United States
                Protection Agency
Office of Solid Waste and
Emergency Response
EPA 540-K-96/004
June 1996
                                    Focus On Cleanup Costs
                 The Buck  Stops Here
                 Polluters are Paying for Most
                 Hazardous Waste Cleanups
                    Cleaning up hazardous waste
                 is Superfund's highest priority.
                 And the public's demand that
                 polluters pay for cleanup also
                 makes it critical that EPA find
                 those who are responsible. At
                 more and more Superfund sites,
                 polluters are "stepping up to the
                 plate"to clean contaminated air,
                 soil, groundwater, and surface
                 water. This cooperation, coupl-
                 ed with EPA's  enforcement
                 activity, is increasing the number
                 of polluters involved in cleanup
                 activities. In fact, in  1995,
                 those responsible for contam-
                 ination performed 75% of new
                 Superfund cleanups and, since
                 1980, have  committed to pay
                 more than  $11 billion toward
                 these cleanups (see graph).
                    When those responsible for
                 hazardous waste contamination
                 cannot be found or are unable to
                 pay, EPA uses money from the
                 Trust  Fund, known  as the
                 Superfund, to clean up the worst
                 of these sites. The Trust Fund is
                 financed mostly through a
                 special tax on the petroleum and
                 chemical industries,  and from
                 environmental taxes collected
                 from   industries    whose
                 production has an impact on the
                 environment.  In emergency
 situations where the public is
 at immediate  risk from the
 contamination, EPA will use the
 Trust Fund to  pay for initial
 cleanups  and  look for  and
 negotiate with the polluters later.
 Whenever the  Trust Fund is
 used, EPA attempts to recover
 the cost of cleanup by taking
 legal actions, if necessary,
 against those responsible.
   Regardless of who is  res-
 ponsible for contaminating the
 environment and who pays for
 the cleanup in the long  run,
 reducing the threat to the public
 and the environment is EPA's
 first and foremost concern.
                                 Did You
In  1995 alone, over $670
million was spent cleaning
up hazardous waste.
In 1995, polluters performed
75% of new Superfund
78% of the Superfund Trust
Fund has come from chemi-
cal, petroleum, and corpo-
rate taxes.
62% of the Trust Fund has
been spent on site cleanup
700,000 tons of hazardous
waste are  produced  in
America every day.
   Those Responsible for Contamination
   Have Committed to Pay Over $ 11 Billion
   From 1980 to 1995
•June 1996-

A Nation Dealing With Hazardous Waste
  What is the Problem...
    Even though we know more about reducing and
  controlling hazardous waste today than we did in the
  past, America still produces 700,000 tons of hazard-
  ous waste every day. That adds up to 25 0 million tons
     Types ofPRPs at Superfund Sites
                    ...and How Do We

                    Pay for Cleanup?
                      Superfund requires those
                    responsible for hazardous
                    waste sites to pay for or per-
                    form the cleanup. After a site
                    is discovered and any imme-
                    diate dangers are taken care
                    of, EPA begins to search for
                    the PRPs. Some of the search
                    techniques EPA uses are re-
                    viewing site files, looking for
                    names  on drums or other
                    materials  on site, and inter-
                    viewing former employees or
                    neighbors of the site. Once
                    PRPs are located, EPA sends
                    them notice letters. A notice
                    letter summarizes informa-
                    tion EPA has used to identify
                    the  PRPs and encourages
                    them to work with EPA to
                    agree on  cleanup responsi-
                    bility for the site.
                      PRPs may be responsible
                    for  the entire cost of the
                    cleanup; therefore, negotiat-
                    ing a fair cleanup plan with
                    EPA early will save them time
per year—enough to fill the
Superdome in New Orleans
1,500 times.
  The  waste comes  from
many sources. Most of it is
produced by manufacturers
including makers of chemi-
cals, petroleum, metal, tex-
tiles, and electric equipment,
as well as businesses that treat
wood, produce food and pa-
per, and undertake construc-
tion. Other sources are non-
manufacturing, such as gov-
ernments, the military, hospi-
tals, and universities. Munici-
pal landfills, a combination of
relatively harmless household
waste and  some  industrial
waste, also are a part of the
hazardous waste problem.
Certain hazardous wastes are
more  harmful than others.
Some of these wastes have not
been safely handled and have
polluted the environment.
                     ...Who is Responsible...
                      Today we have the technol-
                    ogy and the laws  to control
                    hazardous waste production and
                    disposal. Butyesterday'swaste
                    sites still exist.  Figuring out
                    who is responsible for cleanup is
                    a big job.
                      The  public has  demanded
                    that those who produced and
                    handled the waste clean it up.
                    At Superfund sites, EPA tries
                    to identify those likely to  be
                    responsible for causing or con-
                    tributing to the hazardous waste
                    contamination. They are called
                    "potentially responsible par-
                    ties," or PRPs. Many of these
                           parties did not break existing
                           laws when they disposed of
                           their hazardous wastes. How-
                           ever, under today's  tougher
                           environmental laws, they are
                           considered responsible if they
                           caused the waste or even car-
                           ried waste to a site. The PRPs
                           for a Superfund site can in-
                           clude large or small compa-
                           nies, past or present owners,
                           individuals, and even Federal
                           agencies. Often a site, such as
                           a landfill, will have hundreds
                           of PRPs because many differ-
                           ent individuals and groups
                           have stored or sent waste there.
                   and money in the long run. If the PRPs do not cooperate, EPA can
                   either get a court order requiring them to perform the cleanup or
                   conduct the cleanup itself using the Trust Fund. If EPA conducts
                   the cleanup, the Agency can then recover in court up to three times
                   the amount of the cost of cleanup plus penalties. The Trust Fund
                   also pays for cleanup if PRPs cannot be found or if they are unable
                   or unwilling to pay.
                     Sharing in Federal cleanup costs are the states where sites are
                   located. States must contribute at least 10% of these cleanup costs
                   and are responsible for the operation and maintenance of the sites.
                     When EPA does negotiate a cleanup plan with the PRPs, site
                   work begins under EPA supervision. This agreement with PRPs
                   enables the parties involved to develop a fair cleanup plan and
                   quickly and efficiently make sites safe again for people and the
                   environment. Q
•June 1996-

 Superfund's Trust Fund
 Aiming Dollars at Cleanups
   People sometimes imagine
 expensive lawyers, endless
 courtroom battles, and lawsuits
 when Superfund is discussed.
 In fact, EPA spends 62% of the
 Trust Fund  on actual  site
 cleanup. Enforcement activi-
 ties, such as suing potentially
 responsible parties (PRPs)  to
 recover cleanup costs  and
 negotiating court orders, use
 only  15%.   Since  1987,
 Superfund has collected $1.6
 billion through cost recovery
   In most cases, Trust Fund
 money is used to clean up sites
 where there is very little hope
 of either finding those respon-
 sible, or getting them to pay
 for or conduct the cleanup. For
 example, if a site or an area of
 contamination  is discovered
 but the polluting company has
 gone bankrupt, the Trust Fund
 takes over. The Trust Fund is
 authorized by Congress as part
 of the Superfund law, and the
 money pays for everything re-
 lated to cleanup from bulldoz-
 ers to file folders.
  How has the Trust Fund
money been spent? The illustra-
tion below shows that most of
Superfund's 1995 budget was
spent on site cleanup response.
This includes testing and sam-
pling, relocating affected people
or providing them with alternate
water supplies, running com-
munity outreach programs, as
well as managing and conduct-
ing site cleanups. Some of the
Trust Fund dollars  also were
used to research and develop
new cleanup technologies, and
were distributed to other EPA
offices and Federal agencies.
For example, every year the
Agency for Toxic Substances
and Disease Registry receives
Trust Fund money to perform
critical  health  studies at
Superfund sites. The remain-
ing 9% of the Trust Fund was
used to manage Superfund pro-
gram activities.         Q
  CWifiv Federal
       How Superfund $$ Were Spent (1995)
What About the  Little  Guy?
   EPA considers the amount and
harmfulness of waste contributed
or the level of involvement at a
site when negotiating a cleanup
plan with potentially responsible
parties (PRPs). Some may have
only contributed a small amount
of hazardous waste. Others may
have contributed a large amount,
but it might not have been very
harmful.  De minimis, a Latin
term meaning "at the least," de-
scribes these two types of PRPs
in the Superfund program. For
example, a de minimis party might
be aneighborhood dry cleanerthat
sent a small amount of hazardous
waste to a landfill. For parties
contributing an even  smaller
amount of waste than de minimis
parties, EPA uses the term de
  EPA works closely with both
de minimis wA de micromis PRPs
when negotiating for the cleanup
of a site. This allows small haz-
ardous waste contributors to agree
to their fair share of cleanup costs
and complete the negotiation pro-
cess.  These settlements also
protect small hazardous waste
contributors  from future legal
actions brought by EPA or by
other PRPs. This is an important
benefit,  because parties some-
times sue each other for money
in an effort to lower their cleanup
costs. De  minimis  and  de
micromis settlements save time
and  money for all parties  in-
volved and provide settlors with
a high level of confidence that
they have met their responsibili-
ties for a clean site.
•June 1996-

              Working Together  at Bypass 601
              EPA and Polluters Launch a
              Successful Joint Cleanup Effort
LINA—At first glance, the
Bypass 601  Groundwater
Contamination Superfund site
in Concord, North Carolina
seemed like a cleanup nightmare
for EPA—4,000 possible
polluters being investigated for
serious lead contamination of
the site's soil and groundwater.
However,  thanks   to   a
cooperative effort between EPA
and the potentially responsible
                                         local area (including private
                                         residences and small businesses).
                                         Harmful contaminants such as
                                         lead and sulfuric acid leaked into
                                         the soil and groundwater. EPA
                                         studies revealedthat site cleanup
                                         would require solidification and
                                         stabilization of lead-contam-
                                         inated soils, and pumping and
                                         treating of the contaminated
                                         groundwater—carrying   an
                                         estimated $40 million price tag.
                                           EPA  identified the main
                                                       (defined as those who had sent
                                                       less than atruckload of batteries
                                                       or 40,000 Ibs to the site). Many
                                                       polluters could not be found.
                                                         Despite the  variety  and
                                                       number of PRPs at Bypass 601,
                                                       EPA' s goal was to treat each one
                                                       as fairly as possible. Highlights
                                                       of EPA's  cleanup settlement
                                                       included  cleanup agreements
                                                       with 80  de minimis PRPs,
                                                       protection  for all de micromis
                                                       and de minimis parties  from
j.,.^,.^ Vi ^ o,, ^ ^i                                      ~  •    being sued by  other
settlement   plan  Working together, EPA and the PRPs, and allocation of
emerged that  will   potentially responsible parties  $10 million from the
allow cleanup ofthe arrived at a cost-effective way to Trust Fund to cover
site to move forward.       	cleanup forward...      Polluters who were not
The  plan  calls for ^^^^^
cleanup to be funded
by the polluters—based on the
amount of hazardous waste they
contributed to the site—as well
asbythe TrustFund, forthe costs
that cannot be covered by the
  For a number of  years,
batteries were disposed of at
the Martin Scrap Recycling
(MSR) facility located  on
Bypass 601.  Once the lead
plates were removed for scrap,
the leftover casings were buried
in the ground at the facility, and
at ten other source areas in the
                                         polluter at the site as the owner
                                         and operator ofthe MSRfacility.
                                         However,  the  list of PRPs
                                         included many more polluters.
                                         Under Superfund law, people
                                         who  had sent or transported
                                         batteries to the site were liable
                                         for cleanup.  This raised the
                                         number of PRPs to more than
                                         4,000. EPA classified 2,400 of
                                         them as de  micromis parties (at
                                         this site, defined as those parties
                                         who had sent fewer than 10 lead
                                         batteries or less than  200 Ibs)
                                         and another 115 as de minimis
                                                               found or could not pay
                                                               for cleanup. EPA also
                                                       encouraged other largerpolluters
                                                       to join a steering committee,
                                                       which then negotiated a separate
                                                       cleanup agreement with the
                                                       Agency. EPA will supervise the
                                                       cleanup  activities.     The
                                                       settlement also means EPA will
                                                       get back 100% ofthe money it
                                                       had already spent at the site.
                                                          Working together, EPA and
                                                       the PRPs arrived  at a  cost-
                                                       effective way to move cleanup
                                                       forward at the Bypass  601
                                                       Groundwater Contamination
   Printed on
  recycled paper
                     For More Information  on the Superfund Program.
                              EPA Superfund Hotline
                              (800) 424-9346 or TDD: (800) 553-7672
                              Internet: www.epa.gov/epaoswer/hotline/
                 Information Resources Center
                 (202) 260-5922, 401 M Street, SW, Washington, DC 20460;
                 Internet:  www.epa.gov/epapages/natlibra/hqirc/services.htm
•June 1996-