RCRA Environmental Indicators Progress Report: 1995 Update
EPA's Office of Solid Waste (OSW) (renamed Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery on January 18, 2009)
is continuing to make progress in developing
and reporting environmental indicators to measure progress in the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program. In 1992, OSW (now ORCR) published a report
summarizing early progress in the development of environmental indicators
and discussing an implementation plan for the future. OSW began reporting
12 indicators in a 1 second report published in 1993. This report, the third
in the series, updates 11 of these indicators and adds 2 new indicators.
Chapters 2, 3, and 4 of this report discuss indicators for three major components
of the RCRA program: waste minimization, safe management, and corrective
action. These are the three major goals OSW (now ORCR) has defined for the program,
consistent with the objectives and themes of the RCRA statute.
- Waste minimization indicators are being developed to help
determine the effect of RCRA program activities to reduce the quantity,
toxicity, and hazardous properties of wastes; conserve natural resources
by reducing the use of raw materials; and reduce the use of toxic materials
in production. OSW (now ORCR) is just beginning efforts in some of these areas.
- Safe management indicators are being developed to measure the
effectiveness of program activities to prevent harm to human health
and the environment from the mismanagement of wastes after they are
generated. This category of indicators encompasses the safe management
of wastes from "cradle to grave," i.e., from the point of generation
through transportation, storage, treatment, and final disposal. A wide
variety of program activities are covered in this category, including
waste manifesting; treatment of wastes prior to land disposal (e.g.,
best demonstrated available technology [BDAT]); location standards for
waste management units; standards for the design, operation, and closure
of waste management units; and monitoring to identify releases from
waste management units to ensure that the units' design and operating
practices are effective in preventing releases.
- Corrective action indicators are being developed to measure
the effectiveness of activities to control and clean up contamination
from waste at RCRA facilities. Activities covered include assessing
sites to determine the need for corrective action, stabilizing and cleaning
up releases, and prioritizing site assessment and cleanup based on human
health and environmental risks. Two new indicators are being developed
to track the actual environmental results of remediation activities.
Appendix A provides a list of acronyms. A brief introduction to environmental
indicators and their role in EPA programs is presented in Appendix B. Appendix
C briefly discusses the data sources currently being used to report RCRA
environmental indicators. Appendix D provides a discussion of newly regulated
hazardous wastes, i.e., wastes that became subject to regulation under RCRA
Subtitle C between 1989 and 1991. References for this report are listed
in Appendix E.
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