Table of Contents
Long-term stewardship (LTS) of contaminated sites is taking on greater significance as an increasing number of these sites are cleaned up and put back into beneficial use. Many sites cleaned up under Federal and State programs involve restrictions or limits on their use to ensure long-term protection of human health and the environment. Long-term cleanup requirements and any subsequent restrictions at these sites should be monitored, maintained, and enforced to ensure that the integrity of the remedy is protected and the site remains protective of people and the environment. Federal, State, Tribal, and local governments, responsible parties, and other site stakeholders serve as long-term stewards for many cleaned up sites.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) formed the Long-Term Stewardship Task Force to evaluate the current state of long-term stewardship across its cleanup programs and to make recommendations for where EPA should focus its efforts to address particular issues or opportunities for improvements. The Task Force includes representatives from each of EPA's cleanup programs, including the Superfund, Resource Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA), Underground Storage Tank (UST), Brownfields, Federal facilities, and enforcement programs, and several State cleanup programs. The Task Force examined a variety of aspects associated with LTS, with an emphasis on the following six elements:
- Roles and responsibilities-Who is or should be responsible for implementing and overseeing LTS activities, and are these responsibilities understood and clearly communicated?
- Information management-Is there adequate information on LTS activities, is it effectively communicated, and is there a need for improved information and training?
- Institutional Controls-Are there problems with implementation and effectiveness of ICs and are there opportunities for improving how they are selected, implemented, monitored, and enforced?
- Engineering controls/remedies - Are there problems with engineering controls and opportunities for re-evaluating them and the physical remedies to reflect changing science and technology, improve performance, and optimize operation and maintenance without minimizing human health and environmental protection.
- Life-cycle costs-Are there effective methods for determining the costs of LTS activities and are cleanup programs consistently applying them when making cleanup decisions?
- Resources and funding mechanisms-Are there adequate resources to effectively carry out LTS activities and are there mechanisms to ensure funding is sustained over time?
The purpose of this report is to present particular challenges and opportunities for improvement identified by the Task Force and to make recommendations that EPA and its State, Tribal, and local partners should consider in addressing them. This report represents the first effort by the Task Force to identify and address the challenges that EPA's cleanup programs are facing. As the state of LTS evolves across the different cleanup programs, new or different issues may emerge that may result in additional recommendations. Similarly, as the Task Force and EPA's cleanup programs continue to address the many issues inherent in LTS, lessons learned and new solutions may be identified and shared with other programs.
The remainder of the report provides the background or context of LTS (including a definition and explanation of its importance), what EPA and others are currently doing to address it, and the specific LTS challenges and recommendations of the Task Force.