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EPA, STATES TO ACCELERATE CLEAN UPS AT MORE THAN 1,700 HAZARDOUS-WASTE MANAGEMENT SITES

Release Date: 07/08/99
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FOR RELEASE: JULY 8, 1999
EPA, STATES TO ACCELERATE CLEAN UPS AT MORE
THAN 1,700 HAZARDOUS-WASTE MANAGEMENT SITES


EPA, the states and involved industries are accelerating cleanup of toxic contamination at more than 1,700 facilities nationwide that generate, store, treat or dispose of hazardous wastes. Under the new reforms announced today by the agency, the cleanups will reach a rate of 200 per year on average through 2005.

EPA already has assessed many of these sites and believes that these facilities do not pose immediate health threats. At 255 sites, cleanups already have been completed and at more than 800 sites early actions have been taken to protect against any immediate threats to public health or the environment. Today’s reforms will ensure that these efforts continue faster and more cost-effectively.

Timothy Fields, EPA Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response, said, “For years, cleanup of contaminated property at facilities that manage hazardous waste has not moved quickly enough. Today’s reforms will ensure for the first time that all contaminated waste-management facilities will adopt aggressive goals for cleanups. These new reforms will significantly help protect public health and the environment in hundreds of areas where these facilities are located.”

Under these reforms, EPA, the states, and the involved industries will continue to assess and address contamination from toxic and other materials at the facilities, focusing on the most highly contaminated areas first. The facilities that are being cleaned up operate under the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulates the safe management and disposal of hazardous waste. There are about 3,000 such RCRA facilities nationwide. The contamination at the 1,712 facilities targeted under the reforms announced today is primarily the result of past toxic pollution that occurred prior to modern safety practice methods. And since many of the facilities are not contaminated severely nor are they abandoned, they often were not addressed by Superfund .

The reforms announced today include annual cleanup goals and guidance to encourage creative and flexible approaches to ensuring cost-effective cleanup progress. The new reforms continue to build on earlier actions by EPA and the states to accelerate cleanups at RCRA facilities.

For more information about this program and a list of the 1712 facilities visit EPA’s web page at http://www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/cleanup.htm or call the RCRA hotline at 1-800-424-9346 or 703-412-9810.

R-72 ###