What Are EPA and Others Doing about Long-Term Stewardship?
Table of Contents
The Task Force recognizes that a significant amount of work has previously been undertaken within individual EPA programs, other Federal departments and agencies, States and State organizations, and non-governmental organizations. The following provides a few highlights of these efforts, and Appendix B provides a more detailed description of the studies that have been prepared and the initiatives underway.
EPA has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on long-term stewardship of Federal facilities with the Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Interior (DOI), and the Environmental Council of States (ECOS). The MOU provides a common understanding and agreement, and basis for discussion and coordination, among relevant Federal agencies and ECOS. The MOU provides a definition of LTS, a set of guiding principles, and the key elements or components of LTS.
The Environmental Financial Advisory Board, a Federal advisory committee composed of public and private entities that provides advice to EPA, is currently working with EPA and The Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO) to address the issue of the reliability of financial assurance for environmental stewardship of contaminated properties. The results of this effort will be documented in a report that should supplement and educate the work of the LTS Task Force.
EPA's cleanup programs have been addressing LTS for many years and are increasingly addressing such matters through new strategies, initiatives, guidance, and pilot projects. Highlights of several key efforts include:
- The Superfund program has developed a "National Strategy to Manage
Post-Construction Completion at Superfund Sites," which provides a framework
of initiatives to provide greater assurance that Superfund remedies
remain protective over the long-term. This strategy will help EPA focus
efforts during the next five years on activities to ensure human health
and the environment are protected at Superfund sites after construction
- The Superfund program has established a strategy for identifying,
tracking, and evaluating institutional control effectiveness; developing
an IC tracking system; engaging other government and non-government
organizations on institutional control data collection standards and
systems; issuing cross-program guidance on the full life-cycle of institutional
controls; and piloting one-call systems and other public-private partnership
- In 2000, the Superfund program began an initiative to optimize Superfund-financed
ground water pump & treat (P&T) systems, which continues today. Optimization
is intended to encourage systematic review and modification to operating
remedies in order to promote continuous improvement and enhance overall
remedy and cost effectiveness. Optimization also plays a key role in
ensuring smooth transfer of P&T remedies to States. In addition, the
Interstate Technology and Regulatory Council has a Remediation Process
Optimization Team that is developing various fact sheets and training
modules on optimization.
- The RCRA base program includes regulations that establish the post-closure
permit and post-closure care requirements and has published guidance
on completion of corrective actions, including provisions for corrective
action complete with controls, when long-term stewardship is required.
In addition, both OSW and OSRE are presently collaborating on a joint
memorandum addressed to the RCRA Regional Divisional Directors and Enforcement
Managers titled "Ensuring Effective and Reliable ICs at RCRA Facilities"
that includes advice on LTS issues and presents key considerations on
- The RCRA IC tracking component of RCRAInfo asks for information from
the regulated community to allow the Agency to keep track of sites with
institutional and engineering controls in place. It provides dates when
institutional and engineering controls are either projected to be or
are actually fully implemented.
- The UST program is currently developing a system for tracking institutional
controls at sites for which they have oversight-those on tribal lands.
- The Brownfields Program is providing contractor support to ICMA to
continue to enhance the LUCS.org web site to serve as a reference site
for all information on institutional controls related issues, including
State regulations, model laws, professional papers written on the issue,
and other information related to the implementation and enforcement
of institutional controls.
- The Brownfields Program collects institutional control information
about certain brownfields sites in the Brownfields Property Profile
Form, which are completed by cleanup and revolving loan fund grantees.
The grantee indicates if an institutional control was required and if
so the grantee must identify the type of institutional control. This
information is available through Brownfields Envirofacts.
Other Federal Agency Activities
DoD and DOE have extensive experience addressing LTS issues at their cleaned-up sites. While they may face unique issues with respect to the cleanup of their sites, both DOE's and DoD's efforts have broad applicability to other contamination sites requiring post-cleanup care. Several noteworthy reports and initiatives are summarized below. Others are noted in the appendix at the back.
- DOE prepared a comprehensive study on LTS in 2001 to identify programmatic
and cross-cutting issues and information that DOE should consider while
implementing its LTS activities.
- DOE established policy to guide DOE decisions related to planning,
maintenance, and implementation of ICs when such controls are used at
DOE sites or utilized under a statutory program, and published a Long-Term
Stewardship Planning Guidance for Closure Sites to provide a framework
for planning LTS activities at DOE facilities.
- DOE/Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEL)
developed an LTS national science and technology roadmap program to
provide the context for making LTS R&D investment decisions and guide
national research priorities for LTS.
- DoD developed policy and guidance on implementing, documenting, and
managing land use controls associated with environmental restoration
- U.S. Navy developed a "point in time" land use control information
system known as LUCIS, which is a Geographic Information System (GIS)-based
database that houses environmental baseline surveys, GIS displays, site
maps, deeds, and LUC summaries.
States and State Organizations
Highlights of several key State efforts to address LTS issues include:
- ECOS established a Long-Term Stewardship Subcommittee and is promoting
an interagency dialogue to improve consideration of LTS in the remediation
- National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) is working on a State-by-State
analysis of statutory and common law in each of the States, designed
to evaluate whether existing mechanisms could be used to impose effective
and enforceable institutional controls.
- The National Governors' Association's LTS Committee is conducting
a study (drawing on NAAG research) on Federal and State statutory issues
and LTS that will examine, among other issues, the adequacy of existing
mechanisms for institutional controls, and the applicability of State
IC laws to Federal agencies.
- ASTSWMO has published several key documents, including a white paper
on the future direction of institutional controls and LTS and a survey
of State institutional control mechanisms.
Several noteworthy initiatives and studies by non-governmental organizations include:
- The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL)
has prepared and is actively supporting the Uniform Environmental Covenants
Act, model legislation for States to adopt to remove legal barriers
to implementing institutional controls.
- Environmental Law Institute (ELI) and Energy Communities Alliance
(ECA), prepared a joint study on the practical implementation of LTS.
- Resources for the Future has addressed LTS issues including, among
other studies, preparing a paper on the mechanisms for financing and
oversight of long-term stewardship, with an emphasis on trust funds.
The private sector is increasingly playing a role in several aspects of LTS. For example, insurance companies and others in the risk management field are developing products and services that provide the financial mechanisms and address the liability concerns for those with LTS responsibilities at sites. Private firms are also engaging landowners and regulatory agencies, through several pilot projects, to establish not-for-profit trust mechanisms that assume a direct property interest in remediated sites and take over all LTS responsibilities for those sites, including inspections, operation and maintenance, monitoring, and tracking implementation of institutional controls. Companies are also developing new or improved methods of monitoring sites with residual contamination and detecting possible breaches of engineering or institutional controls.