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Corrective Action Reforms and One Cleanup Program

The RCRA Corrective Action (CA) Program has undergone a significant evolution.  Through RCRA Reforms, EPA began a comprehensive effort to eliminate key impediments to cleanups, maximize program flexibility, and spur progress toward a set of ambitious national cleanup goals.  Reforms I and II are administrative reforms designed to encourage a culture change in the way EPA and the States implement RCRA Corrective Action while maintaining protection of human health and the environment. EPA began this effort in 1999 with the issuance of Reforms I, which called for faster, focused more flexible cleanups.  EPA’s strategy to achieve this goal included: developing new results-oriented cleanup guidance with clear objectives; fostering maximum use of program flexibility; and enhancing community involvement, including greater public access to information on cleanup progress. In 2001, EPA introduced Reforms II to reinforce and build upon the 1999 Reforms.  The objectives of Reforms II are to pilot innovative approaches, accelerate changes in culture, connect communities to cleanup, and capitalize on redevelopment potential. In August 2002, EPA announced a new initiative, the One Cleanup Program, which encourages coordination and planning among federal, state, tribal and local waste cleanup programs. The One Cleanup Program initiative aims to eliminate duplication of effort, revitalize contaminated properties, and make cleanups more efficient.RCRA Reforms and One Cleanup Program emphasizes results over process. Listed below are several examples which demonstrate how Region 3 incorporates these initiatives into RCRA Corrective Action.

Reforms I - Faster, focused, more flexible cleanups

Region 3 Plays Key Role in Developing Groundwater Handbook

  

Groundwater handbook

As part of RCRA Reforms I, EPA committed to developing a document on the role of groundwater use in the RCRA Corrective Action Program. As a joint effort between the Office of Solid Waste and Region 3 staff, in September 2001 EPA released the Handbook of Groundwater Protection and Cleanup Policies for RCRA Corrective Action, a document broader in scope than originally envisioned (updated September 2004).

The Groundwater Handbook is an internet-based reference document that clarifies all of EPA’s groundwater policies relating to RCRA Corrective Action. The Handbook provides EPA’s latest policy interpretations on topics such as cleanup goals, the role of groundwater use, point of compliance, source control, and monitored natural attenuation. The Handbook ties all of these policies together with an overall Groundwater Protection and Cleanup Strategy that emphasizes a phased, results-based approach to cleaning up contaminated groundwater.

The team specifically designed the Handbook to be useful as an electronic resource. This format enables the Agency to update the Handbook, as necessary, to ensure that it contains EPA’s most current position. The electronic format allows readers to navigate within the document and to access external internet links to over fifty references. Clear communication of EPA’s groundwater policies reduces uncertainty with regard to EPA’s expectations for groundwater cleanups, expedites cleanups, and helps facilities and regulators focus on results, rather than process.

Questions regarding the Groundwater Handbook can be directed to Deborah Goldblum (215-814-3432) or Joel Hennessy (215-814-3390).
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Facility Fact Sheets Track Cleanup Progress

 
To facilitate public participation and awareness of the cleanup activities currently underway at Region 3's RCRA facilities, the Region maintains "Facility Fact Sheets" on its Web site. Each fact sheet includes: a brief facility description, current cleanup progress at the site, specific contaminants of concern, events for community interaction, and contact information. All of the fact sheets are updated at least twice a year to ensure that the information is current.
 
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Innovative Facility Lead Program Results in Quicker Cleanups

Region 3 has streamlined its corrective action process by developing a "Facility-Lead" program as an alternative to conventional corrective action permits and orders. This innovative program encourages RCRA Corrective Action facilities to take the lead in addressing corrective action using a generic agreement. The Agreement requires each facility to develop a site specific workplan for site characterization and appropriate clean up measures. The Agreement also requires a plan for public participation and a reporting schedule.

Facilities which receive an invitation from EPA and the State have 30 days to submit a Letter of Commitment. Facilities commit to start the investigation or cleanup within 90 days. The result is an expedited administrative process and quicker initiation of actual fieldwork. While the agreement is non-enforceable, if the facility does not make reasonable progress, EPA may issue an order or permit to require the facility to comply with its corrective action obligations. Similarly, if at any time the facility chooses, they may withdraw from the program and implement Corrective Action under a traditional corrective action mechanism.

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Region 3 Is First to Use National Guidance to Achieve Cleanup Completion

In March 2003, EPA Region 3 issued final Agency determinations at the Rosedale Landscape Depot facility in Rosedale, MD and to the International Metals Reclamation Company (INMETCO) facility located in Ellwood City, PA.  Both are high priority RCRA Corrective Action facilities.  For Rosedale, a determination of "Corrective Action Complete with Controls"[PDF, 28 KB, 3 pages, About PDF] was issued.  Please see the Statement of Basis[PDF, 40 KB, 6 pages, About PDF] and Corrective Measures Implementation Agreement[PDF, 42 KB, 5 pages, About PDF] for more information about the site.  For INMETCO, a determination of "Correction Action Complete without Controls" [PDF, 40 KB, 2 pages, About PDF]was issued.  Please see the Statement of Basis[PDF, 23 KB, 3 pages, About PDF] for more information. The determinations reflect the most current EPA guidance, "Final Guidance on Completion of Corrective Action at RCRA Facilities" (February 25, 2003) [Adobe Acrobat files], which emphasizes the importance of an official acknowledgment when corrective action activities are complete.

The Corrective Action Complete with Controls determination at the Rosedale site recognizes that the facility has finished the required remedial actions and that human health and the environment are protected, as long as the remedy and selected institutional controls are fully maintained. The Corrective Action Complete without Controls determination at the INMETCO site documents that there is no further need for corrective action activities at the facility. In accordance with the guidance, Region 3 provided an opportunity for public involvement and comment before the final determinations were made. Region 3 is the first Region to apply the new completion guidance.

Prior to EPA's release of the guidance, Region 3 followed a similar process to acknowledge completion of Corrective Action activities and would issue a "Completion Letter" [PDF, 16 KB, 1 page ]About PDF] To view the sites in Region 3 that have completed Corrective Action, please visit the tables of facilities, organized by state.

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Reforms II - Fostering creative solutions

Region 3 Streamlines RCRA Corrective Action Consent Orders

Region 3 developed a streamlined Consent Order which reduces the time frame for issuance and implementation, prioritizes achieving the environmental indicators and reduces the size of the document by about 50%. Advantages of Streamlined Orders include:
  • Quicker Risk Reduction:  Region 3 included language in the Order to assess the Environmental Indicators (EIs) as early as possible in the corrective action process which identifies areas to focus and prioritize activities.  A recently signed Consent Order with W.R. Grace Davison in Baltimore, Maryland utilized this new section to ensure one of the first deliverables was an evaluation of the Environmental Indicator status, with a proposed work plan and schedule to quickly address the data gaps.
      
  • Faster Negotiations: The "Findings of Fact" section now includes only the information necessary to establish jurisdiction. In addition, the "Stipulated Penalties" was rewritten to condense penalty categories. Shorter orders expedites preparation and minimizes negotiations.
      
  • Reduced Costs: Preparation of a formal paginated Administrative Record is time consuming and expensive. With Consent Orders, a formal Administrative Record has been replaced with an administrative record file, routinely maintained by EPA on all facilities, which contains all relevant records to support EPA’s decision. This administrative record file is available and accessible to all members of the public. In addition to the administrative record file, "Facility Fact Sheets" available on the Region’s Web site, provide a summary of site conditions.
      
  • Easier Implementation: The "Scopes of Work" and a list of "Relevant Guidance", traditionally included as requirements of the Order, are now referenced as guidance on the Corrective Action On-line Resources Web page. This eliminates discussions about negotiating Scopes of Work and the relevance of a particular guidance document.

These administrative changes reduce the amount of paper and the time necessary for the RCRA program to develop and issue orders. Examples of Consent Orders using the new format, include New Chem [PDF, 167 KB, 24 pages, About PDF]in New Cumberland, West Virginia, and Intermet in Radford, Virginia.

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Multi-Site Agreements Facilitate Company Cleanups 

Dupont Martinsville sign

Multi-site agreements are a tool that the Region 3 Corrective Action program is using to help achieve the environmental indicator goals for companies with multiple facilities. By entering a "Statement of Intent", Region 3 and a company commit to make best efforts to meet the Environmental Indicators for each of the company’s sites in the region.

DuPont and Region 3 pioneered the first agreement [PDF, 26 KB, 2 pages, About PDF] in the nation in 2000. DuPont has ten facilities in Region 3 at various states of the cleanup. Most of DuPont's sites are operating facilities with multiple SWMUs that present a range of potential risks to human health and the environment.

 

DuPont's objective is to manage the cleanup at all of these sites in a coordinated approach that ensures human health and environmental protection, while optimizing use of resources. Similarly, U.S. EPA Region 3 has a goal of achieving site stabilization and meeting the 2020 GPRA goals. In order to meet both of these objectives, DuPont's sites are being collectively managed in a coordinated manner that prioritizes activities to address the highest priority SWMU's first. This portfolio management approach enables the goals of both parties to be realized.

The EPA Region 3 Remedial Project Managers (RPMs), State Project Managers and DuPont project managers meet semi-annually to discuss project status, develop mutually agreeable implementation schedules, discuss global issues, promote consistent approaches, and increase effective utilization of resources. These meetings allow for issues regarding project budget and personnel constraints to be discussed and resolved.

The EPA-DuPont team has also looked for ways to build efficiency into the program. For example, early on, major efforts were applied to develop a comprehensive analytical data Quality Assurance Project Program (QAPP) that was applied to all projects, thereby eliminating the need to develop a QAPP individually for each project. The team also developed a consistent reporting template that meets EPA's information needs. To expedite field work implementation, Region 3, State Counterparts and DuPont replaced the time consuming exchange of written communications with increased face-to-face meetings and documented verbal agreements

Over a short period of time, this team has generated tangible results. By the end of 2004 the team achieved a "Yes" for the Human Health EI, and for the Migration of Contaminated Groundwater EI at 100% of their sites, and plan to continue this team approach with the 2020 baseline.

Region 3 entered into another multi-site agreement on November 7, 2002. This agreement is with Sunoco whose goal is to achieve a "Yes" for both Environmental Indicators at its five refineries located in the Philadelphia area.

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Region 3 Web site Increases Public Access to Corrective Action Information 

EPA is focusing its efforts on increasing interest in, and awareness of, cleanup activities and enhancing the public’s ability to become more involved in cleanup decisions affecting communities. The increasing availability of the internet provides a new tool for getting the word out about the Region's Corrective Action program activities. Region 3 continues to update its RCRA Corrective Action Web site to give it a more user friendly layout and significantly increase the amount of information available to program implementers, the regulated community and the public. Electronic access to program information results in better government and industry accountability to the public, a more informed regulated community, and better customer service for all stakeholders.

Highlights of the Web site include:

  • Cross-referenced information between the States and EPA Web sites, highlighting RCRA Redevelopment information, State Voluntary Programs, On-line resources;
  • Fact sheets for each high priority Corrective Action facility with contact information to the assigned EPA and State project managers’ address, phone number and email address, updated every six months;
  • Completed Environmental Indicator Forms for facilities that have met Environmental Indicators (EIs);

Delaware
District of Columbia
Maryland
Pennsylvania
Virginia
West Virginia

  • Regional progress toward meeting the EPA's Environmental Indicator GPRA goals;
  • Electronic access to meetings, announcements and public notices.
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RCRA Redevelopment

Coordinating redevelopment with a RCRA cleanup is not new in Region 3. The Allied Baltimore Corrective Action Consent Decree incorporated redevelopment into the Consent Decree when it was signed in 1989. Since that time the region has found a variety of creative solutions to facilitate redevelopment at Corrective Action facilities.

Region 3 meets with RCRA facilities, States, various EPA programs, developers and communities to design practical solutions to property transfers, facility cleanups and redevelopment at RCRA corrective action sites, while ensuring protection of human health and the environment. We’ve assisted in the redevelopment of both private and federally owned facilities in a variety of ways including:

  • coordinating with State voluntary and economic programs;
      
  • providing comfort letters[PDF, 935 KB, 9 pages, About PDF] or a prospective purchaser agreement [PDF file, [PDF, 277 KB, 55 pages, About PDF] to alleviate concern regarding future environmental liability;
      
  • deferring cleanups at federal facilities to the Superfund BRAC Program; and
      
  • accelerating EPA reviews to structure a deal on a targeted parcel of property

Some properties may remain unused or underutilized because potential property owners, developers, and lenders are unsure of the environmental status of these properties. Realizing this was a barrier to redevelopment, Region 3’s RCRA Program began issuing comfort letters, which help interested parties better understand the likelihood of EPA involvement at a potentially contaminated property. Although not intended to become involved in typical private real estate transactions, EPA is willing to provide a comfort letter when appropriate.

Comfort letters address a particular set of circumstances and provide whatever information is contained within EPA’s databases. These "Comfort/Status" letters provide information regarding EPA’s intent to exercise its RCRA Corrective Action response and enforcement authorities at a cleanup site.

Another way is to promote redevelopment is to negotiate a Prospective Purchaser Agreement (PPA) with a facility. A PPA is a tool that can be used by EPA to encourage the redevelopment of contaminated property which remains underutilized due to potential liability issues. It is a contract between EPA and the prospective purchaser of a RCRA facility that allows the prospective purchaser to acquire the property, after meeting certain conditions, without incurring federal liability. Region 3 may enter into an administrative agreement with prospective purchasers who agree to provide a benefit to EPA. In return, the agreement provides a promise or covenant from the federal government not to sue the prospective purchaser for the costs of cleaning up the contamination that existed at the time of purchase

To date, Region 3 has issued one PPA [[PDF, 227 KB, 55 pages, About PDF], the first national PPA at a RCRA facility with Solutions Way Management, for the Genicom Facility located in Waynesboro, Virginia

Region 3’s RCRA Corrective Action program will work to coordinate cleanup requirements with redevelopment as long as the facility is committed to meeting all of their RCRA Corrective Action program obligations. View several of the Region's redevelopment success stories on the Redevelopment page, or check out the facilities page for a state-by-state list of Region 3's RCRA facilities that have undergone development."

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One Cleanup Program

Corrective Action Integration and Closure/Post Closure

   
The goals of the One Cleanup Program have been integrated into many projects in Region 3. In particular, the States and EPA have worked closely to integrate closure and post closure obligations with RCRA Corrective Action to foster more effective and efficient cleanups. Two examples are provided below.

The Schrader Bridgeport facility located in Altavista, Virginia has both a state-issued Post-Closure permit and an EPA Corrective Action Order. In this case, Schrader Bridgeport initiated RCRA closure and post-closure activities for an area of the site while under EPA’s Corrective Action order. The Commonwealth of Virginia and EPA have worked together at all stages to ensure, to the greatest extent possible, that elements of the project required by the EPA Order would also serve to meet requirements of the state permit. Specifically, the Corrective Measures Study and Corrective Measures Implementation Workplan required under the EPA Order were also designed to fulfill the Engineering and Feasibility Study and Regulated Unit Corrective Action requirements of the Post-Closure permit. This integrated approach enabled the facility to develop a single groundwater monitoring program that met the objectives of all parties while eliminating duplicative efforts in monitoring and reporting.

Another example is the combined cleanup project at the Intermet Radford Shell Plant and New River Castings facilities located in Radford, Virginia. EPA and the State are addressing corrective action at both facilities, along with the closure obligations, under one EPA Order. The Intermet Radford Shell Plant, a RCRA high priority facility, and the adjacent Intermet New River Castings facility, a large quantity generator, are both owned and operated by Intermet Corporation of Troy, Michigan. To optimize their efforts and streamline the investigation, Intermet requested the Agencies’ approval to concurrently address both facilities and to conduct hazardous waste closure activities for two units through the RCRA Corrective Action program in accordance with the Post-Closure Rule. This approach allows closure and corrective action to be addressed under one administrative mechanism and maximizes resources, since the closure and the corrective action work at the two contiguous sites are being integrated into a single workplan coordinated under one EPA project manager.

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Corrective Action and Superfund

Washington Navy Yard and Radford Army Ammunition Plant are examples of federal facilities subject to both RCRA Corrective Action and Superfund requirements. The now inactive Washington Navy Yard was a RCRA generator of hazardous waste. Radford was a former treatment, storage and disposal facility, with ongoing permit and closure activities. Both facilities are also subject to Superfund cleanup requirements. A coordinated RCRA and Superfund effort not only expedited cleanups and reduced duplication, but also facilitated revitalization.

At the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., Region 3 accelerated the cleanup by issuing a RCRA 7003 Order to initiate work at this base realignment and closure (BRAC) site until it could be placed on the National Priorities List (NPL). The RCRA Order was superceded by a Federal Facilities Agreement after the NPL listing. This unified approach enabled a 2-year jump on the cleanup allowing the Naval Sea Systems (NAVSEA) Headquarters to begin relocating their offices from Crystal City, Virginia to the Navy Yard property in 2001. The NAVSEA Headquarters redevelopment project included upgrades to infrastructure, building demolition, renovation of historic buildings, new building construction and a new parking garage.

Radford aerial photographThe Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia is a government owned/contractor operated (GO/CO) RCRA permitted facility, which also maintains areas subject to cleanup under the Superfund program. In this instance, Radford expressed concerns about the impact of an NPL listing on economic development potential for this site. To address Radford’s concerns, Region 3 worked closely with representatives from Radford and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to develop a unique RCRA Corrective Action Permit in lieu of an NPL listing. The RCRA Corrective Action Permit (drafted by the RCRA Program) integrates both RCRA and CERCLA requirements. Oversight of the permit is coordinated with Superfund who is responsible for the Radford New River Unit, a formerly used defense site. This strategy has greatly assisted with redevelopment for the site. The cleanup is on-going and 19 commercial tenants are now located on the property, creating 360 tenant jobs. Over 300 of these jobs are in manufacturing, and each manufacturing job also provides an estimated three indirect support jobs for the community of Radford.

For more information on RCRA redevelopment activities at these facilities and others in Region 3, click here.

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Corrective Action and State Voluntary Programs

  
The Bethlehem Steel [ [PDF file, About PDF] site is an 1800-acre RCRA redevelopment project in Bethlehem, PA. Although the facility is a RCRA high priority site subject to Corrective Action, Bethlehem Steel is also working with Pennsylvania’s voluntary cleanup program, known as Act 2, Exiting EPA Web site, link to disclaimer which can grant a release from environmental liability at the property when it meets state approved cleanup standards. Obtaining this liability release makes the property more attractive to potential buyers, thus facilitating redevelopment of the unused industrial site.

With the closing of the Bethlehem Steel facility, thousands of jobs were lost. Given the obvious importance of redevelopment, EPA, Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP), and Bethlehem Steel have created a "One Cleanup Team" to investigate and rapidly cleanup the steel plant to meet the technical standards of all applicable cleanup programs – RCRA Corrective Action, Post Closure, and Act 2. The Team divided the site into parcels based on redevelopment potential. The Team meets frequently and conducts joint EPA and State reviews and approvals of the facility’s submissions. Thus far, the Team’s efforts have resulted in the remediation and sale of several parcels slated for reuse. The most spectacular is the construction of a several megawatt generating plant.

Nearly 600 acres of the old steel mill are undergoing an accelerated investigation to support the purchase of this large parcel. The prospective buyer plans to invest $400 million in the Bethlehem community. To date, the investigation and cleanup have met all RCRA and State standards without the need to negotiate or issue an EPA or State permit or order. Bethlehem Steel has agreed to design the environmental work to meet the technical requirements of both regulatory agencies. This agreement has considerably reduced the burdens on EPA, the State and Bethlehem Steel and accelerated the pace of cleanup.

At another Pennsylvania steel plant, the US Steel - Fairless Works [PDF file, About PDF] site in Fairless Hills, EPA, PADEP and US Steel are coordinating regulatory requirements to ensure the investigation and cleanup meet RCRA Corrective Action and Act 2 technical standards. The US Steel - Fairless facility is a 2500-acre former integrated steel mill which is largely idle. The owners are interested in selling and leasing the property to bring jobs back into the area.

In 1993, EPA issued a Corrective Action Order to US Steel, requiring a site-wide investigation and evaluation of cleanup options for the facility. Since then, US Steel asked EPA to modify the priorities of the Corrective Action Order to enable the environmental investigation to proceed along lines identified by their Realty Division to attract potential buyers. EPA, after consultation with PADEP, agreed to this new approach. The Agencies and Fairless Works also agreed to implement an investigation and remediation that would meet the technical requirements of both Corrective Action and Act 2. EPA and PADEP and US Steel are moving forward with this approach which promises to significantly streamline the cleanup process with a positive impact for redevelopment.

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Region 3 The Mid-Atlantic States


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