Regulatory Development and Retrospective Review Tracker

Addition of Subsurface Component to the Hazard Ranking System (HRS)

a.k.a. Subsurface Intrusion HRS Revision (Hazard Ranking System - Vapor Intrusion)

RIN: 2050-AG67 (What's this?)

Docket No.: EPA-HQ-SFUND-2010-1086 (What's this?)

Current Phase: Proposal (What's this?)

The Hazard Ranking System (HRS), required by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Recovery Act (CERCLA) is the primary mechanism used by the EPA to assess the relative threat associated with actual or potential releases of hazardous substances. The National Priorities List (NPL) is intended primarily to guide the EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation.

The HRS includes four scoring pathways - ground water, surface water, air and soil exposure. Subsurface intrusion has been identified as posing significant threats to human health and the environment that should be considered when evaluating sites for the NPL. Subsurface intrusion occurs when contaminants are released, enter the subsurface environment and move into occupied structures (e.g., residences, workplaces and other buildings) as a gas, vapor or liquid. Over the past decade the EPA and state environmental programs have learned significantly more information regarding the risk that this pathway poses to human health. In a May 2010 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) concluded that if vapor intrusion sites are not assessed and, if needed, listed on the NPL, some seriously contaminated hazardous waste sites with unacceptable human exposure may not otherwise be cleaned up. Thus, the EPA is considering adding a new screening component to the HRS that would allow sites with vapor intrusion contamination to be evaluated for placement on the NPL. This addition would enable the HRS to directly consider the human exposure to contaminants that enter building structures through the subsurface environment.

NPRM: Sent to OMB for Regulatory Review02/03/2012
NPRM: EPA Withdrew Rule from Review02/27/2014
NPRM: Sent to OMB for Regulatory Review06/08/2015
NPRM: Received by OMB06/10/2015
NPRM: Regulatory Review Concluded12/21/2015
NPRM: Published in FR02/29/2016
NPRM: Comment Period Open02/29/2016
NPRM: Comment Period Closed04/29/2016
Final Rule: Sent to OMB for Regulatory Review08/31/2016
Final Rule: Received by OMB09/02/2016
Final Rule: Published in FR01/2017 (projected)

Potential Effects

Environmental Justice
This rulemaking involves a topic that is likely to be of particular interest to or have particular impact upon minority, low-income, tribal, and/or other vulnerable populations because:

  • This topic is likely to present an opportunity to address an existing disproportionate impact on vulnerable populations.
  • This topic is likely to result in the collection of information or data that could be used to assess potential impacts on the health or environmental conditions of vulnerable populations.
  • This topic is likely to affect the availability of information to vulnerable populations.

Federal Government - other agencies
Likely to be involved in the implementation of this rule.

Local Governments
Likely to be involved in the implementation of this rule.

Small Entities

Small governments are:

  • Likely to be involved in the implementation of this rule.

State Governments
Likely to be involved in the implementation of this rule.

Tribal Governments
Likely to be involved in the implementation of this rule.

Participate / Learn More Regulatory Review

Some of EPA's rulemakings undergo regulatory review (What's this?), as prescribed by Executive Order 12866 and coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The following list describes which of this rulemaking's stages have completed review and published in the Federal Register, if any, and provides links to the review documents where available. Consult the "Timeline" section of this Web page for the dates of each review.

  • NPRM - This stage of the rulemaking underwent review.
  • Final Rule - This stage of the rulemaking underwent review.
Citations & Authorities

Federal Register Citations

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Citation
40 CFR 300

Legal Authority
42 U.S.C. 9601