Currently, all active sites should have a fully executed Site Access Agreement (SAA) prior to assignment of the site to a Site Manager and prior to issuance of a scope of work under a Work Order (WO) or MyFloridaMarketPlace (MFMP) Purchase Order (PO) to a Contractor. Accepted Site Access Agreements are uploaded to the Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) OCULUS site.
Solicitation of SAA’s from the property owner is conducted by an Administrative Services Contractor. The initial site requests are sent to the current real property owner as provided by the applicable county property appraiser. If the owner does not respond to the initial SAA request within a specified time frame, a separate follow-up letter is sent . If no response is received to the follow-up letters, the designated Administrative Services Contractor will follow the PRP eligibility rescission process.
The Administrative Services Contractor is responsible for processing and tracking all SAAs requested and received. A weekly SAA summary status of all SAA’s is provided to the Department.
Site Manager and Agency Term Contractor (ATC) Responsibilities
Prior to preparing a new scope of work for a site, the Site Manager is required to verify through the county property appraiser website that the owner and address have not changed. Additionally, the Site Manager should review the answers to the four questions (A thru D) the owner/RP selected in the SAA.
Are additional requirements attached to this agreement?
If "Yes," the Site Manager and ATC must review the additional requirement on Exhibit B attached to the SAA.
Do you wish to participate or provide input with respect to rehabilitation of this facility?
If "Yes," the Site Manager must take extra care and communicate with the Owner/RP throughout the various stages of the project.
Do you wish to exercise the option to reject one Contractor prior to assignment of work?
If "Yes," the Site Manager must note this 'exercise' in the Schedule of Pay Item (SPI) comments cell for the Contract Assignment Specialist.
Do you want the Contractor to contact you to obtain a separate site access agreement?
If "Yes," the Site Manager must indicate this in the Scope of Work (SOW) in Task 1 using the following language: "Please note that per the DEP site access agreement, a separate site access agreement between the owner and the ATC has been requested by the property owner or tenant. Submit an email or letter (copying the owner or tenant) indicating that either that this separate site access agreement has been executed or that the owner no longer wants such agreement with the contractor (in other words, the owner is content with the DEP site access agreement). The DEP does not need a copy of this agreement."
Prior to initiating any work under any MFMP PO, the Contractor must have in its possession a copy of a fully conforming and fully executed Site Access Agreement between the Department and Owner/RP.
Access to properties other than the source property is often necessary to complete the assessment or remediation of a contamination plume. Although permission to enter the source property for the purposes of conducting the cleanup is a statutory condition for program eligibility in the petroleum restoration program (PRP), or a condition of a consent order/final judgment, there is no such de facto permission for properties that are impacted by, but not the source of, the discharge being investigated. In cases where the cleanup effort must be extended off the source property, the Contractor must secure written permission to enter that property from the property owner (or someone authorized to act in their behalf). This permission must be secured “in writing” prior to commencing any off-site work and the Contractor must include a copy of the agreement in their deliverable resulting from the off-site activity.
The FDEP will not pay for off-site access, application fees, engineering review fees, or create special drawings or documents requested by the off-site owner. FDEP will pay to restore the affected property as close as possible to the condition that existed prior to the performance of the work related to assessment or cleanup activities, which may happen to improve the property’s appearance but it is not the goal to improve the property’s appearance. FDEP also is not required to comply with landscaping requirements and other local government requirements related to the look or aesthetics of remediation equipment (which should not be considered any type of permanent structure).
If the Contractor is experiencing difficulty in obtaining off-site access, the Contractor may request assistance from the PRP Site Manager. The Contractor should provide a chronology of attempts to gain access, the necessary contact information, and ask the PRP Site Manager to assist. The PRP Site Manager can prepare and send the off-site property owner the PRP-OffSiteAccessRequest letter. Additionally, PRP Site Managers can assist with this process by sending the off-site property owner (or their representative) the appropriate information letter prepared for off-site property owners based on the discharge eligibility. Adjacent Owner Letter templates are available for site manager use. Informational sheets are also available on the Petroleum Cleanup Programs page under each of the eligibility programs.
If all efforts fail to gain off-site property access, the PRP Site Manager and Contractor need to discuss how to work around the property such as work in the right-of-way or the next closest property.
Any time the property ownership changes, a new site access agreement with the new owner must be obtained (even if it appears that only the company name changed). Contractors should protect themselves by at least checking the appropriate County Property Appraiser’s database periodically to determine if ownership has changed.
There are some property owners that have special requirements for access regardless of whether or not they are the owners of the source of the contamination or off-site contamination. Site Managers should check with their Team Leader for the most up-to-date information about such companies. See below sections for specific instructions regarding site access for FDOT and CSX Railroad properties.
Obtaining Off-Site Access
The effort to obtain off-site access may be no more involved than walking to the property next door and providing the property owner an access agreement to sign. This process may also involve a few telephone calls or letters.
Contractors should be prepared with sufficient information to explain the ‘who, what, where and why’ of the need for access prior to contacting the off-site owner. Such preparation might include copies of the source property eligibility order(s) and FDEP Work Order/Purchase Order, the Declaration page of the Contractor’s insurance policy, and a list of contacts with telephone numbers and mailing addresses (including the FDEP site/project manager). Owners often have mis-conceptions of what a monitoring well is going to look like on their property, so be prepared to show them pictures of a completed monitoring well. Experience has shown that such preparation can dramatically improve the success of off-site access efforts.
In communicating with an off-site owner, the Contractor should discuss the reason to obtain access (suspected contamination under their property coming from a specific source) and the need for the Owner’s written permission provision. The Contractor may also need to discuss the provisions in the access agreement such as the paragraph that indicates the Owner will be informed before commencement of any construction or other site work. Encourage the use of one comprehensive long-term agreement over very short or task specific agreement, however, the off-site owner may be more agreeable to shorter term agreements.
Contractors may also want to point out to an off-site Owner that s/he should not begin any construction work that may damage or destroy any part of the cleanup related assets (monitoring wells, etc.) installed at the property. Owners should inform either the Contractor or the Department so that there is opportunity for the Department to take the necessary actions to remove, protect, properly abandon and/or repair or replace the asset, as applicable at no cost to the Owner. It is helpful to explain to the Owner that such actions are necessary to ensure that damaged wells or borings are not left to act as open conduits that may spread contamination from all sources and violate well permits.
Access to State Owned Lands
Many facilities such as maintenance yards and office buildings are owned and leased by the state. The owner listed on the property appraiser’s web site is TIITF (Board of Trusties Internal Improvement Trust Fund). The DEP Division of State Lands manages the leases of many State owned lands including but not limited to some FDOT properties. Access to State Lands leased properties is authorized through an easement granted by the DEP Division of State Lands. Below are the steps to gain access to perform assessment and/or remediation work on State Lands facilities:
Site Managers (SM) should contact the facility manager via e-mail mentioning the need for the access to the site and the lease number between State Lands and the leasee. In the email please describe the proposed work and request if they have any special requirements for access, e.g., work times and notification. Request an e-mail accepting the proposed plan to implement the work and the special requirements.
Forward the e-mail to the Site Access Coordinator. The Site Access Coordinator will direct the Administrative Services Contractor to draft the Access Easement and forward to the DEP Division of State Lands for signature. Once it is executed by the Division of State Lands, it would be sent the Site Access Coordinator for the Program Administrator signature.
Access to FDOT Right-of-Ways (ROW)
For property owned by FDOT, the FDOT General Use Permit is used as a substitute for the Site Access Agreement. See SOP - 16. Permits
Site Access Procedures for CSX Sites
Due to the unique safety requirements for railroad properties, site access to CSX properties (source or off-site) requires execution of a ‘RIGHT-OF-ENTRY: Access to CSX Transportation, Inc. Property for Certain Environmental Investigatory Work Paid for by the State of Florida, Department of Environmental Protection’s Petroleum Restoration Program’ agreement prior to any work being performed. Additionally, if CSX determines that a flagman will be required during the performance of the work, the associated costs/fees will be paid directly by DEP. See the Procedures for CSX Property Site Access and Direct Payment for Railroad Flag Protection for additional guidance.
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