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What is Long-Term Stewardship?

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The Task Force established the following definition of LTS:

Long-term stewardship applies to sites where long-term management of contaminated environmental media is necessary to protect human health and the environment. Long-term stewardship generally includes the establishment and maintenance of physical and legal controls, implementation entities, authorities, accountability mechanisms, information and data management systems, and resources that are necessary to ensure that these sites remain protective of human health and the environment.1

LTS activities typically center on physical and legal controls to prevent inappropriate exposure to contamination left in place at a site. Physical or "engineered" controls are the engineered physical barriers or structures designed to monitor and prevent or limit exposure to the contamination. Certain engineered cleanups will involve ongoing O&M, monitoring, evaluation, periodic repairs, and sometimes replacement of remedy components. Legal or "institutional" controls are non-engineered instruments, such as administrative and/or legal controls intended to minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. Institutional controls may be used to supplement engineering controls and also must be operated, monitored, and evaluated for effectiveness as long as the risks at a site are present. Informational devices, such as signs, state registries and deed notices, are commonly used informational, non-enforceable tools.

Examples of Engineering Controls

Examples of Institutional Controls

The functions of institutional controls, engineering controls, and other tools are to protect human health and the environment and to preserve the integrity of the selected remedy.

LTS helps ensure the ability of people to reuse those sites in a safe and protective manner. While reuse of a site is beneficial to the affected community, site reuse can also help ensure the protection of the remedy itself. For example, sites with active users can help ensure that LTS requirements or activities are occurring, as well as ensure that inappropriate uses of the site are not occurring (i.e., vacant sites that can be targets for trespass, vandalism, or inappropriate uses that may damage the remedies). In addition, because the use or condition of a site can change over time, it is important that LTS activities adapt to those changes and that adjustments to LTS activities are made.

LTS typically involves numerous public and private stakeholders who are responsible for implementing, monitoring, and enforcing the engineering and institutional controls. These stakeholders may include government agencies at the Federal, State, Tribal, and local levels; private parties who either own the land or otherwise have an interest in the property; communities and local groups living near or affected by the site; as well as a potential range of other parties, such as land developers, financial institutions, insurance companies, and land or other third party trusts. Each stakeholder involved at a site plays a particular role and has certain responsibilities for carrying out stewardship activities.

Even though the various cleanup programs have different authorities and mechanisms for addressing LTS, there are common elements inherent to all LTS efforts. As part of its research, the Task Force has compiled a set of themes/ideas that may be of interest to other LTS programs (see Appendix A).

Even though the various cleanup programs have different authorities and mechanisms for addressing LTS, there are common elements inherent to all LTS efforts. As part of its research, the Task Force has compiled a set of themes/ideas that may be of interest to other LTS programs (see Appendix A).

1This definition should not in any way infringe upon or limit the authority of any party to carry out its responsibilities under various Federal and State laws.

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