The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted our ability to obtain environmental records and information from various government agencies. In response to the Governor’s declaration of a State of Disaster, many government offices, including the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Central File Room, are operating remotely and have been unable to fulfill information requests as quickly as we are used to on fast-paced deals.
In order to reduce interactions and to protect everyone’s well-being, the TCEQ has closed the Central File Room customer viewing area to the general public and is operating with a “skeleton crew” in their offices. We were happy to learn the TCEQ Central File Room has recently started accepting and completing information requests via email, however, their website notes that they are working with minimal staff in the office and that requests may be delayed until normal operations resume. As a result, Whitehead E. S., like other consultants, may need more time to access TCEQ files that are needed to properly assess sites (e. g., for a Phase I ESA) that are in TCEQ regulatory programs such as the Petroleum Storage Tank (PST) Program, Leaking PST (LPST) Program, Corrective Action Program, Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), and Dry Cleaner Remediation Program (DCRP).
Whitehead E. S. appreciates the great service provided by TCEQ staff and understands their challenges to timely assist us and our clients with key environmental files.