EPA has announced the report of a Superfund Task Force charged with developing recommendations to streamline and improve the superfund program.  The task force report describes 42 recommendations to streamline and improve the program.  The recommendations are divided into 5 goals including specific strategies which are planned to commence within 12 months.

The goals include:

  • Expedited cleanup and remediation process,
  • Reducing financial burden on all parties involved in the entire cleanup process,
  • Encouraging private investment,
  • Promoting redevelopment and community revitalization, and
  • Building and strengthening partnerships.

To expedite the cleanup and remediation process, task force has made recommendations to target the NPL sites that are not showing sufficient progress towards cleanup and completion. This involves re-prioritizing some resources to focus on remedial actions, construction completions, ready-for-reuse determinations and deletions.  The report suggests that EPA evaluate and accelerate NPL sites to completion by targeting the NPL sites that are not showing sufficient progress towards the cleanup and completion. It is recommended to establish the Top Ten Administrator’s Emphasis List for sites that need immediate and serious attention.

As part of this goal, it is also recommended to develop strategies to move sites towards NPL deletion for the sites where remedies have been selected by preparing and issuing a directive to establish and adhere to a process for tracking and reporting on the progress, reviewing and revising the NPL deletion policy to maximize the statutory flexibility, focusing resources on maximizing deletions/partial deletions, conducting semi-annual regional and headquarters work planning sessions and providing an annual report to the Administrator of sites progressing to completion. The report suggests that EPA expedite the cleanup using early/interim records of decisions (RODs) and removal actions by broadening the use of adaptive management at the Sites.  Additional suggestions include reviewing and clarifying the policies and priorities to address immediate risks and expedite remediation and using BMPs, planning and remedy optimization including utilization of expert technical resources to expedite remediation.

Shri Vani Sripada is a Project Engineer at Smith Management Group. Shri Vani can be reached at shrivani@smithmanage.com