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Innocent Owner/Operator Program (IOP)

The Texas IOP provides a certificate to an innocent owner or operator.


The Texas IOP, created by House Bill 2776 of the 75th Legislature, provides a certificate to an innocent owner or operator if their property is contaminated as a result of a release or migration of contaminants from a source or sources not located on the property, and they did not cause or contribute to the source or sources of contamination. Like the Texas Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP), the IOP can be used as a redevelopment tool and as a tool to add value to a contaminated property by providing an Innocent Owner/Operator Certificate (IOC). However, unlike the VCP release of liability, the liability immunity acknowledged in IOCs does not cover future owners/operators. Future owners or operators are eligible to enter the IOP and may, if otherwise qualified, receive an IOC, but only after they become an owner or operator of the site.


State laws associated with the IOP program are located in the Health and Safety Code 361.751-361.754
State rules associated with the IOP program are located in the Texas Administrative Code 30 TAC 333.31-333.43

Eligiblity for Certification

An IOP applicant must submit a site investigation report with their application that demonstrates that:

  • the property has become contaminated because of a release or migration of contaminants from a source or sources not located on or at the property;
  • the applicant has not caused or contributed to the source or sources of the contamination;
  • if the property for which the applicant is seeking innocence was formerly a portion of the tract on which source of is located (but does not contain the source), that (1) the property was purchased prior to September 1, 1997, or (2) that after performing appropriate inquiry, they did not know or have reason to know of the contamination at the time the property was acquired.

The TCEQ may, if deemed necessary, require restrictive covenants and/or other measures to protect human health and the environment.


To receive an IOP certificate, an IOP applicant must pay the following:

  • A fee of $1,000 to cover TCEQ's review of the application; and cost;
  • Hourly charges in excess of the application fee that are necessary for the TCEQ to complete its review and prepare all necessary documents.

Access to Property

To be eligible for liability immunity, the innocent owner or operator must grand reasonable access to the property for the purpose of investigation or remediation to a person designated by the TCEQ

IOP Forms and Publications

Unless otherwise noted, the following documents are provided in pdf. (Help with PDF.)

  • The  Correspondence ID Form Microsoft Word Document (TCEQ Form 20428) must accompany all correspondence submitted to all Remediation Division cleanup programs and should be affixed to the front of your submittal as a cover page on or after June 1, 2010. Before completing the form, be sure to read the Correspondence ID form instructions Microsoft Excel.
  • IOP Application Form (TCEQ-10019) Complete this form to request assistance and review from the Innocent Owner/Operator Program staff. Please also complete the CORE Data form to meet IOP application requirements. Please provide one paper copy and one electronic copy (on USB or disc) of all submittals to the IOP. Note that the electronic and hard copies should be identical, complete copies.
  • CORE Data Form (TCEQ Form No. 10400)Microsoft Word Document You must complete all sections (I through V) of the Core Data Form in order to provide the program with information necessary for new site entry into the Central Registry database and billing. Please submit an updated version of this form to your project manager whenever contact information for the applicant(s) or billing party changes.

IOP Site Information Spreadsheet

This spreadsheet Microsoft Excel contains general and historical information regarding sites that have participated in the IOP and is updated at least semi-annually. Please search TCEQ's Central Registry for more detailed information about specific sites.

Contact Information

If you have any comments or questions about the IOP, please send an e-mail to

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