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Solid Waste and Emergency Response

Action 1 – Evaluate and Revise Critical Decision-Making Processes and Guidance

The Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) is committed to ensuring that communities are able to participate in a meaningful and effective way in OSWER decision-making processes. OSWER oversees several national programs that develop policies, guidance, and processes that involve decisions and actions that may affect communities. Through the CEI Action 1, OSWER is working transparently with governments and the public to evaluate the way national policies and decision-making processes involve community stakeholders and ways that involvement can be enhanced. The main deliverable for Action 1 was to prepare and post work plans for public comment that identify specific OSWER processes for evaluation and revision.

The current OSWER national program offices that have processes involving community engagement activities are:

Hazardous Waste Management: Oversees implementation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), providing guidance and direction to EPA Regions and States regarding the safe management and cleanup of hazardous and non-hazardous waste at operating industrial and commercial facilities. EPA also oversees the cleanup and disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Resource Conservation: Promotes the conservation and reuse of waste and materials.

Emergency Response and Cleanup: Oversees assessment, control, and cleanup procedures in response to spills or leaks of waste or a hazardous substance.

Cleanup of Uncontrolled Sites (Superfund Sites): Oversees procedures for the assessment, planning, and cleanup of large and complex sites with contamination that poses a threat to human health and the environment.

Sites with Perceived Contamination (Brownfields Sites): Provides funding through Cooperative Agreements for the identification, assessment, and cleanup procedures in communities with smaller facilities that are perceived to be contaminated resulting in abandonment or underutilization of the land.

Underground Storage Tank Management: Coordinates with States to ensure facilities with underground storage tanks pose minimal risk to human health and environment.

Facilities Owned by Other Federal Agencies: Coordinates with Responsible Federal Agencies to ensure that the Federal Agency who owns and operates a facility is held responsible for cleanup and remediation activities related to land contamination.

For more information about Action 1, please see the CEI Implementation Plan (PDF) (23 pp, 587K, about PDF).

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