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Round 2-8: Guidance for Remedy Selection

Reform Description
This reform aims to improve consistency and take advantage of streamlining opportunities in site characterization and remedy selection. EPA has prepared several guidance documents that the Agency estimates have been used at a number of sites, leading to significant time and cost savings.

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Reform Status
check mark Implementation of this reform is complete.

The Agency will continue to develop bulletins documenting time and future cost reductions, develop data sets on sites that have used a presumptive remedy, and incorporate a Remedial Project Manager notification system for presumptive remedy sites into WASTELAN.

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EPA has issued numerous documents related to this reform (see Documents below). Publications include a land use directive, soil screening guidance, and several presumptive remedy directives. EPA also issued a supplemental bulletin as a guide on reuse of landfill and containment sites in September 1999.

EPA estimates that an increasing number of sites have implemented recommendations from these guidances, resulting in significant cost and time savings. A bulletin that discusses municipal landfill pilot sites estimates time savings ranging from 36 percent to 56 percent and future cost reductions of up to 60 percent at those sites.

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Success Stories
Presumptive Remedy Process, Region 9

Region 9 has thirteen sites that selected the remedy recommended by the presumptive remedy guidance or are in the presumptive remedy process.

They are provided here, listed by presumptive remedy type:

VOCs in Soil

  • South Indian Bend Wash
  • Lorentz Barrel and Drum
  • Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Site 300)
  • Norton Air Force Base
  • Sacramento Army Depot
  • Defense Distribution Regional West (DDRW - Sharpe)
  • Tuscon Airport Operating Site (Air National Guard Facility)
  • McClellan Air Force Base
Municipal Landfills
  • Fresno Sanitary Landfill
  • Operating Industries
Military Landfills

  • Moffett Naval Air Station
  • Barstow Marine Corps Logistics Base
  • Mare Island Naval Shipyard
The EPA Office of the Inspector General (OIG) conducted an independent review of the use of the presumptive remedies entitled "Review of Cleanup and Pilot Project at South Indian Bend Wash Superfund Site in Tempe, Arizona."

In the summary of OIG's major findings, the report concluded: "Use of a presumptive remedy increased consistency in decision-making by taking advantage of lessons learned at similar sites, and allowed speedup of the Feasibility Study process." The report acknowledged that the use of "presumptive remedies is expected to create greater consistency, certainty, and quality of remedy decisions in the near term. Time and cost savings are expected to increase over time." [FY97 Success]

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Title: Presumptive Remedies: Policy and Procedures
Date: September 1993
Document #: EPA 540-F-93-047, OSWER 9355.0-47FS, NTIS PB93-963345
Synopsis: This directive serves as an overall guide to the presumptive remedies initiative and its effect on site cleanup. Through a question and answer format, it explains, in general terms, ways in which presumptive remedies will streamline or change the remedial and removal processes from the conventional processes and how certain Superfund policies will be affected by the initiative. This directive also unites the series of directives on presumptive remedies for specific site types (e.g., Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), wood treaters, ground water).

This general directive, together with the site type-specific directives, will provide readers with a comprehensive knowledge of the procedural as well as policy considerations of the presumptive remedies initiative. The directive is designed for use by staff involved in managing site cleanups (e.g., Remedial Project Managers (RPMs), On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs), Site Assessment Managers (SAMs)). Site managers in other programs, such as RCRA Corrective Action, the Underground Storage Tank program, State Project Managers, or private sector parties, may also use this directive, as appropriate.

Title: Review of Cleanup and Pilot Project at South Indian Bend Wash Superfund Site in Tempe, Arizona
Date: June 1996
Document #: [This document not published for public distribution]
Synopsis: This report is an independent review of the use of presumptive remedies conducted by EPA's Office of the Inspector General (OIG). In the summary of OIG's major findings, the report concluded that use of a Presumptive Remedy increased consistency in decision making by taking advantage of lessons learned at similar sites, and allowed speedup of the Feasibility Study process. The report noted efficiency, economy, consistency, and quality as some of the benefits of presumptive remedy use.

Title: Land Use in the CERCLA Remedy Selection Process
Date: May 25, 1995
Document #: EPA 540-F-95-052, OSWER 9355.7-04
Synopsis: This memorandum clarifies how land use should be considered in risk assessment and remedy selection. It describes how assumptions about land use should be made by involving the community. An assumption of a land use other than residential (e.g., industrial) may be appropriate in remedy selection.

NOTE: For more presumptive remedy documents, see OSRTI's Presumptive Remedies page.

Title: Application of the CERCLA Municipal Landfill Presumptive Remedy to Military Landfills
Document #: EPA 540-F-96-007, OSWER 9355.0-62FS
Synopsis: This directive clarifies when the application of the containment presumptive remedy is appropriate for landfills found at military installations.

Title: Landfill Presumptive Remedy Saves Time and Cost Date: January 1997 Document #: EPA 540-F-96-017, OSWER 9355.0-661, NTIS PB96-963313 Synopsis: EPA has developed several presumptive remedies to date. This bulletin discusses the results of implementing the containment presumptive remedy at three CERCLA municipal landfill sites. A list of presumptive remedy directives is provided at the end of the document. Title: Presumptive Remedies For Soils, Sediments, and Sludges at Wood Treater Sites
Date: December 1995
Document #: EPA 540-R-95-148, OSWER 9200.5-162, NTIS PB95-963410
Synopsis: The purpose of this directive is to provide guidance on selecting a presumptive remedy or combination of presumptive remedies for wood treater sites with soils, sediments, and sludges that are contaminated primarily with creosote, pentachlorophenol, and/or chromated copper arsenate. This guidance describes the contaminants generally found at wood treater sites; presents the presumptive remedies for contaminated soils, sediments, and sludges at wood treater sites; describes the presumptive remedy process concerning the site characterization and technology screening steps; and outlines the data that should be used to select a presumptive remedy.

This directive is designed to assist Superfund site managers (i.e., Remedial Project Managers (RPMs) and On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) in selecting remedies for wood treater sites. To ensure a full understanding of wood treater site characterization and remedy selection, site managers should refer to the FS/ROD analysis, which is summarized in Appendix A of this document, and the documents cited as references at the end of this document.

Title: Presumptive Remedies: Site Characterization and Technology Selection for CERCLA Sites With Volatile Organic Compounds in Soils
Date: September 1993
Document #: EPA 540-F-93-048, OSWER 9355.0-48FS, NTIS PB93-963346
Synopsis: The purpose of this directive is to provide guidance on selecting a presumptive remedy at sites with soils contaminated by VOCs. Specifically, this guidance: presents the presumptive remedies for this site type; describes the presumptive remedy process in terms of site characterization and technology screening steps; and outlines the data required to select these presumptive remedies. Title: Presumptive Remedy for CERCLA Municipal Landfill Sites
Date: September 1993
Document #: EPA 540-F-93-035, OSWER 9355.0-49FS, NTIS PB93-963339
Synopsis: This directive establishes containment as the presumptive remedy for CERCLA municipal landfills. The document highlights and emphasizes the importance of certain streamlining principles related to the scoping (planning) stages of the remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS). The directive also provides clarification of and additional guidance in the following areas: the level of detail appropriate for risk assessment of source areas at municipal landfills, and the characterization of hot spots. Title: Presumptive Response Strategy and Ex-Situ Treatment Technologies for Contaminated Ground Water at CERCLA Sites
Date: October 1996
Document #: EPA 540-R-96-023, OSWER 9283.1-12, NTIS PB96-963508
Synopsis: This guidance describes a presumptive response strategy for Superfund and other sites with contaminated ground water. This strategy integrates site response activities, facilitates selection of both short and long-term remediation objectives during remedy selection and allows the effectiveness of the remedy to be improved during implementation. The guidance also identifies presumptive technologies for treatment of extracted ground water, which will simplify and streamline the selection of this remedy component and shift the focus of the remedy selection process to other, more fundamental aspects of the ground water remedy. Title: User's Guide for the VOCs in Soil Presumptive Remedy
Date: July 1996
Document #: EPA 540-F-93-048, OSWER 9355.0-48FS
Synopsis: This User's Guide is intended to aid the site manager. It explains the benefits of using the presumptive remedy approach, highlights how to decide if the presumptive remedy approach can be applied to a site, explains which presumptive remedy approach to select for a site (the preferred presumptive remedial alternative for sites with VOCs in the soils is soil vapor extraction), describes how to write the feasibility study or engineering evaluation/cost analysis for a presumptive remedy, and outlines administrative record requirements. Title: Soil Screening Guidance: Fact Sheet
Date: July 1996
Document #: EPA 540-F-95-041, OSWER 9355.4-14FSA
Synopsis: This fact sheet summarizes key aspects of EPA's Soil Screening Guidance (see below). Title: Soil Screening Guidance: Technical Background Document
Date: July 1996
Document #: EPA 540-R-95-128, OSWER 9355.4-17A, NTIS PB96-963502.
Synopsis: This Technical Background Document describes the development and technical basis of the methodology presented in the User's Guide. It includes detailed modeling approaches for developing screening levels that can account for more complex site conditions than the more simple site-specific methodology emphasized in the User's Guide. It also provides generic SSL's for the most common contaminants found at NPL sites. Title: Soil Screening Guidance: User's Guide
Date: July 1996
Document #: EPA 540-R-96-018, OSWER 9355.4-23
Synopsis: The Soil Screening Guidance is a tool that EPA developed to help standardize and accelerate the evaluation and cleanup of contaminated soils at sites on the NPL with potential for future residential land use. This guidance provides a methodology for environmental science/engineering professionals to calculate risk-based, site-specific, soil screening levels (SSLs) for contaminants in soil that may be used to identify areas needing further investigation at NPL sites. Title: Supplemental Bulletin Multi-Phase Extraction (MPE) Technology for VOCs in Soil and Ground Water
Date: April 1997
Document #: EPA 540-F-97-004, OSWER 9355.0-68FS, NTIS PB97-963501
Synopsis: This Quick Reference Fact Sheet is issued jointly by the U.S. EPA and Air Combat Command (ACC) of the United States Air Force (USAF) to provide information on the Multi-Phase Extraction (MPE) technology for extraction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) present in soil and groundwater. This fact sheet recommends MPE as a potentially valuable enhancement for the SVE option under the presumptive remedy for sites with VOCs in soils.

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