United States
Environmental Protection
December 1990
Meeting The Environmental
EPA's Review Of Progress
And New Directions In
Environmental Protection
                        """ " ^''"''^-''^4-$*'? T.r^'!^ ^w, •***&—" Lj

PREFACE [[[  m

ADMINISTRATOR'S OVERVIEW ..................................  iv
  Drinking Water [[[   2
  Lakes, Rivers, And Streams ...............................................   2
  Ground Water [[[   4
  Oceans, Coastal Waters, And Wetlands ..........................   4
  The Conventional Pollutants	  7
  Air Toxics	 10
  Radon	 10
  Indoor Air	 11
  Global Atmosphere	 12


  Waste Disposal	 14
  Cleaning Up Abandoned
    Hazardous Waste Sites	 15
  Underground Storage Tanks	 16
  Radioactive Wastes	 16
  Emergency Planning And
    Community Right-To-Know	 17

This report is the U.S.
Environmental Protection
Agency's account of where we
stand, twenty years after EPA
was established, and where
we're headed in the protection
of our nation's environment. It
describes successes,
acknowledges where we
haven't succeeded, and lays
out some new directions that
the Agency is charting to
improve-the results of our
programs in the future.
  In 1984 and again in 1988,
EPA released reports titled
Environmental Progress and
Challenges.  These reports,
which are now out of print,
provided more detailed
information than this document
contains. EPA intends to issue
another detailed progress
report in 1992.
  During the past year, EPA's
management developed four-
year strategic plans for all
program areas. Some new
courses of action have grown
out of this exercise which are
summarized in this report.
One interesting aspect of EPA's
strategic planning is the
increased attention being paid
to collecting data which we can
use to determine the outcome
of our programs—the status and
trends in environmental
quality. These "environmental
indicators" should enable EPA
to do a better job reporting
progress in future years.
  The Environmental Results
and Forecasting Branch of the
Office of Policy, Planning and
Evaluation prepared this report
with help from the Office of
Public Affairs and staffs in all
the program offices. We are
grateful for the valuable
contributions from all our
colleagues throughout EPA.
                             Photo by Steve Delaney .

                                                             Dear Fellow Citizen,

                                                             Twenty years have passed
                                                             since the first Earth Day in
                                                             1970 heralded a new era in
                                                             environmental protection.
                                                             America has made impressive
                                                             strides in restoring the quality
                                                             of the nation's environment
                                                             over these past two decades.
                                                             Witness, for example, the
                                                             return of pollution-sensitive
                                                             fish to many of our rivers and
                                                             lakes. Or the cleaner air over
                                                             almost all our cities. Or the
                                                             rise from near extinction of the
                                                             bald eagle. These are results of
                                                             aggressive pollution control
                                                             programs, many of them
                                                             administered by the U.S.
                                                             Environmental Protection
                                                             Agency. Underlying this
                                                             progress is unwavering public
                                                             support for clean air, water and
                                                              Yet America's environmental
                                                             record leaves ample room for
                                                             improvement. Smog, toxic
                                                             chemicals, wetlands
                                                             destruction, waters that still are
                                                             not fishable or swimmable, the
                                                             slow pace of hazardous waste
                                                             cleanup and many other
                                                             problems seem as
                                                             commonplace as our successes.
                                                             New concerns have arisen that
                                                             we were hardly aware of only
                                                             a few years ago—water
                                                             pollution from airborne
                                                             contaminants, stratospheric
                                                             ozone depletion, climate
                                                             change. We have put controls
P/xxa by Steva Dtfaney

on the largest, most obvious
pollution sources, only to
realize that further
improvements in
environmental quality won't
come without also stemming
pollutants from vast numbers
of small sources—farmers, dry
cleaners, automobiles,
individual households.
  More Americans than ever
before must become part of the
environmental solution in the
1990s. In President Bush's
words, "Through millions of
individual decisions—simple,
everyday personal choices—we
are determining the fate of the
Earth. So the conclusion is also
simple: we are all responsible
and it's surprisingly easy to ,
move from being part of the
problem to being part of the
  Since 1987, public concern
about the environment has
grown faster than concern
about virtually any other
national problem.  A recent
Roper poll indicates that 78
percent of Americans support a
"major effort" by government
to solve our environmental
problems—up from 56 percent
just three years ago. Yet
people's daily environmental
behavior has lagged behind
these growing worries.  Despite
this gap, there are now many
signs that Americans are
beginning to do more on a
personal level to protect the
  In my efforts to accelerate
the nation's environmental
progress, I have trumpeted
several themes as my priorities
at EPA.
  Pollution Prevention:
Treatment and disposal of
wastes is not enough;
pollutants must be prevented
from being generated in the
first place. We have learned
the inherent limitations of
treating and burying wastes.  A
problem solved in one part of
the environment may become a,
new problem in another part.
We must curtail pollution
closer to its point of origin so
that it is not transferred from
place to place. We must
consider the full range of
prevention options—from
greater energy efficiency to
stronger incentives for
producing less harmful
substances to expanded
recycling to natural resource
conservation.  Pollution
prevention means a massive
change in America's habits of
waste generation and disposal,
as well as other changes in our
production and consumption
practices that must become
second nature to all of us.
  International Leadership:
International leadership is
urgently needed to solve some
of the world's most pressing
environmental problems.
Climate change, acid rain and
stratospheric ozone depletion,
ocean pollution, the loss of
endangered wildlife and their
habitat—these transcend
national boundaries. So does
the need for sustainable,
environmentally sound
economic development. Few
Americans have ever
experienced the extreme
pollution we find today in
many underdeveloped
countries or in Eastern Europe.
No single country can solve
these problems alone, but the
United States can show the
  Ecology: EPA's commitment
to ecology and natural
resource conservation must be
renewed. Our mission goes
beyond protection of public
health.  EPA is equally
responsible for protecting fish
and wildlife habitats and other
natural resources for their
ecological and recreational
values.  America's economic
well-being also depends on
healthy natural resources. EPA
will work hard to achieve
President Bush's goal of no net
loss of wetlands.  Marine and
coastal programs deserve more
emphasis, as does the
conservation of wildlife.  We
will invest more in long-term
research to assess ecological
health and monitor trends.
  Getting Results: More
environmental results can be
obtained through management
improvements, vigorous
enforcement, and greater
participation by the public.
There is never enough time,
people or money to do
everything. We must set
priorities, pursue risk-reducing
strategies, allocate resources
accordingly, and track progress
with good environmental
information. One key to  better
results is understanding the
movement of pollutants among
the environmental media and
Using all the government's
authorities in a coordinated,
comprehensive approach to
gain the greatest risk reduction.
Another key is strong
enforcement of the nation's
environmental laws. This past
year EPA set, or nearly
equalled, record levels in all
areas of enforcement.  We need
to speed hazardous waste
cleanups, and do it cost-
effectively, as well as develop
new technologies to do the job.
And EPA should do a better
job sharing data on the
environment with the public.
We will continue to build
public trust by relying more on
citizens' groups, the private
sector, and states and localities
to help us determine priorities
and strategies.              1
  These themes are being put
into practice across the broad
spectrum of EPA programs,
and our record over the past
two years is evidence of
accelerated progress in
environmental protection.
Some highlights:

• After a decade of gridlock,
EPA and other federal agencies
crafted a comprehensive
package of amendments to the
Clean Air Act that will reduce
urban smog, control toxic air
pollutants, and cut emissions of
pollutants that contribute to
acid rain.

• The clean air bill and other
Bush Administration initiatives
now underway will have a
beneficial impact on the global
atmosphere. The
Administration negotiated with
other countries a complete
phase-out by 2000 of most uses
of ozone-depleting substances.
An ambitious tree-planting
initiative has been launched.
And energy conservation and
other measures are in the

• EPA's Pollution Prevention
Office was strengthened to
work with industry and private
groups. Grants totalling $12
million have been awarded to

 states to boost development of
 pollution prevention projects.
 In September, 1990, EPA
 reached voluntary agreements
 with corporate leaders to
 reduce toxic air emissions from
 40 chemical plants in 14 states
 by a combined total of almost
 83 percent over the next three
 years.  As a result, some nine
 million fewer pounds will be
 put Into the environment when
 fully implemented.

 • Work is underway to achieve
 the Administration goal of
 reducing municipal solid waste
 by 25 percent through a
 combination of source
 reduction and recycling
 measures.  And EPA is
 engaged in promoting
 environmentally sound federal
 procurement practices,
 including purchase of products
 made of recycled materials.

 • The Administration proposed
 legislation to improve food
 safety by streamlining
 regulations to allow faster
 removal of harmful pesticides
 from the market, and EPA has
 stepped up its efforts against a
 wide range of suspect
 pesticides.  The Agency
 proposed to cancel the
 fungicide EBDC and did stop
 the use of Alar.

 • EPA issued proposals  to
 regulate 17 pesticides and 21
 other contaminants in drinking
 water, almost doubling the
 number of pollutants subject to
 federally enforceable standards.
  • The Bush Administration and
  the states brought actions
  against 61 cities for failure to
  control industrial discharges of
  toxic and hazardous
  wastewater into their sewage
  treatment systems.

  • EPA staff are working with
  Poland, Mexico, China, and
  other governments in Eastern
  Europe, Latin America and
  elsewhere to provide assistance
  in environmental problem-
  solving.  EPA is a party to 26
  currently operative bilateral
  agreements with other
  countries, and two more are
  soon to be  signed.

  • EPA played a pivotal role in
  opening, in 1990, the new
  Eastern and Central European
  Regional Environmental Center
  in Budapest, Hungary.  By
  assisting  private environmental
  groups, this independent
  center, proposed by President
  Bush in 1989, will help
 strengthen emerging
  democratic trends in the

  • Following the Exxon Valdez
 oil spill, EPA field tested a
 successful new cleanup
 method, bioremediation—the
 application of fertilizers to
 speed the activity  of naturally-
 occurring, oil-degrading
 microbes. EPA also helped
 assess damages and is
 coordinating an interagency
 task force on long-range
 restoration of Prince William

• EPA announced a ban on
almost all  new uses of asbestos
in the U.S. by 1997.  And EPA
launched a management and
 communications review to
 assure that Agency guidance
 on the most effective ways to
 reduce asbestos risks—often by
 managing asbestos in place—is
 understood by schools,
 building owners, community
 officials, lenders, and others.

 • After an intensive
 management review, EPA
 reoriented the Superfund
 hazardous waste cleanup
 program to get the worst sites
 cleaned up first, to get
 emergency action on imminent
 hazards done immediately, and
 to get more of the work done
 by the responsible parties.
 1989 was a banner year, with
 over $1 billion dollars in
 settlements reached with
 responsible parties—more than
 a five-fold increase in the
 dollar value of cleanup work in
 enforcement settlements in FY
 1987, and nearly double the
 value of settlements reached in
 FY 1988.

 • EPA and several coastal
 states implemented a pilot
 medical waste tracking system
 to prevent medical wastes from
washing up on beaches.  The
 Agency is implementing an
 action plan developed with
 other federal and state agencies
to prevent medical wastes and
other debris from fouling
beaches and harbors in the
New York-New Jersey area.

 • EPA took action to end
ocean dumping of sewage
sludge by 1992.
 • Enforcement has been
 stepped up, with record-high
 penalties levied for violations
 of federal environmental laws.
 Environmental indictments and
 convictions in fiscal year 1989
 were 70 percent higher than in
 fiscal 1988.  In the last two
 years, the Administration filed
 as many Superfund cases as in
 the first six years of the

  These themes and
 accomplishments reveal the
 scope of EPA's progress and
 challenges. For a more
 complete picture, I urge you to
 read this report.  It contains a
 wealth of information about
 EPA's activities.  If you have
 further questions, please
contact the EPA Regional
Office that serves your state,
listed on page 26..
William K. Reilly

                                                                                      America's water quality record
                                                                                      is a mix of remarkable
                                                                                      improvements and hard-to-fix
                                                                                      problems that all levels of
                                                                                      government are struggling
                                                                                      with. Controls on point sources
                                                                                      of pollution such as wastewater
                                                                                      treatment and industrial plants
                                                                                      have been quite effective, but
                                                                                      widespread small sources are
                                                                                      mostly unchecked. Toxic
                                                                                      chemicals are a continuing
                                                                                      problem. Pollution-sensitive
                                                                                      fish have returned to some
                                                                                      lakes and rivers, but aquatic
                                                                                      habitats are degrading in many
                                                                                      coastal waters.  Population
                                                                                      pressures are increasing the
                                                                                      sources of pollution and, at the
                                                                                      same time, leading to increased
                                                                                      demand for clean water.
                                                                                         EPA's program for the 1990s:
                                                                                      maintain and enforce existing
                                                                                      controls, put extra work into
                                                                                      protecting special high-value
                                                                                      waters that are threatened,
                                                                                      control toxic pollutants, assist
                                                                                      state and local governments in
                                                                                      reducing pollutants in runoff
                                                                                      ("nonpoint sources"), focus
                                                                                      more heavily on preventing
                                                                                      further degradation as well as
                                                                                      restoring currently polluted
                                                                                      waters, and improve the ways
                                                                                      we assess the quality of the
                                                                                      nation's waters.
 Photo by Steve Delaney

More Americans are drinking
safe water than ever before.
Diseases from contaminated
water such as cholera and
typhoid have been eliminated
in the United States.
  Nevertheless, toxic chemicals
and microbiological
contaminants are a continuing
threat to both surface and
ground-water sources of
drinking water.
  In 1974, the Safe Drinking
Water Act (SDWA) authorized
EPA to establish regulations to
limit the amount of various
substances in water used for
drinking. In 1986, amendments
to the SDWA accelerated EPA's
regulation of toxic
contaminants, banned all future
use of lead pipe and lead
solder in public drinking-water
systems, mandated greater
protection of ground-water
sources of drinking water, and
streamlined procedures to
ensure that public water
suppliers comply with the Act.
  The SDWA also established
provisions to protect ground-
water supplies from
underground injection of
wastes.  These controls regulate
the permitting, construction,
operation, monitoring, and
closure of five classes of
injection wells.
  EPA's Wellhead Protection
Program (WHP) was created
under the authority of the
SDWA to protect public water
supply wells. The WHP
program is a comprehensive
approach for protecting these
ground-water supplies from all
sources of contamination.
  The extent and significance
of drinking water
contamination is still being
                                                              Lakes,  Rivers,
                                                              And Streams
Community water systems are
performing better with more
Community water systems

      |   | No major deficiencies

      ^1 Under supervision
  1970    1974    1980     1990
The number of regulated drinking
water contaminants is growing
SDWA enacted





 assessed. EPA, through the
 states, monitors the operation
 of all public water systems,
 and also works on evaluating
 new treatment technologies.
   EPA now is striving to bring
 further improvements in the
 nation's drinking water. By
 1995, we will set new
 standards for 108 contaminants
 and work with the states to
 vigorously enforce them. We
 will complete  initial monitoring
 and regulations for lead and
 for radionuclides (including
 radon). We will work to
 improve filtration of microbial
   These new requirements,
 while ensuring good quality
 drinking water, can be
 tremendously expensive,
 particularly for small
 communities.  To alleviate the
 financial burden, EPA is
 exploring new and more
 affordable technologies and
' helping states  certify and train
 small plant  operators. EPA
 also is encouraging
 management efficiencies that
 save money. For instance,
 communities can reduce
 drinking water monitoring and
 treatment costs by preventing
 contamination through
 aggressive wellhead protection
   The costs for making all the
 necessary water system
 improvements will be $1 to $2
 billion per year. States will
 need an additional $200 million
 hi one-tune  expenditures to
 develop and install new
 programs and $131 million
 annually to  maintain those new
 programs. EPA will try to
 lessen these  costs where
 For the past twenty years, EPA
 has been Working with all
 levels of government, industry
 and environmentally-
 committed citizens to make
 America's waters fishable and
 swimmable. Most water
 pollution controls in the 1970s
 were aimed at limiting
 discharges of the most common
 pollutants from industries and
 sewage treatment plants.
 These efforts have brought
 some impressive results.  For
 example, in 1972, 36 percent of
 the nation's rivers that were
 assessed by the states met their
 water quality standards and
 supported beneficial uses such
 as fishing and swimming; by
 1988 that figure had increased
 to 70 percent.  Between 1977
 and 1988, the number of people
 served by adequate sewage
 treatment plants ("secondary"
 treatment or better) increased
 84 percent—from 75  million to
 138 million.
  However, poorly treated
 sewage continues to cause
 pollution problems.  Many
 cities and towns are still on
 construction schedules to  reach
 secondary treatment levels (85
 percent removal of
 conventional pollutants such as
 oxygen-demanding materials
 and suspended solids).  And
 "new" pollutants are coming to
 our attention—minute amounts
 of toxic chemicals that are
 much harder to identify and
 control. The 1987 Clean Water
 Act amendments require
 certain industries to  "pretreat"
 their wastewater so that toxic
chemicals and other harmful
 substances do not enter
 sewerage systems that were not
 designed to treat them.  These
pretreatment requirements
have been the subject of
concentrated EPA enforcement
activity in recent years.
  Nonpoint source pollution is
another problem that needs
much more attention. Toxics
and other pollutants often
come from many small, widely
dispersed sources that are very
difficult to regulate, such as

                                                                     Trends in Water Quality
                                                                     Is our Nation's water quality getting better or worse?
  Most rivers and lakes assessed by the states
  support fishing and swimming
  River miles                       Lake acres
           Not supporting 53,449 -             Not supporting 1,591,391
  Partially supporting 104,632    |        Partially supporting 2,701,577.  I
urban runoff and drainage of
pesticides, fertilizers and
animal wastes from farmland.
EPA recently awarded $40
million in grants to states to
stem the flow of pollutants
from nonpoint sources, which
appear responsible for most of
the remaining damage to the
nation's rivers, streams and
  Today the emphasis in
EPA's surface water programs
is on maintaining the gains we
have achieved nationwide
while expanding controls on
nonpoint and toxic sources and
targeting valuable, threatened
waters for additional concerted
action. EPA is relying even
more strongly on state and
local governments to achieve
the nation's water quality
goals.  Some key directions
include elimination of risks
from selected highly toxic
pollutants from point sources,
significant reduction of risks
from all other toxic pollutants,
control of stormwater
discharges including combined
sewer overflows, and strong
federal leadership and
assistance to states in
controlling nonpoint sources—
particularly agriculture.  In
Sewage treatment has improved... but agriculture and other nonpoint
Population in millions served by
secondary waste water
treatment or better












  : _J and the analyses they use. Data that vary so widely
te^clnnot be effectively aggregated and analyzed to yield
\:':: T trends on a national basis.
*77~Even within a State, it is difficult to measure trends
7-'~" over time because of the inherent variability in the
S* .Constituents that are typically monitored. Long term
r^trftofiltoring records generally focus on a discrete set of
       ditipnal chemical constituents.
        However, we know now that factors other than these
;;:: traditional constituents also affect water quality. Habitat •
'~~r-:- degradation and toxic substances are two such problems
:    and data on them are limited. Furthermore, as our
1.  monitoring techniques grow more sophisticated, we are
;':":. discovering the magnitude of previously under-
^"neltimated, problems.
!...:-—    Because of these factors, the question of whether the
R"™1 Nation's water quality is getting better or worse is one
    we can only answer rather subjectively at this time. We
    can point to many examples of improvements, and say
    that significant progress has been made—but we also
    know that previously undetected problems are becoming
    evident, and that some persistent problems remain.
                                                                 addition, EPA is seeking
                                                                 solutions to other high-priority
                                                                 concerns related especially to
                                                                 the nation's lakes, including
                                                                 eutrophication, contaminated
                                                                 sediments, shoreline
                                                                 modifications, and pollution
                                                                 reaching lakes from the air and
                                                                 ground water.  Pollution
                                                                 prevention is a new focus for
                                                                 all water programs—the
                                                                 elimination of pollutants at
                                                                 their sources so that we have
                                                                 to rely less on costly waste
                                                                 treatment and cleanup of
                                                                 pollution after it has occurred.
                                                                   Funding responsibilities for
                                                                 wastewater treatment  facilities .
                                                                 have already begun to shift to
                                                                 the states. In 1988, EPA
                                                                 estimated that an additional
                                                                 $88 billion is needed for these
                                                                 facilities. Since federal funding
                                                                 at that level is not realistic,
                                                                 Congress authorized seed
                                                                 money for states to establish
                                                                 revolving loan programs to
                                                                 replace federally-financed
                                                                 construction grants. Nearly all
                                                                 states now have established
                                                                 these new funding programs,
                                                                 and EPA is helping states find
                                                                 other alternative funding
                                                                 mechanisms, such as fees-for-
                                                                 service, to pay for needed
                                                                 expansion of state and local
                                                                 •water programs.

 Ground-water protection is an
 exceptionally complex issue,
 cutting across economic sectors,
 all levels of government, and
 most environmental statutes.
 The nation's ground water is a
 vitally important natural
 resource—as a source of
 drinking water for over half of
 our population, as a support
 system for sensitive
 ecosystems, and as a water
 supply source for industry and
 agriculture. Once
 contaminated, it can be
 technically difficult and
 enormously expensive to clean
   Since issuing a Ground-
 Water Protection Strategy in
 198-1, EPA has made significant
 strides in the protection of
 ground-water resources, both
 in implementing ground water-
 related statutory authorities
 and in developing new EPA
 initiatives and activities.  In
 addition to protecting ground
 water that is a source of
 drinking water, as described
 above, EPA also protects and
 cleans up ground water by
 implementing pollution
 prevention efforts; controlling
 the availability and use of
 pesticides; controlling
 hazardous waste facilities,
 municipal landfills, surface
 impoundments, and
 underground storage tanks;
 and cleaning up past and
                                Coastal Waters,
                                And Wetlands
current releases of hazardous
  States also are making great
progress in developing their
own ground-water protection
strategies and wellhead
protection programs. By mid-
1990, EPA had approved six
state wellhead protection
programs and is working with
24 other states in the approval
process. To help the states,
EPA has provided financial
assistance of over $40 million
since 1985 for developing and
implementing ground-water
protection strategies, as well as
significant technical assistance.
  Over the next few years  EPA
will strive for an appropriate
mix of ground-water protection
and restoration efforts, but the
emphasis will be on preventing
further pollution from a wide
range of threats that have not
been adequately addressed.
Wellhead protection continues
to be a key component of
ground-water programs, but
other initiatives also are
underway.  For example, EPA
is working with other federal
agencies to  develop
technologies that minimize
contamination from
agricultural sources. EPA also
is preparing a Pesticides in
Ground Water Strategy, which
will focus on improving
agricultural practices to protect
ground water.
By 1988, normal agricultural usage of pesticides had contaminated
ground water in most states
 Oceans, near-coastal waters,
 estuaries, and wetlands have
 been underprotected in the
 past. Their deterioration was
 highlighted in the summers of
 1988 and 1989 when swimmers
 fled beaches littered with
 medical waste and
 contaminated with fecal
 coliform bacteria. One-third of
 the nation's shellfish beds are
 closed due to pollution or lack
 of monitoring, resulting in
 millions of dollars of lost
 revenues. Twenty-five percent
 of monitored estuarine waters
 have elevated levels of toxic
 substances, and eutrophication
 (excessive plant growth) is
 increasing the number of "dead
 zones" where fish cannot
 survive. Coastal fisheries,
 wildlife and waterfowl
 populations have declined
 while population and industrial
 growth along the coasts have
 increased dramatically—more
 than 120 million Americans
 now live within 50 miles of the
   Recognizing these growing
 problems, EPA established an
 Office of Marine and Estuarine
 Protection in 1984 to
 administer all of the Agency's
 ocean and coastal programs.
 So far, EPA's key achievements
 have been continuation of the
 Great Lakes restoration
 program and start-up of
 programs in the Chesapeake
 Bay and 17 estuaries that are
 part of the National Estuary
 Program, progress toward a
 ban on ocean dumping of
 sewage sludge and industrial
 waste, and the creation of a
 Coastal and Marine  Policy to
 promote coordination of coastal
 programs  conducted by
 different federal and state
 agencies.  Since 1985, the Office
 of Marine and Estuarine
 Protection has also been
 implementing a "near coastal
waters" plan for managing
environmental problems in
waters that are not being
addressed by the ongoing bay
and estuary programs.
  In 1986 EPA established an
Office of Wetlands Protection
charged with leading a broad-
based national effort for
protecting the nation's wetland
resources. Wetlands include
coastal marshes as well as
inland swamps, marshes,
tundra, bogs and similar areas.
Among their many values,
wetlands provide habitat for a
wide variety of wildlife and
serve vital flood and erosion
control functions.  More than
half of the wetlands originally
in the contiguous United States
have been lost since the time of
European settlement. In the
two decades between 1955  and
1975, over 11 million acres
were lost and others have been
degraded by pollution and
hydrological changes so that
they no longer perform many
of their natural functions.
  In 1989, EPA issued a
Wetlands Action Plan with a
goal of no net loss of wetlands
in the short term, and a gain in
the  quantity and quality of
wetlands in the longer term.
EPA and the Army Corps of
Engineers are working to
improve the effectiveness of
their jointly administered
                                                                 Top ten pollutants in estuaries

                                                               50-3S9  % impaired sq. miles affected
                                                                       by each pollutant
                             Number of pesticides detected
                           No data n 1-7   JJ8-20

 Over half of the wetlands acreage
 has been lost in the lower 48
        Remained in the Mid 1970 s
         46% or 99 million acres
  Section 404 (Clean Water Act)
  program, the principal federal
  program regulating the
  physical modification of
  wetlands and other waters.
  EPA also is providing guidance
  and support to state and local
  governments for wetlands
  protection, working with other
  federal agencies whose
  activities impact wetlands,
  increasing public awareness of
  wetland functions and values,
  and conducting research to fill
  gaps in science to support
  wetland decisions.
    EPA has an ambitious
  agenda for stepping up
  protection of wetlands, coastal
  waters and the oceans in the
  1990s. To achieve the no net
 Sources of pollution in estuaries
     % impaired sq. miles affected
       by each pollution source

                   s  I
                lls  i
loss of wetlands goal, we are
increasing enforcement of
federal restrictions on activities
which destroy or degrade
them.  EPA is becoming a
center of wetlands expertise,
providing more research,
training and communication on
wetlands management.  We are
helping states build
comprehensive wetlands
programs, including water
quality standards for wetlands
and conservation plans which
incorporate both regulatory
and non-regulatory approaches.
EPA and other federal agencies
are developing better ways to
monitor the health and extent
of the nation's wetland
   In the 1990s, EPA intends to
work with state and local
governments to substantially
increase the acres of shellfish
beds open to harvest, reduce
fishery bans and advisories due
to contamination, decrease
beach closures, and eliminate
ocean dumping of sewage
sludge and industrial wastes.
We want to encourage state
and local governments to
manage coastal development so
that it proceeds in an
environmentally sound
direction.  We want  to
strengthen nonpoint source
management programs in all
coastal counties and tighten
controls on point source
discharges of toxics, nutrients
and other pollutants to restore
coastal water quality. Raw
sewage flows from combined
sanitary-storm  sewers—a
problem that is especially
severe in many older seaboard
cities—needs to be curtailed.
Stormwater discharge permits
will be required for large cities
in all coastal counties, as will
help to smaller municipalities
with stormwater problems.  All
types of offshore activities,
such as oil and gas operations,
will be asked to help protect
marine waters and surrounding
ecosystems from degradation.
The federal government is
taking enforcement actions to
EPA coastal initiatives
                                                                                                                      Casco Bay
                                                                                                                       issachusetts Bay
                                                                                                                       sards Bay
                                                                                                                      .Nartagansett Bay
                                                                                                                      ^—inic Bay
                                                                                                                        Island Sound
                                                                                                                      rYNJ Harbor
                                                                                                                       York Bight
                                                                                                                      ilaware Bay
                                                                                                                     lelaware Inland Bays
                                                                                                                        ike Bay
                                                                                                                         •Pamlico Sounds
Wetlands distribution nationwide
                                               0 or no data

                                             |  11-500.000

                                             •I over 5,000.000
eliminate any illegal ocean
disposal. EPA is supporting
citizen beach patrols to help
monitor and control sources of
marine debris.  We are
working with other federal
agencies and states to improve
coastal water monitoring and
to increase the number of
estuarine/marine sanctuaries,
protected refuges, reserves and
parks. We also are working in
partnership with states and
municipalities to implement
plans for protecting estuaries
and other coastal waters
around the country. EPA is
promoting grass-
roots/governmental alliances to
improve public education
about coastal problems.  We
are helping develop the
knowledge, technology and
controls to protect coastal
waters from pollutants
transported through the air.
EPA and other federal agencies
are working with the
international community to
assess the health of the oceans
and develop an integrated
approach to preventing further
ocean degradation.

Photo by SMtw Delanoy

Air quality is the United States
continues to improve, but the
battle is far from won. Many
areas of the country continue
to experience episodes when
pollution levels create human
health risks. Finishing the
cleanup in these areas may
prove more difficult and more
expensive than in areas where
we have already achieved
attainment with air quality
standards. New air pollution
problems are being discovered
that are not addressed by
current control efforts.  Little
has been done in past years to
control hazardous and other
non-conventional air pollutants.
Existing controls appear
inadequate to protect lakes and
forests from acid rain. We are
searching for explanations and
solutions to possible global
climate changes. There has
been little effort to control air
pollution indoors, where most
of us spend the majority of our
People in counties with 1988 air
quality that did not meet primary
National Ambient Air Quality
Millions of people
                                                                                                             :, '

Ozone And
Carbon Monoxide
EPA regulation during the past
two decades has brought major
improvements in U.S. air
quality. Atmospheric levels of
sulfur dioxide, carbon
monoxide, total suspended
particulates and lead have all
been reduced, in some cases
sharply.  Between 1970 and
sulfur dioxide dropped 27
percent, particulate matter
emissions were down 63
percent, and lead emissions
dropped a dramatic 96 percent.
Emissions of nitrogen oxides
increased slightly (7 percent)
since 1970, but all areas of the
U.S. except Los Angeles have
met the nitrogen dioxide air
quality standard during the
past ten years.
These successes
notwithstanding, the challenges
ahead remain formidable.  The
problem of ground-level ozone
or "smog" has proven
particularly difficult.
Atmospheric levels of ozone
have gone up 2 percent in the
last ten years, but this is due in
part to extremely warm
temperatures during the
summer of 1988. EPA ozone
standards are still not being
met in 96 major urban areas.
Carbon monoxide standards
are also being violated in 41
metropolitan areas. Even in
rural hilly regions, emissions
from woodstoves may create
carbon monoxide problems.
   Although controls on carbon
monoxide and ozone-
producing chemicals have
reduced emissions from
individual cars, gas stations,
industries and most other
sources, these reductions are
being offset by rapid growth in
the number of sources. In
particular, the increase in cars
and miles travelled each year
points to worsening air
pollution problems unless the
nation undertakes additional
measures to prevent them.
Amendments to the dean Air
Act will strengthen federal and
state ozone/carbon monoxide
programs in the 1990s. EPA
expects to design and
implement these programs in
cooperation with  the states.
We are preparing to do a better
job of collecting and evaluating
data on emissions and
atmospheric concentrations of
these pollutants.  We will set
realistic timetables for areas to
attain the standards, spell out
the consequences for failure to
attain them, and impose
appropriate sanctions to bring
nonattainment areas into
compliance. We will need to
broaden the scope of ozone
and carbon monoxide
regulation to cover all emission
sources, including commercial
and consumer products and
motor fuels. One important
feature of the new program
will assist in bringing clean-
burning alternative fuels and
clean-fueled vehicles into the
marketplace, thus facilitating a
long-term reconciliation
between the automobile and
the environment. With these
measures, EPA expects that an
overwhelming majority of
American cities will be in
attainment with the national
standards by the year 2000.
Comparison of 1970 and 1988 emissions of conventional air
                                          metric tons/yr
                                                                Ozone Air Quality
                                 Average concentration PPM

                                                                79  80  81  82 83 84 85
                                                                VOC Emissions
                                                                                         87  88
                                                                Millions metric tons/year
                                                                                Industrial processes
                                                                CO Air Quality
                                                                                                 Average concentration PPM
                                                                79  80 81  82 83 84
                                                                CO Emissions
                                                                                                                     86 87 88
                                                                 Millions metric tons/year
                                                                79  80  81  82  83  84 85 86 87 88   79  80  81  82  83  84  85  86  87

There has been considerable
progress in controlling
participate matter (dust, smoke,
dlesel exhaust, etc.), but
smaller particles still require
more rigorous controls.  In July
1987, EPA revised its
particulate standards to include
the monitoring of only those
particles (called "PM-10") that
pose a risk to health because
they are small enough to
penetrate the most sensitive
regions of the respiratory tract.
Approximately 30 million
people live in areas where PM-
10 concentrations exceed the
standards. Besides controlling
industrial sources, EPA's
program requires development
of new controls that focus more
attention on unconventional
particulate sources such as
woodstoves, urban dust, and
open burning for forest
management and agricultural
  The Clean Air Act
amendments require most
areas of the country to be in
attainment with the PM-10
standards by 1994.  To achieve
this goal, EPA intends to raise
public awareness of the
problem and ways to control it,
develop more accurate data on
emissions and atmospheric
concentrations, oversee the
development of new state
plans for implementing the
PM-10  requirements, and take
steps to ensure compliance
with the control requirements.
                                Sulfur Dioxide,
                                Nitrogen Oxides,
                                And Acid Deposition
The dramatic drop in
atmospheric lead levels over
the past decade is mainly the
result of EPA-mandated use of
unleaded gasoline, required to
maintain the effectiveness of
catalytic converters, and
reductions in the amount of
lead permitted in leaded
gasoline to the current limit of
0.10 grams per gallon. 'In the
early 1970s over 200 billion
grams of lead were used in
gasoline each year, but in 1989
less than one billion grams
were used—a reduction of over
99 percent.
  Lead emissions from
stationary sources also have
been substantially reduced
  TSP Air Quality
 Average concentration ng/m3
                                79  80 81  82 83 84 85 86  87-
                                TSP Emissions
with the implementation of
state plans designed to attain
the particulate matter and lead
air quality standards.  Current
lead standards are being
attained in all areas except in
the vicinity of a few "point
sources."  In the 1990s, EPA's
objective will be to bring these
sources—principally smelters—
into attainment through a
combination of accelerated
enforcement, additional
monitoring, and revisions to
state air quality plans.  EPA
will also complete a review of
the current lead air quality
standards and revise them if
                                Lead Air Quality
                                Average concentration |ig/m3
79  80  81  82 83 84 85  86  87  88

 Lead Emissions
 Thousands metric tons/year

                                                 Industrial processes
                                                 Solid.waste & misc.
Although SO2 and NOX controls
have brought most areas of the
country in attainment with the
health standards for these
pollutants, they have not been
adequate to control acid
deposition (or "acid rain").
Acid deposition is a regional
problem with effects  on the
health of animals, plants and
people, on visibility, and on
buildings (see box). Levels of
sulfur dioxide and NOX that do
not pose health or welfare
problems near the emission
sources can nevertheless travel
long distances in the
atmosphere and ultimately
return as acid deposition.
Two-thirds of SO2 emissions in
the U.S. are from burning of
fossil fuels by electric power
plants; about 20 percent from
other industrial sources. The
primary sources of NOX
emissions are highway vehicles
(31 percent) and electric power
plants (36 percent).
  The new Clean Air Act
contain provisions for large
                                79  80 81  82 83 84 85
                                                         87  88

reductions in emissions of
sulfur dioxide and nitrogen
oxides to combat acid rain.
The new national goal for year
2000 is to reduce SO2 emissions
nationwide by 10 million tons
below 1980 levels—a 40 percent
decrease. NOX emissions will
be reduced by 2 million tons
below levels that would occur
in year 2000 without new
controls—approximately a 10
percent decrease from 1980
levels. We will achieve these
targets by instituting a variety
of reforms aimed at limiting
emissions after 1995,
principally from electric power
plants. Sources  will be
permitted to "trade and bank"
their allowed emissions, which
will enable us to achieve
regional and national emission
targets in the most cost-
effective way—a market-based
approach to air pollution

SO? Air Quality	
 Average concentration PPM
79  80  81   82  83  84  85  861 87

SOx Emissions
    Acid  Rain
    "Acid rain" is the term loosely used to refer
    to all forms of acid deposition which can
   t_o_ccur in the forms of rain, snow, fog, dust
    or gas. Man-made emissions of sulfur
    dioxide (SO^ and nitrogen oxides (NOJ are
    the principal causes. These pollutants are
    transormed into acids in the atmosphere
    where they may travel hundreds of miles
    before falling in some form of acid rain.
    Acid rain has been measured with a pH of
    less than 2.0 - more acidic than lempn juice.
    The political implications of acid rain are
    an important issue, as the pollutants
    causing acid rain may originate within the
    political boundary, yet the effects of these
    pollutants realized within another.
                  EPA research in the 1980's has increased
                  scientific understanding of the effects of
                  acid rain, including the sterlization of lakes
                  and streams, detrimental reproductive
                  effects on fish and amphibians, possible
                  forest dieback and deterioration of man-
                  made structures such as buildings and
                  sculptures. These effects have been most
                  obvious in the eastern U.S. and Canada,
                  and in much of both western and eastern
                  Europe. The Clean Air Act of 1970 helped
                  to curb the growth  of SO2 and NOX
                  emissions in the U.S., and the 1990 Clean
                  Air Act Amendments will bring significant
                  additional reductions.
NO? Air Quality
Average concentration PPM
79  80  81  82  83  84  85

NOx Emissions
                                                             87  88
                                   Areas where precipitation in the East is below pH5
                                    Shaded areas indicate states
                                    having emissions of 1000
                                    kilotonnes of S02 and greater
                                    Contours connect points of equal
                                    precipitation pH.
How "acid" is acid rain?
  Lemon juice  Vinegar    rain (5.6)
                                                                                                   water Baking soda
1 '
1. .





i Neutral
' i


012 34 567 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
                                                                     The pH scale ranges from 0 to 14. A value of 7.0 is neutral. Readings below 7.0 are acidic;
                                                                     readings above 7.0 are alkaline. The more pH decreases below 7.0, the more acidity increases.
                                                                     Because the pH scale is logarithmic, there is a tenfold difference between one number and the
                                                                     next one to it. Therefore, a drop in pH from 6.0 to 5.0 represents a tenfold increase in acidity,
                                                                     while a drop from 6.0 to 4.0 represents a hundredfold increase.
                                                                     All"rain is slightly acidic. Only rain with a pH below 5.6 is considered "acid rain".
 79  80 81  82  83  84  85  86  87

 The problem of toxic chemicals
 in the air requires more
 attention by everyone. "Air
 toxics" is the term generally
 used to describe cancer-causing
 chemicals, radioactive
 materials, and other toxic
 chemicals not covered by the
 National Ambient Air Quality
 Standards for conventional
 pollutants.  Air toxics result
 from many activities of modern
 society, from driving a car to
 burning fossil fuel to
 producing and using industrial
 chemicals or radioactive
 materials. They are one of the
 highest health-risk problems
 EPA is wrestling with. Motor
 vehicles are by far the largest
 contributor to air toxics-caused
 cancer incidences in the United
   The Clean Air Act requires
 special controls called
 NESHAPS (National Emissions
 Standards for Hazardous Air
 Pollutants) for pollutants that
 cause serious or irreversible
 health effects. To date, EPA
 has established standards for
 only seven substances: arsenic,
 asbestos, benzene, beryllium,
 mercury, vinyl chloride and
 radionuclides. A new
 approach in the Clean Air Act
 amendments means many
 more will be regulated. Over
 the past six years, the Agency
 has also developed  and
 implemented a national
 program to help the states
 develop their own air toxics
 programs, monitor and control
 high-risk local "point" sources,
 and address multi-pollutant,
 multi-source urban  toxics
 problems.  In addition, the
 Agency's federal motor vehicle
 emission standards continue to
 reduce air toxics through the
 standard for exhaust and
 evaporative emissions.
   EPA's Toxics Release
 Inventory, a listing of annual
 toxic chemical releases to the
 ah- and other environmental
   Health Effects of the Regulated Air Pollutants

               Health Concerns

'•-  Particulate
S  Matter

*  Carbon
(  Monoxide

 ;  Sulfur

r  Lead
|  Nitrogen
Respiratory tract problems such as difficult breathing and
reduced lung function. Asthma, eye irritation, nasal congestion,
reduced resistance to infection/ and possibly premature aging
of lung tissue.
Eye and throat irritation, bronchitis,
lung damage, and impaired visibility.
Ability of blood to carry oxygen
impaired, Cardiovascular nervous and
pulmonary systems affected.
Respiratory tract problems, permanent Dioxide
harm to lung tissue.
Retardation and brain damage, especially in children.
Respiratory illness and lung damage.
   Hazardous Air Pollutants


   Arsenic      Causes cancer.
   Radionuclides Causes cancer.
   Benzene     Lukemia
   Coke Oven   Respiratory cancer
A variety of lung diseases, particularly lung cancer.
Primary lung disease, although also affects liver, spleen,
kidneys, and lymph glands.
Several areas of the brain as well as the kidneys and bowels
Lung and liver cancer.
media from large
manufacturing facilities, has
helped prompt actions by
industries and communities to
address the problem. In 1990,
nine major U.S. companies
reached an agreement with
EPA to voluntarily reduce toxic
air emissions at 40 chemical
plants in 14 states. When fully
implemented in 1993, the
agreement will result in overall
annual reductions from these
plants of almost 83 percent, or
9,460,000 pounds.
   In the 1990s, EPA will
attempt to reduce  by 50
percent the nationwide
emissions of 191 toxic
pollutants listed in the Clean
Air Act amendments. The new
Act will remove legal
roadblocks that have hampered
EPA efforts in the past,
                   particularly with respect to
                   industrial plants. Sources of
                   the regulated pollutants will be
                   required to achieve emission
                   reductions comparable to
                   similar facilities that have the
                   best controls. If the control
                   technologies prove inadequate,
                   EPA will take further
                   regulatory action. States will
                   be given more responsibility to
                   regulate air toxics, and their
                   capability to do it will be
                   strengthened. With respect to
                   motor vehicles, EPA will
                   launch a program to accelerate
                   the introduction of clean fuels
                   (such as natural gas or
                   methanol) and clean vehicles
                   into the marketplace.
Exposure to indoor radon is
one of the most serious
environmental health problems
facing the American public-
second only to smoking as a
cause of lung cancer. Radon is
a radioactive, colorless,
odorless, naturally-occurring
gas that  seeps through the soil
and collects in homes. Radon
problems have been identified
in every state, and millions of
homes throughout the country
have elevated radon levels.
   In 1988, EPA and the
Surgeon General recommended
that all Americans (other than
those living in apartment
buildings above the second
floor) test their home for radon.
Testing for radon is simple and
inexpensive.  Homes with high
radon levels can be fixed.
   EPA's Radon Action
Program is designed to help
states, local governments, the
private sector and the public
identify radon problems and
take the  appropriate correction
and prevention measures.  EPA
also has a number of activities
underway in cooperation with
national organizations such as
the American Medical
Association and the American
Lung Association to motivate
the public to reduce radon
levels in their homes and
schools.  In the 1990s, EPA will
continue to improve the
techniques for radon testing,
mitigation and prevention,
with special emphasis on
schools and workplaces.  We
will ensure the reliability of the
radon assistance industry.  We
will help provide technical
training and promote meeisures
such as building codes and
radon inspections at the time
houses are financed.  We will
identify target populations in
need of special assistance  and
attempt to motivate them to
take corrective steps.

                             A growing body of scientific
                             evidence indicates that the air
                             within homes and other
                             buildings can be more
                             seriously polluted than outdoor
                             air even in the largest and most
                             industrialized cities.  There are
                             many indoor air pollutants and
                             pollutant sources thought to
                             have an adverse effect on
                             human health. These
 Radon Risk Evaluation Chart

          Estimated lung    Comparable
          cancer deaths due
nCi/1 WL   to radon exposure  exposure
V      _..(out. of .1000)      levels

 200   1     440—770  1000 times  .
                    average outdoor
 100   0.5  ,270—630  100 times
                    average indoor
40    0.2   120—380
      0.1   60—210
 10    0.05 : 30—120
      0.02 ;  13—50
                    100 times
                    average outdoor $$f
                    10 times
                    average indoor
        7—30 .
,: 0.005  3—13
0.2   0.001  1—3
                    10 times
                    average outdoor
                   . level
                    indoor level
                outdoor level
                                      Comparable risk

                                      ,More than .
                                      60 times
                                      non-smoker risk

                                      4 pack:a-day
                                          '2,000 chest
                                          x-rays per year
                                         ! 2 pack-a-day
                                         ; smoker
                                          1 pack-a-day.
                                          smoker  .
                                         :• 5. times
                                         ; non-smoker risk
                                          200 chest  •' ,-
                                          x-rays per. year
                                          Non smoker
                                          risk of dying
                                          from lurig cancer
                                         * 20 chest x-rays
                                          per year
Note: Measurement results are reported in one of two ways
1) pCi/l(Picocuries per liter} - measurement of radon gas
2) WL|Working levels) - measurement of radon decay products
pollutants include radon (see
above), asbestos, environmental
tobacco smoke, formaldehyde
(associated with many
consumer products including
certain wood products and
aerosols), airborne pesticide
residues, chloroform,
perchloroethylene (associated
particularly with dry cleaning),
paradichlorbenzene (from
mothballs and air fresheners)
and a broad array of airborne
pathogens.  EPA is taking a
lead role in coordinating
government activities to reduce
the public's exposure to indoor
air pollution. The Agency has
developed general information
and specific guidance
documents designed to raise
public awareness of indoor air
pollution and strategies to
reduce and prevent it. These
include documents offering
specific guidance on
construction of new homes and
                                                                    Air pollution in the home
rehabilitation of existing
  EPA is also conducting
research to identify and rank
the human health risks that
result from exposure to
individual indoor pollutants, or
mixtures of multiple indoor
pollutants.  This research will
continue in the 1990s.  Still
more research is needed to find
better methods for diagnosing
building-related illnesses and
correcting their causes.  EPA is
exploring strategies to address
the high-risk indoor air
problems, which may include
regulations as well as non-
regulatory approaches such as
public education, technical
assistance, and training
Source: Office of Air and Radiation Programs, USEPA
                                                                               Kerosene Heater    Fresh Dry Cleaning
                                   n f"i   Tlr"! Disinfectants
                                   llnUr—11 II 1   Pesticides

In addition to acid rain (see
above), two other international
air pollution problems have
risen to prominence in the
1980s: stratospheric ozone
depletion and global warming
(the so-called "Greenhouse
Effect").  Since the early 1970s,
scientists have predicted that
emissions of
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and
other chemicals, such as
halons, would ultimately begin
to deplete the stratospheric
ozone that shields Earth's
inhabitants from the sun's
harmful ultraviolet rays. Some
studies indicate that these
predictions may be coming
  La 1978 EPA banned the use
in this country of CFCs in non-
essential  aerosol propellants.
On signing the Montreal
Protocol in 1987, the United
States committed to reducing
other uses of CFCs 20 percent
by mid-1994 and 50 percent by
mid-1999. This year (June
1990) the Montreal Protocol
was revised in response to
evidence of accelerated rates of
damage to the ozone layer.
The amended Protocol calls for
a full phase-out of CFCs and
most other ozone-depleting
chemicals by  2000. The
Protocol also  suggests a
schedule  for phasing out CFC
substitutes that pose lesser
threats to the ozone layer.  To
ensure full global participation
in the Protocol, a fund has
been established that provides
financial  and  technical
assistance to help developing
countries make the transition
away from ozone-depleting
  Because of the scientific
complexity and uncertainty
surrounding global warming, a
great deal of the federal
government's effort is going
into research. In the fiscal year
1991 budget, the President
proposes $1.034 billion for the
U.S. Global Change Research
Program, a 57 percent increase
over 1990.  In this program,
EPA is evaluating the sources
of all Greenhouse gases, as
well as working to predict the
potential consequences of
climate change on all the
earth's ecosystems, from
natural systems such as the
oceans and wetlands, to
systems created by man, such
as agriculture and urban
environments.  As President
Bush noted in a 1990 article on
climate change: "One cannot
fail to see that deforestation,
ozone depletion, ocean
pollution and the threat  of
global warming interconnect to
challenge our future." EPA is
placing a high priority on
working with other nations so
that governments can agree on
a set of appropriate responses
to these problems.
   In conjunction with other
federal agencies, EPA is
participating in the work of the
Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC), an
international body organized in
1988 by the United Nations
Environment Programme and
the World Meteorological
Organization.  This year, the
IPCC is preparing three
international assessments of the
scientific understanding,
environmental and social
impacts, and possible policy
responses to climate change.
Based on the IPCC findings,
negotiations will begin on a
framework climate convention
dealing with the problem.
  Finally, EPA is evaluating
public and private sector
technologies and policies to
alleviate global atmospheric
problems without causing new
problems in turn.
                Greenhouse gas contributions to
                global warming - 1980's
                                        litrous Oxide 6%
                Regional contributions to global
                                           :hina 7%
                 United States 21 %.^  Rest of World 36%
                                                 irazil 4%

                                                   India 4%

Photo by Sieve Delaney
                                                Air and water pollution are
                                                easier for most people to
                                                conceptualize than land
                                                pollution. Nevertheless, some
                                                portions of U.S. lands are also
                                                threatened by toxic,
                                                radioactive, and other types of
                                                hazardous substances.
                                                Pollutants on the surface of the
                                                land or in the soil frequently
                                                migrate to surrounding air and
                                                water, particularly ground
                                                water.  Sometimes this
                                                contamination results from
                                                direct applications of
                                                chemicals, as with pesticides;
however, it can also occur as a
result of improper storage or
disposal of toxic wastes and
other substances.
  Major challenges that face
those trying to protect our land
include preventing
contamination from improper
waste disposal, cleaning up
releases of hazardous
substances, tackling pollution
from underground storage
tanks, planning for emergencies
and informing the public, and
regulating pesticides and other
toxic chemicals.

EPA and the states have
undertaken a sweeping
program to revolutionize waste
management in this country—
especially hazardous wastes.
Before 1980, there was virtually
no regulation of hazardous
waste by the federal
government and little by the
states.  People in the hazardous
waste management business
often disposed of waste in
municipal landfills and unlined
lagoons, or simply dumped it
on the ground. Increased
understanding of the
environmental impact of such
practices led to the enactment
of the Resource Conservation
and Recovery Act (RCRA) in
1976, and development of an
increasingly complex and
comprehensive regulatory
program during the 1980s.
This "cradle to grave" program
regulates hazardous wastes
from over 200,000 generators,
through transportation, storage
and treatment to final disposal.
   Improperly managed
     "Cradle to Grave": The Hazardous Waste Manifest Trail
      Storage Facility |
                  HAZARDOUS WASTE

                                          Disposal Facility
                        EPA or State Agency
     A one-page manifest must accompany every waste shipment. The
     resulting paper trail documents the wastes progress through
     treatment, storage and disposal. A missing form alerts the generator
     to investigate, which may mean calling in the state agency or EPA.
     Noit: a manifest is unnecessary for wsste treated and disposed of at the point
     ol generation.
  Paper and yard wastes
  are more than half of our trash
                       Food waste 8%
                       Metals    9%
                       Other   10%
                       Yard Waste 18%
                       Paper, Paperboard  41 %
hazardous and municipal
waste may contaminate
drinking water supplies,
release toxic vapors into the
air, or cause explosions.  To
ensure that hazardous wastes
being generated today do not
become expensive and complex
cleanup problems in the future,
EPA enforces the land
disposal restrictions program.
Many wastes that have not
been treated to specified
standards are now banned
from land disposal, and many
more will be banned over the
next several years. The
treatment standards are
designed to reduce the toxicity
of the waste and stabilize it
before land disposal.
   EPA has also developed
other environmentally
protective requirements for
land disposal facilities, such as
double liners to prevent
contaminants from leaking into
ground water, leachate
detection and collection
systems, and ground-water
monitoring.  Facilities are
regulated throughout their
operating life and 30 years
after ..they are closed.
   Hazardous waste handlers
must now clean up
contamination resulting from
past waste management
practices as well as from
current activities.  Over the
next decade, EPA will evaluate
which facilities need cleanup
and make sure that the worst
sites get cleaned up first. The
                                                                Agency is exploring ways to
                                                                create economic incentives that
                                                                will encourage ingenuity in
                                                                applying waste minimization
                                                                practices and recycling. EPA
                                                                describes its future plans for
                                                                these areas in a 1990 blueprint
                                                                for revitalizing the program,
                                                                entitled The Nation's Hazardous
                                                                Waste Management Program at a
                                                                Crossroads:  The RCRA
                                                                Implementation Study.
                                                                  Municipal solid waste is
                                                                another growing national
                                                                problem. Americans produce
                                                                more than 180 million tons of
                                                                trash each year. EPA has set a

                                                                             The Products Wcj




              Oil, gasoline, and
              other petroleum

                                                                  Cleaning Up
                                                                  Hazardous Waste
  goal of reducing the amount of
  municipal solid waste by 25
  percent by 1992 through source
  reduction and recycling.
  Specific actions for EPA, states,
  industry, and the public to take
  in addressing solid waste
  issues are outlined in EPA's
  1989 report The Municipal Solid
  Waste Dilemma: An Agenda for
  Action. EPA is working with
  the states to develop sound
  solid waste management
  programs that reflect new
  federal standards for landfill
  design, cleanup of
  contamination, and location of
  new facilities.
    Pollution prevention is
  increasingly seen as the
  centerpiece of a progressive
  national waste management
  strategy.  In 1989, EPA formed
  an Office of Pollution
  Prevention to spearhead new
  initiatives both in recycling and
  source reduction.' EPA is
  committed to a waste reduction
  program that will encourage
  industry,  the general public,
  and all levels of government to
  reduce both the quantity and
  the toxicity of waste that they
le Potentially hazardous
aste they generate	
rganic chlorine compounds,
ganic solvents
rganic chlorine compounds,
ganic phosphate compounds
rganic solvents and residues,
avy metals (mercury and zinc,
r example)
javy metals, pigments,
Ivents, organic residues
1, phenols, and other organic
tnpounds, heavy metals,
imonia, salt acids, caustics
;ayy metals, flourides,
anides, acid and alkaline
aners, solvents pigments,
rasives, plating salts, oils,
:avy metals, organic solvents
iavy metals, dyes, organic
lorine compounds, solvents
  The Challenges of
  Preventing Pollution
 _Common sense tells us that
 "an "ounce of prevention is
  worth a pound of cure,"
:: Never has that been more
— true than in environmental
  The simple truth is that we
 ' cannot regulate fast enough
 ; to keep up with the .rising
  tide of pollution and waste.
  Our chief hope for
  protecting the  environment
  and the quality of life on this
  planet lies in a systematic
~ effort to prevent pollution at
~its source, before it becomes
  a problem.
  Significant opportunities for
 .pollution prevention remain.
 for all sectors of society, and
 should be pursued according
 to the following hierarchy of
 environmental protection.
 • Source arid use
 reduction—avoid, eliminate
r or reduce the initial
 generation of pollutants at
 the source;
 • Recycle or reuse pollutants
 that cannot be  reduced or
 eliminated in an
 environmentally sound
 • Apply appropriate
 treatment and destruction
 technologies to minimize
 human and environmental
 exposure  to such pollutants;
 and                      .
 • Handle and dispose of
 residual pollutants properly.
 One of EPA's most important
 responsibilities is managing
 cleanup of the worst of the
 abandoned hazardous waste
 sites in the United States. The
 Superfund program was
 founded under the authority of
, the Comprehensive
 Environmental Response,
 Compensation, and Liability
 Act of 1980 (CERCLA) and
 amended in 1986 by the
 Superfund Amendments and
 Reauthorization Act (SARA).
 These laws authorize EPA to
 respond to hazardous spills
 and clean up abandoned sites
 by either filing suit against the
 responsible parties, issuing
 these parties an EPA order, or
 using a trust fund known as
 Superfund. If EPA must
 conduct the cleanup because
 the responsible parties did not
 do it voluntarily, the
 government can take court
 action to recover the costs.
   To date, 32,506 potentially
 hazardous waste sites have
 been identified across the
 nation. Over 90 percent of
 these sites have undergone a
 preliminary review to
 determine the need for further
 action.  After initial
 investigation, over 17,800 sites
 were determined to require no
 further federal action, but
 many of these sites will be
 cleaned up by the states. 1,207
 sites have been listed or
proposed for listing on the
National Priorities List (NPL),
which identifies the nation's
most serious hazardous waste
   Cleanup has now been
completed at 52 NPL sites, and
cleanup work has begun at
more than 500 of them.  Short-
term emergency actions have
been taken at over 400 NPL
sites in order to remove or
control the immediate threats
to human health and the
environment while long-term
cleanup is underway. In
addition, emergency actions
have been taken at another
1,300 sites whichwere not
serious enough'to Be included
 Initial assessment of dangers has
 been completed at most potential
 Superfund sites
           Awaiting initial assessment - 2,456
       National Priority List sites -1,246
Work has begun
at most priority sites
           Cleanup work completed 52
      Cleanup underway
                   threat evaluated.
                 ction not begun 203
selected or under
design 201
      Detailed studies of contamination
      and remedies underway 539
 on the NPL, but which posed
 threats that needed to be
 addressed quickly.
   As part of SARA, Congress
 directed EPA to focus more on
 permanent remedies for
 Superfund sites and less on
 simply containing untreated
 wastes on site.  Treatment of
 •wastes is now a major
 component of the remedies
 being selected at many sites.
 Tremendous efforts are
 underway to develop the
 technologies that  will ensure
 permanent cleanup remedies.
 Under the Superfund
 Innovative Technology
 Evaluation Program, EPA is
 evaluating new technologies to
 destroy, immobilize, or reduce
 the volume of hazardous
waste. EPA is committed to
increasing the numbers of
innovative technologies applied
to contaminated soils and
ground water.
  The number of abandoned
hazardous waste sites has
turned out to be much larger

                                Storage Tanks
than originally realized when
Superfund was created.
Furthermore, cleanup is
extremely complex; it takes
more time and resources than
expected to get the job done.
After a recent review of the
Superfund program, EPA is
implementing a strategy for
better managing cleanups in
the 1990s.
  The strategy calls for first,
eliminating acute health
threats. This has been
accomplished at all current
NPL sites and will continue to
be the first step for new sites
added to the list Long-term,
more permanent cleanups are
then being conducted on a
priority basis-the worst
problems at the worst sites
first. EPA is also speeding up
the cleanup process and
expanding the development
and use of new technologies at
sites. So that more cleanups
can be conducted, EPA is
placing greater emphasis on
encouraging or enforcing
cleanup by those responsible
for the waste. Finally, EPA is
expanding the role of
communities near the sites in
cleanup decisions.
 EPA Is Involving more responsible
 parties in cleanup actions
There are over two million
underground tanks across the
country which store petroleum
and other chemicals beneath
gas stations or other
operations. EPA is working
with the states to develop
programs for cleaning up
contamination from leaking
tanks and preventing future
leaks.  Chemicals which escape
from these  tanks can
contaminate drinking water
supplies, and fumes can cause
health and safety hazards.
  Since 1984, EPA has been
developing regulations for
improving  the safety of
underground storage systems.
These regulations, now in
effect, include requirements for
tank registration, leak
detection, and leak prevention.
Owners and operators must
meet a range of requirements
for the design, construction and
installation of their  systems,
including the repair or closure
of systems that do not meet the
new requirements.
  EPA estimates that 20
percent of  the regulated tanks
are leaking or have the
potential to leak.  As of 1990,
63,000 releases had been
confirmed, with one-third of
these releases brought under
  If a leak occurs, the
regulations require that it be
cleaned up through
appropriate corrective actions.
In addition, owners and
operators must demonstrate
that they are financially
capable of paying for the costs
of cleanup actions or  damages
resulting from leaks.  A $500
million Leaking Underground
Storage Tank Trust Fund,
established by Congress in
1986, can also be used by states
for cleanup actions under
certain circumstances.
  State and local governments
are best able to directly address
the human health problems
and ecological impacts of
underground storage tanks.
This is because of the high
variability of local conditions
(soil, ground water, etc.) in
which the tanks are buried,
and because there are so many
tank owners and operators
(750,000 nationwide).  In the
future, states will become
completely responsible for
operating this program,
although EPA will continue to
identify and promote cleanup
technologies that are effective
and less costly. EPA will also
continue to assist states in
creating innovative funding
mechanisms to pay for
Two million underground storage
tanks are state regulated under
EPA authority: 400,000 (20%)
leaking or potentially leaking
     400,000 leaking or potentially leaking
       requiring further investigation
                                                                              24,000 (38%) under control
Radioactive waste is generally
classified in the following
categories: low-level waste from
activities such as research,
diagnostic and therapy
medicine manufacturing,
electric power generation and
defense programs; spent fuel
and high-level radioactive waste
from nuclear reactors;
transuranic waste (man-made
radioactive atoms that are
heavier than uranium) from
defense programs; and waste
from mining and milling of
uranium and thorium ores.
   In 1985 EPA issued
standards for the management
and disposal of spent nuclear
fuel, and high-level and
transuranic wastes.  However,
litigation forced EPA to
reconsider the standards that
applied to release limits for
permanent disposal systems for
these wastes.  EPA plans to
repropose the standards in
1991 and promulgate them by
   EPA also expects to
promulgate standards for
management and land disposal
of low-level radioactive waste
in 1991. The standards for
commercial sites will
eventually be implemented and
enforced by the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission. The
U.S. Department of Energy will
implement the EPA standards
for federal facilities.
   In the 1990s, EPA will
support regulatory efforts with
better public information and
education to help provide a
balanced perception of the
risks associated with
radioactive wastes. We will
also emphasize technology
transfer, making EPA expertise
available for risk assessment
and other skills needed by
states and the private sector.
EPA's radiation program will
promote pollution prevention
by focusing on industrial
processes and waste
segregation efforts that  could
significantly reduce the volume
of contaminated waste.

 Emergency Planning
 And Community Right-To-Know
 The Emergency Planning and
 Community Right-to-Know Act
 of 1986, commonly known as
 Title HI, profoundly altered the
 communication between
 industry, EPA and the general
 public about toxic substances
 in the environment. Title III
 provides communities with
 unprecedented access to
 information about toxic
 chemicals in their communities,
 arid creates mechanisms for
 minimizing the threats posed
 by these chemicals.  The law
 calls for extensive data
 collection, and for the creation'
 of State Emergency Response
 Commissions to guide state-by-
 state planning for chemical
 emergencies. The
 Commissions, in, turn, have'
 created Local Emergency
Planning Committees to ensure
 community participation and
planning.  The result has been
enormous public pressure on
industries to reduce toxic
Toxics Release Inventory
Reported chemical releases and
transfers from major manufacturing
Note: The decreases between 1987 and 1988
are due to reduction in waste generation, better
estimating techniques and reinterpretation of
reporting requirements.
                Ten states with the largest TRI-reported releases and
                transfers of toxic substances
 releases, and better planning to
 prevent and respond to
 chemical emergencies.
   One of the most visible
 features of Title III has been
 the Toxics Release Inventory
 (TRI), an annual inventory of
 toxic releases and transfers
 from over 20,000
 manufacturing facilities
 nationwide. The TRI contains
 extensive data on more than
 300 toxic chemicals, waste
 management practices, and
 quantities of releases to the air,
 water and land. TRI is based
 on the premise that the public
 has a right to know about
 toxics that may be affecting
 their health or their
 environment. TRI data are
 available in many forms-
 printed reports, computer
 access, at libraries, or through
 EPA's TRI reporting center.
 The TRI National Report
 summarizes the data annually
 and provides detailed analyses
 of the types of releases and
 their sources. The information
 is a lever for action in many
 communities, as citizens exact
pledges from local
manufacturing facilities to
reduce toxic discharges.
   EPA expects the Toxics
Release Inventory to be an
important national tool for
promoting pollution prevention
and for documenting the
success of pollution prevention
efforts in the 1990s.  TRI will
continue to. evolve to meet the
broad needs of the
environmental community.
The list of chemicals required
to be reported is continually
reviewed; chemicals of little or
no toxic concern are  removed
from the list, while other toxic
chemicals are added. EPA is
exploring several ways to
enhance the data base.  These
improvements might include
collecting information on "peak
releases" of toxics, expanding
the types of industries required
to report, and collecting data
on pollution prevention at the
reporting facilities. EPA will
be working with all interested
parties during the 1990s to
build a national safety culture
with respect to toxic  chemicals,
which will include nationally
accepted approaches,
techniques and incentives for
preventing chemical accidents.

 Pesticides And
 Toxic Chemicals
The Toxic Substances Control
Act (TSCA) and the Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide, and
Rodentlcide Act (FIFRA) have
a unique place in
environmental legislation.
Most environmental laws
regulate wastes, emissions,
contaminants, or by-products,
but TSCA and FIFRA regulate
how commercial chemicals can
be used. EPA has three main
goals in dealing with
commercial chemicals:
preventing chemicals which
pose an unacceptable risk from
entering the market in the first
place, managing the use of
chemicals that are inherently
risky so that society can
continue to reap their benefits,
and removing chemicals from
the market when we determine
that they pose an unacceptable
Toxic Chemicals

One of the main ways EPA
controls toxic chemicals risks is
by preventing dangerous
chemicals from being used at
all. Since TSCA was enacted in
1976, EPA has reviewed more
than 15,300 new chemicals
proposed for commercial use.
Most of these chemicals were
determined to pose no
unacceptable risk. However,
several hundred of these cases
have been targeted for
additional regulatory action
and hundreds more were
withdrawn by their
manufacturers in the face of
anticipated EPA regulatory
  In 1984 EPA determined that
TSCA authority could be
extended to the oversight of
products developed through
biotechnology.  EPA is now
preparing regulations to
implement  the review of
genetically  modified
  TSCA also authorizes the
Agency to regulate chemicals
already in use that have been
proven to pose an unacceptable
risk to human health or the
environment.  EPA created one
of the first  comprehensive
inventories of existing
chemicals in the world. To aid
in the huge task of assessing
which of the 68,000 chemicals
in the inventory pose an
unacceptable risk, EPA can
require manufacturers or
processors to conduct tests on
the health and environmental
effects of chemicals if the
Agency determines these
chemicals may pose
unacceptable risks and there
are insufficient data presently
available to perform a risk
   Congress and EPA have
determined that several
chemicals pose an unacceptable
risk, and have regulated them
under TSCA. In 1978, EPA
instituted regulatory controls
over the manufacture, use and
disposal of polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs), banned the
aerosol uses of
chloroflourocarbons (CFCs),
and in 1989 banned the
manufacture of most asbestos
products. EPA has also
provided considerable grants
and guidance to protect
children from exposure to
asbestos in schools.
  EPA also has the authority
under TSCA to gather
additional information on
chemical substances and to
require recordkeeping. EPA
can gather information on
potential exposures, as well as
health and environmental data
on designated chemicals.  It
can require the submission of
unpublished health and safety-
studies and notices of
substantial risk.  The
information and  test data
which are collected under
TSCA authority have been
used by many EPA programs
                                                               While nearly everyone has
                                                               "trace" levels of PCB's ...
                                                                          "Trace" PCB levels
                                                                     . the percentage of
                                                                      population with "high"
                                                                      levels has gone down.
                                                                          "High" PCB levels
and other federal agencies to
do a better job of assessing and
reducing the risks of chemicals.
   EPA is currently exploring
new strategies to focus Agency
attention on the highest risk
toxic chemicals.  More than ten
•million chemical compounds
are known to exist Worldwide.
Some 60,000 of these are in
commerce in the U.S., most of
them before we had laws
requiring that chemicals be
evaluated for their health and
environmental risks prior to
being manufactured. EPA has
recently undertaken a special
effort to revitalize our review
of the  safety of these existing
chemicals. This program will
be a major priority in the
1990s.  We are accelerating our
collection of information and
making more decisions (a "bias
for action") about regulatory
and non-regulatory approaches
to reduce unnecessary exposure
to chemicals and prevent toxic
pollution. We are encouraging
participation in this endeavor
by all  groups concerned about
toxic chemicals.  The strategy
includes chemical screening
that will be linked more
directly to risk management.
EPA will begin screening
clusters (or like groups) of
chemicals together. Screening
activities will build on growing
international efforts where EPA
 is already a key player.  To
 maximize productivity, rules
 for chemical testing will be
 developed for groups of
 chemicals wherever possible.
 EPA will announce its chemical
 testing priorities for public
 review.  Finally, risk
 management opportunities will
 be considered at all stages of
 the risk assessment process to
 allow  earlier actions to be
 taken  when appropriate.


 The pesticide program is the
 only EPA program which
 licenses the use of chemicals,
 many of which are potentially
 hazardous to people or the
 environment. Unlike most
 commercial chemicals, most
 pesticides are designed to kill
 or otherwise control specific
 target organisms.  In doing so,
 they offer a wide variety of
 agricultural and other benefits
 for society.
  Before a new pesticide may
 be marketed or used in the U.S.
 it must be "registered" by EPA.
 In registering a new pesticide,
 the Agency is responsible for
 ensuring that the chemical,
 when used according to label
 instructions, will not present
 unreasonable risks to human
 health or the environment.  The
 nation's pesticide law (FIFRA)
 requires EPA to take into
 account economic, social and
 environmental costs and
 benefits in making registration
 decisions. If data indicate that
 a pesticide may have
 unreasonable adverse effects—
that is, its risks outweigh its
benefits-EPA can simply
 refuse to register the product;
 can lessen the risks by limiting
 the amount of pesticide
 applied; can limit the frequency
 or location of application; or
• can restrict the use of the
 pesticide to only specially
 trained, certified applicators.
   Before a pesticide is
 registered for use on a food or
1 feed crop, a "tolerance" or
 legally enforceable residue
 limit must be set by EPA.  Both
 domestically produced and
 imported foods are monitored
 to be sure that they comply
 with the established tolerances.
   In addition to registering
 new pesticides, EPA also is
 undertaking the monumental
 task of re-evaluating the safety
 of older pesticides already on
 the market.
   EPA has a record of
 accomplishment in the
 pesticide  area. Over the past
 twenty years, the Agency
 banned DDT (resulting in the
 dramatic  return of the bald
 eagle),  cancelled the
 registrations of 34 other
 potentially hazardous
 pesticides, and eliminated the
 use of 60 toxic inert ingredients
 in pesticide products. EPA
 disposed of all stocks of the
 banned pesticide EDB, and is
 currently disposing of dinoseb,
 banned in 1986. We  trained
 and certified 250,000
 commercial pesticide
 applicators and over  one
 million private applicators
 (farmers).  We established the
 National Pesticide
 Telecommunications Network,
 providing a toll-free number
 for obtaining general
 information on the use and
 disposal of pesticides, and how
 to recognize and manage
 pesticide poisonings (800-858-
 PEST). In 1990, EPA
 completed a nationwide survey
 to determine the extent of
 pesticide contamination of
 ground water, and we
 developed a Pesticides in
 Ground Water Strategy to
 protect drinking water sources
 from becoming contaminated.
  More activities are  underway
 and planned to prevent
 pesticide pollution in the 1990s.
 We are encouraging the
 development of safer
 pesticides. Cancelled problem
pesticides have been replaced
by products that tend to be less
persistent in the environment,
are more precise in attacking
given target pests, and require
lower rates of application.
EPA's applicator certification
and training program will
increase the awareness of
pesticide hazards.  We are
supporting the development of
new integrated pest
management practices which
reduce the reliance on
chemicals by using a variety of
pest control methods—chemical
and non-chemical.  EPA is
implementing a program to
protect endangered species.
We are developing regulations
for the storage and disposal of
pesticides and pesticide
containers. EPA is working
with the the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, the National
Institutes of Health, the Food
and Drug Administration and
others to control uses of certain
genetically-altered organisms
and their release into the
environment.  EPA will
promulgate pesticide worker-
protection standards in late
1990 or early 1991, and we will
also be proposing new
applicator certification and
training regulations.
Levels of persistent pesticides have declined in fish and wildlife

 1.0  Total DDT parts per million
     Mallards by flyway

    Total DDT parts per million
                                                                       Levels of persistent pesticides have declined in humans
                                                                                            Dieldrin, Chlordane and associated chemicals
                                                                         70  71  72 73  74  75 76  77  78  79  80  81  82 83

   Although EPA is promoting
 the use of fewer and safer
 pesticides, we are bound to
 discover additional pesticides
 that pose undue risks and
 require regulatory control.  The
 Agency learned from its
 experience with the EDB and
 Alar situations during the
 1980*3 that we need to act more
 quickly when new data on old
 pesticides shows  evidence of
 unreasonable risks. The
 pesticide industry has become
 more responsive  when serious
 questions arise about the safety
 of existing pesticides. In the
 cases of the EBDC fungicides,
 aldkarb and mercury in paint,
 pesticide manufacturers took
 voluntary action  to temporarily
 or permanently halt problem
 uses of these pesticides while
 EPA's risk/benefit assessments
 continued. Under the
' President's leadership, EPA
 worked with other federal
 agencies to propose sweeping
 new food safety and pesticide
 regulation reforms. The
 proposed legislation includes
 measures to  reduce by half the
 time it takes to cancel a bad
  Pesticide usage in the United
States appears to have
stabilized in recent years, after
steadily increasing in the 1960s
and 1970s.  The 1990 Farm Bill,
currently before Congress,
contains a number of
provisions that could further
reduce agricultural pesticide
use and enhance environmental
quality. These provisions
include promoting more
environmentally sound crop
rotation practices, increasing
funds for sustainable
agriculture, promoting research
and education, and providing
incentives for farmers to adopt
more environmentally
compatible farming methods.
Another amendment would
establish national standards for
organically grown foods.
  EPA is also making
significant efforts to prevent
pesticide misuse and overuse
in other countries.  The U.S. is
both an important exporter of
pesticides and a major importer
of food commodities. Thus, we
have a great interest in
ensuring that pesticides are
used responsibly throughout
the world.  Besides EPA's
interest in protecting public
health and the environment
abroad, we want to facilitate
international trade in
agricultural commodities by
harmonizing U.S. and
international pesticide
standards.  To achieve these
ends, EPA has developed goals
for international pesticide
activities, we have proposed a
policy that would restrict the
export of pesticides banned  in
the U.S., and we  are actively
involved in related legislative
                                                  million Ibs. -1200
    U.S. Pesticide Usage
     64  65  66  67  68  63  70  71  72  73  74  75  76  77  78  79
      ItoalUS,        B Agricultural
                                                            80  81  82  83  84  85  8b

Enforcement of the
environmental laws is one of
EPA's top priorities.  The last
twenty years have seen an
evolution in the scope,
emphasis, and organization of
EPA's enforcement program, as
well as in the tools and
authorities to implement it. In
the 1970's, enforcement focused
on compliance with the Clean
Air and Clean Water Acts, the
first two major media-based
environmental laws.  Actions
taken against major pollution
sources brought some
significant improvements in air
and water quality.
  In the 1980s, new problems
led to new enforcement
priorities and strategies.
Hazardous waste issues
became a paramount concern
and, after a slow start, EPA's
enforcement program heavily
emphasized compliance with
the nation's new waste
management and cleanup laws
-RCRA and Superfund. The
Agency successfully used its
administrative enforcement
authorities to  correct violations
of the laws regulating toxic
chemicals and pesticides (TSCA
and FIFRA) and assure
compliance with requirements
for introducing new chemicals
into the marketplace.  The
overall scope  of EPA's
administrative enforcement
program increased dramatically
through the 1980s.
  The 1980s also saw the
creation of EPA's criminal
enforcement program.
Criminal enforcement—with
both the threat and reality of
jail sentences and heavy fines-
is the major deterrent the
Agency now has to deal with
willful and serious
environmental violations.
Since its inception in 1982,
individuals have received 199
years in prison sentences for
committing environmental
crimes and over 544 years of
probation have been imposed.
   The states also expanded
 their civil and criminal
 enforcement programs. By the
 end of the decade, both EPA
 and the states were operating
 at record or near-record
 enforcement levels for numbers
 of actions and levels of penalty
   Nevertheless, there are still
 places where noncompliance
 with environmental laws is at
 least partially responsible for
 unhealthy air and dirty water.
 Many problems are caused by
 numerous new categories of
 polluters which are added to
 the regulatory system each
 year.  And the challenges
 posed by long-term exposures
 to low levels of toxic pollutants
 must be met. EPA's
Guilty Pleas and Convictions for
Environmental Crimes
 enforcement program will have
 to become more sophisticated
 in the 1990s to successfully
 address these new realities.
 First, we have to ensure that
 environmental regulations are
 more understandable and
 enforceable. Second, we need
 to focus enforcement resources
 where they will achieve the
 most environmental results.
 This means targeting long-
 standing violators, taking
 enforcement actions to assure
 that particularly valuable
 ecosystems are protected,
 focusing on pollutants that
 pose the highest ecological and
 human health risks, and
 concentrating attention on
 industrial sectors with serious
 pollution problems.
Criminal Fines Imposed for
Environmental Crimes
                             83  84  85  86  87
                             $ millions
  Third, we need to use
innovative enforcement
approaches to deter violations
and develop incentives for the
regulated community to
prevent pollution and minimize
waste. Environmental auditing
requirements will be included
in settlements to identify and
correct root causes of
noncompliance.  Settlements
will also contain pollution
prevention conditions which
correct violations through
source reduction and recycling.
Violators will become ineligible
for federal government
contracts. Enforcement actions
will be publicized to maximize
their deterrent value.
  Fourth, EPA will encourage
the states to adopt these same
approaches and techniques to
enhance their own enforcement
programs. We will also
improve our working
relationships with other federal
agencies, municipal
governments and citizen
groups to build stronger
support for our environmental
enforcement mission.
                                                         83  84  85
                                                                       87  88  89

Since its inception in 1970, EPA
has conducted scientific and
technical research and
development to understand the
processes and practices that
cause pollution, the means by
which pollutants are
transported, the kinds of risks
that these pollutants pose, and
the ways to reduce them. The
tools that EPA uses to protect
the environment—policy,
education, regulation, and
technology-are grounded in
the knowledge provided by
environmental research.
  Throughout the past three
decades, EPA's research has
mostly been designed to fulfill
EPA's immediate regulatory
needs to protect air and water
quality, to control pesticides
and toxic substances, to ensure
the safe disposal of solid and
hazardous wastes, and to clean
up abandoned hazardous waste
sites. However, EPA's
independent Science Advisory
Board has pointed out that
EPA is more than just a
regulatory agency. EPA is also
a science agency responsible
along with other federal
agencies for defining the nature
of-and possible solutions for—
the nation's environmental
problems.  In addition, EPA is
a technology transfer agency
responsible for sharing with
industry and state and local
governments all the
information, training, and
technology needed throughout
the country to protect the
environment. EPA is also an
education agency responsible
for teaching people how their
individual actions can
sometimes degrade—or
protect—the environment. All
of these functions depend on a
strong research and
development program.
  As the 21st century
approaches, EPA's strategies
for reducing the consequences
of pollution are shifting to
meet new pollution risks and
challenges. Increasingly, these
strategies emphasize the
reduction of pollution before it
is generated.  This shift from
control and cleanup to
anticipation and prevention is
essential to ensuring the future
physical, environmental, and
economic health of our nation
and the world.  As the Science
Advisory Board stated its 1988
report. Future Risk: Research
Strategies far the 1990s,  research
and development are of
fundamental importance to the
In the 1970s, the technological
capabilities in the
environmental protection field
were rudimentary compared to
those of today.  We had
relatively poor capabilities to
measure pollution in soil, water
and air, and there were
relatively few technologies for
reducing discharges of
pollutants or cleaning them up.
Over the past twenty years,
EPA's research and
development program has
brought important advances
that are responsible, in part, for
the successes detailed in
previous chapters.
Following are some of these

Pollution Detection, Fate and
Transport.  Substantial
improvements have been made
in the identification and
measurement of pollutants in
the environment. EPA's
research program has been at
the forefront of the develop-
ment of new detection methods
and modeling techniques,
including the use of gas
spectrophotometry for
analyzing organic chemicals;
models to predict the fate and
effects of pollutants in air and
water; and cost-effective field
techniques for monitoring
hazardous chemicals.

Remedial Technologies.  EPA
has been instrumental in the
development of technologies
for solving problems. Such
tools include EPA's mobile
incinerator for hazardous
wastes, techniques for reducing
the influx of radon gas into
homes, bioremediation of oil
spills and hazardous waste
sites, technologies for reducing
sulfur emissions from the
burning of fossil fuels and for
treating municipal and
industrial wastewater, and
technologies for cleaning up
abandoned hazardous waste
Innovative Technology
Research and Demonstration.
EPA has, in the past several
years, increased its support for
innovative technologies,
through efforts like the
Superfund Innovative  ,
Technologies Evaluation (SITE)
program and the Municipal
Innovative Technology
Evaluation (MITE) program.
These two programs are
designed to promote the
development and
commercialization of new
technologies for the treatment
of hazardous and solid waste.
EPA is also developing
innovative, low-cost water and
wastewater treatment
technologies for small
communities. In coming years,
EPA will focus its research, on
those technologies that offer

Pollution Prevention. EPA has
also begun a research program
on pollution prevention, a
concept that represents a major
shift in philosophy for EPA.
Many environmental problems,
such as municipal solid waste,
indoor air pollution, emissions
of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs),
and runoff from farms and
construction sites cannot be
solved by traditional "end-of-
pipe" control strategies because
the pollution comes from.
millions of small sources.
Therefore, EPA's pollution
prevention research program
includes research into a variety
of pollution prevention
approaches such as materials
substitution, redesign of
products and production
processes, and recycling and

Ecological Research. Ecological
systems such as forests,
rangelands, and wetlands are
enormously valuable from both
an environmental and
economic perspective. Yet, we
understand relatively little

 about how these complex,
 interrelated systems are being
 affected over time by pollutant
 loadings.  Most past ecological
 research has examined the
 effects of particular pollutants
 on particular species.  The
 larger questions related to total
 pollutant loadings, multimedia
 effects, and cumulative, long-
 term effects on interwoven
 biological communities remain
 unanswered. EPA needs to
 provide the federal leadership
 for an enlarged, coordinated
 program of national ecological
   EPA has Begun to do this by
 steadily increasing our support
 for ecological research toward
 the goal of becoming a
 recognized leader in this area,
 both in the U.S. and
 worldwide. Current ecological
 research includes:
 Environmental Monitoring and
Assessment. The initial step to
 achieving this goal is the
 Environmental Monitoring and
 Assessment Program, or
 EMAP.  EMAP is designed to
 improve understanding of the
 health of the nation's
 ecosystems, and to look at
 future trends. The program
 will monitor ihdicatofs"6f the
 health of different ecosystems
 around the country.
 Simultaneous monitoring of
 pollutants and environmental
 change will allow identification
 of likely causes of adverse
 change, and thus lead to
' solutions.

 Global Climate Change. EPA is
 pioneering research into the
 relationship between global
 climate change and terrestrial
 ecosystems. We are
 investigating the impacts of
 climate change on these
 ecosystems, and the effects that
 terrestrial ecosystems and
 different natural resource
 management practices have on
 climate change.

 Ecological Risk Assessment. In
 addition, the research program
 performs ecological risk
 assessment research for all of
 EPA's programs. The research
 develops improved methods
 for assessing risks to
 ecosystems, and constructs and
 validates models for predicting
 ecological responses  to
 chemicals, with an emphasis on
 easy-to-use field procedures.

 Health Research. All of EPA's
 programs depend on an
 understanding of human health
 risks caused by pollution. EPA
 is conducting long-term
"research designed to improve
 the overall risk assessment
 process.  The goal of this
 research is to advance our
 understanding of the
 interrelationships among
 pollutant emission sources,
 concentrations of the pollutants
 in the environment, human
 exposures to them, their uptake
 in human tissues, and their
 ultimate health consequences.
     One difficulty in assessing
 risk is the uncertainty about
 the  level, duration, and pattern
 of human exposures to
 pollution. EPA has recently
 begun a program to improve
 techniques for assessing
 individual exposures, validate
 exposure models, and improve
 the  use of biomarkers as
 indicators of exposure.
     In coming years, EPA will
 expand  its health research in
 reproductive effects, neurotoxic
 effects, and in designing and
J utilizing information from
 human studies—both clinical
 and epidemiological.
   Biomediation: The Alaskan Oil Spill
   In March of 1989, the supertanker Exxon
   Valdez ran aground on Bligh Reef in
   Prince William Sound, Alaska, flooding
   one of the nation's  most pristine and
   sensitive environments with approximately
   11 million gallons of crude oil. The spill,
   the largest in U.S. history, spread over 700
   to 800 miles of shoreline. The oil spill
   damaged a large portion of the area's
   diverse wildlife, and directly affected the
   lives of many Alaskans.
   In the aftermath of  the accident, a massive
   cleanup was organized. Many
   conventional techniques (such as booms,
   high-and low-pressure spraying,
   skimmers, and manual scrubbers) were
   employed in an effort to remove the oil
   from the surface of  the rocks and beaches.
   However, these techniques removed only
   a fraction of the oil  on beaches, under
   rocks, or in beach sediments.
   To enhance the clean-up efforts, EPA
   suggested that  bioremediation might be
   useful. Bioremediation involves the use of
   microorganisms (such as bacteria) to
   enhance the degradation of oil and  other
   types of chemicals. For several years,
   EPA's Office of Research and
             Development had been studying microbial
             degradation of oil as part of its long-term
             research program. Until the Exxon Valdez
             accident, however, no microbial treatment
             processes had been developed for use in
             removing crude oil from contaminated
             In early June 1989, EPA entered into a
             formal agreement with Exxon to test the
             capability of bioremediation in treating
             contaminated beaches in Prince William
             Sound. EPA developed a research plan
             involving the  application of nutrient-rich
             fertilizers to selected test beaches. The
             nutrients allowed microorganisms to
             utilize the hydrocarbons in oil as a food
             source, and thus to degrade the oil.
             Several sampling and field testing
             methods were used to observe changes in
             the composition of oil, to monitor the
             movement of added nutrients in the test
             beaches, to detect changes in the number
             of bacteria present as the test proceeded,
             and to assess the degradation of oil.
             Initial findings from field and laboratory
             tests from the summer of 1989 indicated
             that using nutrients to enhance
             biodegradation is effective and
                     environmentally safe. All the treated areas
                     appeared steadily cleaner through the end
                     of the summer season, and no adverse
                     ecological effects from the nutrient
                     application were detected. To strengthen
                     the success of the bioremediation
                     approach, EPA, along with Exxon, the
                     Alaskan Department of Environmental
                     Conservation, the Coast Guard, and the
                     National Oceanic and Atmospheric
                     Administration, developed a research plan
                     for the summer of 1990 and undertook
                     further studies in Alaska to help answer
                     additional questions concerning the
                     environmental benefits and the potential
                     adverse effects of bioremediation.
                     To date, results are very encouraging.
                     Results of toxicity testing have shown no
                     toxicity associated with fertilizer
                     application. A single application of fertilizer
                     has been shown, to increase the rate of oil
                     biodegradation by two to three times over the
                     rate of an untreated shoreline. This
                     accelerated rate has been sustained for
                     several weeks, even after nutrient
                     concentrations return to background

Other Recent
In addition to these
accomplishments, EPA's
research program has achieved
numerous other successes in
recent years. EPA has tripled
its grants programs to the
university research community
in environmental science;
significantly strengthened its
support for EPA Regional
offices; begun working with
key EPA offices not
traditionally a part of the
research planning process;
increased research and
technology transfer activities
with states and municipal
governments; and expanded its
efforts with other countries,
particularly Eastern European
countries that are emerging
from years of environmental
neglect. EPA has greatly
increased its participation in
and leadership of federal
interagency research efforts,
and quadrupled its level of
cooperative research with the
private sector.
    For the foreseeable future,
it is likely that the nation will
face more environmental
problems than there are
resources to effectively
address—especially as more
understanding is gained about
global environmental pollution.
EPA's research program can
help  scientists, regulators,
policy makers and citizens
understand which
environmental problems
currently pose the greatest
threat to public health and the
environment and what
problems are likely to arise in
the future.  In this way,
resources can be allocated most
effectively. With a strong and
forward-looking research
program in place, effective
solutions to environmental
challenges can be developed.
Photo by Steve Delaney
      Surprising Results From A New Way Of Measuring Pollutants
      Most people assume that the air inside
      their homes is better than the air outside.
      But an EPA study found that, in fact, the
      air inside many homes is likely to be
      worse. Concentrations of many volatile
      organic air pollutants indoors,  where
      people can spend about 90 percent of their
      time, can be 3 to 10 times higher than
      those found in the outside environment
      based on the EPA study.
      This 5-year EPA study, the Total Exposure
      Assessment Methodology (TEAM) study,
      used state-of-the-art monitoring equipment
      to measure an individual's "total
      ^exposure" to pollutants in the  air  (both
      indoors and outdoors) and in drinking
      water. Volunteers wore vests containing a
      miniature personal monitor developed
      specifically for the TEAM study, and
      breathed periodically into a special
      spirometer. For the first time, scientists
      were able to realistically follow the
      participants through the day, sampling the
      air they breathed on and off the job, in
      and out of the house. The monitors were
      so sensitive that they measured chemicals
      at less that one part per billion.
      The TEAM results clearly suggest that
      many of the major sources of potentially
      harmful exposure to air pollution are in
Americans' own homes. For example, the
major source of benzene and styrene
exposures for about 50 million American
smokers is the  smoke they inhale from
their cigarettes. This smoke also affects
nonsmokers, because the air in smokers'
homes average 30 to 50 percent higher
concentrations  of benzene and styrene
than the air in  non-smokers' homes. The
study also indentified a large number of
consumer products and building materials
as possible sources of household exposure,
including paints, adhesives, carpeting,
linoleum, wallpaper, air fresheners,
dry-cleaned clothing, pesticides, and even
domestic hot water.
The results of this study indicated a
significant indoor pollution problem can
exist in some homes with implications for
both short-term and long-term health
effects. The study also suggests that
people can do  a great deal to lessen their
exposures to many harmful chemicals
without waiting for government regulation
or major technological advances. These
measures include properly  disposing of
paints, pesticides, and solvents; hanging
dry-cleaned clothing until all solvent
vapors have dissipated; and restricting
smoking in the home environment.

Photo by NASA
As EPA gears up for the 1990s
and beyond, we have to find a
better way to concentrate our
efforts on the problems that
seem to be most serious.
Environmental risk assessment
can lend much-needed
coherence, order and integrity
to the often controversial and
costly decisions about what the
nation's environmental
priorities should be.
    Three years ago, EPA
undertook a study of the
relative risks to human health,
welfare and ecology posed by
31 categories of problems for
which the Agency had some
responsibility.  This study,
titled Unfinished Business: A
Comparative Assessment of
Environmental Problems, found
that some of the most serious
risks were posed by problems
which Congress and EPA had
not targeted for the most
aggressive action.  In 1990,
EPA's Science Advisory Board
completed a review of
Unfinished Business. Their
report, Reducing Risk: Setting
Priorities and Strategies for
Environmental Protection,
concludes that some of
America's highest human
health risk problems are
outdoor air pollution, worker
exposure to chemicals in
industry and agriculture,
indoor air pollution (including
radon and other pollutants),
and drinking water
contamination. EPA is now
gathering and analyzing
additional data, which may
reveal that other areas also
pose high human health risk.
   The Reducing Risk report
also identifies high-risk
ecological and human welfare
problems, based especially on
their geographic scope and the
amount of time it will take to
reverse them: habitat alteration
and destruction, species
extinction and loss of genetic
diversity, stratospheric ozone
depletion, and global climate
change. According to
Unfinished Business, and
 confirmed by Reducing Risk,
 some problems that consume
 large amounts of EPA's budget,
 such as hazardous wastes, do
 not rank high in terms of
 health or ecological risk.
    While comparative risk
 assessments should clarify
 thinking about future
 environmental priorities, other
 considerations impede national
 consensus-building. First, risks
 are not uniformly distributed
 nationwide, so priorities will
 vary from one part of the
 country to another. Second,
 public understanding of
 environmental risks is  not
 always the same as the
 perception of EPA's experts.
 Public understanding must be
 informed by the best science
 available to the Agency,
 including information on the
 uncertainties associated with
 our assessments.  The unequal
 distribution of risks—
 geographically and to different
 population groups and
 ecosystems-coupled with
 varying perceptions of risk,
 means that priorities must be
 established not just by  the
 federal government but also by
 state and local officials, and by
 the public.
    How EPA spends its
 resources is as important as
 what we spend them on.  To
 prepare for the array of
 challenges ahead,  we will have
 to strengthen our  research
 program and the scientific
 underpinnings of  our work.
 We must improve our
 recruitment and training
 programs to assure a top
 quality, culturally diverse work
 force. We must set goals
 through strategic planning, and
 meet those goals through the
 teamwork and continuous
 improvement offered by total
 quality management. EPA
 must develop and apply new
 and emerging approaches to
 environmental problems-
 pollution prevention, market-
. based incentives,
 bioremediation and other
 technologies, risk-based

                                                         FOR ADDITIONAL"
priority-setting, and cross-
media and geographically
targeted strategies, among
others. We must emphasize
better outreach to affected
constituencies and develop
new modes of working with
other federal agencies, states
and localities, governments
abroad, and our many other
partners.  We need to foster
environmental education and
pursue initiatives that improve
the. natural systems on which
our well-being depends.
   A central theme of this
report is pollution prevention-
taking action today to prevent
future risks. Nevertheless,
EPA will surely be dealing
with still unforeseeable
problems that are lurking on
America's environmental
horizon. In the future, as in
the past, environmental
problems will present
unprecedented challenges to
the vision and the
resourcefulness of America's
leaders. And their resolution
will require changes in
thinking and behavior on the
part of all U.S. citizens, whose
cooperation is imperative if
EPA's pollution prevention
efforts are to reduce waste and
achieve the other important
environmental goals that we
share as a nation.
More information about EPA's
programs and our work in
your community can be
obtained by contacting Public
Affairs in your EPA Regional
Region 1
JFK Federal Building
Boston, MA 02203
(617) 565-3424
Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine,
New Hampshire, Rhode Island,
Region 2
Jacob K. Javits Federal Bldg. 26
Federal Plaza
New York, NY 10278
(212) 264-2515
New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico,
Virgin Islands
Region 3
841 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 597-9370
Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania,
Virginia, West Virginia, District of
 Region 4
 345 Courtland St., NE
 Atlanta, GA 30365
 (404) 347-3004
 Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,
 Mississippi, North Carolina, South
 Carolina, Tennessee

 Region 5
 230 S. Dearborn St.
 Chicago, IL 60604
 (312) 353-2072
 Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota,
 Ohio, Wisconsin
Region 6
1445 Ross Ave., Suite 1200
Dallas, TX 75202
(214) 655-2200
Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico,
Oklahoma, Texas
Region 7
726 Minnesota Ave.
Kansas City, KS 66101
(913) 551-7003
Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska
Region 8
999 18th St., Suite 500
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 293-1692
Colorado, Montana, North Dakota,
South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming
Region 9
1235 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 556-5145
Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada,
American Samoa, Guam, Northern
Mariana Islands
                                                                                      Region 10
                                                                                      1200 Sixth Ave.
                                                                                      Seattle, WA 98101
                                                                                      (206) 442-1465
                                                                                      Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington

Photo by Steve Delaney