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Section 5: Cost Recovery and Accounting

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Federal Participation

FHWA may choose not to contribute to the additional costs related to hazardous materials if due diligence was not observed in assessing potential impacts within the project limits during the planning stages of a federal-aid project. Federal participation in preventive action costs depends upon a solid defense of the actions taken when unanticipated contamination has been encountered. This defense includes a thorough record of all circumstances and actions taken, including coordination with regulatory authorities, worker/public safety plan actions and step-by-step preventive action measures. Once generated, this record will serve as a valuable management tool and may be useful for a variety of accounting issues.

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Cost Accounting

Claims, litigation and expectations of cost recovery from affected parties are all possible results when a contaminated site is discovered. For these reasons, and also to make management decisions related to statistical data collection, it is essential to track the costs that can be attributed to hazardous material issues on a site. One effective method is to assign a unique numbering system for paying items related to the hazardous material on site.

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Responsible Parties

In some past cases, TxDOT has successfully identified, contacted and made arrangements with responsible parties for cost recovery or handling hazardous materials without litigation. These arrangements have a greater chance of success if negotiated prior to letting. Arrangements can still be initiated when unanticipated contamination is encountered during construction.

If possible or practical, identified responsible parties should be contacted before costs are incurred. The responsible parties may be more willing to make arrangements if allowed to participate in developing preventive action measures. Additionally, if the responsible parties are undergoing other corrective action, they may have the resources to handle the contamination within an acceptable time frame.

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