The Pennsylvania Land Recycling and Environmental Remediation Standards Act of 1995 established the Administration of the Land Recycling Program which is more commonly referred to as simply ACT 2. One of the principal goals of ACT 2 is to encourage the cleanup and reuse of abandoned industrial sites. 

Prior to the implementation of ACT 2, lenders were wary of investing in blighted properties as were prospective buyers due to the looming unknown of the potential scope and cost of site cleanups. The legislation eases these concerns in several ways including:

  • Setting Uniform Remediation Standards 
  • Reducing Liability 
  • Standardizing Reporting
  • Financial Incentives

Uniform Remediation Standards

Act 2 established three cleanup standards: 

Background Standard 

To achieve a Background Standard, a site characterization study must establish that identified concentrations of contamination on the site originate from an offsite source or are present because they are naturally occurring.

Statewide Health Standard 

To achieve a Statewide Health Standard, the applicant must demonstrate the attainment of medium-specific concentrations (MSCs) for target analytes in soil or groundwater for residential and non-residential exposures which are protective of human health and the environment. 

Site Specific Standard

Under the site-specific standard, cleanup levels can be developed specifically for an individual site based on the contaminants, potential exposures, and conditions unique to that site.

Special Industrial Areas

Act 2 also has provisions for encouraging redevelopment of designated special industrial sites providing there is no financially viable party to address contamination or the site is located within a designated Keystone Opportunity or Enterprise Zone. Individuals pursuing this designation may not have caused or contributed to the contamination. For more information on Keystone Opportunity Zones visit:

Reducing Liability 

An owner can obtain a release of liability for a site that has been remediated according to the procedures and standards provided in ACT 2. It is important to note that the release of liability only covers what has been identified during the Site Characterization Study. Additionally, ACT 3 extends liability protection for those sites to lenders assisting in the financing of the property development.

Standardizing Reporting

Act 2 standardizes reporting requirements in addition to time limits for the State to respond to submitted documentation. Simplified checklists and forms are also provided to help facilitate timely and accurate reporting.

Financial Incentives

As part of both Act 2 and Act 4, individuals remediating a brownfield site can apply for low-interest loans from the State which may cover up to 75% of the anticipated cost for Phase I Environmental Site Assessments; Phase II investigations and; remediation. For those seeking further financial assistance in remediation efforts the State also offers loans through the PENNVEST.

GSI is Here to Help

GSI Environmental has conducted numerous site investigations leading to ACT 2 closures since the program was enacted in 1995. For more information about GSI and the services we provide go to:

For additional information on Pennsylvania’s ACT 2 program visit: