United States Environmental
                           Protection Agency
Solid Waste and Emergency
Response (5305W)
January 2001
                          Office of Solid Waste
                           Reforms II:  Fostering  Creative Solutions

                           The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is implementing a second set of administrative
                           reforms to accelerate the cleanup of hazardous waste facilities regulated under the Resource
                           Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). EPA 's 1999 Reforms promoted faster, focused, more
                          flexible cleanups. The 2001 Reforms reinforce and build upon the 1999 Reforms and will pilot
                           innovative approaches, accelerate changes in culture, connect communities to cleanup, and
                           capitalize on redevelopment potential, while maintaining protection of human health and the
Why Is EPA Reforming the RCRA
Corrective Action  Program?

The goals for the RCRA Corrective Action program
remain very challenging. To more effectively meet these
goals and speed up the pace of cleanups, EPA introduced
RCRA Cleanup Reforms in 1999 and is implementing
additional Reforms in 2001. The 1999 and 2001 Reforms
build upon actions taken by EPA and the states in recent
years to accelerate cleanups. EPA believes that the 1999
Reforms remain central to successful implementation of
the program. The 1999 Reforms were designed to:

       Focus the program more effectively on
       achievement of environmental results, rather
       than fulfillment of unnecessary steps in a
       bureaucratic process;

       Foster maximum use of program flexibility and
       practical approaches to achieve program goals;

       Enhance public access to cleanup information
       and improve opportunity for public involvement
       in the cleanup process.

The 1999 Reforms set the near-term focus of the
program on attainment of the two  Environmental
Indicators and established an environment for program
implementors to be innovative and results-oriented. The
1999 Reforms have successfully led the program toward
faster, focused, more flexible cleanups. An example of
progress since 1997 is the increase, from 47 to 504, in the
number of RCRA cleanup facilities meeting both
Environmental Indicators.
  What are the Goals of the RCRA Corrective Action

  EPA has established two near-term goals, termed
  "Environmental Indicators," for the RCRA Corrective
  Action program. These goals, developed under the
  Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), are that
  by 2005, the states and EPA will verify and document that
  95 percent of the 1,714 RCRA cleanup facilities under
  GPRA focus will have "current human exposures under
  control," and 70 percent of these facilities will have
  "migration of contaminated groundwater under control."
  The long-term goal of the program is to achieve final
  cleanup at all RCRA corrective action facilities.
 In 2000, EPA held a series of meetings with program
 implementors and stakeholders, including representatives
 from tribes, federal and state agencies, regulated
 industry, and environmental and community groups, to
 discuss program impediments, successful approaches and
 ideas for 2001 Cleanup Reforms. Central ideas that
 emerged include the importance of: (1) reinforcing and
 building upon the 1999 Reforms; (2) empowering
 program implementors to try new approaches at the site
 level; and (3) using frequent, informal communication
 throughout the cleanup process.

 What Are the RCRA Cleanup
 Reforms of 2001 ?

 The RCRA Cleanup Reforms of 2001 highlight those
 activities that EPA believes would best accelerate
 program progress and foster creative solutions. The 2001
 Reforms reflect the ideas EPA heard from program

implementors and stakeholders and introduce new
initiatives to reinforce and build upon the 1999 Reforms.
Specifically, the 2001 Reforms will:

       Pilot innovative approaches;

       Accelerate changes in culture;

       Connect communities to cleanups;

       Capitalize on redevelopment potential.

The 2001 Reforms include just some of the innovative
approaches that have been identified by program
implementors and stakeholders. EPA intends to
continue work in other areas critical to meeting program
goals. In particular, we seek to: continue a dialogue with
interested parties on groundwater cleanup and other
issues relating to final cleanup; provide guidance tailored
to cleanup at facilities with limited resources to pay for
cleanup; and, continue to work with federally-owned
facilities to help them meet their Environmental
Indicator goals. Similarly, we encourage program
implementors and stakeholders to use approaches that
improve the program yet are not specifically included in
the RCRA Cleanup Reforms.

I.  Pilot innovative approaches.

The RCRA Cleanup Reforms Pilot Program will
support state  and EPA Regional Offices in their efforts
to use innovative, results-orientated and protective
approaches to speed achievement of Environmental
Indicator goals and final cleanup. Stakeholders are
encouraged to contact state and EPA Regional Offices
with their pilot ideas.

EPA has  set a target of 25 pilot projects to be launched
in 2001. EPA expects at least one pilot project in  each
EPA Region, administered by the state or EPA. EPA
will showcase pilot projects to share successes and lessons
learned and to promote use of similar approaches  at
other facilities.  EPA recommends that stakeholders
consider pilot projects in one or more areas. Examples
include pilots that:

    S  Achieve program goals most effectively at
       companies with multiple facilities;
    S  Improve stakeholder involvement and
       communication to resolve issues where cleanup
       progress is slow;
    S  Use site characterization technologies or
       strategies that efficiently assess Environmental
    S  Enhance the use of protective and accountable
       state non-RCRA Cleanup programs to achieve
       program goals;
    S  Establish EPA Regional or state "corrective
       action expediters" to focus on cleanups that are
       stalled or delayed;
    S  Expedite achievement of program goals at
       federally-owned facilities;
    S  Use Superfund or emergency authorities at
       RCRA sites for bankrupt or unwilling facilities.
 What is the RCRA Corrective Action Program?

 In 1980, when the RCRA law and regulations went into
 effect, thousands of facilities became subject to hazardous
 waste management regulations. These regulations helped
 ensure that hazardous waste generated from ongoing
 industrial operations is properly managed and does not
 contribute to a future generation of toxic waste sites.
 However, many of these facilities had soil and groundwater
 contamination resulting from their waste management
 practices prior to 1980. The RCRA Corrective Action
 program addresses cleanup of past  and present
 contamination at these operating industrial facilities.

 Who Runs the RCRA Corrective Action Program?

 The RCRA Corrective Action program is run by both EPA
 and the states, with 38 states and territories authorized to
 implement the program. Corrective action is conducted
 under RCRA permits, orders and other approaches.
II. Accelerate changes in culture.

EPA will help program implementors and stakeholders
accelerate changes in the culture in which they
implement the program by: focusing on results over
process; encouraging frequent, informal communication
among stakeholders; encouraging partnerships in
training; promoting methods of information exchange;
and, using new approaches to  meet Environmental
Indicator and long-term cleanup goals.  EPA will:

   Promote nationwide dialogue among program
    implementors and stakeholders on RCRA cleanups.
    EPA Regional Offices will work with states in an
    effort to hold at least one meeting in 2001 in each
    EPA Region, open to all stakeholders who wish to
    interact, provide input, or learn more about the
    RCRA Corrective Action program.  Discussion
    topics could cover local, regional or national topics
    relevant to corrective action.

   Conduct targeted training in partnership with program
    implementors and stakeholders. EPA will work with
    interested parties to deliver targeted training,
    depending upon the needs of those requesting the
    training and available resources. Training topics
    could cover, for example:  innovative technical and
    administrative approaches to cleanup; success stories
    and lessons learned from implementation of the 1999
    Cleanup Reforms; Corrective Action program
    basics; and use of performance-based approaches to
    corrective action.

   Use web-based communication to share successes and
    lessons learned and promote innovative approaches.
    EPA will support the establishment of a web-based
    interactive tool to promote sharing of successes and
    lessons learned and to provide for frequent exchange
    of ideas among all stakeholders on any corrective
    action topic, including those that are technical,
    policy-oriented or site-specific.

   Overcome barriers to achieving Environmental
    Indicators.  EPA will clarify the relationship between
    Environmental Indicators and final cleanups and
    how Environmental Indicators can be met within
    the context of existing orders and permits. EPA will
    answer "Frequently Asked Questions" about
    Environmental Indicators, and issue technical
    guidance on ways to assess the impacts of
    contaminated groundwater on surface water and
    indoor air quality.  In addition, EPA will
    demonstrate new uses of enforcement tools to
    achieve Environmental Indicators.
 Focus on Results

 The RCRA Cleanup Reforms foster creative, practical,
 results-based approaches to corrective action. In the field,
 this means:

   Providing tailored oversight. Eliminate administrative or
    technical steps where not needed to assure effective
    Using holistic approaches.  Evaluate facilities for overall
    risk and apply appropriate facility-wide corrective
    action measures.
   Exercising procedural flexibility. Emphasize results over
    mechanistic process steps and eliminate unproductive
   Setting performance standards. Establish clear protective
    standards the owner/operator must fulfill to complete
    corrective action.
    Targeting data collection.  Examine actual conditions at
    each facility to design data requirements as needed to
    support corrective action decisions.
III. Connect communities to cleanups.

EPA will provide the public with more effective access
to cleanup information. EPA seeks to increase public
interest in and awareness of cleanup activities, and to
further enhance the public's ability to become more
involved in decisions about cleanups in communities.
EPA will:

  Clarify principles and expectations for public
   involvement in corrective action cleanups. EPA will
   set out general principles and expectations for
   providing the public with the opportunity to become
   involved at corrective action sites.  EPA also will
   share examples of successful public involvement
   approaches that  have been used at RCRA cleanup
   sites and lessons  learned.

  Increase support of Technical Outreach Services for
   Communities (TOSC). The TOSC program provides
   communities with technical and educational
   assistance from universities on issues associated with
   cleanup of hazardous sites.  EPA will provide
   resources to the  TOSC program for community
   involvement at RCRA cleanup sites and advertise the
   availability of this program.

  Place Environmental Indicator evaluation forms and
   cleanup summaries on EPA web sites. EPA will place
   Environmental Indicator evaluation forms and
   summaries of cleanup activities of 1,714 RCRA
   facilities on the web sites of EPA Regional Offices.
   The evaluation forms and summaries will provide
   readily available information on the status of cleanup
   at these sites.

  Publicize and promote the use of readily accessible
   cleanup information sources. EPA will produce and
   distribute a pamphlet for the general public that
   explains how to  access RCRA Corrective Action
   program information and site-specific cleanup

IV. Capitalize on redevelopment

EPA encourages program implementors and
stakeholders to capitalize on the redevelopment potential
of RCRA cleanup sites. Many of these sites are located in
areas that are attractive for redevelopment and are poised
for community revitalization.  These factors can

motivate interested parties to pursue an expedited
cleanup, sometimes with additional resources.  EPA will:

  Initiate A dditional R CRA Brownfields Pilots. EPA
   will launch 4-6 additional RCRA Brownfields pilot
   projects in 2001. These pilots will be designed to
   showcase the flexibility of RCRA and the use of
   redevelopment potential to expedite or enhance
   cleanups. Pilot applicants could be program
   implementors or stakeholders. Pilot participants also
   benefit from RCRA brownfields expertise. Limited
   funding may become available for EPA to conduct
   public meetings and related activities.

  Initiate the Targeted Site Effort (TSE) Program to spur
   cleanup at RCRA sites with significant
   redevelopment/reuse potential.  EPA will ask each
   Regional Office to identify two sites for the TSE in
   2001. The TSE program will apply to sites that have
   significant redevelopment/reuse potential, and
   require a limited amount of extra EPA support to
   help spur cleanup. The TSE program will provide
   participants with focused attention and access to
   RCRA brownfields expertise. Limited funding may
   be available for EPA to conduct public meetings and
   related activities.

  Provide training and outreach to program
   implementors on using redevelopment potential to meet
   program goals.  EPA will provide training and
   outreach to program implementors and stakeholders
   to promote the environmental and community
   benefits that can be gained by integrating brownfields
   redevelopment opportunities and RCRA facility

  Promote cleanup and redevelopment with RCRA
   "Comfort/Status"Letters.  "Comfort/status" letters
   provide information regarding EPA's intent to
   exercise its RCRA corrective action response and
   enforcement authorities at a cleanup site. EPA will
   issue examples of letters that have been used to spur
   cleanup and redevelopment at RCRA facilities.

How Will EPA Measure the Results
of the Reforms?

Measuring and recording the results of the RCRA
Cleanup Reforms is a priority for EPA and the states to
ensure continued  improvement of the Corrective Action
program. EPA will measure progress in putting the
reforms into practice.  EPA recognizes program
implementors are using new approaches that may or
may not be highlighted in the Cleanup Reforms, and will
measure progress under these approaches as well. While
the ultimate goal of the Corrective Action program is to
achieve final cleanups, EPA will continue to measure the
near-term success of the program against its
Environmental Indicator goals for controlling human
exposure and migration of contaminated groundwater.

How Will EPA Involve
Stakeholders in Implementing the

EPA will provide periodic updates on the RCRA
Cleanup Reforms and solicit input from stakeholders
through several means, including focus meetings, Federal
Register notices, the RCRA Corrective Action
Newsletter, Internet postings, and press releases.

EPA seeks continuous feedback from all stakeholders on
the need for additional reforms beyond those already
underway. EPA values and appreciates the feedback and
interest of all stakeholders. However, limited resources
may not allow us to respond individually. Based on
stakeholder input and our ongoing assessment of the
program, we will continue to refine and add to the
RCRA Cleanup Reforms, as needed, and will
communicate program changes.

If you would like to provide written comments on  the
RCRA Cleanup Reforms, please mail your comments to:
RCRA Information Center (5305W), U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency, Ariel Rios Building,
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC,
20460-0002, or send an email to the RCRA docket at
rcra-docket@epa.gov.  Please include the following
number on all correspondence, written or e-mailed, to
the RCRA Information Center: F-2001-CRII-FFFFF.

For More  Information

For information on corrective action cleanups, please
visit state and EPA Regional web sites, which can be
linked via the EPA corrective action web site at
http://www.epa.gov/correctiveaction.  The EPA
corrective  action web  site has the latest and more
detailed information on the RCRA Cleanup Reforms.

If you have questions regarding the RCRA Cleanup
Reforms, please call the RCRA Hotline at 800-424-9346
or TDD 800-553-7672, or visit their web site at