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Local government sites

Any local government in Oregon can apply for a Solid Waste Orphan Site Account loan or grant. Loan amounts for which the local government is liable to repay are capped at the amount potentially raised by a surcharge or equivalent funding. This surcharge amount is $12 per capita per year and $60 per capita per local government unit. Of this loan, the local government has no obligation to repay the first $100,000, per site, and may treat it as a grant. Funds required for investigation and cleanup beyond the surcharge amount may be granted to the local government to complete the removal and remedial actions. A surcharge is defined in OAR 340-122-0520(2) and ORS 459.311.


A local government applies for SWOSA funds to clean up a sizeable hazardous release from a historic landfill. The local, governed body is 10,000 people. The cost of the cleanup is $1,000,000. The local government applies for a loan through the SWOSA and is selected. The maximum amount that can be raised by the local government through a surcharge is $12 per capita per year up to a total of $60 per capita. The local government applies the surcharge and raises $120,000 per year for a maximum of five years, totaling $600,000. The amount of $600,000 is the maximum liability of the local government, of which there is no obligation to repay the first $100,000 of the loan. Thus, DEQ pays for the first $100,000 and the remaining $400,000 of the cleanup cost, and the local government is responsible for repaying $500,000 to the Solid Waste Orphan Site Account, the terms of which are laid out in an intergovernmental agreement on a case-by-case basis.

Private sites - solid waste orphans

Private sites qualifying for SWOSA funding are known as "solid waste orphans". For these sites, if the responsible party is known, but unable to pay, they must submit to an Ability to Pay (ATP) analysis, initiated by DEQ. Then if DEQ determines the responsible party is unable to pay, and thus qualifies for solid waste orphan funding, DEQ may attempt to recover its costs of the cleanup. To recover its costs, DEQ may take actions, including but not limited to, placing a lien on the property in accordance with ORS 465.335. DEQ may reassess the responsible party’s ability to pay in the future to update repayment options on an annual or less frequent basis to update repayment options (e.g., developing a repayment plan, or reducing payments) in the event the responsible party’s financial situation changes. 


For more information or to request assistance in applying for funding contact

Genevieve Perdue
SWOSA Project Manager