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Cost Recovery

Oregon law (ORS 465.330) requires DEQ to recover all reasonable costs associated with the investigation and cleanup of contaminated sites from the responsible party(s). A responsible party is usually the owner or operator of the facility or property.

However, under certain situations, previous owners or operators or anyone who by his or her acts or omissions causes, contributes to, or worsens the contamination may be considered a responsible party. If this situation applies to you, you may wish to seek legal counsel. 

DEQ requires that persons requesting DEQ review and oversight of investigation and cleanup activities agree to the terms of the Cost Recovery Agreement and pay project oversight costs. Electing not to enter into this agreement does not release you from any responsibility that you might have for any reporting requirements, investigation and/or cleanup of petroleum (hazardous substances). 

In order to enter into a cost recovery agreement with DEQ you must establish a Your DEQ Online account and complete the LUST/Leaking HOT Cost Recovery Agreement submittal. Detailed user guides can be found on the Your DEQ Online User Guides and Program Resources web page.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What DEQ costs will be assessed?

DEQ oversight costs include both direct and indirect costs. Direct costs include DEQ staff time (such as reviewing reports, preparing correspondence, technical assistance, site inspections, enforcement actions, etc.), sample analysis (if we need to collect samples for compliance purposes), and other costs specific to your cleanup project. Direct costs may also include the cost of DEQ using its contractor to respond to an emergency or to investigate and clean up the contamination when the responsible party is unwilling to do so. Indirect costs are those general management and support costs of DEQ’s cleanup program and are applied as a percentage of the direct personal services. The average hourly rate, including indirect costs, is in the range of $166 to $187.

When will I be invoiced?

Invoices are generally sent about the third week of the month, after any time has accrued during the previous month. Payment is expected within thirty days of receipt. For sites with a signed agreement, or high priority sites that have been working cooperatively with DEQ, DEQ provides a “no further action" letter when it is demonstrated that the cleanup requirements have been met and all outstanding invoices have been paid. If you have a property transaction pending with a specific closing date, it may be possible to receive an estimate of your final billing amount in order to expedite closure of your site. An estimate is generally somewhat higher than actual charges; refunds are issued within 45-60 days.

If you have any questions concerning the cost recovery process or your invoice please feel free to contact Dawn Ismerio at 503-229-5812. Should you have any questions regarding the specifics of the investigation or cleanup activities at your site, please contact the appropriate regional office. When contacting us, please refer to the site with the DEQ file number (file number is located on the invoice and on all correspondence to you) and the site name.


For more information, email the Leaking Underground Storage Tank program or call 503-229-5696.