migration.

2. The hydrogeologic characteristics of the site where the underground storage tank is located and the surrounding area.

3. The proximity, quality and current and future uses of nearby surface water and groundwater.

4. The potential effects of residual contamination on nearby surface water and groundwater.

5. The degree of exposure.

6. The need for financial assistance.

C. If direct costs are incurred by the director for undertaking corrective action with respect to a release of a regulated substance that is petroleum, the owner and operator are liable to this state for these direct costs. Liability imposed pursuant to this subsection is strict. For the purposes of this subsection, " direct costs" means the cost of the corrective actions, investigations, enforcement and litigation except for those amounts that are not allocated to the owner or operator pursuant to subsection D of this section.

D. If there is more than one responsible person, liability under this section shall be equitably allocated on a case-by-case basis according to section 49-1016, subsection F, and using the following factors as those factors are appropriate under the circumstances:

1. The duration and percentage of ownership or operation of the underground storage tank during a release of regulated substances from the tank.

2. The amount and nature of the regulated substances released.

3. The degree of care exercised by each person with respect to the regulated substances released.

4. The ability to distinguish between the respective releases of more than one responsible person.

5. Other factors that are appropriate under the circumstances.

E. The allocation of liability under this section shall be promptly determined by one or more mediators who shall be selected by the responsible persons within sixty days after the responsible persons are identified by the director. The director may select a mediator and convene a mediation on the failure of the responsible persons to select one or more mediators. The mediator shall not have a conflict of interest with the responsible persons. A mediation convened by the director shall be held within sixty days after the mediator being selected. The director shall provide notice to the responsible persons of the time and place for the mediation and the name of the mediator or mediators. This notice shall be provided at least forty-five days prior to the date scheduled for mediation. Costs of mediation shall be eligible for payment and shall be allocated to participants in the mediation in the same proportion as the costs of corrective action. Nothing in this section shall excuse the obligations of an owner or operator to take timely and adequate action in response to a release of regulated substances as required in this chapter. Nothing in this section shall diminish the right of any person to bring an action against any other person as provided in section 49-1019 for contribution or reimbursement for the reasonable costs of corrective action that person has been allocated pursuant to this section.

F. The director may take a corrective action with respect to a release of a regulated substance that is not petroleum only as a remedial action subject to chapter 2, article 5 of this title, and the rules adopted pursuant to that article. If the director takes a corrective action for the release of a regulated substance that is not petroleum, all of the rights, duties and responsibilities of a person associated with the release shall be determined pursuant to that article.

G. An owner, operator or other person that meets the requirements of section 49-1016, subsection C may request that the department conduct corrective action under this section. Subject to the availability of monies allocated and the priority assigned to the site pursuant to subsection B of this section, the department may conduct the corrective action.

H. A request for corrective action pursuant to subsection G of this section shall be on a form provided by the department and shall contain sufficient information related to the site and the factors prescribed in subsection B of this section to allow the director to make a determination of priority for that request.

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Last modified: October 13, 2016