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Tech Bite #18

EPA's Cleanup Enforcement Program Protects Human Health And The Environment.

EPA's cleanup enforcement program protects human health and the environment by getting those responsible for a hazardous waste site to either clean up or reimburse EPA for its cleanup. EPA uses a number of cleanup authorities independently and in combination to address specific cleanup situations. Other environmental statutes provide EPA with additional cleanup authorities, which also are listed below. In addition, the cleanup of contaminated property, including brownfields, and the clarification of environmental cleanup liability, are the building blocks to the sustainable reuse of previously-used property.

Superfund: EPA's most often used and most powerful cleanup enforcement mechanism is the Comprehensive, Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund). Superfund is a cleanup authority only and does not otherwise regulate a facility's operations.

RCRA: The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), including the Underground Storage Tank (UST) program, contain both cleanup and regulatory authority. RCRA's cleanup authority is the RCRA Corrective Action program, which addresses cleanup activities at RCRA regulated facilities.

Additional Clean-up Authorities: Several other environmental statutes provide EPA with additional cleanup authorities to address oil spills and events that may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health. Additional cleanup authority is contained in the following statutes:

• The Clean Water Act (CWA), including the Oil Pollution Act (OPA), and the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), and
• The Clean Air Act (CAA)

Brownfields and Redevelopment: The cleanup of contaminated property, including brownfields, and the clarification of environmental cleanup liability, are the building blocks to the sustainable reuse of previously-used property. EPA supports appropriate redevelopment of cleaned up waste sites. Cleanup enforcement's role in redevelopment usually addresses liability issues associated with the cleanup of hazardous substances.

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