Why is Long-Term Stewardship Important?
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LTS activities are critical at sites with contamination remaining and are used by EPA and its Federal and State partners to ensure:
- the ongoing protection of human health and the environment;
- the integrity of remedial or corrective actions so they continue to
operate properly; and
- the ability of people to reuse sites in a safe and protective manner.
With several decades of experience, EPA and State cleanup programs have evolved and matured to a point where LTS is an ever increasing portion of their responsibilities. The nation's cleanup programs have cleaned up thousands of sites. Many of these sites have on-site contamination that requires implementation, monitoring, and enforcement of engineering and institutional controls.
LTS of contaminated sites also takes on greater importance with the increased demand for cleaned-up properties for beneficial reuse. The success of the Brownfields program in responding to-and even bolstering-market demand for properties with known or suspected contamination has led to increased demand for contaminated properties that are cleaned up under the other EPA programs (e.g., Superfund, Base Realignment and Closure). The demand and use of such sites includes those properties where some contamination is controlled on site and LTS activities are needed to ensure the continued protection of those land uses. In fact, the Superfund program estimates that approximately 80% of its sites entering the construction completion universe will require LTS. The BRAC program similarly anticipates requiring LTS at an increasing number of sites; while almost 400,000 acres have been transferred and put back into use by others, only 30% is estimated to be uncontaminated.
Site reuse and the implementation of appropriate and effective LTS activities (e.g., institutional controls) are complementary. When people look to reuse sites, it prompts a close look at the status of the site and its remedy, including LTS. This examination usually includes local governments, who may be one of the principal entities for tracking, maintaining, and enforcing institutional controls. The people responsible for these controls want to make sure they remain protective during future use and future users want to make sure that their activities are appropriate and do not cause future problems. Thus, all parties want to ensure continued implementation of appropriate and effective LTS.
The importance of LTS has never been greater with the maturation of EPA, other Federal agency, and State cleanup programs, the increasing number of sites requiring ongoing monitoring and maintenance, and the emphasis on reusing sites following cleanup.