Superfund Unilateral Orders
EPA can order parties to perform cleanup work under the following circumstances:
- If potentially responsible parties (PRPs) do not agree to perform the cleanup work through a judicial consent decree or an administrative order on consent (AOC), or
- refuse to perform work they previously agreed to perform under a settlement agreement
These orders, known as unilateral administrative orders (UAOs), require parties to undertake a response action, either a short or long-term cleanup.
EPA can issue a UAO when it finds there may be an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or the environment.
If PRPs do not comply with a UAO, courts may:
- assess penalties,
- require the PRP to pay up to three times what it cost EPA to do the cleanup (treble damages),
- issue a judicial order requiring cleanup.
EPA policy documents, along with model language documents for UAOs, are available from the Superfund cleanup policy and guidance database.
Learn More: Superfund Cost Recovery