Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
|Region 10 Environmental Indicator (EI) Progress|
Overview of the Corrective Action Program
Corrective Action is an EPA program designed to investigate and guide the cleanup of any contaminated air, groundwater, surface water, or soil from hazardous waste management of spills or releases into the environment. These releases of hazardous waste and hazardous constituents are a result of the past and present activities at RCRA-regulated facilities.
Enforcement of corrective action
The EPA enforces corrective action through statutory authorities established by the 1984 Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA). Through HSWA, Congress expanded EPA's corrective action authority to initiate corrective action at both RCRA permitted facilities and facilities operating under interim status. When a facility is obtaining a permit, or when a facility has an existing permit, EPA can incorporate corrective action into the permit requirements through:
- Section 3004(u) which addresses releases from solid waste management units (SWMUs) in a facility's permit. A SWMU is any unit where solid or hazardous wastes have been placed at any time, or any area where solid wastes have been routinely and systematically released.
- Section 3004(v) which addresses releases that have migrated beyond the facility boundary.
- Section 3005(c)(3) also known as the "Omnibus Permitting Authority" allows EPA or an authorized state agency to include any requirements deemed necessary in a permit, including the requirement to perform corrective action.
Additional authorities to order corrective action
- Section 3008(h) which is an administrative enforcement order or lawsuit that addresses releases at interim status facilities.
- Section 7003 which applies to all facilities, whether or not they have a RCRA permit, that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment. Under this provision, EPA can waive other RCRA requirements (e.g., a permit) to expedite the cleanup process.
- Corrective action does not always involve permit requirements or an enforcement order. Owners and operators of RCRA-regulated facilities may also volunteer to perform corrective action. Some activities which may be necessary to achieve corrective action goals at a facility, may require formal approval by EPA or the authorized state. EPA strongly encourages owners and operators to work closely with EPA and authorized state agencies to obtain oversight during voluntary cleanup activities.
Corrective Action Process
Cleanup at a RCRA-regulated facility will depend on site-specific conditions. The corrective action process is highly flexible and focuses on results than specific steps. The six components of this process are:
- RCRA Facility Assessment (RFA), to compile existing information on environmental conditions at a given facility, including information on actual or potential releases.
- Phase I RCRA Facility Investigations (RFIs) also known as Release Assessment (RA), to confirm or reduce uncertainty about areas of concern or potential releases identified during the RFA.
- RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI), to assess the nature and extent of contamination of releases identified during the RFA or Phase I RFI.
- Interim Measures (IM), short-term actions to control ongoing risks while site characterization is underway or before a final remedy is selected.
- Corrective Measures Study (CMS), to identify and evaluate different alternative measures to remediate the site.
- Corrective Measures Implementation (CMI), includes detailed design, construction, operation, maintenance, and monitoring of the chosen remedy.
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Region 10 Environmental Indicator Progress
While the ultimate goal of the RCRA Corrective Action Program is to achieve final cleanups, we are measuring the intermediate success of the program against our Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) goals. The program is monitoring intermediate progress by tracking two environmental indicators (EIs), the human exposure and groundwater EIs, which are the main focus of the corrective action GPRA goals. These indicators measure progress in environmental terms rather than the administrative process steps that were previously monitored. Measuring and recording our progress toward these goals will be a top priority for EPA and the States over the next several years. For more complete information about environmental indicators please visit the EPA Headquarters Environmental Indicators website.
Please select one of the Region 10 states below to access state-specific Environmental Indicator information.
For additional information on specific sites, please visit the EPA Envirofacts Data Warehouse.
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