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Institutional Controls (ICs)

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Institutional controls are actions, such as legal controls, that help minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination by ensuring appropriate land or resource use. Although it is EPA's expectation that treatment or engineering controls should be used to address principle threat wastes and that groundwater should be returned to its beneficial use whenever practicable, ICs can and do play an important role in remedies.

ICs are used when contamination is first discovered, when remedies are ongoing and when residual contamination remains onsite at a level that does not allow for unrestricted use and unlimited exposure after cleanup. The National Contingency Plan (NCP) emphasizes that ICs are meant to supplement engineering controls and that ICs should rarely be the sole remedy at a site.

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