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Permit Fact Sheet
What is the BWSC Tier I Permit program?
Under the MCP (310 CMR 40.0000), sites that have not been cleaned up within one year of notification to MassDEP must be scored using the MCP's Numerical Ranking System (NRS). The NRS ranks sites using specific criteria and a scoring system based on the existing and potential risks posed by the site to public health, natural resources and environmental receptors. Sites that score 350 or above, as well as sites that meet Tier I Inclusionary Criteria (e.g., are located within certain groundwater resource areas), are classified as Tier I disposal sites. These sites require a Tier I Permit to proceed with cleanup actions.
Tier I sites are categorized as Tier IA, Tier IB or Tier IC depending on the site's NRS score, other factors relating to the complexity of performing response actions, and the applicant's ability and willingness to go forward. Once a Tier I Permit has been obtained by a Responsible Party (RP), Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) or Other Person, the assessment and cleanup can proceed under the supervision of a Licensed Site Professional (LSP) employed by that party to oversee the work. MassDEP may at any time require an RP, PRP or Other Person to obtain MassDEP approval of specific response actions or submittals regardless of the classification of the site.
In general, disposal sites with an NRS score of less than 350 which do not meet the Tier I Inclusionary Criteria, are classified as Tier II and do not need a Tier I Permit. Work at Tier II sites also must be overseen by an LSP.
Response actions at any disposal site may require permits from other MassDEP programs.
Who must apply for a permit?
If a disposal site is classified as Tier I, the Responsible Party (RP) for the disposal site must apply for a Tier I Permit. A Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) or Other Person who wants to conduct response actions at a Tier I disposal site must also obtain a permit before proceeding with response actions.
When must I apply for a Tier I Permit?
For sites classified as Tier I, a Tier I Permit Application must be submitted to MassDEP within one year from the date MassDEP was initially notified that a release of oil or hazardous material occurred at a site, or within one year of the date MassDEP sends a Notice of Responsibility (NOR) to the RP or PRP for a release, whichever is earlier. MassDEP may also set interim deadlines for submittal of a Tier I Permit Application.
What information must be submitted with all Tier I Permit Applications?
As described in 310 CMR 40.0703, all Tier I Permit Applications must include:
a. a MassDEP Transmittal Form for Permit Application and Payment;
b. a completed MassDEP Permit Application Form for the appropriate permit category, including a Statement of Compliance History;
c. signed certifications as required by 310 CMR 40.0009 and 310 CMR 40.0703(9)(a) and (10);
d. the applicable permit application fee;
e. the tearsheet(s) from the newspaper(s) containing the legal notice required by 310 CMR 40.0703(8)(a)1., with the date of the publication and name of the newspaper;f. a copy of the cover letters and notices required by 310 CMR 40.1403 to the Chief Municipal Officer(s) and Board(s) of Health;
g. a Primary Representative Certification (for multiple applicants only); and
h. a list of all Status Reports, Phase Reports, or Completion Statements as required by 310 CMR 40.0703(1)(j).
Send the application fee to MassDEP in the manner described in Question 7. Send the original copy of the Transmittal Form and all other application materials to the appropriate MassDEP Regional Office.Find Your Region
What additional information is required when applying for an initial Tier I Permit?
In addition to the general requirements in 310 CMR 40.0703 described above, an initial Tier I Permit Application must include a complete Tier Classification Submittal, as required by 310 CMR 40.0500, and an LSP Opinion.
Additional information required for Applications for Tier I Permit Transfers, Extensions and Major Modifications can be found in the MCP at 310 CMR 40.0705, 40.0706 and 40.0707, respectively.
What is considered to be an incomplete application?
The application is considered incomplete if all of the required information and the applicable fee are not submitted to MassDEP. If MassDEP notifies you that the application is incomplete during the permit review period, you have an opportunity to complete it. If you subsequently do not provide the required information, MassDEP will consider the permit application to be withdrawn.
What is the application fee and how do I pay?
Permit Application Fees Permit Category
BWSC 01 Initial Tier IA Permit $4,360 $610 BWSC 02 Initial Tier IB Permit $4,360 $610 BWSC 03 Initial Tier IC Permit $4,360 $610 BWSC 10 Tier I Major Permit Modification $1,470 $305 BWSC 20 Tier I Permit Extension $1,470 $305 BWSC 30 Tier I Permit Transfer $1,470 $305
* A completed Homeowner Certification Transmittal Form (BWSC120) must be submitted to MassDEP in order to qualify for the reduced fee. Add link to homeowner form.
If you are submitting a Major Permit Modification, Permit Extension and/or Permit Transfer for a single disposal site concurrently, you are only required to pay one application fee.
Payment should be made in the form of a check or money order made payable to Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Do not send cash. One copy of the Transmittal Form for Permit Application must accompany the check and be forwarded to the following address:
Department of Environmental Protection
P.O. Box 4062
Boston, MA 02211-4062
Do not send any application materials to this address. Send the original copy of the Transmittal Form and other application materials to the appropriate MassDEP Regional Office. Find Your Region
- What other fees will be required for a 21E response action?
Prior to Tier Classification, a one-time Annual Compliance Assurance Fee (ACF) of $800 is required to be paid for each Release Abatement Measure (RAM) Plan submitted and a one-time ACF of $1,200 may be required to be paid for each Response Action Outcome (RAO) Statement submitted.
If a site does not achieve a Response Action Outcome (RAO) within one year of notification and is classified as Tier I or Tier II, or if it is deemed a Tier ID site (formerly default Tier IB), an Annual Compliance Assurance Fee (ACF) will be assessed for the duration of the response actions at the disposal site. Annual Compliance Assurance Fees are billed to the permit holder or primary representative if there are multiple permittees. The fees vary according to a site’s classification:
Annual Compliance Assurance Fees Category
Fee for Billable Years
Ending On or After August 8, 2013
Tier IA Site $6,140 $1,225 Tier IB Site $4,915 $1,225 Tier IC Site $3,685 $1,225 Tier ID Site $4,915 $2,455 Tier II Site $2,455 $1,225
* A completed Homeowner Certification Transmittal Form (BWSC120) must be submitted to MassDEP in order to qualify for the reduced fee.
Once a Tier I or Tier II disposal site reaches certain points in the cleanup process, a lower fee will be assessed:
Fee for Billable Years
Ending On or After August 8, 2013
Phase V Operation, Maintenance and/or Monitoring
(including Remedy Operation Status)
Post-RAO Class C Disposal Site
Statements for Annual Compliance Assurance Fees for all Tier I and Tier II disposal sites will be sent to the RP, PRP and/or Other Person conducting response actions for each billable year, up to and including the year in which a Class A or B RAO Statement is filed with MassDEP. However, if a Tier Classification Submittal (and Tier I Permit Application, if applicable) is submitted to MassDEP within the first 12 months from notification, the first year's Annual Compliance Assurance Fee will not be assessed.
- How many permits will MassDEP issue for a disposal site?
Generally, if a disposal site consists of one property, MassDEP will issue only one Tier I Permit. If a disposal site consists of more than one property, RPs, PRPs, or Other Persons may choose to individually apply for separate permits for each of their respective properties, or apply for one permit for the entire disposal site (see Question 10 below). If multiple discrete disposal sites are located on a single parcel of land, RPs, PRPs or Other Persons may choose to individually apply for separate permits for each discrete disposal site, or apply for one permit to address the disposal sites on the property as a whole.
- May more than one RP, PRP, or Other Person apply for a single permit?
Yes. Whether a disposal site consists of one property or more than one property, RPs, PRPs or Other Persons may join together as a group and apply for one multiple-party permit covering cleanup activities at the disposal site.
Whenever multiple parties apply jointly for one permit, they must designate a Primary Representative.
- What is a Primary Representative?
The Primary Representative of a multiple-party permit is the person who has been designated and authorized by the permit applicants to act on their behalf to receive oral and written correspondence from MassDEP regarding the Tier I Permit Application, subsequent response actions under the permit, and fee statements.
- What Response Actions can be conducted without a Tier I Permit?
Response actions at the following types of sites do not require a Tier I Permit:
a. Tier II disposal sites;
b. disposal sites that qualify as "adequately regulated" pursuant to 310 CMR 40.0110; and
c. disposal sites where MassDEP is conducting response actions.
In addition, Preliminary Response Actions do not require a Tier I Permit (although specific MassDEP approval may be needed). These are:
a. Initial Site Investigation Activities;
b. Immediate Response Actions (IRAs);
c. Release Abatement Measures (RAMs); and
d. Utility Related Abatement Measures (URAMs).
- What Comprehensive Response Actions may be conducted while the Tier I Permit Application is being processed?
The applicant may initiate or continue Phase II and/or Phase III Comprehensive Response Actions pursuant to 310 CMR 40.0830 and 40.0850, respectively, at a disposal site during the period after a Tier I Permit Application has been submitted and prior to its approval.
- Where can I get a copy of the timelines?
The timelines are available on the MassDEP Website: (Add Link)
- When does a Tier I Permit become effective and for how long are such permits in effect?
A Tier I Permit is effective:
a. 45 days from the date the complete Tier I Permit application is received by MassDEP and presumptively approved;
on the date MassDEP issues its written approval of the Tier I Permit with conditions
b. 45 days from the date MassDEP issues a Notice of Extended Review; or
c. on the date MassDEP issues its written approval of the Permit after an agreed upon extended review period.
Generally, initial Tier I Permits are effective for five years and Permit Extensions for two years. Permit Modifications and Transfers are effective for the duration of the original permit being modified or transferred.
- What types of decisions can MassDEP make on a Tier I Permit Application?
MassDEP can make several types of permit decisions following its review of a Permit Application. MassDEP may:
a. presumptively approve the permit;
b. deny the permit; or
c. approve the permit with conditions.
MassDEP also may determine that the disposal site does not require a permit, because it is more appropriately classified as a Tier II disposal site.
- What are "Permit Conditions"?
The MCP (310 CMR 40.0740) establishes standard permit conditions that apply to all Tier I Permits.
In addition, MassDEP may establish other site-specific conditions as necessary to ensure the appropriate level of MassDEP oversight of response actions.
- Can I request an Adjudicatory Hearing if I disagree with a permit decision?
Any person who disagrees with a permit decision issued by MassDEP may request an adjudicatory hearing if the decision:
a. denies a permit without the applicant's consent;
b. issues a permit for a higher Tier Classification than proposed by the applicant's LSP without the applicant's consent; or
c. issues a permit imposing site-specific conditions with which the applicant has not agreed.
- When must I submit a Tier I Permit Modification Application?
Major Permit Modification Applications are required to:
a. upgrade a Tier IC disposal site to a Tier IB or IA; or a Tier IB disposal site to a Tier IA;
b. downgrade a Tier IA disposal site to Tier IB or IC; or a Tier IB disposal site to a Tier IC;
c. reclassify a Tier I disposal site as a Tier II; or
d. request the modification of terms/conditions of a Tier I Permit other than those changes requiring a "minor permit modification".
Minor Permit Modification Submittals are required to:
a. correct typographical errors in an existing permit;
b. change the Permittee's name or address;
c. change the LSP of Record;
d. change the Primary Representative;
e. address omissions which do not materially affect the nature or complexity of the permitted response actions which need to be conducted at the disposal site; or
f. add one or more RPs, PRPs or Other Persons as permittees.
Note: Minor Permit Modifications must be submitted to MassDEP in writing using the Tier I Minor Permit Modification Transmittal Form (BWSC109) and include, if required, an LSP Opinion describing the reasons for the requested modifications and/or the certification required by 310 CMR 40.0009.
- Can my Tier I Permit be suspended or revoked?
MassDEP may suspend or revoke a Tier I Permit for several reasons, including: a violation of any permit term or condition, failure to pay Annual Compliance Assurance Fees, submittal of false or misleading information, and a violation of 310 CMR 40.0000 or other applicable law(s) or regulation(s).
- Are Tier I Permits transferrable?
Yes. A Tier I Permit may be transferred once MassDEP reviews a completed Permit Transfer Application and approves the Permit Transfer.
- When will the Tier I Permit requirements be considered fulfilled?
The MCP requires that a Response Action Outcome Statement must be submitted within five years of the effective date of the permit, unless other deadlines are established in the permit. If needed, a Permit Extension can be applied for to extend the permit for two years.
- How do I complete MassDEP's Transmittal Form for a Tier I Permit Application?
Please follow these instructions when filling out the Transmittal Form for Permit Application :
Section A Permit Information
The Permit Code numbers listed below should be used when applying for Tier I Permits from MassDEP's Bureau of Waste Site Cleanup.
Permit Code Name of Permit Category
BWSC 01 Tier IA Permit
BWSC 02 Tier IB Permit
BWSC 03 Tier IC Permit
BWSC 10 Tier I Major Permit Modification
BWSC 20 Tier I Permit Extension
BWSC 30 Tier I Permit Transfer
Note: At "Type of Project or Activity", write "Permit to Proceed with Response Actions"
Section B Applicant Information
Provide requisite information for the RP, PRP, or Other Person. For multiple applicants, use the Primary Representative's Name, Address and Telephone Number.
Section C Facility, Site or Individual Requiring Approval
For "Name of Facility, Site or Individual," use the disposal site name, if known; otherwise, use the company or organization's name. For disposal sites listed in MassDEP's 1993 Transition List of Confirmed Disposal Sites and Locations To Be Investigated (or addenda), use the name on the List. Provide the requisite information for the disposal site. Include the disposal site's Release Tracking Number in the space provided.
Section D Application Prepared By
The Licensed Site Professional (LSP) who is preparing the Permit Application places his or her name in this section.
Section F Amount Due
The Tier I Permit Application fees are listed in Question 7 above. Two Special Provision Categories - Fee Exempt and Alternative Schedule Project Request - are not applicable for Tier I Permit Applications. Therefore, Massachusetts State Agencies, cities, towns, counties, districts, and municipal housing authorities must pay a fee for Tier I Permit Applications. For applicants that are Homeowners as defined in 310 CMR 4.02, the application fee may be reduced if the party has filed a Homeowner Certification Form (BWSC120) with MassDEP.
- What are the statute and regulations that apply to these permits? Where can I get copies?
These statute and regulations include, but are not limited to:
a. The Massachusetts Superfund Law, M.G.L. c. 21E (amended).
b. The Massachusetts Contingency Plan, 310 CMR 40.0000.
c. Timely Action Schedule and Fee Provisions, 310 CMR 4.00.
- These may be purchased online, in person, or by Mail at the Massachusetts State Bookstore