Federal Facilities Cleanup Enforcement
EPA enforces environmental cleanup requirements at federal facilities. Cleanup enforcement authority is derived from several statutes:
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund)
- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), including the Underground Storage Act (UST) program
- Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA)
- Oil Pollution Act (OPA), a part of the Clean Water Act (CWA)
These statutes, as well as Presidential Executive Orders, require federal facilities to clean up environmental contamination at their facilities.
Cleanup under Superfund (CERCLA)
CERCLA is a Federal statute requiring the cleanup of environmental contamination and imposing liability for cleanup on the responsible parties.
CERCLA requires federal agencies to investigate and clean up contamination at their facilities. Federal facilities that are significantly contaminated may be placed on the CERCLA National Priorities List (NPL). For such facilities CERCLA requires that EPA and the federal facility enter into an interagency agreement (IAG -- sometimes called a Federal Facility Agreement or FFA) to govern the cleanup. States often are signatories to these agreements too. Once an agreement has been signed, EPA monitors the cleanup schedule and milestones and oversees its requirements to ensure proper and timely implementation of each cleanup. EPA can assess stipulated penalties for non-compliance with the terms or conditions of the agreement including missed milestones. The FFA also has a formal dispute resolution process that is used when the parties disagree on a penalty or the site investigation or cleanup. Here is a link to the written resolutions to FFA formal disputes since 2008 and some earlier disputes that went to the EPA Administrator.
EPA has entered into the legally-required agreements with other federal agencies for most federal facility NPL sites. The agreements for most sites can be found after selecting a specific site via EPA's Superfund Site Information search page and searching under "Additional Site Documents".
From 2005 to 2010, EPA signed agreements covering 20 sites. The agreements signed in FY 2009 and FY2010 are below:
- Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, MA (DOD US Air Force - Sept. 2009)
- McGuire Air Force Base in Trenton, NJ (DOD US Air Force - Sept. 2009)
- Middlesex Sampling Plant in Middlesex, NJ (DOD US Air Force - Sept. 2009)
- Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, VA (DOD US Air Force - Sept. 2009)
- Wastewater Treatment Facility in Fort Meade, MD (DOD US Army - June 2009)
- US Naval Air Station, Whiting Field in Milton, FL (DOD US Naval Air Station - March 2009)
- Navy Communication Station in Wahiawa, HI (DOD US Navy - March 2009)
- US Air Force, Brandywine Salvage Yard in Brandywine, MD (DOD US Air Force - Nov. 2009)
EPA monitors the cleanup schedule and milestones and oversees its requirements to ensure proper implementation of each cleanup. EPA can assess stipulated penalties for non-compliance with the terms of the agreement including missed milestones.
The table shows summary Superfund enforcement results from fiscal years 2008 to 2010 at Federal Facilities.
|Superfund Enforcement at Federal Facilities||FY08||FY09||FY10|
|Estimated Costs of Complying Actions from Superfund Enforcement Instruments||$889,062,014||$372,054,981||$158,356,918*|
|Estimated Cubic Yards of Contaminated Soil/Sediment Treated, Contained or Removed||8,814,977||3,915,908||3,490,107|
|Estimated Cubic Yards of Contaminated Groundwater Treated Contained or Removed||106,894,840||46,671,898||5,334,803|
* This figure includes $14,012,795 the U.S. Air Force provided to a private party to conduct response work at the former McClellan Air Force base in California.
Interagency Agreements Still in Negotiation
As of May 2011 EPA has been unable to negotiate acceptable terms for the legally-required agreements at four Department of Defense NPL sites. EPA continues to try to negotiate agreements for these four remaining sites:
- Andrews Air Force Base (Maryland)
- Redstone Arsenal (Alabama)
- Tucson International Airport Site (aka Air Force Plant #44) (Arizona)
- Tyndall Air Force Base (Florida)
- In November 2007, EPA found an imminent threat to the environment at this site and issued an Administrative Order (PDF) (44 pp, 19MB About PDF) to the U.S. Air Force under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. The Air Force has not complied with that order.
- In August 2010 the Air Force's Assistant Secretary for Installations, Environment and Logistics issued a memorandum stating the Air Force would unilaterally proceed with work at the base. The Air Force also issued a related news release. EPA has expressed serious concern about the inaccuracies contained in the Air Force’s memorandum and news release. The Air Force communications may mislead and confuse the public about the progress of cleanup and the potential risks to human health and the environment at Tyndall. Contamination at Tyndall is serious, with concentrations of toxic chemicals in groundwater at levels hundreds of times greater than EPA's drinking water standards. EPA lacks critical information at this site and is currently unable to assure that the public is being properly protected there. EPA urges the Air Force to comply with the Agency's 2007 imminent and substantial endangerment order (PDF) (4 pp, 736K About PDF) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and supports the recommendations of the GAO that the Department of Defense sign with EPA a standard oversight agreement, as required by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), to cleanup the base.
- On January 22, 2013 - EPA documents key long-standing concerns regarding contamination and cleanup (PDF)(10 pp, 522KB About PDF) at an NPL site at Tyndall.
Facilities Cleanup Enforcement Policy and Guidance.
Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse site provides information on the realignment and closure of military bases (aka BRAC sites).
Federal Agency Hazardous Waste Compliance Docket, required under CERCLA Section 120(c), information on federal facilities engaging in hazardous waste activities or having the potential to release hazardous substances into the environment.
FedCenter, an interagency virtual compliance assistance center for federal facilities. FedCenter contains information for federal agencies in cleanup environmental contamination.