Superfund Task Force Recommendations and Accomplishments: Goal 2
Re-invigorating Responsible Party Cleanup and Reuse
The Task Force employed three strategies to re-invigorate responsible party cleanup and reuse:
- Encourage and facilitate responsible parties’ expeditious and thorough cleanup of sites to affect re-use more quickly
- Create oversight efficiencies for PRP-lead cleanups
- Promote redevelopment/reuse of sites by encouraging PRPs to invest in reuse outcomes
To learn how EPA will integrate the work completed under the Task Force into the Superfund Program, see:
On this page:
- Recommendation 12: Recommend Consideration and Use of Early Response Actions at Superfund Sites, Particularly Sediment Sites, While Comprehensive Negotiations Are Underway for the Entire Cleanup
- Recommendation 13: Identify Opportunities to Utilize Various Federal and State Authorities to Conduct Response Actions that are Consistent with CERCLA and the National Contingency Plan
- Recommendation 14: Maximize the Use of Special Accounts to Facilitate Site Cleanup and/or Redevelopment
- Recommendation 15: Accelerating Settlements with Federal PRPs
- Recommendation 16: Provide Reduced-Oversight Incentives to Cooperative, High-performing PRPs, and Make Full Use of Enforcement Tools as Disincentives for Protracted Negotiations, or Slow Performance Under Existing Cleanup Agreements
- Recommendation 17: Adjust Financial Assurance (FA) Required Under Enforcement Documents to Reduce Cooperating PRP’s Financial Burden While Ensuring Resources Are Available to Complete Cleanups
- Recommendation 18: Reinforce the Federal Facility Agreement Informal and Formal Dispute Timelines
- Recommendation 19: Expand Cleanup Capacity by Designating One Agency Lead for Each Project in Order to Reduce Overlap and Duplication
- Recommendation 20: Identify Opportunities to Engage Independent Third Parties to Oversee Certain Aspects of PRP Lead Cleanups
- Recommendation 21: Facilitate Site Redevelopment During Cleanup by Encouraging PRPs to Fully Integrate and Implement Reuse Opportunities into Investigations and Cleanups of NPL Sites
Recommendation 12: Recommend Consideration and Use of Early Response Actions at Superfund Sites, Particularly Sediment Sites, While Comprehensive Negotiations Are Underway for the Entire Cleanup
- Issued New Guidance Memorandum to Accelerate Remedial Design Starts at PRP-Lead Sites
EPA issued a new guidance memorandum titled “Bifurcating Remedial Design and Remedial Action to Accelerate Remedial Design Starts at PRP-Lead Superfund Sites.” The guidance recommends that Regions consider using separate settlement tracks for remedial design and remedial action where negotiations for a single consent decree addressing both remedial design/remedial action is likely to be protracted.
Bifurcating Remedial Design and Remedial Action to Accelerate Remedial Design Starts at PRP-Lead Superfund Sites
Recommendation 13: Identify Opportunities to Utilize Various Federal and State Authorities to Conduct Response Actions that are Consistent with CERCLA and the National Contingency Plan
- Developed a Report Reviewing the Various non-NPL Approaches Suitable for NPL-Caliber Sites
In 2019, EPA developed a summary report reviewing the various non-NPL approaches suitable for NPL-caliber sites in certain situations. The report reviews the basic criteria for using non-NPL approaches and provides data on the historical use of non-NPL approaches. EPA will make the report available to EPA Regions so that non-NPL approaches may be considered as decisions are made on available options to address a contaminated site. Having this information available in a consolidated, easy-reference format may result in the use of a non-NPL approach at some contaminated sites that may have otherwise been listed on the NPL.
Superfund Task Force Recommendation 13: Examine Opportunities to Achieve Protective Cleanup at NPL-Caliber Sites Without Listing on the NPL: Summary of Findings
Recommendation 14: Maximize the Use of Special Accounts to Facilitate Site Cleanup and/or Redevelopment
- In 2018, EPA issued the “Guidance on Disbursement of Funds from EPA Special Accounts to Entities Performing CERCLA Response Actions.” The memorandum is intended to maximize the use of special accounts to facilitate site cleanup and redevelopment. The guidance provides the EPA Regions with information on disbursing special account funds to Bona Fide Prospective Purchasers as an incentive to perform cleanup work, as well as to potentially responsible parties (PRPs) as an incentive to negotiate a settlement. In 2019, EPA issued the “Updated Guidance on the Establishment, Management, and Use of CERCLA Special Accounts” to clarify to EPA Regions effective ways to manage and use special accounts.
Guidance on Disbursement of Funds from Special Accounts to Entities Performing CERCLA Response Actions (PDF) (14 pp, 883 K)
Updated Guidance on the Establishment, Management, and Use of CERCLA Special Accounts (PDF) (16 pp, 883 K)
- Addressed Ways to Quickly Resolve Settlement Language Disagreements and Focused on Substantive Issues Delaying Cleanup
To help speed up the settlement process where there are Federal PRPs, EPA: 1) reminded EPA Regions of guidance documents discussing the treatment of federal PRPs in settlement negotiations and to engage federal PRPs in Superfund negotiations as early as possible, and 2) addressed situations when a federal PRP refuses to participate in negotiations and private parties seek to retain their rights against the federal PRPs.
In 2018, EPA, and the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and DOD developed model settlement language to address a common delay in cleanup settlement negotiations that often occurred between EPA and DOD.
June 2019, EPA’s cleanup enforcement program reminded EPA’s regional Superfund branch chiefs in the Office of Regional Counsel about existing EPA guidance on federal PRPs’ involvement and an elevation process to resolve issues quickly when delays arise. The model settlement language and elevation process are intended to be used by EPA Regions to expedite settlement negotiations to help cleanups occur faster.
Recommendation 16: Provide Reduced-Oversight Incentives to Cooperative, High-performing PRPs, and Make Full Use of Enforcement Tools as Disincentives for Protracted Negotiations, or Slow Performance Under Existing Cleanup Agreements
- Completed a Compilation of Regional Practices and Charges of Indirect Costs
In April 2019, an EPA workgroup finalized a Summary of Findings titled “Provide Reduced Oversight Incentives to Cooperative, High-Performing PRPs” that includes that included several recommendations on the appropriate level of oversight during Superfund response work. EPA believes implementing the recommendation may lead to reduced oversight costs.
- Issued Process for Expediting Negotiations and PRP Cleanup Starts Guidance
In June 2019, EPA issued the “2019 Remedial Design/Remedial Action: Process for Expediting Negotiations and PRP Cleanup Starts” guidance to encourage EPA Regions to plan for and promptly obtain PRP commitments to begin cleanup actions following remedy selection. Additionally, EPA is working on a consolidated summary of the numerous CERCLA guidance and policy documents relevant to settlement negotiations and response action oversight and implementation for CERCLA staff.
- Reference Document on Guidance Relevant to Negotiations and Oversight
In response to a survey of EPA and DOJ staff regarding tools to expedite negotiations and cleanups, the Agency determined that a “refresher” reference guide would be useful. EPA issued to the Regional offices a consolidated summary of the numerous CERCLA guidance and policy documents relevant to settlement negotiations and response action oversight and implementation for CERCLA staff.
Provide Reduced Oversight Incentives to Cooperative, High Performing Potentially Responsible Parties
2019 Remedial Design/Remedial Action: Process for Expediting Negotiations and PRP Cleanup Starts
Recommendation 17: Adjust Financial Assurance (FA) Required Under Enforcement Documents to Reduce Cooperating PRP’s Financial Burden While Ensuring Resources Are Available to Complete Cleanups
- Evaluated Relevant Feedback and Assessed Situations Where Financial Assurance Might be Adjusted
EPA evaluated relevant feedback and assessed situations where financial assurance might be adjusted, as well as circumstances that could jeopardize cleanup work. In the July 2018 Task Force report, the Agency reported that it had determined to no longer implement this recommendation as written. However, EPA is continuing to improve the financial assurance program, which will include updating EPA’s 2015 CERCLA financial assurance guidance to address high risk situations and to ensure national, consistent implementation of financial assurance. EPA is also evaluating the effectiveness of the financial test and corporate guarantee.
- Issued Principles to Clarify and for Reinforce Adherence to Federal Facility Agreement Informal and Formal Dispute Timelines
In September 2018, EPA issued a memorandum titled “Principles for Reinforcing Federal Facility Agreement Informal and Formal Dispute Timeline.” The pace of cleanup at federal facility Superfund sites can be delayed when Federal Facility Agreement (FFA) parties continue disputes beyond the agreed-upon dispute resolution timelines specified in negotiated FFAs. However, because disagreements and disputes are fact-specific, a fluid rather than a one-size-fits-all process may at times be necessary. The memorandum sets out principles outlining the key themes for FFA parties to reinforce dispute timelines.
- Tools to Reinforce Adherence to Informal and Formal Dispute Timelines
EPA created two tools: include an informal dispute tracking spreadsheet, which will supplement existing EPA Headquarters tracking of formal disputes, and an audit tool that captures postponed cleanup milestones.
Principles for Reinforcing FFA Informal and Formal Dispute Timelines Memo (PDF)(4 pp, 3 MB)
Recommendation 19: Expand Cleanup Capacity by Designating One Agency Lead for Each Project in Order to Reduce Overlap and Duplication
- Issued Internal Memorandum for Federal Agency Efficiencies at Mixed Ownership Mining Sites
In November 2018, EPA issued an internal memorandum describing the ability of, and the circumstances under which to consider, a redelegation of CERCLA enforcement and cleanup authorities at mixed ownership mining sites from one federal agency to another pursuant to Executive Order 12580. At appropriate sites, this redelegation can increase federal agency related efficiencies by consolidating CERCLA authority to just one agency, instead of two.
- Issued Sample MOUs for State-Related Efficiencies
November 2018, EPA issued a sample Clean Water Act (CWA)/CERCLA Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to memorialize intended steps for regional and state coordination and cooperation at contaminated sediment sites.
In July 2019, EPA issued a model MOU for a PRP-lead Superfund cleanup to guide EPA regional offices through the complex requirements that arise when oversight responsibility is assumed by a state under the state’s cleanup law. Simultaneously, EPA researched and received input from EPA regional offices and states on EPA-state cooperative efforts, work planning, and coordination at Superfund sites. EPA issued a memorandum to accompany the MOU that highlights a collection of ways EPA Regions are effectively including states in the Superfund response process and furthering EPA regional and state coordination.
Sample CWA/CERCLA Memorandum of Understanding for the Regions, States, Tribes, and Other Federal Agencies
Transmittal of Model Memorandum of Understanding Regarding the Oversight and Enforcement of Remaining Response Actions Under State Law at Post-Enforcement Superfund Sites
Environmental Protection Agency and State Cooperative Efforts at Superfund Sites
Recommendation 20: Identify Opportunities to Engage Independent Third Parties to Oversee Certain Aspects of PRP Lead Cleanups
- Memorandum Issued on Findings and Recommendations on Third Party Oversight of Aspects of PRP-Lead Cleanups
In November 2018, following a thorough and exhaustive review of opportunities for independent third parties to oversee cleanups by PRPs at National Priorities List (NPL) sites, EPA issued the Superfund Task Force Recommendation 20 memorandum, which concluded that EPA has a number of policy-based tools and approaches for oversight of PRP cleanups that may help achieve the goals set by this recommendation and the Task Force, including the use of: independent quality assurance teams for the oversight of PRPs; independent third-party verification or certification; and certain advanced monitoring technologies to support long-term stewardship.
- Advance Monitoring Technologies to Support Long-Term Stewardship
In July 2018, EPA issued a new memorandum titled “Advance Monitoring Technologies and Approaches to Support Long-Term Stewardship.” The memorandum provides the Regions with information on the potential use of advance monitoring technologies and approaches for monitoring and maintaining institutional and engineering controls at sites and facilities addressed under federal and state cleanup authorities.
Memorandum: Superfund Task Force Recommendation 20 (Identify Opportunities to Engage Independent Third Parties to Oversee Certain Aspects of PRP-Lead Cleanups): Workgroup Findings and Recommendations (PDF) (8 pp, 9.5 MB)
Use of Advance Monitoring Technologies and Approaches to Support Long-Term Stewardship Memo
Recommendation 21: Facilitate Site Redevelopment During Cleanup by Encouraging PRPs to Fully Integrate and Implement Reuse Opportunities into Investigations and Cleanups of NPL Sites
- Issued Internal Memo to Encourage PRPs to Incorporate Reuse Early in the Decision-Making Process
The Task Force drafted an internal memorandum, which (1) discussed why PRPs may or may not pursue reuse; (2) presented an overview of the current NPL reuse landscape; and (3) provided recommendations the Agency may want to implement to encourage PRPs to incorporate reuse earlier in the decision-making process. This memorandum was the culmination of the Task Force's actions under this recommendation which included: developing a list of case studies where PRPs have incorporated reuse considerations throughout the cleanup process, working with EPA Regions to identify examples of effective PRP-driven reuse efforts and previously successful incentives, interviewing PRPs and developers to identify opportunities for PRP-led cleanups and reuse, hosting a public listening session to inform stakeholders of the workgroup’s progress and to solicit input and analyzing site cleanup and reuse data, including 52 case-studies and 19 interviews.