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Round 3-18: Pilot Community-Based Remedy Selection Process

Reform Description
This initiative is intended to promote greater public involvement in the Superfund program, especially during remedy selection. The effort involves exploring the use of more consensus-based approaches that involve community stakeholders.

This initiative is based on the theory that consensus-based approaches to remedy selection and collaborative partnerships involving community stakeholders can lead to remedies that better satisfy the community while meeting statutory and regulatory requirements. The output from this initiative will be a compendium of useful experiences, approaches, and techniques for fostering community participation.

This reform is closely linked with Reform 2-5a, Community Advisory Groups (CAGs), since one of the best ways to increase citizen participation is by establishing and nurturing CAGs.

This initiative helps make Superfund response personnel aware of the need to work with citizens affected by cleanup. It also stresses the importance of considering community values and concerns in response decision-making.

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Reform Status
check mark Implementation of this reform is complete.

The Agency incorporated lessons learned from this reform through the issuance of Lessons Learned About Superfund Community Involvement in May 1999. This reform is now considered closed out and no further accomplishment information will be gathered.

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EPA has successfully involved communities in remedy selection at a number of sites (see Success Stories below).

The Agency issued a compendium of lessons learned in regional experiences with the public in June 1999.

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Success Stories
Efforts to increase the community's participation in the cleanup process have payed positive dividends at a number of sites across the country. Although in each case the circumstances were different, as were the methods used, the outcomes were enhanced because the public was involved.

Asarco Tacoma Smelter Site, Tacoma, WA

After several years of community hostility and distrust at the Asarco Tacoma Smelter site, EPA organized a Coordinating Forum that included community members and other key stakeholders. The Forum assisted in the development and selection of a remedy for residential cleanup that all participants could support. That remedy was implemented without any major problems and the Forum has continued to work on plans for cleaning up the site. [FY98 Success]

Li Tungsten Site, Long Island, NY

The Li Tungsten Superfund Site Community Task Force was organized prior to the start of the remedial investigation. This early involvement led to a good rapport between the community and EPA, which led to significant and useful local input to the site planning work, the initial remedial action, and land use planning decisions. The Task Force came to appreciate the technical, legal, and financial issues, and helped the rest of the community better understand EPA's actions. [FY98 Success]

Waste Inc. Site, Michigan City, IN

EPA developed a partnership with a community group, the Minority Health Coalition, which overcame years of mistrust and community dissatisfaction about the Waste Inc. site, a former municipal landfill. EPA solicited community input on the remedy, and changed plans for dealing with ground water issues as a result of community concerns. The community also developed useful suggestions for removing an underground storage tank and designing a cap for the landfill. [FY98 Success]

California Gulch Site, Leadville, CO

At the California Gulch site, the community's outright hostility to EPA and the cleanup was completely turned around after EPA invested a considerable amount of time listening to the concerns being expressed by citizens and then worked with them to come up with mutually acceptable solutions. [FY97 Success]

Oronogo-Duenweg Site, Jasper County, MO

At the Oronogo-Duenweg Mining Belt site, the remedial project manager developed a close rapport with the site's CAG. This led to the award of a $200,000 grant to the community to develop an environmental master plan which served as the basis for the institutional controls adopted as part of the site remedy. [FY97 Success]

Lower East Fork Poplar Creek Site, Oak Ridge, TN

The FY96 annual report highlighted the success of public participation at the Lower East Fork Poplar Creek site (Oak Ridge Reservation) in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Community support for changes to the remedy resulted in estimated future cost reductions (cleanup savings) of $160 million (see document about this site in Documents below). [FY96 Success]

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Title: Elements of Success at Lower East Fork Poplar Creek Site
Date: September 1996
Document #: EPA 505-D-96-001
Synopsis: This document lists how the EPA, the community, and DOE worked together to ensure a successful cleanup of the site while addressing community concerns.

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