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Fact Sheet

May 2014

Lean Corrective Action Process Improvements for RCRA Facility Investigations


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regions 3 and 7 have partnered with state agencies, consulting groups, industry and other stakeholders in a targeted effort to improve the national RCRA Corrective Action process through application of the Lean Improvement System.


The Lean Improvement System is a collection of principals and methods that focus on the identification and elimination of non-value added activity in any process. Numerous government agencies, including EPA, are using Lean improvement methods to dramatically improve the quality, transparency, and speed of their processes.

EPA Region 7 is applying the Lean Improvement System to the RCRA Corrective Action program in order to systematically evaluate all steps in the Corrective Action process. EPA Region 7 expects these efforts will identify and eliminate process inefficiencies and barriers to success, and reduce costs without compromising our commitment to protection to human health and the environment. 


As an initial step in improving the Corrective Action process, the Lean Improvement System was applied to the RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) phase. In redefining the approach to the RFI, EPA Region 7 is removing various barriers to progress and redundant activities. This approach has the potential to increase the efficiency and capacity of the RFI process.


The RFI Lean approach shifts critical decisions to the front of the Corrective Action process by establishing a standardized procedure to reach key agreements prior to the investigation. Using the RFI Lean approach, goals and expectations are clarified for all stakeholders at the start of the process. A central tenet of the RFI Lean improvement process is to identify and resolve, at the onset of the RFI, critical decisions necessary to complete the RFI. A clarification of goals and expectations prior to the investigation will reduce redundancies and expedite the RFI process by ensuring all stakeholders have a clear understanding of the data needs, decisions points, and outcomes needed to move through the Corrective Action process. By providing a roadmap with process metrics to drive continuous improvements and establishing a clear understanding up front amongst stakeholders, we anticipate years of time will be saved during the RFI.

EPA Region 7 expects the RFI Lean methodology will be replicated during subsequent phases of Corrective Action and that a continuous improvement culture will drive these changes.


The Lean projected results: existing RFI process that took an estimated 19.4 years to a new RFI process taking a projected 5.1 years (75% reduction).


For more information, contact:

Don Lininger
Waste Remediation and Permits Branch
U.S. EPA Region 7
11201 Renner Boulevard
Lenexa, KS 66219
Phone: 913-551-7724
Toll-free:  800-223-0425
Email: lininger.don@epa.gov

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