Why GAO Did This Study
Under the Superfund program, EPA may address the long-term cleanup of certain hazardous waste sites by placing them on the NPL and overseeing the cleanup. To be eligible for the [National Priorities List ] NPL, a site must be sufficiently contaminated, among other things. EPA regions have discretion to choose among several other approaches to address sites eligible for the NPL. For example, under the Superfund program, EPA regions may enter into agreements with PRPs using the [Superfund Alternative] SA approach. EPA may also defer the oversight of cleanup at eligible sites to approaches outside of the Superfund program. GAO was asked to review EPA's implementation of the SA approach and how it compares with the NPL approach. This report examines (1) how EPA addresses the cleanup of sites it has identified as eligible for the NPL, (2) how the processes for implementing the SA and NPL approaches compare, and (3) how SA agreement sites compare with similar NPL sites in completing the cleanup process. GAO reviewed applicable laws, regulations, and guidance; analyzed program data as of December 2012; interviewed EPA officials; and compared SA agreement sites with 74 NPL sites selected based on their similarity to SA agreement sites.
What GAO Recommends
GAO recommends, among other things, that EPA issue guidance to define and clarify documentation requirements for OCA deferrals and clarify its policies on SA agreement sites. EPA agreed with the report's recommendations.
Friday, May 10, 2013
GAO Report Released: Superfund: EPA Should Take Steps to Improve Its Management of Alternatives to Placing Sites on the National Priorities List
Recently, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report, titled Superfund: EPA Should Take Steps to Improve Its Management of Alternatives to Placing Sites on the National Priorities List GAO-13-252 (Apr. 9, 2013). The details of the 59-page report, available here, are discussed below: