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Executive Summary

Table of Contents

The cleanup remedies for contaminated sites and properties often require the management and oversight of on-site waste materials and contaminated environmental media for long periods of time. Long-Term Stewardship (LTS) generally refers to the activities and processes used to control and manage these material and media, and ensure protection of human health and the environment over time. Clear and effective LTS allows for beneficial and protective use of these properties. The EPA and its regulatory partners rely on LTS after construction of the remedy and for as long as wastes are controlled on site. LTS can last many years, decades, or in some cases, even longer. LTS involves ongoing coordination and communication among numerous stakeholders, each with different responsibilities, capabilities, and information needs. The importance of LTS is even clearer when you consider that thousands of contaminated sites throughout the U.S. may now or in the near future require post-cleanup monitoring and maintenance.

LTS is increasingly presenting challenges and issues to EPA and other regulatory agencies responsible for ensuring its implementation, oversight, and enforcement. In response, EPA identified and gathered State and EPA staff with a broad perspective of views to form the Long-Term Stewardship Task Force in spring 2004. The LTS Task Force consists of representatives from EPA and States in the Brownfields, Superfund, RCRA, Federal Facilities, and Underground Storage Tank (UST) cleanup and enforcement programs. The Task Force was asked to identify and examine the wide spectrum of LTS issues, perspectives, and ongoing activities - and recommend potential activities for EPA to consider in its planning. LTS encompasses a broad range of complex issues and many State, Federal and local programs are dealing with them. The Task Force recognized that not all of the report recommendations may be acted upon or appropriate for every program, and suggests that EPA work with its regulatory partners to determine the strategic priority for activities to be implemented.

The purpose of this report is to present the particular LTS challenges and opportunities for improvement identified by the Task Force, and to make recommendations for how EPA and its State, Tribal, and local partners should proceed in addressing them. This report also includes a definition of long-term stewardship, why long-term stewardship is important, and what EPA and others are currently doing to address LTS issues.

The Task Force addressed a variety of challenges facing EPA and its partners when they select, implement, monitor, and enforce LTS responsibilities. These challenges generally fall into the following six categories: roles and responsibilities, institutional controls (ICs), engineering controls (ECs), costing, funding and resources, and information management. Within these categories, the Task Force identified recommendations that EPA pursue to respond to the challenges most seriously impacting Federal, State, Tribal, and local government abilities at LTS sites. While these recommendations are focused on EPA activities, many of them may be beneficial to other Federal, State, Tribal, and local program activities. In addition, the Task Force recognizes that EPA's cleanup programs operate under different authorities, may approach the cleanup and stewardship of sites differently, or may already be addressing the challenges identified in this report. For this reason, certain challenges or recommendations may not apply to every cleanup program.

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