What is the OCRCS Contamination Fund?

The Federal Government participates financially in the investigation, monitoring and remediation of polluted sites. It has set up the OCRCS Contamination Fund as a way of financing these costs.

The technical investigation, monitoring and remediation of polluted sites are carried out according to the objectives and regulations of the Environmental Protection Act (EPA) and the Contaminated Sites Ordinance (CSO). The Federal Government pays a share of the costs in accordance with Article 32e Paragraph 3 of the Environmental Protection Act as well as a share of the costs for investigating sites that turn out not to be contaminated. For this purpose, it raises a tax on the deposit of waste in landfills. The subsidies are paid to the cantons in accordance with Article 32e Paragraph 4 EPA and make up 40 % of the chargeable costs. The subsidies are only paid if the measures taken are environmentally friendly, economical and use the most up-to-date technology. The code of practice relating to the financial participation of the Federal Government can be found in the Ordinance on the Charge for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (OCRCS).

The FOEN administers this money by means of a specially created fund, the so-called OCRCS Contamination Fund. It levies the charges and decides on the allocation of subsidies.

The aim of this financial instrument is to ensure that dangerously contaminated sites are remediated as quickly as possible and are not passed on to future generations because of a lack of funds. The OCRCS also supports the remediation of contaminated sites provided that it is managed in an environmentally friendly and economical way, and that the most up-to-date technologies are applied.

The Environmental Protection Act also expressly stipulates that any person who is responsible simply as the owner of the site is completely freed of the obligation to bear the costs if he could have had no knowledge of the pollution even by exercising the required care.

The authority issues a decree on the distribution of costs if the party mandated to carry out remediation requests this or if the authority carries out the remediation itself on its own initiative. In many cases the site is indeed polluted but is not in need of remediation and is therefore not denominated as a contaminated site. Whoever removes material from such site e.g. for construction purposes, is responsible for the disposal of this excavated material so that it conforms with regulations. The owner of the construction site may under certain circumstances request around two thirds of the extra costs for the investigation and disposal of the material from the persons who caused the pollution and from previous owners of the site.

The local community bears the costs of investigations of sites which turn out not to be polluted.

Further information

Last modification 07.07.2021

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