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Indiana Department of Environmental Management

IDEM > Environmental Cleanup > Institutional Controls > Institutional Controls Frequently Asked Questions Institutional Controls Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Institutional Control?

An Institutional Control (IC) is a legal or administrative measure that protects human health and the environment in cases where risk-based cleanups have resulted in residual contamination being left on site or when site cleanup has not yet occurred. ICs minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination by restricting activity, use, and access. As an example, a landowner may agree or “covenant” not to develop a site for residential use and to use it only for commercial or industrial purposes. The most common type of IC used in Indiana is an Environmental Restrictive Covenant (ERC).

Is the IDEM Institutional Controls Registry a complete list of all closed or contaminated sites in Indiana?

No, the IDEM IC Registry is not a complete list of all closed or contaminated sites. Sites on the registry include those where IDEM has approved a risk-based closure decision which incorporated the placement of land use restrictions or obligations, and solid waste sites that require a deed notice under rule 329 IAC 10. The registry also includes ERCs approved by the Indiana Brownfields Program in conjunction with the issuance of a comfort or site status letter.

What information is provided in the IC Registry?

The IC Registry report lists site summary information including the site name, address, city, county, IDEM program area, and the types of restrictions placed on the property. In addition, the reader can click on the ‘View’ link to the left of each record to bring up an electronic copy of the actual IC (typically an Environmental Restrictive Covenant or deed notice) through the IDEM Virtual File Cabinet electronic document repository.

If further information about a site is sought, copy down the Office of Land Quality Program ID (shown in the IC Registry report to the right of the site name). This number can be used as a search index in IDEM’s online public records repository, the Virtual File Cabinet.

How often will the IC Registry be updated?

An updated IC Registry report is posted online about once a month.

Who is responsible for maintaining compliance with Environmental Restrictive Covenants?

The owner of the property is responsible for compliance with any land use restriction in an ERC, regardless of when they obtained the property, unless another party has a legally enforceable responsibility to do so. If the property changes ownership, the obligations typically transfer over to the new property owner.

What is the difference between Institutional Controls and Engineering Controls?

An IC is a legal or administrative measure requiring a property owner to limit activities, restrict the type of land use, or, in certain instances provide notification to IDEM (for example, when construction activities are planned). Engineering Controls are the physical means used to eliminate or reduce exposure to residual contamination on a property. Examples of engineering controls include, but are not limited to: caps; covers; vapor mitigation systems; horizontal or vertical barriers; and hydraulic control of groundwater. An IC can require maintenance and operation of an engineering control as one obligation.

What is an Environmental Restrictive Ordinance?

An Environmental Restrictive Ordinance (ERO) is a local ordinance used to protect human health from unacceptable exposure to ground water contaminated by hazardous substances or petroleum. EROs generally prohibit the use of drinking water wells in a particular area, and may contain other provisions that control or limit exposure to ground water.

Is there a required Environmental Restrictive Covenant format?

IDEM has ERC templates available for use for ease of preparation and IDEM’s limited review. However, no particular format is required as long as the ERC meets statutory criteria set out in IC 13-11-2-193.5.