Key Conclusion: Case closure letters for former leak sites should be carefully examined and may not be sufficient to eliminate risk regarding a Property.

Case closure letters are a requirement for clearance for former leak sites (note that UST closures and facility closures are closures that do not refer to leak cases). These letters do not always indicate that no further action is necessary.

Leak case closure letters should be carefully evaluated to determine that the closure refers to the contamination issue of concern, that it was prepared by the agency that has that jurisdiction, that all of the agencies that must concur have done so and that all the documents that are a part of the case closure documentation are included. For example, closure letters also include a Case Closure Summary and may also include specific maps, tables and other legal documents. Therefore a closure cover letter is never sufficient to document case closure. The reasons a case closure letter may not be sufficient for a no further action recommendation are the following.

  • The case closure may close only part of the issue (a UST leak but not the presence of solvents or metals, leaks covered by another agency.)
  • The agency may have closed the case to their satisfaction but it was not agreed to by the agency of jurisdiction. For example, the city or county may have recommended the closure but it was not agreed to by the Regional Water Board.
  • The local agency may have closed the case but the regulatory standards have changed. Case closures are based on current information and may be re-opened based on new information such as additional subsurface sample analysis. ERAS must evaluate the closure based on current standards.
  • The agency may have simply made a mistake in their case closure.

ERAS welcomes the opportunity to provide a short visual presentation on these issues. We would welcome the opportunity to meet you and your staff. Please call for an appointment.

Note that the information presented herein should not be construed as legal advice.

ERAS employs Registered Environmental Assessors (REA) both Class 1 and 2, a Professional Geologist and a Certified Asbestos Consultant (CAC).