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RCRA Corrective Action Environmental Indicators

RCRA Corrective Action
Why use Environmental Indicators?

While the ultimate goal of the RCRA Corrective Action Program is to achieve final cleanups, we are measuring the intermediate success of the program against our GPRA Goals. The two intermediate measures track current human exposures and migration of contaminated groundwater, and are collectively called "Environmental Indicators." These Environmental Indicators are the main focus of the GPRA Goals for the RCRA Corrective Action Program.

These indicators measure progress in environmental terms rather than the administrative process steps that were previously monitored. Measuring and recording our progress toward these goals will be a top priority for EPA and the States over the next several years.

Environmental Indicators are being used by the RCRA Corrective Action program to go beyond programmatic activity measures (e.g., reports received, reviewed, or approved, etc.) to track changes in the quality of the environment. The two Environmental Indicators developed to date indicate the immediate quality of the environment in relation to Current Human Exposures to contamination and the Migration of Contaminated Groundwater.

What are the RCRA Environmental Indicators?

CA 725: Controlling Current Human Exposure
Attainment of the "Current Human Exposures Under Control" Environmental Indicator determination indicates that there are no "unacceptable" human exposures to "contamination." That is, there are no contaminants in concentrations in excess of appropriate risk-based levels that can be reasonably expected under current land- and groundwater-use conditions. This "contamination" is for all contamination subject to RCRA Corrective Action at or from the identified facility (i.e., site-wide)). Achieving a positive determination that Current Human Exposures are under control does not consider potential future land- or groundwater-use conditions or ecological receptors. The RCRA Corrective Action program's overall mission to protect human health and the environment requires that Final remedies address these issues (i.e., potential future human exposure scenarios, future land and groundwater uses, and ecological receptors). Therefore, meeting an Environmental Indicator is not equivalent to a final remedy.

CA 750: Controlling Migration of Contaminated Groundwater
Attainment of the "Migration of Contaminated Groundwater Under Control" Environmental Indicator determination indicates that the migration of "contaminated" groundwater has stabilized. It also means that monitoring will be conducted to confirm that contaminated groundwater remains within the original "area of contaminated groundwater." This "contamination" is for all groundwater contamination subject to RCRA Corrective Action at or from the identified facility (i.e., site-wide)). Achieving a positive determination that Migration of Contaminated Groundwater is under control does not substitute for achieving other stabilization or final remedy requirements and expectations associated with sources of contamination and the need to restore, wherever practicable, contaminated groundwater to be suitable for its designated current and future uses. Therefore, meeting an Environmental Indicator is not equivalent to a final remedy.

How are Facilities evaluated for Environmental Indicators?

Each facility on the RCRA Cleanup Baseline list has been evaluated to determine if current human exposures or migration of contaminated groundwater are under control. In Region 4, these Environmental Indicator Evaluations began in 1995, before the 1999 National Environmental Indicator Guidance, (PDF: 17 pp, 52 K) was created. Additional information is available on the Headquarters Environmental Indicators page.

What Environmental Indicator Evaluations are available?
(Adobe PDF Reader Required)

For the State of Mississippi: Environmental Indicator Evaluations written by EPA Region 4 staff are available. Note: although the intent is to list the latest Environmental Indicator Evaluations, some of these evaluations may be out of date.


Region 4's General Strategy for Meeting the Environmental Indicators

EPA Region 4 will work with seven states authorized for RCRA Corrective Action (i.e., Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee) to meet the 2020 Corrective Action Baseline Goals. The Corrective Action Section (CAS) in the Rehabilitation and Under Ground Storage Tank Branch (RUST) administers the HSWA Corrective Action program in the State of Mississippi and is responsible for corrective action cleanups for all facilities under a HWSA permit in the State of Mississippi. CAS is also responsible for corrective action at facilities in Mississippi and other Region 4 states that have EPA issued orders and are required to meet Environmental Indicators. Plus, CAS is responsible for tracking and ensuring that each State meets the corrective action goals identified in their respective Grant Work Plans. These goals are set annually Oversight includes participating in annual grant reviews of each State’s GPRA Accomplishments, and monthly tracking of State accomplishments.


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