United States
             Environmental Protection
              Office of Policy Planning
              a,nd Evaluation (PM-2.19)
              Washington DC 20460
August f988
Environmental Progress
and Challenges:
EPA's Update


United States
Environmental Protection Agency

August 1988

 Photographic Credits
 United States Department of Agriculture
 Jessie Cohen, National Zoological Park, Smithsonian Institution
 Steve Delaney
 Rick Newton

 Cover Illustration

 Bobbi Tull
For additional copies of this
report, contact the Public
Information Center, USEPA,
(PM211B), 401  MSt. S.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20460.

  1  Preface


  12  AIR
  13  An Overview

  18  Ozone and Carbon Monoxide
  21  Airborne Particulates
  23  Airborne Toxics
  26  Sulfur Dioxide
  28  Acid Deposition
  32  Indoor Air Pollution
  35  Radon
  38  Global Atmospheric Changes           '

  44  WATER
  45  An Overview

  52  Drinking Water
  52    Ground Water Protection
  57    Drinking Water at the Tap
  60  Critical Aquatic Habitats
  60    Wetlands
  65    Near Coastal Waters and the Great Lakes '
  68    The Ocean
  70  Surface Waters

  78  LAND
  79  An Overview

 85  Preventing Future Contamination from Improper Waste Disposal
 93  Cleaning up Releases of Hazardous Substances
102  Tackling Pollution from Underground Storage Tanks
106  Chemical Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know

113   An Overview

120   Existing Chemicals
126   New Chemicals
128   Pesticides: Human Health Concerns
134   Pesticides: Fish and Wildlife Concerns
137   Biotechnology


   Every so often we need to
   inform the public about
 the work of the
 Environmental Protection
 Agency and the
 environmental challenges we
 face. This report presents
 EPA's assessment of the
 progress we have made as a
 nation in improving the
 quality of the air we breathe,
 the water we depend on, and
 the land where we live. It
 presents EPA's agenda for
 restoring and protecting these
 resources from past and
 future environmental.
  This report is largely an
 update of our 1984 report
 titled, Environmental
 Progress and Challenges: An
 EPA Perspective. Over the
 past four years EPA has
 progressed and made many
 changes. New programs have
 been created, such as wetlands
 and marine and estuarine
 protection. New legislation
 and reauthorizations of acts
have created many changes
in existing programs. Several
important examples include:
the Superfund Amendments
and Reauthorization Act, the
Clean Water Act, the Safe
Drinking Water Act, and the
Hazardous and Solid Waste
Act. Many new and emerging
environmental problems,
including indoor air
pollution, radon, global
warming, and stratospheric
ozone depletion are receiving
increased EPA attention.
  The report begins with an
overview outlining the
Agency's major priorities.
These priorities, such as
responding to risk,
encouraging public
involvement, and preventing
future environmental
problems are emphasized
throughout the report. The
overview is followed by
chapters on Air, Water, Land,
and Toxics. Each chapter is
divided into sections that
focus on the most important
environmental issues.
  The Environmental Results
Branch of the Office of
Policy, Planning and
Evaluation prepared this
report with the assistance of
virtually every office in EPA.
We gratefully appreciate the
valuable contributions that
our colleagues throughout
EPA have given us in
preparing and critiquing this


    £"—•:'•! =(.': ~^i-litC^<
                                    For the past 20 years, the
                                    American people have
                                  been involved in a great
                                  social movement known
                                  broadly as
                                  "environmentalism." We
                                  have been concerned with
                                  the quality of the air we
                                  breathe,  the water we drink,
                                  and the land on which we
                                  live and  work. This  concern
                                  has focused on the wise use
                                  of our natural resources and
                                  the preservation of natural
                                  and historical treasures. It
                                  has addressed the survival of
                                  endangered plants and
                                  animals, and the health of
                                  the global ecology. In short,
                                  environmentalism has sought
                                  to improve the quality of life
                                  in this country and around
                                  the world. In so doing, it has
                                  changed  many of the
                                  fundamental assumptions
                                  that help to define our
                                  national  well-being.
                                   It was  not long ago that the
                                  quality of life in America was
                                  measured almost exclusively
                                  in terms  of economic growth
                                  and prosperity. Calvin
                                  Coolidge immortalized this
                                  focus when he observed that
                                  the "business" of America .
                                  was just that — business.
                                  Our nation was blessed with
                                  seemingly endless resources,
                                  hard-working people, and
                                  unlimited opportunity.    '
                                   Our natural resources were
                                  exploited indiscriminately.
                                  Waterways served as
                                  industrial pollution sinks;  :
                                  skies dispersed smoke from
                                  factories and powerplants,-
                                  and the land proved to be a
                                  cheap and convenient place
                                  to dump industrial and urban
                                  wastes. Industrial growth
                                  during the period following
                                 World War II was
                                 unparalleled in the history of
                                 the nation. We enjoyed a
                                 prosperity never before
                                 known. Unfortunately, we
                                 also were accumulating an
 environmental debt of
 staggering proportions.
  By the late 1960s,
 Americans began to recognize
 an emerging crisis. We had
 witnessed serious
 environmental degradation in
 every medium. The air in
 many industrial cities was
 deemed unhealthy; Lake Erie
 lay on its deathbed; the
 Cuyahoga River erupted in
 flames; pesticides like DDT
 took their toll on wildlife. In
 response to the
 environmental crisis, the
 Environmental Protection
 Agency was created in 1970.
 Over the next decade and a
 half Congress passed a series
 of far-reaching laws that
 prescribed needed changes in
 the way the nation conducted
 its business. Slowly, a
 process was built that today
 incorporates environmental
 considerations into the basic
 decisionmaking of
 government and industry.
  Our society is now more
 aware of the environment
 and the need to protect it.
 While economic growth and
 prosperity are still important
 goals, opinion polls show
 overwhelming public support
 for pollution controls and a
 pronounced willingness to
 pay for them. This latter
 point, perhaps the ultimate
 measure of commitment, has
 been borne out over the last
 two decades as Americans
 spent billions of dollars for
 cleaner air, water, and land.
  What have we gotten for
 these expenditures? Our
 accomplishments are
 impressive. There is no
 question that the air in most
 of our cities today is far
 cleaner and healthier than it
was in the 1960s. Thousands
of miles of rivers and
streams, and thousands of
acres of lakes, have been
restored and protected for

fishing and swimming. In
addition, we have taken
extraordinary steps to
improve the management of
hazardous wastes, toxic
chemicals, and pesticides.
  Consider a few examples:
• Lead levels in urban air are
down 87 percent from 1977.
Sulfur dioxide levels have
been reduced 37 percent and
particulates are lower by 23
percent. Even the more
intractable pollutants like
ozone and carbon monoxide
have been reduced by 13
percent and 32 percent,
• We have dramatically
improved municipal sewage
treatment. Today, more than
127 million Americans are
served by adequate public
sewage treatment systems, a
significant increase  from the
85 million people served in
• Comprehensive hazardous
waste management
regulations are in place.
Many untreated wastes are
being banned from land
disposal and thousands of
potentially hazardous sites
around the country have been
identified and are being
evaluated to determine
.whether federal actions are
Necessary. We have begun
over 1000 short term actions
to address immediate threats,
and we have initiated
response activities at more
than 700 sites on the
National Priorities List.
•  Before 1980, we neglected
some of our most productive
and valuable ecosystems—the
Atlantic, Pacific and Gulf
coastal waters. During the
past eight years, EPA has
been working with Maryland,
Virginia, Pennsylvania and
the District of Columbia to
begin the restoration of the
Chesapeake Bay. Now we are
applying the experience we
gained from this project-to
other estuaries, including
Puget Sound,
Albemarle-Pamlico Sound,
Buzzards Bay, Narragansett
Bay, Long Island Sound and
San Francisco Bay—and we
will be adding more coastal
waters to our National
Estuaries Program this year.
• Prior to 1972, severely
degraded conditions were
evident in the Great Lakes.
Cooperative efforts between
the U.S. and Canada have
resulted in a major recovery
in the Lakes' condition
through construction of new
sewage  treatment facilities,
phosphate bans in some areas
and strict industrial
wastewater controls.
• The use of many pesticides
has been cancelled,
suspended or restricted. Some
pesticides have been replaced
with substitutes that are less
persistent in the
environment. The resurgence
of bald eagle, osprey, peregrin
falcon and brown pelican is
the result of EPA's ban on
DDT. We are also seeing
marked declines of DDT,
dieldrin and aldrin in the
tissues of fish and wildlife.
Currently we are
re-evaluating the risks of  tens
of thousands of pesticide
products whose uses were
approved prior to the 1972
amendments to the nation's ;-.
pesticide law.
  These accomplishments are
impressive when seen in the
context of the economic
expansion and population
growth that occurred during
the same period. There are 25
percent more people in the
United States now than 20
years ago; our gross national
product has increased 500
percent. There are  more cars
on the road traveling more
miles, and more
manufacturing facilities
producing a greater number
of products. These statistics
indicate that economic
growth and environmental
health are not mutually
exclusive; indeed, there is an
important linkage  between
them. Environmental
protection itself has proven
to be a wise investment and
a growth industry.




But the job is far from
finished. More than 60 cities
still do not meet federal air
quality standards for ozone.
Hundreds of communities are
not in compliance with
requirements for better
treatment of municipal
sewage. Our wetlands are
disappearing at an alarming
rate. Our oceans, estuaries,
and near-coastal waters are
victims of intensive coastal
and upstream development
and runoff from farms and
cities. Many urban areas face
a mounting crisis over
municipal garbage disposal.
  Clearly, much work
remains to be done. While we
continue to pursue our
existing air, water,  waste, and
toxics programs, we also
recognize that new
challenges await us. Because
many of the solutions of the
past decades merely
transferred pollutants from
the water to the air or from
the air to the land,  we must
adopt a more integrated or
"systems" approach to

           We must  adopt  a
         more integrated or
         systems approach  to
environmental protection.
We can no longer think
simply of clean air or clean
water; we must work for a
clean environment.
  We need to work harder to
prevent environmental
problems by reducing the
amount of wastes from our
homes and from industry. We
need to recycle more waste.
Future waste management
should prevent disposal
problems by reducing the
amount of waste as a first
  We also must reassess our
notion of "environmental
safety." We now know that
many of the things we do and
chemicals we need to sustain
our modern lifestyle pose
some risk to people and to
our ecosystem. We have to
develop better ways to assess
these risks and make the
choices which balance the
benefits with the risks. This
may be one of our toughest
missions in the next decade.
  Increased public
understanding of
environmental problems,
risks, arid solutions will be
even more critical to our
success than in the past. The
problems we deal with today
are not primarily the large
smokestack concerns of the
1970's. As these major
sources of pollution are being
controlled, Americans will
have to recognize that our
individual actions in our
homes, the products we buy
and how we choose to relax
all can affect the quality of
our environment. We will
have to face choices in our
daily lives to balance the
risks of these actions with
the benefits. EPA will have
to play a large role in
educating and involving the
public in its decisions.
  Tn§ responsibility for
implementing our nation's
environmental laws also is
changing. Unlike the
majority of issues in the
1970s, centralized pollution
control efforts will not
effectively address all of the
major problems. State, local,
and Indian tribal
governments are now playing
an ever more significant role
in environmental protection.
We need to discover how
EPA can best assist and
encourage an even stronger
future role for these players.
Finally, we now recognize
through problems such as
acid rain, global warming,
and pollution of our oceans
that the quality of the
environment in America is
also dependent on how the
rest of the world treats our
planet—just as our actions
affect other nations.  One of
our biggest challenges will be
to assist and educate other
nations and actively
negotiate multinational
agreements to protect the
global environment.

Our agenda should include
several key components. It
should take into account the
problem of cross-media
transfer of pollution. It
should, to the extent
possible, reflect priorities
that are set on the basis of
risk. It should encourage full
Involvement of the public in
making tough choices in the
future. It should promote an
effective role for federal,
state, local, and American
Indian tribal governments. It
should recognize the global
riature of some issues.
Finally, and perhaps most
Critically, it should strive to
prevent pollution by reducing
the amount of waste we
produce, by recycling what
we can, and by making other
sound management
approaches to avoid more
Costly cleanups in future

A Systems  Approach

The environment is an
Integrated system. There is
no such place as "away"
where we can throw things.
For example, when we
remove pollutants from the
air, we often  inadvertently
transfer them to the water or
to the land. If we simply
transfer the pollution,  it
likely will come to rest at
the point of least regulation.
The point of  least regulation,
however, may not be the
point of least risk.
  To meet the challenges of
the 1990s and the next
century, a more systematic
approach to protecting the
environment must be taken,
one involving a coordinated
strategy by EPA and other
government programs for
achieving the maximum
affordable reduction of the
most significant risks.

Reducing Risk

We cannot eliminate all toxic
chemicals from the
environment. Given the tens
of thousands of chemicals
used today, basic decisions
must be made as to which
ones should be controlled, to
what levels, and at what cost.
This requires an assessment
of the risks to human health,
welfare, and the environment
that are posed by different
pollutants in different
locations. It requires
decisions on how to reduce
the most significant risks,
taking into consideration the
benefits and the costs, as
well as other public concerns.
It requires the establishment
of priorities through
risk-based decisionmaking.
  EPA's challenge is to
improve the way risk-based
decisions are made in the
future. To do this, we will
need better risk information
and better science.

Public Education And

EPA must share with the
public its knowledge of the
scope and severity of the
environmental challenges
before us. With improved
information and an
      ifiach of us must
                       '""the part  that
        'f   ....... pay  in environmental ]
     prStecEon  and  become
       )ort  of  the  solution."
understanding of the reality
of risk in an industrial
society, the public can do a
better job helping us
establish our national
environmental directions.
  EPA must also help people
to understand that they are
part of the  pollution problem
and its solution. The
attention of the last fifteen
years has been on controlling
large sources of pollution
such as smokestack
industries and municipal
sewage disposal facilities. As
we strive for further
environmental improvements
in the 1990's, the focus of the
nation's pollution control
efforts must also include
small sources that are
widespread throughout the
country. For example, we
need to pay greater attention
to how each of us can recycle
more of our household waste,
properly use and dispose of
lawn chemicals, or drive and
maintain our  cars to reduce
air pollution.  We cannot pass
to someone else the
responsibility for controlling
pollution. Each of us must
recognize the part that we
play in environmental
protection and become "part
of the solution."
  Further progress,  therefore,
will require lifestyle changes
by the American people. All
of us — individual
homeowners, farmers,
shopkeepers, automobile
drivers — will have to make
tough choices between
convenience,  the costs of
goods and services, and a
cleaner environment. EPA's
job should grow from
primarily "the enforcer" to
include greater emphasis on
helping citizens make
informed choices in their
daily lives.

State/EPA Partnership

EPA and the states need to
continue to strive toward a
proper balance in our
working relationship. The
challenges that face us now
are not as amenable to
centralized "command and
control" approaches as past
problems. EPA must further
recognize the increasing
capabilities and
responsibilities of
states—including Indian
tribal governments and local
governments—in protecting
the environment.
  EPA must provide better
technical support to  state
governments as they assume
more fesponsibility for
environmental program
funding and management.
This means more training
and technical1 assistance to
help states assess and address
risks. It means improving
data management so that
states and EPA have access to
each other's information, and
creating other ways for all of
us to share our expertise. A
true partnership also requires
EPA to be more sensitive to
the separate needs of the
states. Risks are not
distributed uniformly
nationwide; EPA must look
for new ways to address
priorities that differ around
the country and recognize the
growing role of state, local
and Indian tribal
governments in shaping their
own environmental agendas.
  Although state and federal
roles are changing, EPA will
      EPA's  Assessment  of
                                Environmental  Risks
      When the Environmental Protection
      Agency was established in 1970, the
      most pressing environmental  _
      problems were obvious. Important
      polluters and pollutants were the -
      visible ones: soot and smoke from
      cars and smokestacks, and raw  :
      sewage and chemicals from
      municipal and industrial waste
        The nation has done much to
      abate the most visible pollution,
      but there is still much unfinished
      business. "New" problems have
      been discovered, such as radon,
      global  climatic change, acid :
      precipitation, and hazardous waste._
      Many of these problems are difficult
      to evaluate because they involve
      slow, cumulative changes with
      potentially serious but uncertain
      effects. They often involve toxic
      chemicals that can cause cancer or
      birth defects at levels of exposure
      that are hard to detect. Other
      problems involve persistent
      contaminants that move from  one
      environmental medium to another,
      causing further damage after initial
      controls have been  applied.
        The complexity and gravity  of
      these issues make it particularly
      important that EPA apply its finite
      resources where they will have the
      greatest benefit. Thus, in ,1986,
      Administrator Lee Thomas
      commissioned a  special task force
      of senior agency managers and
      technical experts to compare the
      risks associated with major
      environmental problems. The
      findings would be combined with
              other important considerations in
              setting EPA's priorities.
               .The risk comparison was
              organized in four important ways.
              First, the universe of environmental
              problems was divided into 31
              problem areas corresponding
              generally with program
              responsibilities or statutes. Second,
              four types of risk were considered
              separately for each problem area —•
              cancer risks, non-cancer risks,
              ecological effects,  and "welfare"
              effects, such as damage to crops,
              vegetation,  or buildings. There was
              no attempt to compare the
              importance of one type of risk
              versus  another. Third, the project
              did not consider important factors
              such as the costs and availability of
              technologies to control the risks,
              benefits to society of activities that
              cause the environmental problems,
              or the legal authority of EPA to deal
              thern. Finally, risks were assessed as
              they exist now— given the levels of
              control currently in place.
                The project ranked the 31
              problems for each of the four types
              of risk. Among the findings:       :
              * No problems ranked relatively
              high in all four types of risk, or
              relatively low in all four ask areas.
              The "severity" of an environmental
              problem depends on whether one is
              specifically concerned with either
              human health, ecological impacts,
              or welfare effects.           •"••;
              • Problems thai ranked relatively
              high in cancer and non-cancer
              health  risks but low in ecological
              and welfare risks include:    :-
                    hazardous air pollutants; indoor
                    radon; indoor air pollution other
                    than radon; pesticide application;
                    exposure to consumer products; and
                    worker exposures to chemicals.
                    • Problems that ranked relatively
                    high in ecological and welfare risks,
                    but low in  both health risks
                    include: global warming; point and
                    non-point sources of surface water
                    pollution; physical alteration of
                    aquatic habitats; and mining waste.

                    • Areas related to ground water
                    consistently ranked medium or low,
                    but the availability of data on
                    ground water-related risks was very
                      The rankings by risk did not
                    correspond well with EPA's 1987
                    program priorities. Many areas of
                    relatively low risk, such as
                    hazardous  waste sites and
                    Superfund, have received
                    considerably more EPA attention
                    than higher risk problems like
                    indoor air pollution.
                      Overall, EPA's priorities appeared
                    to be more closely aligned with
                    public opinion, often expressed
                    through Congressional mandates,
                    than with estimated risk. Two of
                    the agency's greatest challenges are
                    to educate  the American public
                    about environmental risks, and to
                    incorporate these
                    considerations—along with
                    considerations of cost, statutory
                    authority, and other public concerns
                    and policies—in establishing
                    priorities for the national
                    environmental effort.

continue to carry out its
statutory responsibility for
Setting standards and
ensuring compliance with
them. Our challenge is to get
this job done while also
riving states enough
flexibility to solve important
local problems that are not
national priorities.
Environmental Outlook:

In the largest sense, the earth
is a single, integrated
ecosystem shared by all the
people living on it. As the
world's population and
economy continue to grow,
that ecosystem is being
strained in a number of ways.
Chlorofluorocarbons are
threatening the stratospheric
ozone layer; global emissions
of carbon dioxide are
contributing to a gradual
warming of the earth's
atmosphere; species of flora
and fauna are being lost
worldwide at an accelerating
rate. These kinds of changes
to the global environment are
of especially serious concern
because they have the
potential to affect the quality
of life of literally everyone on
  Moreover, in a number of
places natural resources
shared by neighboring
nations are being degraded.
For example, acid rain is
harming aquatic ecosystems
in the northeastern United
States, southeastern Canada,
and Europe. Shared
waterbodies like the
Mediterranean Sea and the
Cult of Mexico are being
polluted by the combined
economic activities of the
different countries that
border them.
  But whether these
emerging environmental
problems are global or
regional, our response to
them will entail international
cooperation. Because
pollution does not stop at
international political
boundaries, we are going to
have to find new ways of
cooperating with the
community of nations to find
shared solutions to shared
  International cooperation
in this area will be
complicated by the need to
factor in the special
economic circumstances of
developing nations. Poorer
countries often find it
difficult to sustain their
natural resource base in the
face of immediate demands
for food,  fuel, and jobs. They
have fewer resources to
invest in waste disposal and
pollution control. But as was
proved by the recently signed
Montreal Protocol to protect
the'stratosphere, nations are
capable of resolving their
economic and political
differences in the interest of
protecting a shared
environment. We will have
ample opportunity to put
that lesson to work in the
years ahead.

Preventing Future
Environmental Problems

Environmental protection
will be a never-ending battle
against contaminated "hot
spots" unless we take steps
now to prevent them from
developing. We are placing
more  emphasis on pollution
prevention in all EPA
programs.  We need to do
more  of it, and so do state
and local agencies as well as
the private sector.
  We as a nation can do
many things to prevent
environmental problems from
developing in the first place.
We should reduce the
amount of waste from our
homes  and industries before
that waste becomes a
disposal problem. Municipal
recycling and industrial
waste reduction ease the
economic and environmental
burden of waste disposal.
Source reduction and
recycling should become the
centerpiece of a progressive
national waste management
  We will continue to
restrict the use of toxic
chemicals in places where
they might enter drinking
water supplies or endanger
fish and wildlife. We will
continue to ban the disposal
of untreated wastes on the
land, where it threatens
human health or the
environment. We will
continue to identify sensitive
wetlands and restrict harmful
development before
irreparable damage is done.
We will continue to promote
better farming practices that
will prevent agricultural
chemicals from
contaminating ground and
surface waters. In short, we
will do a better job of
planning to prevent future
problems. By so doing, we
avoid costly cleanup later and
we avoid the loss of
irreplaceable resources. If we
take precautions today, we
will be making an important
investment in a safer and
cleaner environment
  We have begun to do
long-range planning at EPA.
We are trying to determine
what environmental results
we want to see in the
not-too-distant future, and
the best strategies we can
employ to achieve them. To
do this well requires
tremendous vision in
establishing goals, taking into
consideration the tough
choices we and the American
public need to make between
environmental and other
social goals. It requires
creativity and hard-nosed
realism in designing
systematic, coordinated
program strategies, and it
requires dedication to follow
through. This is EPA's
ultimate challenge.
                                                                                                    Lee M. Thomas



    Since the Clean Air Act
     was passed in 1970, the
 United States has made
 impressive strides in
 improving and protecting air
 quality. In spite of pressures
 from economic and industrial
 growth, our air is now
 substantially cleaner.
 Pollution controls have
 removed the smoky haze that
 once perpetually enveloped
 American cities.
  Our greatest success is the
reduction of lead in the air.
Since 1977, ambient levels of
lead have decreased 87
percent. Annual nationwide
levels of ozone, carbon
monoxide, airborne
particulates, sulfur dioxide,
and nitrogen oxides have also
been reduced, in some cases
sharply. This success-has
been achieved through
cooperation between EPA and
state and local air quality
programs over the past 15
  Nonetheless, the
challenges ahead are
formidable and present tough
choices. The problem of
ground-level ozone or "smog"
has proven to be particularly
difficult to control. In the
next .decade we will be
working to resolve new and
emerging problems such as
radon and other indoor air
pollutants. We will also
continue to work with other
countries to address the
international problems of
global warming and
stratospheric ozone depletion.
  This chapter begins with
an overview of EPA's
approach to air pollution
control and the progress
achieved so far. It then
discusses eight major air
pollution issues facing the
nation and how EPA plans to
address them.

    Ar pollution is one of the
    greatest risks to human
health and the environment
in our country. The long list
of health problems brought
on or aggravated by air
pollution includes: lung
diseases, such as chronic
bronchitis and pulmonary
emphysema;  cancer,
particularly lung cancer;
neural disorders, including
brain damage; bronchial
asthma and the common
cold,  which are most
persistent in  places with
highly polluted air; and eye
irritation (Figure A-l).
Environmental problems
range from damage to crops
and vegetation to increased
acidity of lakes that makes
them unlivable for fish and
other aquatic life.
   The first air pollution laws
in the United States were
passed by cities. In the 1880s,
Chicago and  Cincinnati
initiated the  earliest
municipal regulation of
smoke emissions, followed in
the 1890s by Pittsburgh and
New York. One of the
earliest state air pollution
laws  was passed by Ohio in
the 1890s to  regulate smoke
emissions from steam boilers.
In 1952, Oregon became the
first state to  pass
comprehensive statewide
legislation and establish a
state air pollution control
  But while Americans have
long recognized dirty air as a
serious problem, they paid
little attention initially to
the public health risks it
presented. Not until the
1940s, did it become clear
that air pollution was a
serious problem. Killer fogs
in Donora, Pennsylvania in
1948 and in London in 1952
focused national attention on
the potential health hazards
of air pollution. During the
late 1940s, the state of
California, Los Angeles
County, and local industries
began spending millions of
dollars to study the causes
and effects of smog.
  By the 1960's, the necessity
for a national approach to
address air pollution more
effectively was recognized. In
1963, Congress passed the  .
Clean Air Act, authorizing
the U.S: Public Health
Service to study air pollution
and providing grants and
training to state and local
agencies to control it. This
legislation was strengthened
considerably when the Clean
Air Act of 1970 was enacted,
making EPA the focal point
of the Federal effort.
  The new Act created a
partnership between state
and federal governments. It
gave state and local
governments primary
responsibility for preventing
and controlling air pollution.
EPA has more of a support
role:  conducting research and
development programs,
setting national standards
and regulations, providing
technical and financial
assistance to the states, and
where necessary,
supplementing state
implementation programs.
   As directed by the Clean
Air Act of 1970, EPA set
National Ambient Air
Quality Standards for those
pollutants commonly found
throughout the country
which posed the greatest
overall threat to air quality.
These pollutants, termed
"criteria pollutants" under
the act include: ozone,
carbon monoxide, airborne
particulates, sulfur dioxide,
lead, and nitrogen oxides. For
these pollutants, the Act sets
primary standards to protect
human health and secondary
standards to protect
"welfare," primarily crops,
livestock, vegetation,
buildings, and visibility. For
some of these criteria
pollutants,  a single national
ambient standard has been
established that protects both
health and  welfare.
  In addition to the criteria
pollutants provisions, the
Clean Air Act also requires
EPA to set National Emission
Standards for Hazardous
Pollutants (NESHAP's).
Hazardous pollutants are
defined as those that can
contribute to an increase in
mortality or serious illness.
EPA is currently analyzing a
number of air pollutants to
determine whether they are
hazardous and require
regulation. We have already
issued emissions standards
for asbestos, beryllium,
mercury, vinyl chloride,
arsenic,  radionuclides,
benzene, and coke oven
      Health Effects of the Regulated Air Pollutants
      Criteria Pollutants Health Concerns

      Ozone        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.

      Particuiate    Eye and throat irritation, bronchitis, lung
      Matter _•     ^damage, and impaired visibility.           ",

      Carbon       Ability of blood to carry oxygen impaired.     •
      Monoxide     Cardiovascular, nervous,  and pulmonary
                   systems affected.

      Sulfur        Respiratory tract problems,-permanent harm
      Dioxide      to lung tissue.                     .  _ j

      Lead         Retardation and brain damage, especially in
                   children:-'                              ;

      Nitrogen     Respiratory illness and lung damage.
      Dioxide__     	^

      Hazardous Ail Pollutants    	      	       	
      Asbestos     A variety of lung diseases, particularly lung   ;
                   cancer.      -                         j
      Beryllium     Primary lung disease, although also affects
                   liver, spleen, kidneys, and lymph glands.
      Mercury     Several areas of the brain as well as the
      _      .__-    kidneys_aiK[ bowel s_attected.
      Vinyl Chloride Lung and liver cancer.                   i
      Aresenic   _ Causes cancer ''._.-•   	__       *
      Radionoclides Causes cancer.          _      „ 1
      Benzene      Lukemia    _^_ _      _              :
      Coke Oven    Respiratory cancer

                                                      - I


 Both criteria and hazardous
 air pollutants come from
 mobile and stationary
 sources. Mobile sources
 include passenger cars,
 trucks, buses, motorcycles,
 boats,  and aircraft. Stationary
 sources range from iron and
 steel plants and oil refineries
 to dry cleaners and gas
  Under the Clean Air Act,
 each state must prepare a
 State Implementation Plan
 describing how it will control
 emissions from mobile and
 stationary sources to meet
 the National Ambient Air
 Quality Standards.
 Mobile Sources

 More than half of the
 nation's air pollution comes
 from mobile sources. Exhaust
 from such sources contains
 carbon monoxide, volatile
 organic compounds (VOCs),
 nitrogen oxides, particulates,
 and lead. Although VOCs are
 not regulated as a criteria
 pollutant, their emissions are
 controlled. Along with
 nitrogen oxides, they are the
 major contributors to the
 formation of ground-level
 ozone, also known as
  EPA controls emissions
 from motor vehicles through
 the Federal Motor Vehicle
 Control Program. Under this
 program, the Agency sets
 national emission standards
 for fuel evaporation, carbon
 monoxide, nitrogen oxides,
 volatile organic compounds,
 and particulates. Car
 manufacturers must design
new cars so that they meet
 those standards.
  State and local
 governments, with EPA
 support and guidance, operate
vehicle inspection and
maintenance programs to test
                                                                                          To DATE
 automobile emission levels.
 In addition, anti-tampering
 programs ensure that cars
 built for unleaded gas are not
 altered to receive leaded fuels
 and that emission control
 equipment is not removed.
   State and local
 governments also try to
 reduce pollution from traffic
 by supporting public
 transportation and
 encouraging ride-sharing

 Stationary Sources

 Stationary sources generate
 air pollutants mainly by
 burning fuel for energy and as
 by-products of industrial
 processes. Electric utilities,
 factories, and residential and
 commercial buildings that
 burn coal, oil, natural gas,
 wood, and other fuels, are the
 principle sources of such
 pollutants as sulfur dioxide,
 nitrogen oxides, carbon
 monoxide, particulates,
 VOCs, and lead.
   Hazardous air pollutants
 also come from a variety of
 industrial and manufacturing
 processes. Fuel oils
 contaminated with toxic
 chemicals, hazardous waste
 disposal facilities, municipal
 incinerators, landfills, and
 electric utilities  are other
 sources of toxic air
   EPA closely monitors  the
 compliance status of about
 30,000 stationary air
 pollution sources that are
 regulated by the states. The
 Agency reviews whether
 states are meeting ambient
 standards for individual
 criteria pollutants.  Where
 they are not meeting these
 standards, states are required
 to develop new plans to  do
 so. Once these State
 Implementation Plans are
 developed, the states and
 EPA monitor emissions to
 ensure compliance  with
limits and take action against
violators. Ambient pollution
levels also are monitored.
                                                                                         EPA, together with state and
                                                                                         local governments, has taken
                                                                                         a number of effective steps to
                                                                                         control mobile and stationary
                                                                                         air pollution sources.
                                                                                         Ambient levels of all criteria
                                                                                         pollutants have decreased and
                                                                                         far fewer communities have
                                                                                         pollution levels exceeding air
                                                                                         quality standards. Our
                                                                                         greatest success, however,
                                                                                         has been the reduction of
                                                                                         airborne lead (Figure A-2).
                                                                                           The  sharp reduction in lead
                                                                                         emissions and ambient air
                                                                                         levels is largely due to EPA's
                                                                                         regulations phasing down the
                                                                                         level of lead in gasoline.
                                                                                         Between 1977 and  1986,
                                                                                         ambient levels of lead in the
                                                                                         air declined by 87 percent
                                                                                         and emissions decreased by
                                                                                         94 percent. Levels of lead are
                                                                                         expected to continue to
                                                                                         decline as less leaded
                                                                                         gasoline is produced. Some
                                                                                         refiners no longer sell leaded
                                                                                         gasoline in urban areas.
Levels of Lead have
Decreased Sharply
  [ Concentration (|ig/m3|

            Range of 80%
            of the Readings
                                                          Source: National Air Quality and Emissions
                                                          Trends Report, 1986, USEPA

  The Amount of
  Pollutants in the Air

  EPA and the states use a
  nationwide monitoring
  network to measure levels of
  criteria pollutants in the
  ambient air. Because the
  monitors are concentrated in
  cities, where there is the
  greatest potential for human
  exposure to these health
  threats,  there is an urban  bias
  to the data. In general,
  however, the network data
  reliably  reflect national air
  quality trends. Data for the
  period from 1977 to 1986
  show that annual average
  ambient levels of all criteria
  pollutants are down
  nationwide (Figure A-3).
  These achievements include:
  • Particulate levels decreased
  23 percent both because of
  the installation of pollution
  control  equipment and a
  reduction in industrial
  • Sulfur dioxide levels
  decreased 37 percent because
  of efforts to cutback
  emissions, such as pollution
  controls at coal-fired power
  • Nitrogen dioxide levels
  decreased 14 percent, while
  Some Air Quality Trends
remaining well below
National Ambient Air
Quality Standards (NAAQS)
in almost all areas. Without
pollution controls the large
increase in the volume of
traffic during this period
would have resulted in a
significant rise in nitrogen
dioxide levels.
• Ozone levels decreased 13
percent between 1979 and
1985 due to the Federal
Motor Vehicle Control
Program and stationary
source control efforts. Many
urban areas, however, did not
meet the standard in 1987.
• Carbon monoxide levels
decreased 32 percent because
of reductions brought about
by the Federal Motor Vehicle
Control Program.
Gleaning  Up  the  Air
in Denver
Once a city with a reputation for pure, healthy
air, Denver has in recent years become known for
its summer-time "brown cloud" of nitrogen oxides
and winter-time carbon monoxide problems. A .
growing volume of traffic, combined with
Denver's unique geographic location and climate,
is responsible for much of this air pollution. A
temperature inversion develops every winter when
a layer of cold air traps relatively warmer air
below it, allowing a build up of carbon monoxide
and particulates. Denver's mile-high elevation
also adds to the problem. Poor fuel combustion
caused by the thin air produces high emissions of
carbon monoxide and small particulates.
  Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas
'that has especially severe health effects for people
with heart and lung problems. Levels of carbon
monoxide in Denver have been measured at three
times the national standard. Over 80 percent of
Denver's carbon monoxide comes from.
  Small particulates (less than 10 microns in size)
arid nitrogen oxides are responsible for Denver's
infamous brown cloud. Most of the small
particulates come from diesel trucks and buses,
coal-fired power plants, and sand spread on the
streets to improve traction in the snow.
  EPA has been cooperating with state and local
governments in cleaning up  the Denver air.  The
city's new Metropolitan Air  Quality Council has
enacted a carbon monoxide  reduction plan that
stiffened inspection and maintenance
requirements and mandated the use of high
oxygen fuels for all vehicles. The plan also
improved the "Better Air Campaign," a voluntary
program to cut down on driving and encourage
municipalities  to adopt wood burning bans on
days when concentrations of particulates are high.
Denver and four surrounding communities have
already adopted wood burning restrictions.  Other
innovative ideas such as special pollution control
devices for cars used at high altitudes are being
discussed. In addition  to efforts by government,
the Denver  business sector has contributed $1
million to study the causes and health effects of
the brown cloud.              :
TSP = Total Suspended Particulates  CO = Carbon Monoxide  NC-2 = Nitrogen Dioxide NAAQS = National Ambient
S02 = Sulfur Dioxide        03Z = Ozone       Pb = Lead             Air Quality Standards
Source: National Air Quality and Emissions Trends Report, 1986, USEPA

 Areas Meeting Ambient
 Across the nation, we have
 made considerable progress in
 meeting air quality standards.
 As shown in Figure A-4,
 many more areas are now
 attaining standards for ozone,
 sulfur dioxide, and carbon
 monoxide than did in 1978.
 (Lead nonattainment was not
 reported in 1978, therefore,
 there is no basis for
 Less Areas are Violating
 Air Quality Standards
Darkness at noon: Pittsburgh during the 1940s.
                                   The Dramatic Reduction
                                   of Lead  in the  Air
                                   The dramatic reduction of lead in the air we
                                   breathe is one of EPA's most important success
                                   stories. Lead has long been used in gasoline to
                                   increase octane levels to avoid engine knocking.
                                   Lead is a heavy metal that can cause serious
                                   physical and mental impairment. Children are
                                   particularly vulnerable to effects of high lead
                                   levels. Two efforts begun 15 years ago are
                                   responsible for a 95-percent reduction in the use
                                   of lead in gasoline.
                                    Recognizing the health risks posed by lead, EPA
                                   in the early 1970s required the lead content of all
                                   gasoline  to be reduced over time. The lead
                                   content of leaded gasoline was reduced in 1985
                                   from an average  of 1.0 gram/gallon to 0.5
                                   gram/gallon,  and still further in 1986 to 0.1
                                 'lll;""In addition to phasing down of lead in gasoline,
                                   EPA's overall automotive  emission, control
                                   program required the use of unleaded gasoline in
                                   many cars beginning in 1975.  Currently, about 70
                                 'percent of the gas sold is unleaded.
                                    These two efforts,  combined with reductions in
                                   lead emissions from stationary sources such as
                                   battery plants and non-ferrous smelters, have
                                   substantially reduced lead levels. This success has
                                   been one of the greatest contributions EPA has
                                   made to the nation's health.
 Although we have made
 considerable progress in
 controlling air pollution from
 both mobile and stationary
 sources, much still needs to
 be done. All of the six
 criteria pollutants except  lead
 and nitrogen oxides are
 currently of major concern in
 a number of areas of the
 country. In many counties or
 portions of counties,
 health-related standards for
 one or more of the criteria
 pollutants are not being met.
 For example, ozone standards
 are still not being met in
 over 60 major urban areas,
 such as Southern  California,
 Texas, the Northeast
 Corridor, and the
   We also need to do more
 work to determine the nature
 and extent of toxic air
 pollutants. Since 1984, EPA
 has developed and
 implemented a national air
 toxics program that assists
 states in monitoring and
 controlling high-risk local
 problems. EPA is continuing
 to develop national standards
 for air toxics and for sources
 of these pollutants.
   To reduce the risk of
 exposure to radiation from
 indoor radon, EPA is working
 with state and local
 governments to detect and
 mitigate unhealthful radon
 levels. A major thrust of the
 next decade will be to
 address growing national and
 international problems from
 stratospheric ozone depletion,
 global warming, and indoor
 air pollution.
  The remainder of this
 chapter focuses on eight of
 the most significant air
 quality challenges: ozone and
 carbon monoxide,  airborne
particulates, sulfur dioxide,
airborne toxics, acid
deposition, indoor  air
pollution, radon, and global


EPA'S  Radiation Efforts
Radioactive materials are widely used in our
society, including electricity generation, medical
research and treatment, weapons development,
industrial applications, and consumer products.
They are also by-products of certain mining
operations. Large amounts of radioactive wastes
have resulted from these activities, creating a
potential for exposure of our population to levels
of radiation that are well above natural
background levels. As the amount of exposure
increases, so do the health risks; exposure to
increasing levels of radiation increases the risk of
cancer and genetic damage.
  Under the provisions of a broad range of
legislation, EPA is addressing radiation problems
in four primary areas: radiation from nuclear
accidents, radon emissions, land disposal of
radioactive waste, and radiation in ground water
and drinking water. The Agency is responsible for
setting certain radiation standards and for
developing guidance to be implemented by other
Federal agencies such as the Department of
Energy and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
  EPA has set standards for radioactive emissions
under the Clean Air Act, the Atomic Energy Act,
and the Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control
Act. Under the Clean Air Act, radiation exposure
limits have been established for emissions from
Department of Energy facilities, Nuclear
Regulatory Commission licensees, and elemental
phosphorous plants, but under court order, EPA
currently is reexamining these emissions
standards. We also have prescribed work practices
to reduce  the emissions of radon from
underground uranium mines and have published
standards for controlling radon emissions from
mill tailings at active and inactive uranium
milling sites.
  Under our authority to issue guidance, the
Agency has proposed exposure limits for
nonioniziiig radio frequency radiation emitted by
broadcast and microwave transmitters. EPA has
also issued general guidance for occupational
exposure to ionizing radiation, including measures
to protect  the unborn. In addition, EPA has issued
guidance to limit the exposure of underground
uranium miners to radon decay products and  to
limit '/unnecessary exposure of medical patients to
medical x-rays.                     ,
Nuclear Accident Response
Nuclear accidents vary in magnitude from major
events such as.Three Mile Island to accidental
spills of small amounts of radioactive liquids at
medical facilities. EPA plays a major role in any
Federal response to nuclear accidents by
coordinating and participating in environmental
monitoring during and after emergencies. EPA
maintains emergency mobile monitoring teams
that can be rapidly deployed to an accident site.
EPA operated a post-accident monitoring station
at Three Mile Island for eight years, and was the
focal point for the U.S. response to the 1987
Chernobyl accident in the Soviet Union,
  As part of our Chernobyl response, we increased
the sampling frequency of the Environmental
Radiation Ambient Monitoring System, a
nationwide monitoring system that routinely
collects and analyzes air, water, and milk

   Ozone  and  Carbon  Monoxide
 Helping Los Angeles, New
 York, Houston, Chicago,
 fioston, Philadelphia,
 Baltimore, and aoout 50 other
 cities across the country
 rjieet the health standard for
 low-level ozone is a critical
 national goal.


 Qzone is one of the most
 intractable and widespread
 environmental problems.
 pespite significant efforts
 including controls on
 refineries and cars, no major
 liiban area in the country,
 with the exception of
 Minneapolis, is in attainment
 with the national
 health-based standards for
 qzone (Figure A-5). The major
 component of smog, ozone
 c|an cause serious respiratory
 problems such as breathing
 difficulty, asthma, and
 reduced resistance to
   Chemically, ozone is a
 form of oxygen with three
 qxygen atoms instead of the
 two found in regular oxygen.
 This makes it very reactive,
 so that it combines with
Express bus lanes and other improvements to mass tianspottation
help reduce traffic.
practically every material
with which it comes in
contact. This reactivity
causes health problems
because it tends to break
down biological tissues and
cells. In the upper
atmosphere, where ozone is
needed to protect people from.
ultraviolet radiation, the
ozone is being destroyed by
man-made chemicals, such as
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
But at ground level ozone can
be a harmful pollutant.
  Ozone is produced in the
atmosphere when sunlight
triggers chemical reactions
between naturally occurring
atmospheric gases and
pollutants such as volatile
organic compounds (VOCs)
and nitrogen oxides. VOCs
are released into the air
 Counties in Total or Partial Non-Attainment for Ozone
through the combustion,
handling, and processing of
petroleum products. Nitrogen
oxides are also produced by
combustion sources.
  Ozone levels are highest
during the day, usually after
heavy morning traffic has
released large amounts of
VOCs and nitrogen oxides.
Motor vehicle traffic is
growing so fast and is such
an essential aspect of life in
many places that even
strenuous efforts may not
sufficiently reduce emissions.
In just the four years between
1980 and 1984, Americans
increased their driving by
almost two billion vehicle
miles. Individuals as well as
state and local governments
must face tough choices if we
are to make adequate
reductions in ozone.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is an
invisible, odorless product
of incomplete fuel
combustion. When inhaled, it
replaces oxygen in the
bloodstream and can impair
vision, alertness, and other
mental and physical
capacities. It has particularly
severe health effects for
people with heart and lung
  The main source of carbon
monoxide is motor vehicles,
especially when their engines
are burning fuel inefficiently
as they do when starting up
in the morning, idling, or
moving slowly in congested
traffic. Other sources are
wood stoves, incinerators,
and industrial processes.
  Although carbon monoxide
levels' have declined in most
parts of the country since
1970, the standards are still
exceeded in 142 cities and
counties throughout the
United States (Figure A-6).
Many areas have local "hot
spots" of carbon monoxide
pollution, usually near
heavily congested roadways
and intersections.
                                                Source: Maps Depicting Non-Attainment
                                                Areas Pursuant to Section 107 of the Clean
                                                Air Act - 1985, USEPA



Considerable progress has
been made in reducing both
ozone and carbon monoxide
levels over the past several
years. National ambient
ozone levels fell  13 percent
between 1979 and 1986
(Figure A-6). The number of
areas where the standard was
violated more than once a
year dropped from 607 in
1978 to 368 in 1985.
  National ambient levels of
carbon monoxide fell 32
percent between 1977 and
1986, largely because of
automobile emissions
controls. Further reductions
in most places may depend
on effective local "inspection
and maintenance" programs
to make sure the control
equipment is functioning
properly. Inspection and
maintenance programs are
now being operated in 60
urban areas in 32 states.
  Despite these gains, ozone
and carbon monoxide remain
serious problems for millions
of Americans. In 1986, 76.4
million Americans were
living in metropolitan areas
with unhealthy levels of
ozone. Los Angeles is the
worst, frequently having
levels three times the
standard. Reducing ozone to
     FIGURE A-6
     Ozone and Carbon Monoxide Levels Have
   ^Continued to Decrease
acceptable levels will take
drastic changes in lifestyles
in many areas.
  Emissions of VOCs from
large stationary sources such
as chemical plants, refineries,
and industrial processes have
been substantially controlled
through EPA, state, and local
regulatory and enforcement
efforts. However, many
smaller sources such as paint
manufacturers, dry cleaners,
and gas stations have not
been widely controlled. The
Agency is assessing methods
to control a number of these
small stationary sources.
New emission standards for
industries producing
synthetic organic chemicals,
paints and other surface
coatings, and pesticides are
part of this effort.
                               [Concentration (ppm|
                                            Carbon Monoxide.
 With a population of 11.3 million people, the Los
 Angeles metropolitan area continues to have the
 nation's most serious ozone problem.  The same
 attributes that lured millions of people-to the L.A.
 area contribute to its ozone problem:  constant
 sunshine, light ocean breezes, and nearby
 mountains that concentrate and even trap the
 pollutants that produce ozone. L.A.'s large
 population, reliance on automobiles, emissions
 from a large petroleum industry, and numerous
 small sources of volatile organic compounds
 (VOCs) (such as dry cleaners and gas  stations)
 make ozone extremely hard to control.
   Ozone concentrations in L.A. have declined
 from 1965 to the present; peak concentrations in
 all areas  of L.A. are well below the historic highs.
 California has recognized the significant
 contribution automobiles make to the ozone
•. problem. The auto emission standards are the
 strictest in the country. Although there also are
 stringent controls  on industrial and small sources,
'• VOC emissions must be reduced by an additional
 75 percent or more in order for L.A. to meet the
 health-related ozone standard.
   Continued population growth and a heavy
 reliance on automobiles pose formidable obstacles
 to meeting the ozone standard. The population in
 the L.A. area is expected to rise to 15,8 million
 people by the year 2007. Auto travel and the
 number of small sources of VOCs also are
 expected to increase. Anticipated increases in
 VOC emissions alone over the next 20 years are
 estimated to represent more than 95 percent of
 the total  allowable emissions in the L.A. area.
   For L.A. to meet the ozone standard, there must
 be a  great deal of public support, as well as
 significant advances in technological
 developments that will reduce VOC emissions. In
 December 1987, the L.A. area took a further step
 and adopted an ambitious mandatory trip
 reduction regulation. Continued progress in
 reducing  ozone concentrations will require
 successful implementation of this and other
 similar programs.
Source: National Air Quality and Emissions Trends Report, 1986, USEPA

While considerable
reductions in ozone and
carbon monoxide have been
achieved nationwide, there
are major urban areas where
especially intractable ozone
and carbon monoxide
problems will persist for a
considerable period of time.
The challenge for EPA and
the states is  to find
responsive, effective, and
politically supportive ways to
meet ozone and carbon
monoxide standards
  Cars made before 1970 are
4ot subject to national
emissions control programs.
These cars and others with
less stringent emissions
control devices manufactured
ift the early 1970's are not
being replaced as rapidly as
had been expected. In
addition, about 20 percent of
the cars on the road have had
their pollution control
devices disabled. Many
vehicle owners incorrectly
believed that this tampering
would improve the vehicle's
performance or fuel economy.
These factors make bringing
ozone and carbon monoxide
levels down, particularly in
heavily populated urban
areas, a difficult social,
economic, and environmental
problem. Local authorities
must be encouraged to use
incentive measures that
could improve both the
quality of life and the air by
Auto exhaust being measured for carbon monoxide level in Fairbanks,
altering the transportation  ...
mix between cars and public

Small Stationary Sources
of Pollution

Small stationary sources of
pollution were not initially
regulated by EPA or states.
But because reductions
achieved by controlling
automobile and large
stationary source emissions
have not sufficiently solved
the ozone problem in several
areas, further controls will be
required on small stationary
sources. The costs of
controlling these sources,
primarily small businesses
with slim profit margins,
present difficult economic
and environmental trade offs.
Ozone Transport

Ozone and its precursors
frequently drift across state
and national boundaries,
creating considerable
interstate and international
controversy. However,
expense and large data
requirements for modeling
techniques to determine the
source of ozone makes these
controversies difficult to
                             Discarded catalytic converters and mufflers.  Removal of catalytic
                             converters greatly increases a car's ozone-causing emissions.
Among the criteria air
pollutants, ozone and carbon
monoxide are still EPA's
highest priority. The Agency
is focusing its regulatory and
enforcement efforts on
controlling new and existing
sources of VOCs, and is
developing emission
standards for a variety of new
sources, based on the best
control technology for YOCs.
We have also proposed that
cars be required to have
equipment to control
gasoline vapors while
refueling. These "on-board"
controls and other gasoline
volatility regulations, along
with normal vehicle
turnover, should reduce
nationwide volatile organic
compounds emissions by as
much as  25 percent over the
next decade or so.
  We will increase our
assistance to state and local
governments in promoting
the use of alternative fuels.
Methanol, ethanol, and
compressed natural gas
contribute substantially less
to ozone and carbon
monoxide than conventional
gasoline. Methanol is
especially attractive because
it can be produced from coal,
natural gas, and even  plants.
  EPA will continue to assist
the states in understanding
and addressing regional ozone
problems by developing
ozone models for areas such
as the northeast corridor.
This computer model will
simulate atmospheric
chemical reactions and
dispersion patterns over a
very large area.
  In addition to our efforts,
and those of federal, state,
and local governments,
individuals can reduce ozone
and carbon monoxide
pollution by using cars more
efficiently, forming carpools
and reducing the number of
trips. In fact, millions of
people will have to live,
work, and travel in ways far
different from the ways they
do today to reduce ozone and
carbon monoxide to healthy

                               Airborne  Participates
                                           To DATE
 Particulates in air, such as
 dust, smoke, and aerosols
 may have both short and
 long-term health and
 environmental effects. These
 effects range from irritating
 the eyes and throat and
 reducing resistance to
 infection, to causing chronic
 respiratory diseases. Fine
 particulates, about the size of
 cigarette smoke  particles, can
 cause temporary or
 permanent damage when
 they are inhaled deeply and
 lodged in the lungs (Figure
 A-7). Some particulates, such
 as those from diesel engines,
 are also suspected of causing
 cancer. Others, such as
 wind-blown dust, can carry
 toxic substances such as
 polychlorinated biphenyls
 (PCBs) and pesticides.
 Particulates can  also corrode
 building materials, damage
 vegetation, and severely
 reduce visibility.
   Majorisources  of
 particulates include steel
 mills, power plants, cotton
 gins, cement plants, smelters,
 and diesel engines. Other
 sources are grain storage
 elevators, industrial haul
 roads, construction work, and
 demolition. Wood-burning
 stoves and fireplaces also can
 be significant sources of
             particulates. Urban areas are
             likely to have wind-blown
             dust from roads, parking lots,
             and construction activity.
            .       ..,
_     Small Particles are j
 Inhaled into Lung Tissue
In 1971, EPA issued a
National Ambient Air
Quality Standard for total
suspended particulates
covering all kinds and sizes.
In July 1987, EPA published
new standards based on
particulate matter smaller
than ten microns in size
(PM10) (a micron is
approximately l/25,000th of
an inch). These smaller
inhalable particulates present
the most serious health
threat because they tend to
become lodged in the lungs
and remain in the body-for a
long time.
  Some particulates may be
controlled by conventional
means; others require more
creative approaches. EPA and
states have sought to meet
the particulates standard by
limiting emissions from
industrial facilities and other
sources. To meet emission
limits, industries have
installed pollution controls,
such as electrically  charged
plates and huge filters. EPA
has also set emissions
standards for diesel
automobiles. Improved
 paving, better street cleaning,
 limits on agricultural and
 forest-burning practices, and
 bans on backyard burning in
 urban areas are also reducing
 particulate concentrations.
  Our data show a 23 percent
 decrease in ambient
 particulate levels from 1977
 to 1986. In 1982, 345 areas
 had not achieved particulate
 standards. By 1985, the
 number of non-attainment
 areas had decreased to 290
 (Figure A-8).  For many of
 nonattainment areas,
 particularly in the western
 states, a major barrier to
 achieving the current
 standard  is natural
 wind-blown dust.
  EPA has established
 tailpipe standards for the
 emissions of particulates
 from diesel trucks and buses.
 These standards took effect
 for diesel vehicles in the
 1988 model year and become
progressively more stringent
in the 1991 and 1994 model
                 FIGURE A-8
                 Counties in Total or Partial Non-Attainment for Particulates - 1985
Others get caught
in the smaller
air passages
Only the smallest
particles get into
lung tissue
      Source: Maps Depicting Non-Attainment Areas Pursuant to Section 107 of
      the Clean Air Act - 1985, USEPA

Two of the greatest
challenges we face include
the successful
implementation of the new
inhalable particulate standard
(the PM10 standard) and
controlling new sources of
  The PM10 standard will
require substantial efforts by
EPA, states, and local air
pollution control agencies
pver the next several years.
The particulate emission
Controls that have been used
to date have been most
effective in reducing
emissions of large and
intermediate-size particles.
'VVhile the trend in the
emission of small particles is
not clearly known,  there are
doubts that they have been
reduced as much as large and
intermediate particulates
(Figure A-9).  Some small
particles may be formed in
the atmosphere as the result
of various chemical and
physical processes.  High
quality data for determining
compliance with the PM10
National Ambient Air
Quality Standards and
identifying potential problem
areas are essential to an
effective state and local
agency air pollution control
program. Review procedures,
monitoring networks, and
emergency episode  plans
must be established.
 Particulates  from Field

 and  Forestry Burning

 in  Oregon

 In Oregon, as in many other western states,
 controlled burning by the agricultural and forestry
 industries is a common practice. Such burning is
 the largest source of PM10 emissions in the state,
 exceeding industrial emissions by a factor of
 seven. Approximately 367,000 acres are burned
 each year in Oregon, generating about 97,000 tons
 of PM10. Forestry burning accounts for 84 percent
 of these emissions; the remainder is from
 agricultural field burning.
  Brush and other unusable wood remaining after
 clear cutting, called "slash," are burned routinely
 to reduce fire hazards, permit reforestation, and
 prevent infestations of insects harmful to trees,
 such as the bark beetle. Most field burning occurs
 in the Willamette Valley where approximately
 half of American grass seed is grown. Fields are
 burned in the late summer after the seed harvest
 to control insects and to prepare for replanting.
 Wheat fields in the Umatilla Plateau region of
 eastern Oregon also are burned after harvest. The
 regrowth of grasses and leaves after rangelands
 are burned control weeds and provide fodder for
 cattle and sheep. Approximately 10,000 to 15,000
 acres of rangelands in eastern Oregon are burned
 each year.
  The potential health effects of smoke and
 reduction in visibility and odor have been
 controversial environmental issues in Oregon for
 many years. Smoke from forest burning, regulated
 by the U.S. Forest Service and the Oregon
 Department of Forestry, has been reduced by
 about 30 percent since the late 1970s. A recently
 adopted visibility strategy is designed to further
 reduce it by 22 percent by 1995. The Oregon
 Department of Environmental Quality has been
 successful in limiting the effects of field burning
 on populated areas through its Smoke
 Management Program.
  As in many other parts of the country,
 environmental and economic values are in
 conflict. Concerns about public health and
 welfare must be balanced with the economic
 importance of burnmg as a land management
'Practice. Logging and grass seed growing are two
	of Oregon's key industries. To make further
 progress in pollution control, Oregon must come
 to terms with competing economic and
 environmental values.
Because of the lack of good
quality PM10 data, EPA has
classified all counties of the
nation into three groups
based on their probability of
not meeting the new
standard. For areas of high
probability of
non-attainment, we will
require the states to revise
their implementation plans.
For areas with moderate
probabilities of
non-attainment, the states
must carefully monitor the
air quality. For areas with
low probabilities, current
control strategies will be
presumed adequate. We are
also helping states modify
existing ambient monitoring
sites for these small
particulates. We will issue
guidelines for states to
determine whether an area is
attaining the new standard
and, if not, how to achieve
  We are assessing the need
for a fine particulate
secondary standard for
PM2.5. The standard is
intended to protect visibility
principally in the eastern
United States and in urban

Particulate Levels Have
Continued to Decrease
                                                                                       1100 Concentration y-s/af
                                                                                                         tyAAQS ;
                                                                                     Source: National Air Quality and Emissions
                                                                                     Trends Report, 1986, USEPA

   Airborne Toxics
 Toxic pollutants are one of
 today's most serious
 emerging problems. Toxic
 substances are found in all
 environmental media.
 Despite their low
 concentrations, toxic
 chemicals emitted into the
 air by human activities may
 have serious short-term and
 long-term effects on human
 health and the environment.
  Many sources emit toxic
 chemicals into the
 atmosphere: industrial and
 manufacturing processes,
 solvent use, sewage
 treatment plants, hazardous
 waste handling and disposal
 sites, municipal waste sites,
 incinerators, and motor
 vehicles. Smelters, metal
 refiners, manufacturing
 processes, and stationary fuel
 combustion sources emit
 such toxic metals as
 cadmium, lead, arsenic,
 chromium, mercury, and
 beryllium. Toxic organics,
 such as vinyl chloride and
 benzene,  are released by a
 variety of sources, such as
 plastics and chemical
 manufacturing plants, and
 gas stations. Chlorinated
 dioxins are emitted by some
 chemical processes and the
 high-temperature burning of
 plastics in incinerators.
  Once toxic contaminants
 are emitted from a smoke
 stack or tail pipe, people may
 be exposed to them in a
variety of ways. The most
common exposure is through
inhalation. Indirect exposure
may occur after airborne
particles fall to earth and are
taken up by crops, animals,
or fish that we consume.
These particles may also
contaminate the water we
drink. Through these routes,
some toxics accumulate over
time and become highly
concentrated in human fatty
tissue and breast milk.
  Most information on  the
direct human health effects
of airborne toxics comes from
studies of industrial workers.
Exposure to airborne toxics
in the work place is generally
much higher than in the
ambient air. We know
relatively little about the
specific health and
environmental effects of
most airborne toxics at the
low levels at which they are
found in ambient air.



EPA has issued National
Emission Standards for
Hazardous Air Pollutants
(NESHAP's) under the Clean
Air Act for eight hazardous
air pollutants: asbestos,
beryllium, mercury, vinyl
chloride, benzene, arsenic,
radionuclides, and coke oven
^missions. We are working
on controls for eight other
Carcinogenic pollutants from
13 source categories. In
addition to assessing risk and
Control options of these and
many additional chemicals,
the Agency is working with
state and local governments
to solve air toxics problems.
Many state and local air
agencies are developing their
own programs for toxic
pollutants. Some have
addressed a large number of
pollutants and, with our help,
are improving monitoring
techniques to measure these
pollutants in the
   We also work with state or
local agencies to investigate
specific problems.Some of
our cooperative programs
with state and local
governments include the
» The Control Technology
Center provides state and
local air pollution agencies
with technical guidance and
support for controlling air
 toxics. The Center's projects
have included an evaluation
pf potential emission sources
at a waferboard
 pianufacturing plant for the
 state of Colorado,
 identification of the potential
 for accidental and routine
 releases of toluene
 di-isocyanate for the
 Allegheny County Health
 pepartment in Pennsylvania,
 and the evaluation of
 emission factors for
 formaldehyde from certain
 wood-processing operations
 for the state of Virginia.
• EPA's Regional offices
have been working with state
and local agencies to initiate
the process of identifying,
investigating, and controlling
the general air toxics problem
in urban areas. We are also
helping state and local
agencies develop appropriate
regulatory or other control
• In 1987, we began
managing an ambient toxics
program at sites in 18 cities.
Over the next few years, this
program will continue to
help state and local
governments assess the
nature and extent of
potentially toxic compounds
in their ambient air.
       Cleaning Up Vinyl

       Chloride  in "Cancer

       Alley",  Louisiana

       Approximately one-fifth of the nation's
       petrochemicals are produced in an 85-mile
       industrial corridor stretching from Baton Rouge to
       New Orleans in southeastern Louisiana known as
       "Cancer Alley." Health statistics show that this
       area has an unusually high rate of several types of
       cancers. Many people believe this high incidence
       of cancer is attributable to air pollution.  One of
       the most prominent chemicals produced and used
       in the corridor is vinyl chloride, which EPA
       regulates as a hazardous air pollutant.
         Vinyl chloride is a colorless gas used in the
       manufacture of polyvinyl chloride, which is an
       ingredient in plastics. Vinyl chloride has been
       shown to cause liver cancer, and there is evidence
       linking it to lung cancer, nervous disorders, and
       other illnesses.
         EPA has sued 22 of the approximately 50 plants
       nationwide whose emissions are  regulated by
       vinyl chloride standards, including 11 plants in
       Louisiana. The Agency recently settled two cases
       out of court against a company for emissions from
       a polyvinyl chloride plant in Geismar, Louisiana.
      	This settlement may help unravel the possible
       cause-and-effect relationship between cancers and
       miscarriages and exposure to vinyl chloride.
       Among other things, the settlement calls for the
       company to pay a $1,000,000 penalty to the
       United States, and an additional $250,000 to the
       Louisiana State University Foundation for
       research into the health effects of hazardous air
       pollutants.  The fund could be used for research on
       the relationship between vinyl chloride exposure
       and miscarriages in the Geismar-St. Gabriel area
       of Louisiana  With the research results, EPA and
       State and local authorities may be able to link
       vinyl chloride to reproductive effects.
One of our highest priorities
is to solve the growing
national problem of air
toxics. EPA will move
aggressively under the
provisions of the Clean Air
Act to assist state and local
governments as they develop
their own programs.
  Specifically, the Agency
will continue to promulgate
and enforce National
Emissions Standards for
Hazardous Air Pollutants
(NESHAP's) for significant
sources of air toxics. We are
currently assessing the health
effects of some 30 chemicals,
including ammonia, chlorine,
and formaldehyde. We are
also evaluating other
chemicals for regulation
under NESHAP's;  these
include  chromium,
chloroform, carbon
tetrachloride, and  other
suspected carcinogens. :
  Another high priority is
continuing the effort to
increase compliance with
existing emission  standards,
especially those for VOCs.
Bringing additional sources of
these compounds  into
compliance should reduce
both ozone levels and
potential air toxics
  The air toxics problem has
turned out to be more
complex than  the framers of
the Clean Air  Act originally
envisioned in  1970. In 1987,
we developed a five year plan
and strategy for routine
releases. Some of  the major
 components of the plan
                              • Establishin,
                              programs to i
             ; federal
             .entify and
 regulate air toxics from
 stationary and mobile

 • Helping states evaluate and
 decide on the regulation of
 high-risk point sources that
 pose significant local risk,
 but are not sufficiently
 national in scope for federal
 • Enhancing state and local
 programs by providing
 planning, financial, and
 technical support.
 • Enforcing NESHAP's and
 mobile source regulations.
 • Expanding and improving
 long-term air toxics
 monitoring programs
 including those operated
 primarily by state and local
 agencies. This work will
 focus on consistent sampling
 and measurement techniques
 for toxic air pollutants to
 ensure compatibility and
 ready access to data handling
 systems that could be used
 by state and local programs
 as well.
  EPA's Air program
 routinely monitors and
 regulates emissions of air
 toxics. Provisions for
 emergency response to
 accidental releases are
 specified under Title III of
 the Superfund Amendments
 and Reathorization Act (see
 the Land Chapter). We are
 trying to integrate our
 approach to toxics. We now
 must coordinate  our
 regulatory efforts and avoid
 inadvertently shifting
 problems from one medium
 to another or from one
geographic location to
another. An integrated
approach is essential to
managing cross-media toxic
substances problems.


 Risk Assessment
 With improved scientific
 techniques, environmental
 contaminants can be
 identified at very low
 concentrations. Conducting a
 scientific assessment of the
 risk of these substances and
 deciding how to manage
 these risks, however, usually
 involves very complex and
 controversial scientific and
 policy issues. For example,
 scientists often disagree over
 the risk assessment for a
 substance because of the
 assumptions that must be
 made to develop the
 assessment. Additional issues
 related to airborne toxics
 include determination of
 what levels of exposure are
 acceptable from health and
 environmental perspectives
 and the social and economic
 costs and  benefits of the
 controls necessary for
 reducing exposure levels.

 Meaningful Involvement
 of the Public
 EPA wants to be sure the
 public is informed about the
 issues and uncertainties in
 the risk management process
 and to involve citizens in
 evaluating possible options to
 the greatest extent possible.
 Because of the highly
 technical nature of the
 issues, it is often difficult for
 citizens to participate
without special  effort on
EPA's part.
 More Potential Sources

 Economic growth in the
 chemical industry during the
 next ten years is expected to
 out-pace the average of all
 other industries. This will
 probably mean more new
 plants in states where the
 chemical industry is already
 concentrated -California,
 Texas, and New Jersey.
 Without adequate control of
 emissions,  this growth may
 increase the range and
 quantity of toxic substances
 released to the environment.

 Cooperation with State
 and Local Governments

 A major focus of the national
 air toxics strategy is the
multi-source, multi-pollutant
urban toxics problem. High
residual cancer risks from the
cumulative effects of
multiple pollutants from
many sources may exist in
many large, densely
populated or industrialized
urban areas. Problems and
solutions vary from city to
city. We are working with
state and local agencies to
address air toxics problems
particularly where there are
many sources and the
complex mix of pollutants
makes assessment of the
health effects difficult.

                              Sulfur  Dioxide
                                                         To  DATE
Several areas of the country
still exceed ambient
standards for sulfur dioxide
(Figure A-10). This presents
serious health and
environmental problems.
Excessive levels of sulfur
dioxide in the ambient air are
associated with significant
increases in acute and
chronic respiratory diseases.
Sulfur dioxide can be
transported long distances in
die atmosphere because it
bonds to particles of dust,
smoke, or aerosols.
Combining with water vapor
in the atmosphere to form
sulfuric acid, sulfur dioxide
emissions are one of the
major contributors  to acid
  Sulfur dioxide is released
into the air primarily through
the burning of coal and fuel
oils. Up until the 1950s, the
burning of coal by railroad
locomotives was a major
source of sulfur dioxide
pollution. Emissions from
industrial sources grew
sharply between 1940 and
1970, as a result-of increased
production. But since 1970,
industrial emissions have
Utilities Are the Primary Source
of Sulfur Dioxide Emissions
                      Industrial Processes 14.6%

                          Transportation 4.2%
                             Nonutility Fuel Combustion
                             From Stationary Sources 13.8%
                             Fuel Combustion
                             from Utilities 67.3%
                      Source: National Air Pollutant Emissions
                      Estimates, 1940 - 1986, USEPA
decreased because of controls
on nonferrous smelters and
sulfuric acid plants. Today,
two-thirds of all national
sulfur dioxide emissions
come from electric power
plants, with those that are
coal-fired accounting for 95
percent of all power plant
emissions (Figure A-11).
  Other sources of sulfur
dioxide include refineries,
pulp and paper mills,
smelters, steel and chemical
plants, and energy facilities
related to oil shale,  synfuels,
and oil and gas production.
Home furnaces and
coal-burning stoves are
sources that more directly
affect residential
 Counties in Total or Partial Non-Attainment for Sulfur Dioxide - 1985
                                Source: Maps Depicting Non-Attainment Areas Pursuant to Section 107 of
                                the Clean Air Act -1985, USEPA
Before EPA's establishment
in 1970, some states had
recognized the problems
resulting from sulfur dioxide
and had limited emissions
from power plants and
factories. One of EPA's first
actions was to set National
Ambient Air Quality
Standards for sulfur dioxide.
  To meet the EPA
standards, state
environmental authorities
developed control plans for
the various facilities emitting
sulfur dioxide. Many utilities
installed equipment to wash
excessive sulfur from their
emissions. Some of these
facilities converted sulfur
emissions into commercial
products, such as sulfuric
  One technique used to
attain the ambient standards
has proven to be
short-sighted. Power plants
and factories initially allowed
some use of tall stacks as  an
alternative  to further
reducing emissions. These
stacks dispersed the gas and
effectively reduced me local
impact of sulfur dioxide
emissions. However, sulfur
dioxide emitted from tall
stacks can be carried
hundreds of miles in the
atmosphere. As a result,
sulfur dioxide emissions in
the upper Midwest today are
contributing to  acid rain in
New England.
   Efforts to control sulfur
dioxide on  the national level
have been reasonably
successful. Ambient levels
decreased by 37 percent
between 1977 and 1986, with
a 2 percent reduction
between 1985 and 1986
(Figure A-12). An even greater
improvement was observed
in the number of violations
of the ambient standard,
which dropped by 98 percent
during the  same period.
Emissions, however, have
decreased only 21 percent.
Controls on existing plants in
urban areas and construction
of new power plants in rural
areas accounts for the
difference between emissions
and ambient levels.

    The decline in sulfur
  dioxide emissions is largely
  the result of the use of fuels
  with lower average sulfur
  content, the introduction of
  scrubbers to remove sulfur
  oxides from flue gases, and
  controls on industrial
  processes. The decrease in
  sulfur dioxide levels in
  residential and commercial
  areas are due to a
  combination of energy
  conservation measures and
  the use of cleaner fuels.
  FIGURE A-12,
  Sulfur Dioxide Levels
  Have Continued to
Source: National Air Quality and Emissions
Trends Report, 1986, USEPA
Today's major challenge is to
reduce sulfur dioxide
emissions from coal-fired
power plants while
continuing to lower
emissions from other major
sources. Recent new
advances in scrubber
technology are expected to
play an important role in
lowering emissions from
power plants.
  The sulfur content of coal
varies greatly according to
where it is mined. The
technical, political, and
economic ramifications of
this variance have
complicated the task of
setting sulfur dioxide limits
for facilities burning coal.
The geographical distribution
of high-and-low sulfur coal,
the economic impact on the
mining and utilities
industries from restrictions
on high-sulfur coal, the
variability of the  sulfur
content within coal, and
questions about the
contribution  of sulfur dioxide
to acid rain have  all caused
considerable debate.
 EPA and the states will
 continue to develop
 compliance programs to
 maintain the air quality gains
 made so far and to enforce
 limits on sources in the areas
 violating the national
 standards. We will also work
 with the states to improve
 the quality and usefulness of
 monitoring data for managing
 future efforts to control
 sulfur dioxide.
  Compliance and
 enforcement efforts will be
 focused particularly on
 implementing the sulfur
 dioxide  Continuous
 Compliance Strategy
 scheduled to be issued in  ,
 1988. We will be developing
 guidelines on the broader and
 more efficient use of
 self-monitoring data,
 especially for new sources.
  Revisions to the sulfur
 dioxide standards may
require further tightening of
current emission limits on
existing sources, changing
implementation plans in
some states, and revising
certain new source permits.

                                Acid  Deposition
     deposition is a serious
environmental concern in
many parts of the country.
The process of acid
deposition begins with
emissions of sulfur dioxide
iprimarily from coal-burning
power plants) and nitrogen
oxides (primarily from motor
vehicles and coal-burning
power plants). These
pollutants interact with
sunlight and water vapor in
the upper atmosphere to form
acidic compounds. During a
storm, these compounds fall
to earth as acid rain or snpw;
the compounds also may join
dust or other dry airborne
panicles and fall as "dry
  Over 80 percent of sulfur
dioxide emissions  in the
United States originate in the
31 states east of or bordering
the Mississippi River. Most
emissions corne from the
states in or adjacent to the
Ohio River Valley (figure
A-13). Prevailing winds
transport emissions hundreds
of miles to  the northeast,
across state and national
borders. Acid rain is now
recognized as a serious
long-term air pollution
problem for many
industrialized nations.
  The extent of damage
caused by acid rain depends
on the total acidity deposited
in a particular area and the
sensitivity of the area
receiving it. Areas with
acid-neutralizing compounds
in the soil, for example, can
experience years of acid
deposition without problems.
Such soils are  common in
much of the United States.
But the thin soils of the
mountainous and glaciated
northeast have very little
acid-buffering capacity,
making them vulnerable to
damage from acid rain.
Surface waters, soils, and
bedrock that have a relatively
low buffering capacity are
unable to neutralize the acid
effectively. Under such
conditions, the deposition
may increase the acidity of
water, reducing much or all
of its ability to sustain
aquatic life. Forests and
agriculture may be vulnerable
because acid deposition can
leach nutrients from the
ground, kill nitrogen-fixing
microorganisms that nourish
plants, and release toxic
                               TO DATE
Before the 1970 Clean Air
Act, U.S. sulfur dioxide and
nitrogen oxide emissions
were increasing dramatically
(Figure A-14). Between 1940
and 1970, annual sulfur
dioxide emissions had
increased by more than 55
percent and nitrogen oxide
emissions had almost tripled.
  The Clean Air Act helped
to curb the growth of these
emissions. By 1986, annual
sulfur dioxide emissions had
declined by 21 percent, and
nitrogen oxide emissions had
increased only 7 percent.
These reductions in historical
growth rates took place
despite the fact that the U.S.
economy and the combustion
of fossil fuels grew
substantially over the same
  How "Acid" is Acid Rain?
             Vinegar        Distilled Water
     Lemon Juice      "Pure" Rain (5,6|    Baking Soda


 Areas Where Precipitation in the East is below pH 5
                                         10   11   12   13

  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 one next 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 hunderedfold increase.
  All rain is slightly acidic. Only rain with a pH below 5.6 is considered "acid rain."
                                                                              •Shaded areas indicate individual states
                                                                              having emissions of 1,000 kilotonnes of SOa
                                                                              and greater.
                                                                              Contours connect points of equal
                                                                              precipitation pH.
                                                            Source: National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program Interim Report, 1987, USEPA


 In addition to enforcement
 and monitoring under the
 provisions of the Clean Air
 Act, the Agency is actively
 pursuing a major research
 effort with other federal
 agencies under the National
 Acid Precipitation
 Assessment Program
 (NAPAP). This on-going
 research project is designed
 to resolve the critical
 uncertainties surrounding the
 causes and effects  of acid
 rain. About $300 million have
 been spent for federal
 research since NAPAP was
 initiated in 1980, In
 September 1987; NAPAP
 published an interim
 assessment on the causes and
 effects of acid deposition.

 Aquatic Effects

 One of the most important
 acid rain research projects
 being conducted by EPA is
 the National Surface Water
 Survey. This survey is
 designed to provide data on
 the present and  future status
 of lakes and streams within
 regions of the United States
 believed to be susceptible to
 change as a result  of acid
 deposition. Phase I of the
 Eastern and Western Lakes
 Surveys showed that there
 are essentially no lakes or
 reservoirs in the
 mountainous West,
 northeastern Minnesota, and
 the Southern Blue  Ridge of
 the Southeast that are
 considered acidic. The four
 subregions with  the highest
 percentages of acidic lakes
 are:  the Adirondacks of New
 York, where 10 percent of the
 lakes were found to be acidic;
 the Upper Peninsula of
 Michigan, where 10 percent
 of the lakes were also found
 to be acidic; the  Okefenokee
 Swamp in Florida, which is
naturally acidic;  and, the
lakes in the Florida
Panhandle where the cause of
acidity is unknown.
  The 1988 Stream Survey
determined that
approximately 2.7 percent of
the total stream reaches
sampled in the mid-Atlantic
and Southeast are acidic.
About 10 percent of head
waters in the forested ridges
of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and
West Virginia were found
to be acidic. Streams in
Florida found to have a low
pH are naturally acidic. The
study indicated that
Atmospheric deposition is
the major cause of sulfates in
streams. Atmospheric
deposition was also found to
be a major cause of sulfates
in the lakes surveyed as part
of the National Surface Water
Forest Effects

The NAPAP:interim
assessment reviewed research
concerning the effects of acid
deposition ori forests. It
focused on the effects of
precursor pollutants (sulfur
dioxide and nitrogen oxides)
and Volatile Organic
Compounds and their
oxidants (including ozone and
hydrogen peroxides) on
eastern spruce-fir, southern
pine, eastern hardwood, and
western conifer. The
assessment found that air
pollution is a factor in the
decline of both managed and
natural forests. The San
Bernardino National Forest in
California and some types of
white pine throughout the
eastern United States are
seriously affected by ozone.
  Forests found to have
unknown causes of damage
included northeastern
 spruce-fir, northeastern sugar
 maple, southeastern yellow
 pine, and species in the New
 Jersey Pine Barrens. The high
 elevation forests such as the
 spruce fir in the eastern
 United States were found to
 be exposed to severe natural
 stresses as well as  being
 frequently immersed in
 clouds containing pollutants
 at higher concentrations than
 those observed in rain.
 Research has shown no direct
 impacts to seedlings by acidic
 precipitation or gaseous
 sulfur dioxide and  nitrogen
 oxides at ambient levels in
 the United States.  Ozone is
 the leading suspected
 pollutant that may stress
 regional forests and reduce
growth. Research is
underway to resolve the
relative importance of
physical and natural stresses.

Crop Effects
The NAPAP assessment
indicated that there are no
measurable consistent effects
on crop yield from the direct
effects or simulated acidic
rain at ambient levels of
acidity. This finding was
based on yield measurements
qf grains, forage, vegetable,
afld fruit crops exposed to a
range of simulated rain
acidity levels in controlled
exposure studies. Continuing
research efforts will examine
Whether stress agents such as
drought or insect pests cause
crops to be more sensitive to
rainfall acidity.
  Average ambient
concentrations of sulfur
dioxide and nitrogen  oxides
qver most agricultural areas
in the United States are not
high enough or elevated
frequently enough to affect
crop production on a regional
scale. However, crops may be
affected locally in areas close
to emission sources.
Controlled studies also
indicate that ambient levels
of ozone in the United States
Are sufficient to reduce the
yield of many crops.
Materials Effects

The NAPAP Interim Report
indicated that many
uncertainties need to be
reduced before a reliable
economic assessment could
be made of the effects of acid
deposition on materials, such
as building materials, statues,
monuments, and car paint.
Major areas of uncertainty
include inventories of
materials at risk, variability
of urban air quality, effects
on structures, and cost
estimates for repair and

Human Health Effects

The NAPAP interim
assessment reported that
there are also many
uncertainties associated with
assessing the influence  of
ambient levels of
atmospheric pollutants  on
human health. The primary
factors involved are a lack of
information on the levels of
exposure to acidic aerosols
for various population groups
across North America;
chronic health problems
caused by short-term changes
in respiratory symptoms and
decrease in lung function;
and the effects of repetitive
or long-term exposures  to air
pollutants. Studies on
toxicity of drinking water
have linked rain acidity to
unhealthy  levels of toxic
metals in drinking water and

On the international level,
the United States has been
working with Canada to
solve transboundary air
pollution problems. In 1986,
the Canadian and U.S.
Special Envoys on acid rain
proposed a plan to begin a
government/industry program
to demonstrate innovative
pollution control technology,
and conduct ongoing bilateral
consultations and cooperative
research projects. We are
working with other federal
agencies to implement the
recommendations of the
Special Envoys' Report on
Acid Rain, including a $5
billion government/industry
clean coal technology
program and a demonstration
program of an expanded
menu of commercial retrofit
control technologies. We are
also sponsoring joint
meetings and field
observations by European and
American scientists to
develop and test hypotheses
to explain the mechanisms of
forest damage.
  EPA also is working with
the states as part of the
congressionally funded State
Acid Rain Program (STAR) to
identify and  resolve potential
implementation issues that
may arise should an acid rain
control program be
Our greatest challenge is to
continue to reduce emissions
of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen
oxides. We must also
continue research  to reduce
the level of scientific and
economic uncertainties about
acid deposition and work to
resolve the regional and
international conflicts related
to this problem. In addition
to EPA's research  efforts,
major federal research
programs are being funded by
the Department of Energy,
the Tennessee Valley
Authority, and the Argonne,
Brookhaven, Lawrence
Berkley, and Oak  Ridge
national laboratories.

                                    HI- - i. *n u,«n' -in «r-in i iiKiaiiiii
EPA, in coordination with
other federal agencies, is
continuing wide-ranging
research on the causes and
effects of acid deposition.
Our major research efforts
include effects on aquatic and
forest ecosystems,  building
materials and human health.
In the area of human health,
in particular, EPA is
conducting exposure studies
on acid aerosols.
  EPA is conducting ongoing
aquatics research projects
that will continue  over the
next two or three years. As
part of the National Surface
Water Survey, seasonal
variability or lakes in the
Northeast will be studied.
  The Direct/Delayed
Response Project will
evaluate the rate and
magnitude of future
acidification with initial
results expected in 1989. In
1990, the Episodic  Response
Project is expected to provide
damage estimates for
particular acid deposition
events. When combined with
projected emissions trends,
the results of these studies
will provide estimates of the
current extent of surface
water acidification together
with expected rates of future
acidification on a
region-by-region basis for the
eastern United States.
  Also, EPA is working with
the U.S. Forest Service to
carry out the Forest Response
Program. Under the program,
research is conducted
regionally on eastern
spruce-fir, southern
commercial forests, eastern
hardwood, and western
conifer. A report on the
extent and severity of forest
damage is expected by the
end of 1988. Other studies
concern the roles of sulfur
and nitrogen compounds in
forest damage. Estimates are
expected by 1990. Data from
these research projects will
also be used to develop
predictive models of forest
health, growth, and general
conditions. Quantitative
estimates of current forest
response to sulfur and
 nitrogen compounds will also
 be developed.
   EPA will continue research
 to determine the effects of
 acid deposition on various
 types of building materials.
 Inventories of galvanized
 steel and painted surfaces,
 expected to be completed by
 1990, will be used to
 determine the extent that
 building materials are at risk.
 Damage studies for
 galvanized steel are expected
 to be completed in 1988, and
 for carbonate stone in the
 next two to three years.
 Surveys are planned that will
 be used to determine the
 benefits of reducing the rate
 of acidic damage to building
   We will continue to work
 with the states through the
 State Acid Rain Program and
 with other federal agencies to
 implement the
 recommendations of the
 Canadian and U.S. Special
 Envoys. At the same time,
 EPA is enforcing provisions
 of the Clean Air Act to
 reduce the principal
 precursors of acid rain —
 sulfur dioxide and nitrogen
 oxides. We will also work
 with the Canada and United
 States Bilateral Committee to
 resolve the transboundary
 acid rain problem.
  Over the next two years,
 major research results are
 anticipated for improving the
 basis of decisionmaking on
 acid rain issues. EPA also
 expects that Congress and
 other groups will continue to
propose options to reduce
 acid deposition. As proposals
 are offered, we will provide
 analyses of costs,
 consequences, and the
feasibility of implementation.

  Indoor  Air  Pollution
Indoor air pollution is rapidly
becoming a major health
issue in me United States.
Indoor pollutant levels are
frequently higher than
outdoors, particularly where
buildings are tightly
constructed to save energy.
Since most people spend 90
percent of  their time indoors,
many may be exposed to
unhealthy concentrations of
pollutants. People most
susceptible to the risks of
pollution — the aged, the ill,
and the very young — spend
nearly all of their time
indoors. As many as 30
percent of new and
remodelled buildings may
have indoor air quality
  The degree of risk
associated with exposure to
indoor pollutants depends on
how well buildings are
ventilated and the type,
mixture, and amount of
pollutants in the building.
Improperly designed and
operated ventilation systems
can cause  "sick building
syndrome", with complaints
of eye, nose, and throat
irritations, fatigue, lethargy,
headaches, nausea,
irritability, or forgetfulness.
Long-term health effects
range from impairment of the
nervous system to cancer.
Harmful indoor pollutants
include airborne pathogens,
such as viruses, bacteria, and
fungi, as well as radioactive
gases like radon> inorganic
compounds like mercury and
lead; and an array of organic
compounds such as
formaldehyde chloroform,
and perchlorethylene. These
pollutants may come from
sources such as tobacco
smoke, building materials,
furnishings, space heaters,
gas ranges, wood
preservatives, consumer
goods such as "air
   .	..,„...,.„,...,	
I  Ak Pollution in the Home

 fresheners," and solvents in
 cleaning agents (Figure A-15).
 Indoor air pollutants of
 special concern are described


 Radon is a naturally
 occurring gas resulting from
 the radioactive decay of
 radium, which is found in
 many types of rocks and
 soils. Radon enters buildings
 through cracks in the
 foundation. When inhaled,
 radon can adhere to particles
 and then lodge deep in the
 lungs, increasing the risk of
 cancer. Radon may be found
 in building materials such as
 concrete or stone. Radon can
 also be emitted from drinking
 water drawn from wells. EPA
 estimates that radon may be
 responsible for 5,000 to
20,000 lung cancer deaths per
year. The National Academy
of Sciences recently issued a
report that supports this
estimate. Radon is a
particular risk for smokers,
who have a health risk of
cancer ten times greater than
non-smokers. (The radon
problem is discussed in the
next section.)

Environmental Tobacco

Environmental tobacco
smoke (smoke that
non-smokers are exposed to
from smokers) has been
judged by the Surgeon
General, the National
Research Council, and the
International Agency for
Research on Cancer to pose a
risk of lung cancer to
non-smokers. Tobacco smoke
contains  a number of
pollutants, including
inorganic gases, heavy '
metals, particulates, VOCs,
and: products of incomplete
burning, such as polynuclear
aromatic hydrocarbons.
Published risk estimates of
lung cancer deaths among
non-smokers exposed to
environmental tobacco
smoke range from 500 to
5,000 per year.
Environmental tobacco
smoke can also cause other
diseases including other
cancers and heart disease in
healthy non-smokers.


Asbestos fibers have been
shown to cause lung cancer
and other respiratory
diseases. Asbestos has been
used in the past in a variety
of building materials,
including many types of
insulation, fireproofing,
wallboard, ceiling tiles, and
floor tiles. The remodeling or
demolition of buildings with
asbestos-containing materials
frees tiny asbestos fibers in
clumps or clouds of dust.
Even with normal aging,
materials may deteriorate and
release asbestos fibers. Once
released, these asbestos fibers
can be inhaled into the lungs
and can accumulate.

Formaldehyde And
Other Volatile Organic

EPA has found formaldehyde
to be a probable human
carcinogen. Formaldehyde is
responsible for a variety  of
acute health problems, such
as eye and nose irritation and
respiratory ailments. People
with lung diseases or
impaired immune systems,
 children, and the elderly may
be particularly affected by
 this pollutant. The use of
 formaldehyde in furniture,
 foam insulation, and pressed
 wood products, such as some
 plywood, particle board, and
 fiberboard, makes

                                                           To DATE
formaldehyde a major indoor
air pollutant.
  Other VOCs commonly
found indoors include
benzene from tobacco smoke
and perchlorethylene emitted
by dry cleaned clothes. Paints
and stored chemicals,
including certain cleaning
compounds, are also major
sources of VOCs. VOCs can
also be emitted from drinking
water. Twenty percent of
water supply systems have
detectable amounts of VOCs,
although only one percent of
supply systems are thought
to exceed 1986 Safe Drinking
Water Act standards for

Biological Pollutants

Heating, ventilation,  air
condition systems, and
humidifiers can be breeding
grounds for biological
contaminants when they are
not properly cleaned and
maintained. They can also
bring biological contaminants
indoors and circulate them,
resulting in such health
problems as allergic reactions
to pollen, fungi, and animal
dander; bacterial and viral
infections; and reactions to
chemical toxins released by


Indoor and outdoor use of
pesticides, including
termiticides and wood
preservatives are another
cause of concern. Even when
used as directed, pesticides
may release VOCs. EPA
researchers are investigating
whether indoor use of
insecticides and subsurface
soil injection of termiticides
can lead to hazardous
exposure. (See the "Pesticides
Section" of the Toxics
Over the past several years,
EPA has addressed the indoor
air pollution problem under a
variety of environmental
laws, including the Toxic
Substances Control Act, the
Federal Insecticide,
Fungicide, and Rodenticide
Act, the Safe Drinking Water
Act, the Resource
Conversation and Recovery
Act, the Asbestos in Schools
Hazard Abatement Act of
1986 and the Uranium Mill
Tailings Radiation Control
Act. Congress gave EPA more
specific direction to establish
an indoor air quality
program, however, in the
1986 Superfund Amendments
and Reauthorization Act.

Research, Technical
Assistance, and Public

Since 1982, EPA  has
conducted a research program
on indoor air quality
problems. This research has
been directed toward
increasing the understanding
of personal exposure,
emissions, health effects, and
mitigation techniques. As
part of the Superfund
Amendments and
Reauthorization Act,
Congress passed  the Radon
Gas and Indoor Air Quality
Act of 1986, which directed
EPA to conduct research,
implement a public
information and  technical
assistance program, and
coordinate Federal activities
on indoor air quality.
  Pioneering work has been
done to develop monitoring
equipment that measures an
individual's "total exposure"
to pollutants in the air both
outdoors and indoors and in
drinking water. EPA operates
test chambers and a test
house to determine the
composition and rate of
pollutant emissions from
selected building materials
and consumer produces.
These facilities are also used
to evaluate the effectiveness
of mitigation and prevention
techniques. The Agency is
also conducting research on
the health effects of some
important indoor air
pollutants and pollutant
  Several other programs
within EPA have conducted
information and  public
awareness activities related
to indoor air quality for
several years. For example,
EPA has a radon program
which is designed to identify
the health risks of radon,
demonstrate effective
mitigation techniques, and
give state and local
governments information on
how to implement these
techniques in new and
existing buildings. Several
 Erograms have issued
 ooklets and other materials
for the general public on such
topics as radon, asbestos,
termiticides, and wood
preservatives. Hotlines on
toxic  substances and
pesticides maintained by EPA
offer another means for
answering indoor air-related
questions from the public.

 Regulatory Actions

 EPA has taken regulatory
 action on asbestos, volatile
 organic compounds (VOCs) in
 drinking water, and certain
 pesticides. We require
 schools to inspect for
 asbestos, to prepare
 management plans, and to
 take action when they find
 friable (easily crumbled)
 asbestos. In addition we have
 proposed a ten-year phase-out
 of the manufacturing and
 Importing of asbestos
   EPA issued Maximum
 Contaminant Levels for eight
 VOCs in water supplies
 serving more than .25
 persons. Plans are to issue 75
 more drinking water
 standards for a wide variety
 of chemicals having national
 significance. These actions
 should reduce the levels of
 these compounds in indoor
   We have acted to control
 indoor exposures to a number
 of pesticides. For example,
 we have stopped use or the
 pesticide lindane as a
 domestic fumigant and have
 required child-proof
 packaging for certain other
 indoor applications. The
 Agency prohibited indoor
 applications of the wood
 pcnta-chlorophenol and
 creosote, cancelled use of
 pentachlorophenol in log
 homes, and required sealers
 on previously treated wood
used indoors. Recent
evidence showed that even
with proper application, the
termiticides known as
chlordane, heptachlor,
dieldrin, and aldrin persist in
the air of homes long after
treatment. In response, EPA
arrived at an agreement with
the major manufacturer of
chlordane and heptachlor for
a voluntary cancellation of
further sales  of this product
pending demonstration of
safe application methods.
Finally, we have suspended
the sale of the termiticides
aldrin and dieldrin; they are
no longer being produced.
EPA's 1987 comparative risk
study places indoor air
pollution among the top
environmental problems
facing the nation. More
research is needed to identify
and rank the health risks
from exposure to individual
pollutants or mixtures of
pollutants. We also need
effective, easily operated,
commercially available
devices to monitor personal
exposure to indoor air
  Methods for diagnosing and
correcting the causes of
building-related illnesses
need to be improved. A
variety of control measures
need to be identified and
analyzed, including product
substitution or modification,
and changes in building
design and ventilation.
  The Agency also needs to
determine the most effective
combination of public
information, technical
assistance, voluntary
guidelines, and regulatory
standards to manage known
The Agency is preparing a
report to Congress that will
make recommendations for
long-term research needs. We
have identified several
sources and pollutants for
further research including:
environmental tobacco
smoke; combustion
appliances; building
materials, furnishings, and
consumer goods; biological
contaminants; radon;
pesticides; and nonionizing
radiation from electric and
magnetic fields. We also will
be developing techniques to
diagnose, mitigate, and
 Erevent indoor air-related
 uilding problems. We will
be producing several public
information documents,
including consumer booklets
and technical manuals on
building-related illnesses and
environmental tobacco
  In addition, EPA heads the
Interagency Committee on
Indoor Air Quality which
coordinates Federal indoor air
programs. With  the
Committee, EPA periodically
issues the publication
Current Federal Indoor Air
Quality Activities. EPA will
also lead or participate in
other interagency efforts that
address the problem of indoor
air pollution. For example,
EPA is  leading an interagency
review  of certain chlorinated
solvents to assess the
potential risks to consumers
and workers.



                                Radon is a unique
                                environmental problem
                                because it occurs naturally.
                                Radon results from the
                                radioactive decay of
                                radium-226, found in many
                                types of rocks and soils. Most
                                indoor radon comes from the
                                rock and soil around a
                                building and enters structures
                                through cracks or openings in
                                the foundation or basement.
                                Secondary sources of indoor
                                radon are well water and
                                building materials.
                                 When inhaled, radon
                                particles release ionizing   "-
                                radiation that can damage
 Areas  With Potentially High Radon Levels
sensitive lung'tissue and lead
to lung cancer. EPA
estimates that radon may be
responsible for 5,000 to
20,000 lung cancer deaths
each year. Radon may be the
leading cause of lung cancer
among nonsmokers. EPA
believes that lip to eight
million homes may have
radon levels exceeding four
picocuries per liter of air, the
level at which EPA
recommends corrective
  Levels of radon can vary
greatly, even within the same
community. The variation
                                           Source; Office of Air and Radiation Programs, 1987, USEPA
depends on a number of
factors, including the
concentration of radon in the
soil, how individual buildings
are constructed, and how
well they are ventilated.
  Exposure to elevated indoor
concentrations of radon gas
was first recognized as a
potential problem in the
1960s when houses in
Colorado were found to have
been built with materials
contaminated by uranium
mill tailings. In the 1970s
EPA discovered that some
houses built on reclaimed
phosphate lands in Florida
also had elevated radon
  The discovery in 1984 that
a nuclear power plant
construction engineer had
been contaminated by
extremely high levels of
naturally occurring indoor
radon in his Pennsylvania
home led to recognition of a
broader problem at the state
and national levels. His
house was located on a
geologic formation that runs
through Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, and New York known
as the Reading Prong.
Measurements have
confirmed  that high levels of
indoor radon also exist in a
number of other geologic
regions in many states.
Shaded regions are areas which may have the greatest chance of producing high radon levels and the largest number of high radon levels.
This map should not be used as the sole source for any radon predictions. This map cannot be used to predict locations 'of high radon in
specific localities or to identify individual homes with high radon levels.
Local variations, including soil permeability and housing characteristics, will strongly affect indoor radon levels and any regional radon prediction.

This map is only preliminary and will be modified as research progresses.
Areas outside of shaded regions are not free of risk from elevated indoor radon levels.

|     |  Extent of continental glaciation.
|MH|  Geologic areas with known or expected indoor radon levels: granitic rocks, black shales, phosphatic rocks, near surface
^^^*  distribution of MURE potential uranium sources.
I	I  Areas with scattered occurences of uranium bearing coals and shale

EPA has acted as a catalyst to
bring together expertise in
radon assessment and
Remedial techniques in
federal, state, and local
governments as well as the
private sector. We have
developed a non-regulatory
approach which relies on this
close partnership to help
citizens reduce their health
risk from indoor radon. In
1979 we recommended initial
radon guidelines for existing
homes and new home
construction on reclaimed
phosphate lands in Florida.
The discovery of high levels
of naturally occurring radon
along the Reading Prong led
to the  development of our
Radon Action Program in
1985, and helped focus
national attention on indoor
air pollution in general.
  As a result, EPA issued
national guidelines in 1986
which explain the health
risks of radon and
recommend actions for
homeowners to reduce
exposure. The radon program
today has five major
elements: problem
assessment; mitigation and
prevention,- capability
development;  public
information,- and interagency

Problem Assessment

Hie Agency is assisting
States in conducting surveys
io identify areas with high
indoor radon levels. We also
have worked with Indian
tribes in three states. More
than 11,000 homes were
tested in the first ten states
surveyed. Preliminary results
Show that 21 percent of the
houses tested  have radon
levels  above EPA's four
plcocuries per liter action
guideline. Figure A-16 is  a
preliminary map of areas in
the United States with
potentially high radon levels,
based on geology. State
surveys have confirmed that
geology is usually a good
predictor of high-risk areas.
Mitigation and

EPA has a multi-year
program to research,
demonstrate, and evaluate
techniques to reduce radon
levels in new and existing
homes. These techniques
include sealing cracks,
improving ventilation both
                           within the home and in the
                           surrounding soil, and
                           removing radon and its decay
                           products from the air.

                           Capability Development

                           The Agency established
                           standard methods for
                           measuring radon levels using
                           several techniques, such as
   Radon Risk Evaluation Chart
            Estimated lung   Comparable
            cancer deaths due
oCi/1 WL  to radon exposure  exposure
PCI/I WL  (outofl(KMj;     levels
                                             Comparable risk
                                             More than
                                             60 times
                                             non-smoker risk
                                             4 pack-a-day
   100 : 0.5  270—630  100 times
            •         I,  average indoor
   40   0.2  ';120—380
                                             2;000 chest
                                             x-rays per year
                                             ,2 pack-a-day
         0.01   7—30    10 times
                     - ',- average outdoor
    1     0.005  3—13   Average
                      , indoor level
    0.2   0.001  1—3    Average
                       outdoor level
                                  Note: Measurement results are reported in one of two ways,
                                   I pCi/l|Picocuries per liter) - measurement of radon gas
                                   filBll'i'll	i'P'ii'llil	Pi]	I"	|:	;»!'	»	*	»	in	miiwiiw	PI«	«««»'» "rc *n ^5
                                     LfWorking Jeyelsj - measurement of radon decay piroducts

                                  Source: Office of Air and Radiation Programs, USEPA
                                             5 times
                                             non-smoker risk
                                              200 chest
                                             x-rays per year
                                             risk of dying
                                             from lung cancer
                                              20 chest x-rays
                                             per year
carbon canisters, to collect
radon samples. We now
evaluate semiannually the
performance of states and
private companies in
analyzing measurements
done in homes.
  We also have helped states
and the private sector
develop technical capabilities
to assess and reduce radon
levels in homes.  We have
provided classroom and field
training for state and local
officials and private
contractors,  and  have
distributed videotapes of
course material.  The Agency
produced a technical guide on
radon reduction  techniques
for detached houses and, in
cooperation  with the
National Association of
Home Builders, a summary of
techniques for new home

Public Information

EPA provides information on
how radon measurements are
made, how to evaluate health
risks associated with
different levels of radon, and
how to reduce radon levels,
both in indoor air and in
drinking water. We have
produced several brochures
intended to  help homeowners
better understand the nature
of radon.

Interagency Cooperation

We have been working
closely in our research efforts
with other federal  agencies,
including the Department of
Energy; the  Centers for
Disease Control; the U.S.
Geological Survey; the
Department of Housing and
Urban Development; the
Tennessee Valley Authority;
the National Institutes of
Health; and the  National
Bureau of Standards.

In spite of the risks
associated with exposure to
indoor radon, relatively few
people have had their houses
tested. To remedy this, the
Agency must continue
working with the states to
develop effective ways to
communicate risks to  the
public and to share results of
ongoing research. This will
need to include developing
additional ways to measure
and correct indoor radon
problems in houses as well as
in schools and commercial
In the future, EPA will focus
on assisting those states
which are now finding
elevated radon levels. The
Agency will continue to
expand its mitigation efforts
and will include a wider
variety of building types. We
will also work with building
code organizations to ensure
that radon-resistant building
techniques are incorporated
into new construction
  EPA will continue
providing technical assistance
to state and tribal
governments to enable them
to develop radon programs
Radon gas enters buildings through openings around pipes and cracks
in foundations.
and to expand private sector
capabilities to control radon.
Among the federal agencies,
EPA will coordinate research
into health effects from radon
and provide assistance with
measurement activities in
federal buildings.
     New  Jersey's Radon Awareness  Program
     The New Jersey Department of
     Environmental Protection's Radon
     Outreach Program is often viewed
     as a model by other states. A, major
     portion of the New Jersey program is
     the statewide survey of radon levels,
     which found that almost two-thirds
     of the state is at risk. Thirty three
     percent of the 6,000 homes tested so
     far have radon concentrations
     greater than the 4 picocuries/liter
     level used to identify buildings
     requiring further testing or action.
     The results of this study were
     released in the form of a map
     showing three priority areas for
     testing: areas where radon testing
     should be done as soon as possible,
     areas where testing should be done
     within one year, and areas where
     testing is suggested only if the
     homeowners are concerned. A list of
     individual towns in each area was
     also published to help communities
     and homeowners determine if they
     were at risk.
       An other important element of
     the program is public information.
     New Jersey's toll-free Radon
     information line has handled over
     50,000 calls since 1985, and is
     currently receiving several thousand
     calls per month. EPA has
           cooperated with the state and local
           officials in .establishing a highly
           successful community based
           information campaign. New Jersey
           has been training local health
           officers in the affected towns about
           ways to solve the radon problem.
           Towns have started to sponsor
           "Radon Awareness Weeks-" which
           include slide show presentations
           and information about radon in
           local papers.
             The New Jersey Department of
           Environmental Protection has
           instituted a monitoring program to
           confirm radon measurements.
           Confirmatory tests have been done
           for over 4,000 homes. About 25
           percent of the tests were done by
           local public health officials. New
           Jersey has also been supporting
           research to help solve the radon
           problem by participating in
           mitigation demonstration projects
           with EPA, including a
           state-of-the-art project with
           Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Oak Ridge
           Universities,  and Princeton
           University on the ways radon enters
           buildings and how to counteract it.
                                    I Tier 1 - Test as soon as practical

                                    I Tier 2  Test within one year

                                     Tier 3 - Test if concerned

  Global  Atmospheric  Change
Certain types of air
pollutants are producing
long-term and perhaps
Irreversible changes to the
global atmosphere. These
changes seriously threaten
human health and the
environment. Industrial
growth since the
mid-nineteenth century has
released large amounts of
carbon dioxide. In the
troposphere (the lower ten
miles of atmosphere) high
levels of carbon dioxide are
producing an overall warming
of the global temperatures.
This "greenhouse" effect may
cause irreversible changes to
the climate. In the
stratosphere (extending from
the troposphere to about 30
miles above the earth's
surface) chlorofluorocarbons
(CFCs) and halons are
breaking down the ozone
layer which protects the
earth from ultraviolet
radiation. This increased
radiation threatens to cause
increases in skin cancer and
other adverse effects. CFCs
and halons can remain in the
atmosphere from 75 to 100
years. Even if-emissions were
eliminated today, the
concentrations of these gases
would take many decades to
return to pre-industrial
levels. The global warming
trend may take even longer
to correct.

The Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect is a
natural phenomenon largely
 caused by carbon dioxide,
which has an effect
 comparable to that of the
glass in a greenhouse. Visible
 light passes through the
 atmosphere to the earth's
 surface. The earth radiates
 the heat as infrared rays,-
 some heat escapes, but
 carbon dioxide and other
The Greenhouse Effect Traps Solar Heat
gases in the troposphere trap
the rest, warming the earth
(Figure A-17). Without the
greenhouse effect the earth
would be  a frozen planet like
Mars; the average
temperature of the earth
would be  00 Fahrenheit,
rather than the current 590
  By increasing the amount
of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere through the
burning of fossil fuels such as
coal, oil, and natural gas, we
have created a warming trend
that may  raise global
temperatures between 20 F
and 80 F by the year 2050
(Figure A-18). The clearing of
rain forests also contributes
carbon dioxide and other
greenhouse gases to the
atmosphere when wood is
burned. Moreover,  the
clearing of large areas of rain
forests means that less
carbon dioxide is removed
from the air by plants.
Deforestation in Brazil,
Africa, Indonesia, and the
Philippines may be
contributing to rising global
  Global warming may
change weather patterns and
regional climates. Many
important agricultural areas
of the United States, for
example, could become arid
and less productive. Natural
ecosystems would also be
affected. One major
Global Concentrations of
Carbon Dioxide Have
Risen  10 Percent Since
        Monthly Concentrations
        of Carbon Dioxide
     -2-  at Mauna Loa, Hawaii

consequence of global
warming is already being felt:
rising sea levels, amplified by
storms, are increasing the
erosion of many coastal
areas. Sea levels are being
raised not only by the
melting of alpine glaciers and
polar ice sheets, but also by
the expansion of the oceans
as they are heated. Sea level
is expected to rise one foot in
the next 30 to 40 years, and 2
to 7 feet by the year 2100.
Sea level rise of this
magnitude would inundate
50 to 80 percent of U.S.
coastal wetlands, erode all
recreational beaches, and
increase the salinity of
estuaries and aquifers. In
addition, coastal development
would be damaged.

Ozone Depletion in the

Increasing concentrations of
the synthetic chemicals
known as CFCs and halons
are breaking down the ozone
layer, allowing more of the
sun's ultraviolet rays to
penetrate to the earth's
surface. Ultraviolet rays  can
break apart important
biological molecules,
including DNA. Increased
ultraviolet radiation can lead
to greater incidence of skin
cancer, cataracts, and
immune deficiencies, as well
as decreased crop yields and
reduced populations of
certain fish larvae,
phytoplankton, and
zooplankton that are vital to
the food chain. Increased
ultraviolet radiation would
also contribute to smog and
reduce the useful life of
outdoor paints and plastics.
Stratospheric ozone also
protects oxygen at lower
altitudes from being broken
up by ultraviolet light and
keeps most of these harmful
                                                         Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric
                                                         Administration, 1985

rays from penetrating to the
earth's surface.
  Chlorofluorocarbons are
compounds that consist of
chlorine, fluorine, and
carbon. First introduced in
the late 1920s, these gases
have been used as coolants
for refrigerators and air
conditioners, propellants for
aerosol sprays, agents for
producing plastic foam, and
cleansers for electrical parts.
CFCs do not degrade easily in
the troposphere. As a result,
they rise into the
stratosphere where they are
broken down by ultraviolet
light.  The chlorine atoms
react with ozone to convert it
into two molecules of oxygen
(Figure A-19).  More important,
chlorine acts as a catalyst
and is unchanged in the
process. Consequently, each
chlorine atom can destroy as
many as 10,000 ozone
molecules before it is
returned to the troposphere.
  Halons are an
industrially-produced group
of chemicals that contain
bromine, which acts in a
manner similar to chlorine
by catalytically destroying
ozone. Halons are used
primarily in fire
extinguishing foam.
  Laboratory tests have
shown that nitrogen oxides
also remove ozone from the
stratosphere. Levels of
nitrous oxide (N2O) are rising
from increased combustion of
fossil fuels and use of
nitrogen-rich fertilizers.
                                                                  Ozone Hole Over
In 1985, atmospheric scientists of the British
Antarctic Survey published the unexpected
finding that there is an ozone "hole" in the
atmosphere over Antarctica. They found that
springtime levels of ozone in the stratosphere over
Halley Bay, Antarctica had decreased by more
than 40 percent between 1977 and 1984.
Measurements taken from space by the Nimbus-7
satellite showed that the loss was occurring above
an area greater than the size of the entire
Antarctic continent. The British study provided
the first evidence that the stratospheric layer of
ozone surrounding the earth might be in greater
jeopardy than previously thought.
  In 1987, scientists from four countries met in
Punta Arenas, Chile to conduct the most detailed
study to date, the Airborne Antarctic Ozone
Experiment. Data from high altitude airplanes,
ground monitors, and satellites were used to
gather detailed information about its size and
chemistry. Investigators concluded not only that
the ozone hole in 1987 was the largest ever, but
that it is caused by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  It is now clear that CFCs are responsible for
reducing the amount of ozone in the atmosphere.
Moreover, the CFCs that have already been
released into the stratosphere will continue to
break down ozone for decades to come.
 How Ozone Is Destroyed
                                                            Chlorine monoxide
    Chlorofluorocarbon molecule
     In the upper atmosphere ultraviolet
     light breaks off a chlorine atom
     from a chlorofluorocarbon molecule.
          The chlorine attacks an ozone molecule breaking
          it apart. An ordinary oxygen molecule and a
          molecule of chlorine monoxide are formed.
                                                                                 Free oxygen atom
                  A free oxygen atom breaks up the
                  chlorine monoxide. The chlorine
                  is free to repeat the process.

In the early 1970s, CFCs
were primarily used in
aerosol propellants. After
1974, U.S. consumption of
aerosols had dropped sharply
as public concern intensified
about stratospheric ozone
depletion from CFCs.
Moreover, industry
anticipated future regulation
and shifted to other lower
cost chemicals. In 1978, EPA
ind other Federal agencies
banned the nonessential use
of CFCs as propellants.
However, other uses of CFCs
continued to grow, and only
Canada and a few European
nations followed the United
States' lead in banning CFC
use in aerosols.
  In recognition of the global
nature of the problem, 31
nations representing the
majority of the
CFC-producing countries
signed the Montreal Protocol
in 1987. The Protocol, which
must be ratified by at least
11 countries before it
becomes official at the start
bf 1989, requires developed
nations to freeze
consumption of CFCs at 1986
levels by mid-1990 and to
halve usage by  1999. The
Protocol provides for periodic
assessments and rapid
revision should scientific
analysis indicate the need for
such steps. Additional
features of the Protocol
Polar ice-caps are at risk of further melting from global warming.
include provisions on trade
and enforcement to ensure
that nations that fail to take
responsibility for protecting
the ozone layer do not gain
any economic advantage.
Many of the countries that
signed the Protocol now are
moving toward its
  In addition to
implementing the Montreal
Protocol, EPA is working
with industry,  the military,
and other government
organizations to reduce
unnecessary emissions of
CFCs and halons by altering
work practices and testing
procedures, or by removing
institutional obstacles to
reductions. We are working
with the National Air and
Space Administration, the
National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration,
the Department of Energy,
the National Science
Foundation, and other federal
agencies to better understand
the effects of global warming
and stratospheric ozone
  In 1986 and again in 1987,
research teams were sent to
investigate the causes and
implications of the hole in
the ozone over Antarctica. In
1986 we published a
multi-volume summary with
the United Nations on the
effects of global atmospheric
change. In addition, in 1987
we published a major risk
assessment of the
implications of continued
emission of gases that can
alter the atmosphere and
  In December of 1987, the
Agency published proposed
regulations for implementing
the Montreal Protocol. The
provisions of the Protocol
would be implemented by
limiting the  production of
regulated chemicals and
allowing the marketplace to
determine their future price
and specific uses.

 TODAY'S           EPA'S
While the Montreal Protocol
represents a major step
toward safeguarding the
earth's ozone layer,
considerable work remains to
be done. Our major challenge
is to develop a better
understanding of the effects
of stratospheric ozone
depletion and global warming
on human health, agriculture,
and natural ecosystems.
Substantial scientific
uncertainty still exists. More
must be learned about the
Antarctic ozone hole and its
implications, both for that
region and the rest of the
earth. More must also be
learned about recent evidence
of global ozone losses of 2 to
5 percent during the past 15
years. Any new scientific
information must be
incorporated into the
upcoming 1989/90
assessments called for by the
Montreal Protocol.
  Efforts to develop
alternatives to CFCs and
halons must be expedited.
The Montreal Protocol
provides a clear signal for
industry to shift away from
these chemicals. New
technologies and new
chemicals that will not
deplete the ozone layer and
increased conservation and
recovery are essential to
reducing the economic effects
of the Protocol both in the
United States and abroad. In
the short time since the
Protocol was signed, major
advancements in alternative
technologies have been
announced for CFC use in
food packaging and solvents.
Yet these are only a
beginning and more must be
We plan to continue
international efforts to
protect the ozone layer and
to assess the risks of future
climate change. We will send
advisory teams to several key
nations to help them explore
options for reducing use of
CFCs, such as producing
different products,
substituting other chemicals,
and controlling emissions.
  We are expanding our
efforts to address the
greenhouse effect by
continuing to study the
potential consequences of
global warming, such as sea
level rise and loss of
agricultural productivity. In
1988 the Agency will submit
reports to Congress on the
effects of global warming and
ways to limit the emissions
of greenhouse gases.
                            Stratospheric ozone depletion is increasing the risk of skin cancer from exposure to sun light.



  In the past 18 years since
  EPA was established, our
 nation has made significant
 progress in restoring water
 quality. At the same time,
 we have learned that many
 water resources have become
 increasingly threatened.
 • Ground water is being
 contaminated by leaking
 underground storage tanks,
 fertilizers and pesticides,
 uncontrolled hazardous waste
 sites, septic tanks, drainage
 wells, and other sources,
 threatening 50 percent of the
 nation's drinking water
 supplies for half of this
 nation's population.
 • Many coastaL towns along
 the Atlantic and Gulf of
 Mexico have to close beaches
 one or more times during the
 summer months because of
 shoreline pollution.
 • In Puget Sound, fecal
 coliform bacteria
 contaminate oysters, and the
 harbor seals have  higher
 concentrations of
  Solychlorinated biphenyls
  ?CBs) than almost any other
 seal population in the world.
 • Wetlands, the most
 productive wildlife habitat on
 an acre-per-acre basis, are
 being destroyed at a rate
 between 350,000 to 500,000
 acres per year.
   This chapter provides an
 overview of the nation's
 water pollution problems and
 describes the progress
 achieved so far and major
 challenges remaining.

   EPA; in partnership with
    state and local
governments, is responsible
for improving and protecting
water quality. These efforts
are organized around three
themes. The first is
maintaining the quality of
drinking water. This is
addressed by monitoring and
treating drinking water prior
to consumption and by
minimizing the
contamination of the surface
water and protecting against
contamination of ground
water needed for human
consumption. The second
theme is preventing the
degradation and destruction
of critical aquatic habitats,
including wetlands, nearshore
coastal waters, oceans, and
lakes. The third is reducing
the pollution of free-flowing
surface waters and protecting
their uses.
  Drinking water is provided
to 200 million Americans (83
percent of the population) by
58,000 community water
supply systems and to
nonresidential locations such
as campgrounds, schools, and
factories by 160,000
small-scale suppliers. The
balance of Americans are
served by private wells. The
drinking water supplied  to
over half of all Americans is
drawn from ground water,
which comprises about 90
percent of the nation's
available fresh water. In rural
areas, ground water is the
source of 95 percent of
drinking water consumed.
Protection of ground water
from contamination must be
a major component of our
nation's effort to provide
good quality drinking water.
  Untreated water drawn
from ground water and
surface waters, (such as lakes
and rivers), can contain
contaminants that pose acute
and chronic threats to human
health. EPA has developed a
program for monitoring and
treating surface water before
it is consumed. Because
significant problems still
remain, EPA is continuing its
work in establishing
standards for contaminants
found in drinking water and
continuing to ensure
compliance with all drinking
water standards.
  Wetlands, coastal waters,
marine waters, and lakes
serve as breeding areas for
commercial and sport
fisheries and other wildlife,
and as recreational areas for
millions of residents and
tourists. For a variety of"
reasons, some of  these
critical aquatic habitats have
been significantly degraded or
destroyed during  our nation's
history, and many more are
threatened. EPA is placing
particular emphasis on the
protection of these resources.
  In the early 1970's the
nation recognized the impact
of conventional pollutants on
surface waters and developed
programs for their control.
EPA and the states have
established a major program
of establishing standards for
our surface waters and
subsequent permitting and
enforcement to safeguard
these standards. Now we are
also aware of the impact of
toxic pollutants in surface
water. In 1986, 27 states
reported detectable levels of
toxic contaminants in fish
tissue and 23 reported
concentrations in localized
areas exceeding levels
considered safe by the Food
and Drug Administration.
Continuing to protect rivers,
lakes, and streams is the
third focus of EPA's effort to
protect our nation's water

Congress has given EPA, the
states, and Indian tribal
governments broad authority
to deal with water pollution.
The principal law is the
Clean Water Act of 1972
(CWA). The CWA's goal is to
"restore and maintain the
chemical, physical, and
biological integrity of the
nation's waters." Under this
mandate, EPA has developed
regulations  and programs to
reduce pollutants entering all
surface waters, including
lakes, rivers, estuaries,
oceans, and wetlands. In 1987
Congress passed the Water
Quality Act of 1987 that
reauthorized and
strengthened the Clean Water
Act. The amendments  ensure
continued support for
municipal sewage treatment
plants, initiate a new
state-federal program to
control nonpoint source
pollution, and accelerate the
imposition of tighter controls
on toxic pollutants.
  The Safe Drinking Water
Act (SDWA) of 1974 created
major legislative authority for
protecting drinking water
resources. This act, which
was amended in 1986,
requires the establishment of
additional drinking water
standards as well as
protection of underground
sources of drinking water
from underground disposal of
fluids. The 1986 amendments
to the SDWA also established
two new major ground-water
protection programs: the
wellhead protection program
to protect areas around public
drinking water wells and the
sole-source aquifer
demonstration program to
protect unique underground
water supplies.
  To protect the marine
environment from the
harmful effects of ocean
dumping, Congress enacted
the Marine Protection,
Research and Sanctuaries Act
in 1972. This act established
a permit program to ensure
that dumping of wastes in
the ocean does not cause
degradation of the marine
  Additional environmental
laws such as the Resource
Conservation and Recovery
Act (RCRA), the
Environmental Response,
Compensation and Liability
Act (CERCLA or Superfund),
and the Toxic Substances
Control  Act (TSCA) require
measures that ultimately
improve and protect our
inland, marine and
ground-water  resources.


The job of cleaning and
protecting the  nation's
drinking water, coastal zone
waters, and surface waters is
made complex by the variety
of sources of pollution that
affect them. In general, water
quality problems are caused
by one of four  major
categories of pollution
sources: municipal,
industrial, npnpoint, and
dredge and fill activities (see
Figure W-l). A stream or
ground-water aquifer may be
affected by only one of these
sources. More  often, they are
polluted by a combination of
these sources.

Municipal Sources

Municipal wastewater
consists primarily  of water
from toilets and "gray water"
from sinks, showers, and
other uses. This wastewater
which runs through city
sewers may be contaminated
by organic materials,
nutrients, sediment, bacteria,
and viruses. Toxic substances
used in the home,  including
crankcase oil,  paint,
household cleaners, and
pesticides, also make their
way into sewers. In many
towns, industrial facilities are
hooked into the municipal
system and frequently
discharge toxic metals and
organic chemicals into the
systems. Storm water from
downspouts, streets, and
parking lots, sometimes
enters the municipal system
through street sewers and
may carry with it residues,
toxic chemicals, and
  Municipal pollution can be
controlled by properly
constructed and maintained
household systems and,
where necessary, by the
construction and operation of
sewage treatment plants.
Toxics discharged by industry
are controlled by
"pretreating" industrial
wastes before they are
discharged into municipal
sewers. Initially, the CWA
mandated a program of
federal grants to share the
cost of sewage treatment
plant construction with
states and local governments.
The 1987 amendments
provided for phasing out this
program and replacing it with
state revolving funds with
initial seed money provided
to the states by EPA.
  The CWA also created  a
program to issue permits to
every facility that discharges
waste into water, including
all sewage plants. The
 Major Causes of Stream Pollution
 (for 370,000 stream miles not meeting designated uses)

                         Industrial Sources  9%

                                  Municipal Sources 17%

                                    Background Sources  6%

                                    I Other/Unknown Sources
permits, under the National
Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System or
NPDES, establish the amount
of each pollutant that the
plant may discharge based on
national, technology-based
effluent limits or, where
necessary, the quality of the
water as determined by state
water quality standards.

Industrial Sources

The use of water in industrial
processes, such as the
manufacturing of steel or
chemicals, produces billions
of gallons of wastewater
daily. Some industrial
pollutants are similar to
those in municipal sewage
but often more concentrated.
Others are more exotic and
include a great variety of
heavy  rnetals and synthetic
organic substances. In large
enough dosages, these
pollutants may present
serious hazards to human
health and aquatic organisms.
  Industrial water pollution
control also relies mainly on
the enforcement of NPDES
permits. Many industrial
permits are now being
revised to improve control of
toxic substances in their

Nonpoint Sources

Nonpoint sources of water
pollution are multiple,
diffuse sources of pollution as
opposed to a single "point"
source such as a discharge
pipe from a factory. For
example, rainwater washing
over farmlands and carrying
top soil and chemical
residues into nearby streams
is a major nonpoint source of
water  pollution. Primary
nonpoint sources of pollution
include water runoff from
farming, urban areas,  mining,
forestry, and construction
  The major pollutant from
nonpoint sources by volume
is sediment. Runoff also may
carry oil and gasoline,
agricultural chemicals,
nutrients, heavy metals, and
other toxic substances, as
well as bacteria, viruses, and
oxygen-demanding compounds.
Nonpoint sources now
comprise the largest source of
water pollution, contributing
65 percent of the
contamination in impaired
rivers, 76 percent in impaired
lakes, and 45 percent in
impaired estuaries.

Dredge and Fill

When waterways are dredged
to make them wider or
deeper, the dredging churns
up bottom sediments and
other pollutants, such as
PCBs and heavy metals, that
are bound to the sediments.
These resuspended pollutants
thus get a new chance to
pollute the environment.
Moreover, when dredged
materials are dumpecT
onshore, they can seriously
harm sensitive wetland areas
such as swamps, bogs, and
coastal marshes. Fill
material, too, harms wetlands
when used to provide
development sites.
  The federal program to
regulate through permits the
discharge  of dredged or fill
material in United States
waters is jointly administered
by EPA and the U.S. Army
Corps of Engineers. As part of
its responsibility, EPA
encourages careful
consideration of alternative
sites and methods to mitigate
the effects of dredged or fill
material on wetlands or open
    Source: 305(b) 1986 National Report

Legislative Tools
Congress has provided EPA and the
states with three primary statutes to
control and reduce water pollution:
the Clean Water Act, the Safe
Drinking Water Act, and the Marine
Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries
Act. Each statute provides a variety
of tools that can be used to meet the
challenges and complexities of
reducing water pollution in our


The states adopt water quality
standards for every stream within
their borders. These standards
include a designated use such as
fishing or swimming and prescribe
criteria to protect that use. The
criteria are pollutant specific and
represent the permissible levels of
substances in the waters that would
enable the use to be achieved.  Water
quah'ty standards are the basis for
nearly all water quality management
decisions. Depending upon the
standard adopted for a particular
stream, controls may be needed to
reduce the pollutant levels. Water
quality standards are reviewed every
three years and revised as needed.

Effluent Guidelines
EPA develops uniform, nationally
consistent effluent limitations
(pollutant-specific discharge
limitations) for industrial categories
and sewage treatment plants. These
limitations are based on a
consideration of the best available
technology that is economically
achievable. EPA and the states use
these guidelines to establish National
Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System (NPDES) permit limitations.
The effluent guidelines are minimum
or baseline limitations; additional
controls may be required to achieve
water quality standards for the
stream segment that receives a
plant's discharge.

Permits and Enforcement
All industrial and municipal facilities
that discharge waste-water directly
into our nations rivers and streams
must have an NPDES permit and are
responsible for monitoring and
reporting discharge levels. The states
and/or EPA inspect dischargers to
determine if they are in  compliance
 with the permit limitations and :  .
 conditions. Appropriate enforcement
 actions, including criminal actions,
 are taken as needed.

 Wetlands Protection
 EPA and the U.S. Army.Corps of
 Engineers implement jointly a permit
 program regulating the discharge of
 dredged or fill material into waters of
 the  United States, including
 wetlands. As part of this program,
 EPA's principal responsibility is to
 develop the substantive
 environmental criteria by which
 permit applications are evaluated.
 EPA also reviews the permit
 applications and, if necessary, can
 veto permits that would result in
 significant environmental damage.

 National Estuary Program
 States nominate and EPA selects
 estuaries of national significance that
 are  threatened by pollution,         ,
 development, or overuse. EPA and  \
 the  involved state(s) form a
 management committee consisting of
 numerous workgroups to assess the
 problems,  identify management
 solutions,  and develop and oversee
 implementation of plans for
 addressing the problems.

 The CWA authorizes EPA to provide
 financial assistance to states to
 support programs such as the
 construction of municipal sewage
 treatment plants; water quality
 monitoring, permitting, and
 enforcement; and implementation  of
 nonpoint source controls. These funds
 also may support development and
 implemen tation of state ground-water
 protection strategies. In addition,
 EPA provides grants to states for the
 creation of State Water Pollution
 Control Revolving Funds. States, may
 use these funds for loans and other
 types of financial assistance to local
 governments for the construction of
 municipal wastewater treatment
 plants, implementation of nonpoint
 source programs, and the,
 development and implementation  of
 estuary protection programs„


 EPA establishes standards for
 drinking water quality. These
 standards represent the Maximum
 Containinant Levels (MCL)
 allowable, and consist of numerical
..criteria for specified contaminants.
 Treatment and Monitoring
 Local water supply systems are
 required to monitor their drinking
 water periodically for contaminants
 with MCLs and for a broad range of
 other contaminants as specified by
 EPA. Additionally, to protect
 underground sources of drinking
 water, EPA requires periodic
 monitoring of wells used for
 underground injection of hazardous
 waste, including monitoring of the
 ground water above the wells.

 States have the primary
 responsibility for the enforcement of
 drinking water standards,
 monitoring, and reporting
 requirements. States also determine
 requirements  for environmentally
 sound underground injection of
. wastes. .   .:....  -.."...'....  .  ,.',.._....,	
 The Safe Drinking Water Act
 authorizes EPA to award grants to
 states for developing and
 implementing programs to protect
 drinking water at the tap and
 ground-water resources. These several
 grant programs may be for supporting
 state public water supply, wellhead
 protection,  and underground injection
 programs, including compliance and


 Permits, Enforcement, and Site
 EPA designates recommended sites
 and times for ocean dumping. Actual
 dumping at these designated sites
 requires a permit. EPA and the Corps
 of Engineers share this permitting
 authority, with the Corps responsible
 for the permitting of dredged material
 (subject to an EPA review role), and
. EPA responsible for permitting all
 other types  of materials. The Coast
 Guard monitors the activities and
 EPA is responsible for assessing
 penalties for violations. EPA also is
 responsible  for  designating sites and
 times for the ocean dumping

                                   FIGURE W-2
                                  ::;MajorSources of Ground Water
                                   Contamination Reported by States

Overall, the national strategy
to restore and maintain water
quality is working. A strong
cooperative relationship has
been developed among the
federal, state, and local
jurisdictions responsible for
maintaining the integrity of
our waters. Expenditures by
EPA, the states, and local
governments to construct and
update sewage treatment
facilities have substantially
increased the population
served. Public awareness and
concern over safe drinking
water has increased due to
more frequent reporting of
the occurrence or
contamination  in finished
water. Interest  in protecting
ecologically critical areas
such as wetlands and
estuaries has increased in the
public and  private sectors. By
focusing primarily on point
sources, the United States
has kept significant amounts
of pollutants out of its
surface waters.
  Details of the progress
made in protecting drinking
water, critical aquatic
habitats, and surface waters
from pollution generated by
municipalities, industry,
nonpoint sources, and
dredging activities is
summarized below.
Protecting Drinking
Water Sources

EPA's program to protect the
nation's drinking water
focuses on two areas:
protecting ground water and
assuring mat water being
consumed meets health-based
  There are many potential
sources of ground-water
contamination resulting from
commercial and household
activities, and hundreds of
chemicals have been found in
ground water (see Figure W-2).
Recognizing the high costs or
treating and cleaning up
contaminated ground water,
EPA and the states have
worked together on
developing and implementing
a variety of ground-water
protection management,
research, and control


,,,' ."" .." ;; '. "' " .:..'::''' "," ' ; •„
Septic Tanks
Underground Storage Tanks
Agricultural Activities
On-site Landfills

Surface Impoundments
Municipal Landfills
Abandoned Waste Sites
Oil and Gas Brine Pits
No. of States
Reporting "
; • ; ;• Source

. . " 	 29
No. of States
Reporting as
Ifnmary Source * *




focus is on problem
recognition, developing new
program strategies, and
beginning research and
development of protection
and cleanup technologies.
Some significant
accomplishments already
Saltwater Intrusion
Other Landfills
Road Salting
Land Application of Sludge

Regulated Waste Sites
Mining Activities
Underground Injection Wells
Construction Activities

                                            und- water
     ii:i "Ba^d^pr^aJptal.o^SI Sjiales^ar^jerrllprfes^hic      .
      contamination sources in their 1986 305 (b) submittafs.
     ...... •SomeiiStatesiidid npt^indicatea^rirnary source.^ ,r.i(i  ........... ^ii(n    ..... 1    |
     ; Sourcg: JJQgjj J986 Nations] Report ......     _ _.__ ...... ._.  __     ^
activities. In 1984, EPA
adopted a Ground-Water
Protection Strategy that was
designed as a comprehensive
approach to protecting our
nation's ground-water. States
have developed and are
starting to implement
strategies to deal with
ground-water problems,
including Wellhead
Protection programs to
protect public wells providing
drinking water.
  Indeed, the nation has
become increasingly aware of
the need to protect recharge
areas of wells. Many states
are moving forward to create
statewide or more localized
wellhead protection
programs. EPA is providing
numerous technical
assistance documents and
training to help states with
their wellhead protection
  When the Safe Drinking
Water Act became law, the
federal government had little
reliable information about
water suppliers, the quality
of the drinking water being
provided, the treatment
techniques used, or even
about water system owners.
This information was
available for only about
19,200 community water
systems in 1969. Today this
                         information is available on
                         more than 58,000 systems.
                         To protect drinking water,
                         EPA established standards
                         defining the maximum
                         extent to which
                         contaminants are allowed. In
                         the past decade, the Agency
                         has issued Maximum
                         Contaminant Levels (MCLs)
                         for 26 important pollutants
                         in drinking water. In 1986, 87
                         percent of 58,000 public
                         water systems were meeting
                         these federal standards.
                         Standards for 83 additional
                         MCLs will be established by
                           An active enforcement
                         program, in partnership with
                         the states, also has been
                         successful in identifying the
                         most flagrant violations of
                         treatment standards and
                         working with communities
                         to return water systems to

                         Protecting Critical
                         Aquatic Habitats

                         EPA only recently started to
                         focus attention on critical
                         aquatic habitats as a major
                         environmental problem. The
                         current program combines
                         the expertise and experience
                         of EPA, other federal
                         agencies, and state and local
                         governments. The initial
• EPA has successfully
pioneered coastal waterbody
management programs in the
Great Lakes and Chesapeake
Bay, and in other estuaries
under its National Estuary
Program. We are now
expanding our efforts to reach
other waters through
implementing a newly
developed strategic plan for
improving the management
of near coastal waters. This
Near Coastal Waters
Initiative is the next step in
improving the waters of our
bays, estuaries, coastal
wetlands and the coastal
• Great strides have been
made in changing public
views on wetland areas. Over
50 percent of the wetlands in
the lower 48 states have been
converted to other uses
within the last 200 years. By
the mid-1950s, the rate of
wetland loss was 458,000
acres annually; and annual
losses are estimated to
continue at 350,000 to
500,000 acres.  These areas
which once were treated as
unhealthy wastelands fit only
to be drained and filled are
now recognized for the wide
variety of important natural
functions they provide. This
is an important first step in
developing a comprehensive
approach to the protection
and management of wetlands.
Within recent years, EPA has
been taking an increasingly
active role in the Clean
Water Act dredge and fill
permitting program. Evidence
of EPA's increased role is the
Agency's use,  in appropriate
circumstances, of its veto
authority of Corps of
Engineers approved permits.
EPA also has initiated
projects to identify and
protect sensitive wetlands

     Degree of Designated Use Support in the
     Nation's Waters*
                   (sq. miles)
      Total in U.S.**

        (% of Total)

      Fully Supporting
        (% of Assessed)

      Partially Supporting Uses
        (% of Assessed)

      Not Supporting Uses
        (% of Assessed)

        (% of Assessed)
1,800,000 39,400,000  ,32,000 }

 370,544 12,531,846   17,606 *
.. •  (21%)      (32%) .' ;(55%) j

 274,537  9,202,752   13,154 '
   (74%)  ;    .(73%).  (75%) I

  70,916  2,181,331  : 3,224 ^
   (19%)      (17%)   (18%) j

            859,080    1,177
             .(7%).   .(7%) ,{

            288,684      51 n
              (2%)  (0.30%) I
      •Based on 1986 Sec. 305|b| data as follows: for rivers 42 States and territories
      reported; for lakes, 37 States reported; for estuaries, 20 States reported.
      "Total waters based on State-reported information in America's Clean Water:
      The States' Nonpoint Source Assessment, ASIWPCA, 1985. Total U.S.,. estuarine
      square miles excludes Alaska
throughout the country. In
addition, EPA is working
with other federal agencies to
eliminate policies that
encourage wetlands
• EPA has made progress in
the last four years limiting
the amount of primary
treated effluent discharged to
the ocean on all coasts.
These improvements have
been achieved by
significantly reducing the
amount of wastes dumped in
the ocean, and by transferring
the disposal of New York and
New Jersey sewage sludge
from nearshore sites to more
environmentally sound,
deep-water sites.

Protecting Surface

One of the best measures of
progress in cleaning up
surface water is the extent to
which the water quality goals
of the Clean Water Act have
been achieved. State and
federal data indicate that our
water pollution efforts have
made significant headway to
restore or protect surface
water quality. Many rivers
that once were heavily
degraded by municipal and
industrial discharges now are
safe for swimming and
fishing again.
• Over 99 percent of the
Nation's streams are
designated for water uses
equal to or better than the
"fishable/swimmable" goal
mandated by Congress in
1972. The states reported
that of the 370,544 miles of
rivers assessed in 1986,
designated uses were fully
supported on 74 percent,
partially supported in 19
percent (i.e. some designated
uses are met), and not
supported in 6 percent (see
Figure W-3).
• The Nation's ability to
treat its wastewater has
improved substantially since
1972. Under the Clean Water
Act, secondary treatment to
remove 85  percent of key
constituents such as oxygen
demanding material and
suspended solids is the
minimum treatment required
of sewage treatment plants
nationwide. Many treatment
facilities now achieve even
greater removals of these
constituents and nutrients
such as phosphates or
nitrates. The total population
served by secondary
treatment or better has
increased from 85 million in
1972 to 127 million in 1986.
At the same time, the total
population discharging
untreated wastewater  to
rivers or lakes dropped from
5 million to less than 2
million. EPA's construction
grants program has assisted
this process by providing
federal funds for projects at
over 5,000 treatment plants.
Partnership  in Action
in  the Great  Lakes
                                   Canada and the United States share the largest
                                   area of fresh water on earth (with the exception of
                                   the polar ice caps): the Great Lakes. This vast
                                   resource, containing 20 percent of the world's fresh
                                   water, provides drinking water, recreational
                                   opportunities, and routes for commerce and
                                   travel.  Industrial, municipal, and agricultural
                                   activities in the Great Lakes Basin have resulted in
                                   pollutant accumulation over time, because the
                                   Great Lakes are to a large extent a closed system.
                                   Less than one percent of the lakes' waters flow out
                                   through the St. Lawrence River per year.
                                     The U.S.  and Canada cooperate through the
                                   International Joint Commission to resolve problems
                                   in the Great Lakes. In November of 1987, the U.S.
                                   and Canada renegotiated the Great Lakes Water
                                   Quality Agreement that was first signed in 1972.
                                   They identified further steps to protect the Great
                                   Lakes ecosystem from toxic substances.
                                     Prior to 1972, severely degraded conditions were
                                   evident within the Great Lakes, particularly in
                                   Lake Erie. Cooperative efforts by the United States
                                   and Canada in response to the problems have
                                   resulted in  a major recovery in the Lakes'
                                   condition, primarily through expenditure of $7.6
                                   billion  since 1972 for construction and upgrading of
                                   municipal sewage treatment facilities. In addition
                                   to controlling phosphorus discharges from sewage
                                   treatment plants, Canada and several U.S. states
                                   limited amounts of phosphates allowed in laundry
                                   products. These efforts, coupled with strict controls
                                   on industrial wastewater, largely have freed the
                                   lakes from  their oppressive nutrient burden.
                                   Progress in  the area of toxic chemical pollutants,
                                   however, has been much more difficult.
                                     Remedial action plans are being prepared for
                                   geographical areas of concern where problems are
                                   most severe. The Great Lakes Water Quality
                                   Agreement  specifically calls for identification of
                                   contaminated sediment areas, watershed
                                   management for nonpoint source pollution,
                                   monitoring  airborne toxics, mapping of
                                   contaminated ground-water, and efforts for
                                   coordinated bilateral research.  "Lakewide
                                   Management Plans" will be prepared for critical
                                   pollutants affecting the open waters  of the Lakes.
                                   Lakewide plans exist already for control of
                                   phosphorus. Plans for toxic pollutant control will
                                   follow a similar pattern.

 The Clean Water Act and
 Safe Drinking Water Act
 place great reliance on state
 and local initiatives in
 addressing water problems.
 With the enactment of the
1986 Safe Drinking Water
Act amendments and the
1987 Water Quality Act,
significant additional
responsibilities were assigned
to EPA and the states. Faced
with many competing
programs and limited
resources, the public sector
will need to set priorities.
With this in mind, EPA is
encouraging states to address
      National Pollutant Discharge
      Eliniinatign System
      Wfȣt & a NPDES^ Permit}
      Under the Clean Water Act, the
      di&hdrge of pollutants into the waters
      of Hie United States is prohibited unless
      a permit is issued by EPA or a state
      under the National Pollutant Discharge
      Elimination System  (NPDES). These
      permits must be. renewed at least once
      every five years, There are
      approximately 48,400 industrial and
      15,300 municipal facilities that
      Currently have NPDES permits.

      What Do NPD£S Permits Contain*
      An NPDES permit contains effluent
      limitations and monitoring and
      reporting requirements. Effluent
      limitations are restrictions on the
      amount of specific pollutants that a
     	factiitjrcairt	discharge into a stream,
     ~ rivjr, or harbor. Monitoring and
      regotting requirements are specific
     ="-instruction's on how sampling of the
     li'se"ffluent should be done to check
      whether the effluent limitations are
      being met. Instructions may include
      'fjqjtffgd sampling frequency (i.e., daily,
      weekly, or monthly) and the type of
      monitoring required. The permittee may
      be required to monitor the effluent on a
      daily, weekly, or monthly basis.  The
      thonitoring results are then regularly
     Field biologists monitor water quality of streams
                reported to the EPA and state
                authorities.  When a discharger fails to
                comply with the effluent limitations or
                monitoring and reporting requirements,
                EPA or the state may take enforcement

                How Are These Effluent Limitations

                Congress recognized that it would be an
                overwhelming task for EPA to establish
                effluent limitations for each individual
                industrial and municipal discharger.
                Therefore, Congress authorized the
                Agency to develop uniform effluent
                limitations for each category of point
                sources such as steel mills, paper mills,
                and pesticide manufacturers. The
                Agency develops these effluent
                limitations on the basis of many factors,
                most notably efficient treatment
                technologies. Once EPA proposes an
                effluent limit and public comments are
                received, EPA or the states issue all
                point sources within that industry
                category NPDES permits using the
                technology-based limits. Sewage
                treatment plants also are provided with
                effluent limitations based on technology

                What Are Water Quality-Based Limits*

                Limitations that are more stringent  than
                those based on technology are
                sometimes necessary to ensure that
                state developed water quality standards
                are met. For example, several different
                facilities may be discharging into one
                stream, creating pollutant levels
                harmful to fish. In this case,  the
                facilities on that stream must meet
                more stringent treatment requirements,
                known as water quality-based
                limitations.  These limits are  developed
                by determining the amounts  of
                pollutants that the stream can safely
                absorb and calculating permit limits
                such that these amounts are not exceeded.
their water quality problems
by developing State Clean
Water Strategies. These
strategies are to set forth
state priorities over a
multi-year period. They will
help target the most valuable
and/or most threatened water
resources for protection.
  Success in the water
programs is increasingly tied
to state and local leadership
and decision-making and to
public support. EPA will
work with state and local
agencies, industry,
environmentalists, and the
public as we develop our
environmental agenda in the
following three areas:
• Protection of drinking
water: Although more
Americans are receiving safer
drinking water than ever
before, there are still serious
problems with contamination
of drinking water supplies
and of ground water that is or
could be used for human
consumption. Contaminated
ground water has caused well
closings in every state. The
extent and significance of
contamination by toxics has
not been fully assessed for
most of  the nation's rivers
and lakes, which are often
used for drinking water
supply. All of these issues are
areas for continued work and
• Protection of critical
aquatic habitats:
Contamination or destruction
of previously underprotected
areas such as oceans,
wetlands, and near  coastal
waters must be addressed.
• Protection of surface-water
resources: EPA and the states
will need to establish a new
phase of the federal-state
partnership in ensuring
continuing progress in
addressing conventional
sources  of pollution and in

creating and managing state
revolving loan funds for
municipal wastewater
treatment. Additionally, we
will need to address the
increasingly apparent
problems caused by toxic
pollutants discharged into
our waters and by the
nonpoint sources of
pollutants coming from farm
lands and city streets.
  Overall, we have made
significant gains in protecting
the quality of the nations
waters since 1970. The most
fundamental challenge now
is to maintain these gains,
strengthen the state and local
organizations we have relied
on to carry out these
programs, and move forward
together to address new
    Dealing  with Environmental Variability:
    The  Ecoregion  Approach
     Most people recognize that the
     landscape of the United States is not
     just a grab bag of environmental
     characteristics, but rather is the
     result of specific combinations of
     weather patterns, vegetation, and
     land forms. Environmental managers
     must account for these local
     variations when developing pollution
     control programs. This is especially
     true in  managing water quality.  For
     example,  the effect of a  toxic
     chemical discharge on living
     organisms will vary, depending upon
     the temperature, flow, and other
     natural conditions of the water body.
       Many of the traditional approaches
     to controlling water pollution are
     based on  water quality  criteria. These
     criteria are scientifically derived
     in-stream concentrations of
     chemicals that will protect a desired
     use for  the water. Although the
     criteria can be adjusted for some
     local variability in pH and water
     hardness, they are not sensitive to
     other site-specific conditions. These
     local variations can significantly
     affect the toxicity of a chemical on
     stream  life.
       A principal complaint against these
     national criteria is that  they are too
     general for some local conditions,
     resulting in either underprotection or
     overprotection of the water body. In
     such cases, states are encouraged to
     develop site-specific criteria and to
     designate more specialized categories
     of water use. Although this is a
     desirable approach, the process of
     conducting these intensive studies at
     numerous sites within a state is very
       Several states are working with
     biologists and geographers at the EPA
     research laboratory in Corvallis,
     Oregon  to develop a less costly,
     method for conducting these studies.
     Instead of developmg^umque water
            quality criteria for thousands of
            small segments of rivers or streams,
            scientists have studied regional
            characteristics, such as the surface of
            the land; soils, natural vegetation,
            and land use,  and have identified 76
            homogeneous  ecological regions or
            "ecoregions" for the United States;
              The approach is based on the
            hypothesis that streams reflect the
            characteristics of the watersheds, or
            lands they drain. The scientists have
            shown that streams within a
            particular ecoregion are more similar
            to one another in terms of their
            physical habitat, hydrology, water
            chemistry,  and types of fish and
            aquatic insects than they are  to
            streams in  other ecoregions. It might
            be appropriate, therefore, for EPA to
            derive one  set  of water quality
            criteria for all  similar ecoregions.
              Ecoregion analyses have been used
            for both research and regulatory
            purposes. For example, an ecoregion
            approach has been used to identify
            surface waters that are sensitive to
            acidic deposition. This helps
            researchers decide where and when
            to monitor water quality, and assists
            them in developing programs  to
            modify or eliminate the effects of
            acid rain. In Arkansas and Ohio, the
            primary use of this concept has been
            to reexamine state: water quality
            criteria and standards. The
            motivation for undertaking the
            ecoregion program in Arkansas was
            that many  of the state's cleanest
            streams and lakes had not met
            national water quality standards
            because of naturally occurring
            physical and chemical conditions.
            Rather than enforce inappropriate
            standards, state officials undertook
            an ambitious program to assess water
            quality and ecological conditions in
            least disturbed streams in each of the
            six ecoregions  that were identified in
                   Arkansas. These least disturbed
                   streams will be used as "reference
                   streams" for comparative studies of
                   polluted areas and as a basis for
                   setting achievable water quality
                   goals. Ohio has conducted similar
                   analyses for its five ecoregions.
                     The ecoregion approach is designed
                   to provide a sound basis for
                   reclassifying streams where existing
                   criteria and standards are either too
                   stringent or too lenient. The
                   applications of this technique in
                   Arkansas and Ohio have
                   demonstrated its usefulness in
                   developing and evaluating programs
                   to protect the use of valuable aquatic
                   Ohio Ecoregions
                                  Lake Erie
                                      * |^w /» i v^ «
                        Eastern Corn Belt Plains

                   |   | Huron/Erie Lake Plain

                        Erie/Ontario Lake Plain

                   I;'. ,8:1 Western Allegheny Plateau

                   1	I Interior Plateau
                                                                                                              " -j__Ji

Drinking  Water
                            Ground-Water Protection
    EPA's drinking water
    program is focused in two
 areas: minimizing the
 contamination of ground
 water and surface waters
 needed for human
 consumption, and monitoring
 and treating drinking water
 prior to consumption. This
 section summarizes EPA's
 efforts in these areas. The
 Agency's program to protect
 surface water is discussed
 separately in this chapter.
Half of all Americans (120
million people) and 95
percent of rural Americans,
use ground water for drinking
water (see Figure W-4).
Ground-water is also used for
about half of the nation's
irrigation needs in  agriculture
and about one-quarter of the
nation's industrial  needs. To
meet this demand, ground
water withdrawals more than
doubled between 1950 and
1980 and have leveled off
since then. Until the 1970's
it was widely thought that
ground water was adequately
protected from
contamination. Since then,
every state in the nation has
found contaminated
  EPA reported in  1984 that
at least 8,000 water wells
throughout the nation were
unusable or had degraded
water. As a result of
advanced technological
capabilities, we are
constantly expanding our
understanding of the extent
of ground-water
contamination. However,
because of the complexity of
the ground-water resource
and the expense of
monitoring, we may never
have a complete picture of
the nature and extent of the
problem. We do know,
however, that the current and
potential sources of
ground-water contamination
are vast (see Figure W-5).
Examples of the broad
categories of actual or
potential sources of
contamination include:
• about 29,000 hazardous
waste sites stated as potential
candidates for the Superfund
National Priorities List;
• millions of septic systems
(one-fourth of homes in the
U.S. use such systems or
similar ones);
• over 180,000 surface
impoundments (i.e. pits,
ponds and lagoons);
• an estimated 500
hazardous waste land
disposal facilities, and 16,000
municipal and other landfills;

• Approximately 5-6 million
underground storage tanks,
(hundreds of thousands of
which are estimated to be
 Estimated Ground-Water Use By States
                                                                 ^^H 50% or more
                                                                 I    | 30% to 49%
                                                                 |    | Less than 30%
                                      Source: Derived from data in a report
                                      entitled Estimated Use of Water in the
                                      United States in 1980, USGS Circular 1001,
                                      by Wayne B. Solky, Edith B. Chase, and
                                      William B. Mann IV
« thousands of underground
injection wells; and
• millions of tons of
pesticides and fertilizers
spread on the ground,
primarily in the rural areas.
  Many of these sources
could contain hundreds of
different chemicals that
could reach ground water and
potentially contaminate
drinking water wells. The
Agency's major concern is
with man-made toxic
chemicals such as the
synthetic organic chemicals
that are pervasive in plastics,
solvents, pesticides, paints,
dyes, varnishes, and ink.
Some of the 40,000
community public water
systems and 13 million
private wells that supply 50
percent of Americans with
drinking water are known to
be contaminated with these
substances. For example:
• Between 1975 and 1985,
about 1,500 to 3,000 public
water supplies out of 40,000
using ground water exceeded
EPA's drinking water
standards for inorganic
substances (fluoride and
nitrates were the most
common problem).
• The Council of
Environmental Quality in
1981 reported major problems
from toxic organics in some
wells in almost all states east
of the Mississippi River
(trichloroethylene, a known
carcinogen, was the most
frequent contaminant found).

• EPA's 1980 Ground-Water
Supply  Survey showed that
20%  of all public water
supply wells and 29% of
those in urban areas (serving
over  10,000 people] had
detectable levels of at least
one volatile organic
• EPA has also found that
about 60 pesticides have been
detected in 30 states at
various levels of
contamination. In most
cases, however, pesticide
levels were below health
advisory levels.

                              To DATE
• At least 13 organic    $
chemicals which are
confirmed animal or human
carcinogens have been
detected in drinking water
  The principal concern over
ground-water contamination
is related to its adverse
impact on human health.
Concerns about the
environmental and ecological
effects of ground-water
contamination, however, are
also growing. Potential
impacts of ground-water
contamination on the
environment include adverse
effects on surface waters and
damage to fish, vegetation,
and wildlife. For example, 15
percent of endangered species
rely upon ground water for
maintaining their habitat.
Many programs and a large
percentage of EPA's budget
support activities to protect,
maintain,  and restore
ground-water quality. In this
effort, EPA controls, inspects
and cleans up hazardous
waste disposal facilities,
enforces permit conditions at
underground injection wells,
regulates the annual use of
millions of tons of pesticides,
and helps  states develop their
own ground-water protection
programs.  The regulated
community encompasses not
only a few large industries
and businesses, but also
small businesses, individual
homeowners, and farmers.
  In August 1984, EPA issued
a Ground-Water Protection
Strategy to provide an
integrated framework for the
many EPA statutes affecting
the protection of ground
water. Over the past four
years, we have effectively
applied the strategy to move
EPA and other federal and
state institutions toward
preserving ground water
quality and protecting the
public health.
  The Agency's primary goal
is to help state's to develop
and implement ground-water
protection strategies. Since
1984, EPA has provided over
$25 million to;states to help
them develop and carry out
these strategies. As a result,
all fifty states are developing,
or have instituted, overall
state strategies as compared
to eleven in 1985. These
states have assessed their
ground water problems and
made major changes to the
way they carry out ground
water protection efforts. New
state statutes and regulations
have been written,  specialists
in hydrology hired, statewide
and local level ground water
task groups established, and
major studies conducted.
  Since the issuance of the
Ground-water Protection
Strategy,  the Congress passed
the Safe Drinking Water Act
Amendments (SDWA) of
1986, to require states to
develop a program to protect
areas surrounding drinking
water wells (the wellhead)
from contaminants that may
have adverse health effects.
Wellhead protection areas are
defined as the surface and
subsurface areas surrounding
a water well or wellfield
supplying a public water
system that may be
contaminated through
     FIGURE W-5
     Sources of Ground-Wate
                                                                                             The hydrologic cycle and sources
                                                                                             of ground-water contamination
                                                                                                  Ground Water Movement

                                                                                                  Intentional Input

                                                                                                  Unintentional Input

 normal or exceptional human
   Further, to implement
 EPA's Strategy and the 1986
 SDWA Amendments, we
 have developed and
 distributed documents to
 help state and local officials
 design and implement
 programs to prevent or
 reduce ground-water
 contamination. EPA ha?
 published a series of guides
 addressing specific sources of
 contamination and addressing
 implementation of wellhead
 protection programs. We also
 are implementing a
 ground-water data
 management strategy to
 provide better information for
 ground-water decision
   A second goal of the
 strategy is to develop a better
 understanding of the
 ground-water contamination
 problems that are of national
 concern, including pesticides,
 underground storage tanks,
 and other diffuse sources of
 contamination, and to  take
 appropriate action. To
 achieve this goal, we are
 conducting a national survey
 of agricultural chemicals,
 pesticides, and fertilizers in
 drinking water and
 developing an "Agricultural
 Chemicals in Ground Water
 Strategy" in coordination
 with the U.S. Department of
 Agriculture. These activities
 will serve to develop an
 environmental baseline.
   A third goal of the
 Ground-Water  Protection
 Strategy is to create a
 consistent and rational policy
 for protection and cleanup of
 ground water. In 1988, EPA
 will publish guidelines for
 classifying ground water. The
 purpose of this guidance is to
 assist in establishing more
 consistent prevention and
 cleanup goals across the
 various EPA programs. As
 appropriate, we will
incorporate the classification
system into those regulations
and program guidance that
affect ground water. The
ground-water classification
system is important technical
guidance for EPA programs as
they develop regulatory
  Because ground water is an
integral and often
predominant part of many
EPA programs, another goal
of the EPA Ground-Water
Protection Strategy is to
strengthen EPA's internal
ground-water organization.
For over three years, the
Office of Ground-Water
Protection has been
coordinating the
implementation of
ground-water policies across
the Agency. Each EPA Region
now has a functioning
Ground-Water  Protection
Office that primarily assists
states implement the
ground-water policies. We
also have established a
Ground-Water Oversight
Committee at headquarters
at the top levels of
management, and Regional
Ground-Water Coordinating
  Research is another
essential component of EPA's
ground-water protection
program. Research over the
past three years has led to
new methods to monitor
contamination, track
contaminant movements,
control and clean up
contamination, and to
understand the health and
environmental effects of
 Although we have known
 about ground-water
 contamination problems in
 many areas of the country for
 several decades, it wasn't
 until the late 1970's that the
 EPA began to develop a
 comprehensive framework for
 managing ground-water
 resources. This framework
 includes utilizing EPA's
 statutory authorities for
 ground-water protection most
 effectively for ground-water
 protection, building
 institutional capabilities at
 the federal and state levels,
 and collecting data to
 describe the magnitude and
 significance of the problem.
 Much has happened since the
 initial discussions of the
 strategic plan to protect this
 valuable resource: in 1984,
 EPA issued a Ground-Water
 Protection Strategy; the
 Office of Ground-Water
 Protection was established as
 a focal point for ground water
 in the Agency; in 1986 the
 Safe Drinking Water Act
 Amendments required states
 to develop programs to
 protect wellhead areas from
 contamination; and in 1987,
 the Agency developed  a
 strategic plan to address
 contamination of ground
 water from agricultural
 chemicals. Major
 amendments were also made
 during this period greatly
 strengthening their statutes
 ability to protect ground
  The increasing focus on
 ground-water issues by the
 Congress,  the public, and
 within the Agency, has
 resulted in some major
 challenges that must be
 address over the next 10
 years if we are to achieve the
 goals of our ground-water

Building  Capacity in
 State Governments and
Indian Tribes

EPA's goal is to build
capacity in state and Indian
tribal governments  to protect
their own ground water.

States and Indian tribes have
the principal responsibility in
ground-water protection and
should maintain their
traditional role in managing
water and land use. The
recent emphasis on
ground-water protection has
resulted in a large
improvement in our
understanding of the extent
and significance of ground
water in EPA programs and
have required the states to
expand their role in many
new and unfamiliar areas.
       Agricultural  Chemicals
       in Ground Water
       Pollution of ground water by pesticides and
       nitrates due to the application of agricultural
       chemicals is a major environmental concern in
       many parts of the country, particularly the
       Midwest. In Iowa, where agricultural chemicals
       are used in 60 percent of the state, some public
       and private drinking water wells have exceeded
       public health standards for nitrate. Pesticides also
       have been found in ground water. About 30 towns
       in Nebraska have excessive amounts of nitrate in
       their drinking water. Bottled water must be
       provided to infants and monthly well testing is
         The interagency, interdisciplinary Iowa Big
       Spring Basin Demonstration Project is a
       seven-year effort to test the ground-water
       consequences and economic viability of various
       agricultural management techniques. It will
       include demonstrations of traditional and
       innovative agricultural practices to document
       effects on chemical movement, water quality, and
       crop production. It also will include educational
       programs to help farmers  use fertilizers and
       pesticides more efficiently.
         The Big Spring area in Iowa is a unique
       "laboratory" for expanding our understanding of
       how farm chemicals get into ground water and
       how to prevent contamination. Big Springs is
       dominated by farming. Nearly all of its ground
       water emerges at Big Spring, so chemicals that
       leach into the ground water eventually appear
       there. Transport of contaminants to the springs is
       extremely rapid due to limestone conditions.
       Early research shows nitrate concentrations have
       tripled in the last 25 years, paralleling a three-fold
       increase in use of nitrogen fertilizers. Toxic
       pesticides also have been found in greater
       amounts than anticipated.
         The $6.8 million Big Spring  Project is
       considered one of the nation's most significant
       studies of the effects of agricultural practices on
       ground water. It seeks not only more definitive   _
       answers on the relationship between ground water
       and agricultural practices, but also could provide
       the economically stressed farmers with
       cost-saving information.
  Our principal challenge
then is to support and assist
them in that role. We have
already responded by
providing financial assistance
for state and tribal strategy
development and
implementation as well as
disseminating technical and
policy guidance that will
make this job easier. We will
continue to provide technical
assistance, training and
guidance where necessary to
ensure the development and
effective implementation of
state and tribal programs.

Achieving Consistency
Among EPA Programs
Nearly all human activity
has the potential to adversely
affect ground-water
resources. Consequently,
there are multiple laws,
regulations, policies, and
programs for which EPA is
responsible. The strength of
our protection efforts will be
vastly improved if we can get
the many participants to
support a. well coordinated
and comprehensive approach
to ground-water protection.
Critical elements of this
approach are the differential
protection polity and its
implementation through the
ground-water classification

Increasing Research
Our recent investigations
regarding the nature, extent
and significance of
ground-water contamination
has generated a series of
questions. We will continue
our ground-water research
program to increase
knowledge of monitoring,
fate and transport of
pollutants, aquifer
restoration, source control,
and health effects of exposure
to contaminated ground
water. Further, we will
increase our efforts to
disseminate our research
findings to state and local
governments and the private
sector through1 a technical
assistance and training
To meet the challenges of
protecting ground-water
resources, EPA will increase
efforts to implement the
ground-water protection .
strategy. The following
actions are listed in order pf
• First and foremost, we will
continue to strengthen the
capability of states and
indian tribes to effectively
manage and protect
ground-water resources. This
will be done by continuing
our support of ground-water
strategies and wellhead
protection programs. We will
develop methods and
techniques for state and local
governments to delineate
high priority areas and
control sources of
contamination that are not
federally regulated.
• The Agency will also
continue efforts to control
sources of contamination of
national concern. The
Agricultural Chemicals in
Ground Water Strategy
provides  a comprehensive
and well reasoned plan of
action to manage this
growing problem. We will
encourage its rapid
implementation. Our survey
of Agricultural Chemicals in
Drinking Water will provide
the data necessary to assist in
making choices called for in
this strategy.
• Publication of
classification guidelines will
provide all programs that
address ground water with a
consistent benchmark that
can be used  to guide their
activities. We will therefore
assist and encourage all EPA
programs to be consistent
with  these guidelines. In
support of the goals of the
guidelines, we are planning
an outreach effort to enable

  federal, state and local
  grouna-water managers,
  private business, and citizens
  to understand how EPA plans
  to establish priorities in its
  efforts to protect and cleanup
  ground water.
  • EPA will continue its
  already substantial research
  efforts. We will continue
  ground-water research
  programs on monitoring, fate
  and transport, aquifer
  restoration, source control,
  and health effects of
  contaminants. Particular
  emphasis will be placed on
the following: "aquifer
restoration" technology;
pn-site treatment of wastes
in groundwater utilizing
biological microorganisms;
and real time, on-site
monitoring techniques.
• We will continue to
improve the quality and
accessibility of ground-water
data collected by or on behalf
of EPA (for example, by
contractors, and by states
with responsibility for EPA
programs) so that regularly
collected data can be used to
develop a better
                                                       understanding of the quality
                                                       of our ground water.
                                                       •  Finally, the Agency will
                                                       further efforts to achieve
                                                       interagency coordination and
                                                       seek a more coordinated
                                                       approach to problem
                                                       resolution, through
                                                       discussions with all federal
                                                       departments responsible for
                                                       ground-water protection.
       Ground-Water  Management
       in Dade  County,  Florida
     Ill 11 ll|  11 I  lull I I  111	hill
  Ground water is an abundant and
  Vital resource in Florida. It supplies
  most gf ih&.&tat£s drinking water
  and industrial needs, as well as
  aboui half of the^state's agricultural
  iieeds.  However, Florida also has
  mayx $owrg«?s; of ground-water
  cori'tWrninalibn itiat threaten this
       M	mSSUrce,	These sources	.,
       ie industrial wastewater
         , agricultural pesticides and
         g,	peaking^underground
         tanks, landfills, mining
 :-activities^ and	'salt-water intxusipn.	
 r'ffi 'Swih'&ozid'a",	the Biscayne
  Aquifer is the sole source of
  drinking water far three million
  people, many of whom live in	
 ^poptafoirsTDade county, which
 'Includes Miami, this aquifer system
„ |j_-^jjjy vulnerable to contamination
Drinking  Water  at  the  Tap
The most severe and acute
public health effects from
contaminated drinking water
such as cholera and typhoid
have been eliminated in
America. However, some less
acute and immediate  hazards
remain in the Nation's tap
water. These hazards  are
associated with a number of
specific contaminants in
drinking  water.
Contaminants of special
concern to EPA are lead,
contaminants, and
disinfection by-products. The
remaining hazards also are
related to the low level of
compliance  of small
community systems with
national  drinking water
standards. Finally, the
Agency is concerned  about
potential contamination from
underground injection of
solid and hazardous waste.

 Contaminants  of Special
 • Lead: The primary source
 of lead in drinking water is
 corrosion of plumbing
 materials, such as lead
 service lines and lead solders,
 in water distribution systems
 and in houses and larger
 buildings. Virtually all public
 water systems serve
 households with lead solders
 of varying ages,  and most
 faucets are  made of materials
 that can contribute some lead
 to drinking water.
   The health  effects related
 to the ingestion of too much
 lead are very serious and can
 lead to impaired blood
 formation, brain damage,
 increased blood pressure,
 premature birth, low birth
 weight and nervous system
 disorders. Young children  are
 especially at risk from high
 levels of lead in drinking
• Radionuclides:
Radionuclides are radioactive
isotopes that emit radiation
as they decay. The most
significant radionuclides in
drinking water are radium,
uranium, and radon, all of
which occur in nature. These
radionuclides are seldom
found together in high
concentrations, and relatively
high levels of each
radionuclide tend to be found
in certain areas of the
country; with radium
occurring most frequently in
the Midwest and Appalachian
regions, natural uranium in
the Rocky Mountains, and
radon in the Northeast.
Recent surveys, however,
show that radon also may be
naturally occurring in other
parts of the country.
  Ingestion of uranium and
radium in drinking water
may cause cancer of the bone
and kidney. While radium  . -
and uranium enter the body
by ingestion, radon, which is
a gas, is usually inhaled after
being released into the air
during showers, baths, and
other activities such as
washing clothes and dishes.
Although radon can be
ingested as well as inhaled,  it
is estimated that inhalation
is far more toxic than the
ingestion route. The main
health risk of concern due to
 inhalation of radon is lung
   Radionuclides in drinking
 water occur primarily in
 those systems that use
 ground water. Naturally
 occurring radionuclides
 seldom are found in surface
 waters (such as rivers, lakes,
 and streams).
 • Microbiological
 Contaminants: Water
 contains many
 microbes—bacteria, viruses,
 and protozoa. Although some
 organisms are harmless,
 others can cause disease. The
 Centers for Disease Control
 reported 112 waterborne
 disease outbreaks from 1981
 through 1983. Parasites, such
 as Giardia lamblia, were the
 cause in 43 cases, while
bacteria and viral pathogens
were the causes in 22 cases.
Microbial contamination
continues to be a national
concern because
contaminated drinking water
systems can rapidly spread
• Disinfection By-Products:
Disinfection by-products are
produced during water
treatment by the chemical
reactions of disinfectants
with naturally occurring or
synthetic organic materials
present in untreated water.
Many disinfeption
by-products may pose health
risks. These risks tend to be
related to long-term exposure
to low levels of
contaminants. Disinfectants
are essential to safe drinking
water, therefore, EPA is
looking at ways to minimize
the risks from byproducts.
Improving Compliance
of Small Water Supply

Water supply systems serving
between 25 and 3,300 persons
account for the vast majority
of our nation's public water
suppliers. These small
suppliers also represent the
majority of water systems in
the nation that are not in
compliance with national
drinking water standards.
About one-third of the
systems exceed Maximum
Contaminant Levels (MCLs)
for contaminants in drinking
water or do not meet
reporting requirements.
Noncompliance with MCLs
may increase as EPA meets
its Congressionally-mandated
responsibility to issue MCLs
for 83 additional  constituents
during the next few years.
Many small communities
cannot afford to purchase
equipment necessary for
treating their drinking water

  adequately or to hire
  experienced operators to
  maintain drinking water
  treatment systems.
  Improving compliance by
  small systems will be
  particularly difficult.

  Underground Infection

  Underground injection wells
  are used to dispose of solid
  and hazardous wastes and
  other fluids. If improperly
  injected, these wastes can
  contaminate underground
  sources of drinking water.
  This could create health risks
  for anyone drawing water
  from contaminated sources or
  result in otherwise
  unnecessary treatment before
   EPA is particularly
  concerned about two types of
  Wells, Class I wells and Class
  V wells. Class I wells  are
  used for disposal of hazardous
  Waste. Over half of all Liquid
  hazardous waste that is
  generated in this country is
  disposed of in Class I wells.
  Class V wells are used for
  injecting solid waste into or
  above underground sources of
  drinking water. These Class
  V wells are not subject to
  detailed national standards
  and some may be damaging
  underground sources of
  drinking water.
                               To DATE
 We have established
 regulations to implement the
 SDWA for coliform bacteria,
 turbidity, and a number of
 inorganic, organic, and
 radioactive chemicals. To
 date, MCLs have been set for
 26 contaminants as well as
 for volatile organic
 compounds. These
 regulations also call for
 periodic monitoring of public
 water supplies for the
 specified contaminants,  and
 notification of water users
 when any of the standards
 are exceeded. Violations of
 drinking water criteria and
 monitoring and reporting
 requirements are analyzed
 periodically by state agencies
 and EPA.
   The process of setting
 standards includes the
 collection of data on the
 toxicology  and occurrence of
 contaminants, the costs  and
 economic effects of
 treatment,  and new methods
 of treatment. These data are
 needed before the Agency can
 objectively assess the extent
 of environmental problems
 associated with individual
 contaminants and set
 reasonable standards as
 required under the  Safe
 Drinking Water Act. EPA
 recently finished a  National
 Inorganic and Radionuch'des
 Survey of drinking water to
 determine the occurrence of
 organic and radionuclide
 contamination in drinking
 water across the country.
  The 1986 amendments to
 the SDWA require EPA to
 establish MCLs for 83
 contaminants by 1989, and at
 least 25 more by 1991. The
 amendments also limit the
 use of lead solder, flux, and
pipes used in new
 installations and repairs of
public water systems. States
are responsible for enforcing
this prohibition.
   The amendments require
 EPA to issue rules within 18
 months for monitoring the
 disposal of hazardous waste
 below a drinking water
 source using Class I injection
 wells. Additionally, we are
 required to issue a report to
 Congress summarizing
 results of state surveys of
 Class V solid waste disposal
 wells. This report was
 submitted in September
   As part of our commitment
 to state and local community
 outreach, the Agency
 published health advisories to
 help officials determine the
 health hazard of unregulated
 contaminants in drinking
 water. This guidance includes
 available scientific data and
 information on analytical
 methods and treatment
 techniques. State and local
 officials use these health
 advisories to select measures
 to protect public health for
 contaminants for which no
 MCL has yet been
   EPA, states, and territories
 have the authority to enforce
 drinking water standards. At
 the beginning of 1988, 54 of
 57 states and territories
 operated drinking water
 programs and were
 responsible for ensuring that
 public water systems met
 federal standards for MCLs.
 Thirty-nine states operate
 underground injection control
 One of the greatest
 challenges racing the nation's
 safe drinking water program
 is communicating  to the
 public the long-term health
 risk associated with drinking
 water with low levels of
 contaminants. Historically,
 public concern with drinking
 water quality focused  on
 health effects such as
 Giardiasis, hepatitis, cholera,
 typhoid, and Legionnaires
 Disease which result from
 drinking water containing
 disease-causing microbial
 organisms. These diseases
 appear almost immediately
 after consumption  of the
 contaminated water.
 However,  exposure to  many
 other contaminants, such as
 organic chemicals,
 disinfection by-products, or
 radionuclides, may result in
 health effects that  are less
 immediate but are  of equal or
 greater concern. The
 challenge  is  to effectively
 communicate to the public
 the significance of  these
 long-term health risks, and
 the importance of reducing
 these risks by further
 treatment of its drinking
  Risks of diseases caused  by
 microbial  contamination
 which can be controlled by
 disinfection  and filtration of
 water remain a concern of
 the Agency.  From 1961
 through 1983, there were
 Over 575 reported cases of
 waterborne disease outbreaks
 involving more than 153,000
 individual cases of  illness
 resulting in 23 deaths. From
 1981 through 1985, 351 cases
 of outbreaks were reported
 from public systems which
 inadequately treated their
 water. And yet, there are still
 over 1300  community  water
 systems and more than 1500
noncommunity water
 systems which use  surface
water as a source of drinking
water and  do not provide

  Another challenge is to
overcome the financial
problems faced by public
water supply systems,
especially the small systems.
Many systems lack funds for
treatment technologies or
regular monitoring and
analysis of drinking water.
Because of their size, small
systems have limited access
to capital and there is often
consumer opposition to rate
increases to  finance
additional treatment systems.
One possible reason for this
opposition is the lack of
information  about the
potential health risks from
inadequate treatment.
  The financial problems are
likely to become worse as
EPA meets its mandate under
the Safe Drinking Water Act.
New regulations will not
only require public water
systems to treat and monitor
for additional contaminants
but also require systems
which use surface water to
provide filtration and
stringent coliform

A five-year project is
underway to involve agencies
and organizations concerned
about drinking water quality
in mobilizing support and
understanding of national
drinking water problems and
solutions. This effort will
concentrate on the four
contaminants of concern
(radionuclides, lead,
contaminants, and
disinfection by-products) and
small system compliance.
  EPA hopes to increase
knowledge and awareness of
the drinking water program.
It is also important to
increase the number of
trained personnel in the
public and private sectors.
Finally,  we need to increase
the willingness of the public
to pay for improved water
  We will work with as
many agencies and
organizations as possible to
provide  technical assistance,
education, and training. For
example, EPA has basic
informational materials, such
as brochures, videos, and
public service
announcements, to use in
meetings and conferences and
to distribute to consumers.


Having  more contaminants
to regulate means that
technical assistance,
education, and training must
be supplemented by
enforcement to form a
balanced compliance
program. The 1986
amendments to the Safe
Drinking Water Act gave
EPA greater authority to take
action against violators.
However, enforcing all of the
new MCLs will be difficult
and expensive. We will need
an efficient and effective
strategy if we are to meet our
responsibilities under the
statute. Enforcement will
focus  on systems whose
contaminant levels exceed
MCLs and where appropriate
measures are not being taken
to reduce the contaminant
levels. Of special concern
will be those high risk
situations where a system
has shown a long-term, failure
to monitor for contaminants
and where there have been
frequent violations relating to
microbiological risks.

Underground Injection

We will be publishing final
rules  in 1988 for the disposal
of hazardous waste into
injection wells. These
regulations will prevent the
migration of injected
hazardous wastes out of the
deep underground zone where
they are injected. As part of
the implementation of these
rules, EPA will be reviewing
permit applications
submitted by owners of
hazardous waste injection
wells. When approved, each
permit will specify what the
owner must do to comply
with  the new rules. In
addition, we will be
reviewing Class V wells and
deciding what kinds of
controls are needed to
prevent these wells from
contaminating underground
sources of drinking water.
Pesticides in Drinking

As part of the National
Pesticide Survey, we will be
sampling 1500 drinking water
wells around the country for
70 pesticides to determine if
contamination from
pesticides is a national
problem. The results of this
effort will help us to decide if
MCLs should be set for any
additional pesticides. The
final report is due in early

Critical  Aquatic  Habitats
/—iritical aquatic habitats
V-/that need special
management attention
include the nation's
Wetlands, near coastal waters,
oceans, and lakes. In recent
years EPA has been focusing
on addressing the special
problems of these areas.



                          The United States is losing
                          one of its most valuable, and
                          perhaps irreplaceable,
                          resources - the nation's
                          wetlands. Once regarded as
                          wastelands, wetlands are now
                          recognized as an important
                          resource to people and the
                            Wetlands are among the
                          most productive of all
                          ecosystems. Wetland plants
                          convert sunlight into plant
                          material or biomass which
                          serves as food for many types
                          of aquatic and terrestrial
                          animals. The major food
                          value of wetland plants
                          occurs as they break down
                          into small particles to form
                          the base of an aquatic food
                            Wetlands are habitats for
                          many forms of fish and
                          wildlife. Approximately
                          two-thirds of this nation's
                          major commercial fisheries
                          use estuaries and coastal
                          marshes as nurseries or
                          spawning grounds. Migratory
                          waterfowl and other birds
                          also depend on wetlands,
                          some  spending their entire
                          lives in wetlands and others
                          using them primarily as
                          nesting, feeding or resting
                            The role of wetlands in
                          improving and maintaining
                          water quality in adjacent
                          water bodies is increasingly
                          being recognized in the
                          scientific literature. Wetlands
                          remove nutrients such as
                          nitrogen and phosphorus, and
                          thus help prevent
                          over-enrichment of waters
                          (eutrophication). Also, they
                          filter harmful chemicals,
                          such as pesticides and heavy
                          metals, and trap suspended
                          sediments, which otherwise
                          would produce turbidity
                          (cloudiness) in water. This
                          function is particularly
                          important as a natural buffer
                          for nonpoint pollution
  Wetlands also have
socioeconomic values. They
play an important role in
flood control by absorbing
peak flows and releasing
water slowly. Along the
coast, they buffer land
against storm surges resulting
from hurricanes and tropical
storms. Wetlands vegetation
can reduce shoreline erosion
by absorbing and dissipating
wave energy  and encouraging
the deposition of suspended
sediments. Also, wetlands
contribute $20 billion to $40
billion annually to the
nation's economy, for
example, through recreational
and commercial fishing,
hunting of waterfowl, and the
production of cash crops such
as wild rice and cranberries.
Unfortunately, our natural
heritage of swamps, marshes,
bogs, and other types of
wetlands is rapidly
disappearing. Once there
were over 200 million acres
of wetlands in the lower 48
states; by the mid-1970's,
only 99 million acres
remained. Between 1955 and
1975, more than 11 million
acres of wetlands were lost
entirely - an area three times
the size of the state of New
Jersey. The average rate of
wetland loss  during this
period was 458,000 acres per
year - 440,000 acres of inland
wetlands and 18,000 acres of
coastal wetlands. Agricultural
development involving
drainage of wetlands was
responsible for 87 percent of
the losses during those two
decades. Urban and other
development caused 8
percent and 5 percent of
losses, respectively. In
addition to the physical
destruction of habitat,
wetlands are  also threatened
by chemical contamination
and other types of pollution.

As recognition of the
importance of our nation's
wetlands has increased, so
have government efforts to
protect them. In 1987, EPA
established the Office of
Wetlands Protection to
expand our efforts and
emphasize our wetlands
protection goals. EPA has
been involved in wetlands
protection since the
enactment in 1972 of Section
404 of the Clean Water Act.
This section regulates the
discharge of dredged or fill
material into waters of the
United States. However,
EPA's wetland protection
responsibilities extend
beyond Section 404 to other
sections  of the Clean Water
Act. Since most wetlands are
waters of the United States
within the meaning of the
Act, they are automatically
accorded all of the law's
  Programmatically, wetland
protection is linked directly
and indirectly to other Office
of Water programs, such as
marine and estuarine
protection, nonpoint source
management, and
ground-water protection. An
integrated strategy for
wetlands results in increased
recognition of the importance
of wetlands in improving
water quality, and provides
enhanced protection by
addressing wetlands as an
ecologically meaningful unit.

Section 404 of the Clean
Water Act

Currently no comprehensive
federal law for protecting
wetlands exists. The major
federal regulatory program for
wetlands is section 404 of the
Clean Water Act, which is
jointly administered by EPA
and the  U.S. Corps of
Engineers. The Corps bears
the day-to-day administrative
responsibilities for the
program, reviewing permit
applications, issuing permits,
and taking actions  against
violators of the law.
  EPA and the Corps jointly
developed the section 404
(b)(l) guidelines, which are
the environmental standards
that the Corps must apply
when evaluating a permit
application for the discharge
of dredged or fill material.
Section 404(c) authorizes EPA
to prohibit or restrict the use
of a wetlands site for such
discharge if we determine
that the proposed discharge
will have an  adverse effect on
municipal water supplies,
shellfish beds and fishing
areas, wildlife, or recreational
  EPA's other section 404
responsibilities include:
determining and defining the
areas that constitute
wetlands subject to
regulation under section 404;
reviewing permit applications
and providing
recommendations to the
Corps regarding permit
issuance, restriction, or
denial; defining activities
that may be exempt from the
permit requirements, such as
certain farming, ranching,and
forestry practices; approving
and overseeing state
assumption of the 404
program; and enforcing
against unpermitted
   In recent years, we have
taken an increasingly active
role in the 404 program. One
area of stepped-up activity
has been Section 404(c).
Between 1983 and early 1988,
we have initiated 13 actions
to veto or restrict a proposed
permit issuance by the Corps.
This represents an important
increase in activity, since we
had only used Section 404(c)
once between 1972 and 1983.
  Also, we have begun a
more anticipatory approach
that addresses wetland loss
problems in advance of
individual project proposals.
Under this advanced
identification process, we
work with the Corps,  and
possibly state and local
agencies, to select and study
geographic areas. We then
determine which are likely to
be environmentally suitable
and unsuitable for disposal of
dredged or fill materials.
Numerous advanced
identification projects are
ongoing throughout the
country. The process can
avoid costly litigation by
helping developers identify
areas that are not
environmentally sensitive
and slow down the loss of
valuable wetlands.

Other Federal Laws

Federal programs  other than
the Clean Water Act also
protect the Nation's
wetlands. The U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service acquires
migratory waterfowl habitat,
that are primarily wetlands,
for inclusion in the National
Wildlife Refuge System.
These acquisitions are funded
hi part by revenues obtained
from the sale of duck stamps
(which are required of all
waterfowl hunters aged 16
and over). In 1986, Congress
passed the Emergency
Wetlands Resources Act that
expands and enhances the
sources of funds for wetlands
acquisition. The new law
also directs the Secretary of
the Interior to develop, in
consultation with EPA and
other federal and state
agencies, a National
Wetlands Priority
Conservation Plan that
identifies the type of
wetlands and wetland
interests to be given priority
for federal and state
  While various federal
programs do protect
wetlands, other policies
actually encourage wetland
destruction by reducing the
costs of conversion to other
uses. In recent years,
Congress has passed laws
designed to eliminate these
inconsistent federal wetland
policies. The Coastal Barriers
Resource Act of 1982
prohibits most new federal
expenditures and financial
assistance for development of
designated barrier islands,
helping to protect their
important wetland resources.
Of greater significance for
other wetlands is the
"Swampbuster" provision of
the Food Security Act of
1985, implemented by the
Department of Agriculture.
Swampbuster seeks to
discourage the further
conversion of wetlands for
agricultural purposes by
making any person who
produces crops on  wetlands
converted after December 23,
1985, ineligible for most
federal farm benefits.

State and Local Laws

Like the federal government,
state and local governments
have passed laws to protect
wetlands through acquisition,
regulation, and other
approaches. Laws passed by
most coastal states have
significantly reduced the loss
of coastal wetlands. In
contrast, inland wetlands are
inadequately protected; fewer
than 25 states have laws
specifically regulating their
uses. Within the last several
years, however, an increasing
number of states have passed
inland wetlands legislation
including New Jersey, Maine,
and Florida.

  Despite recent efforts, our
  nation's wetlands continue to
  be threatened. Loss of habitat
  remains the primary threat
  for all of our nation's
  wetlands. These threats vary,
  depending on the wetland
  type and region of the
  country.Descriptions of some
  of the principal areas of
  concern are:
  Coastal Louisiana: Louisiana
  contains approximately
  one-third of the coastal
  marshes in the lower 48
  states. These marshes are
  being lost at an annual rate
  of 25,000 acres due to a
  combination of natural and
  human-induced causes, such
  as Mississippi River
  channelization and  levee
  construction, canal  dredging
  for navigation and energy
  operations, and subsidence
  from extraction of oil and
  gas, minerals, and ground
  Southeast: Bottomland
  hardwood wetlands occupy
  the floodplains of many of
  the forested wetlands
  occurring in the lower
  Mississippi Valley. Less than
  25 percent of the original
  acreage remains today. Many
  of these wetlands have been
  cleared and drained for crop
  production. Federal  flood
  Control and small watershed
  projects also have adversely
  affected the bottomland
    Seventy percent of the
  hation's pocosins — a type of
  shrub swamp — are found in
  North  Carolina, where they
  help stabilize water quality
  and balance salinity in such
  estuaries as Albermarle and
  Pamlico Sounds. Of the 2.5
  million acres originally found
  hi North Carolina, barely one
  million remain in their
  natural condition. Timber
  production, agriculture, and
  peat extraction have been the
  most rapidly developing uses
  of these wetlands.
Midwest/Great Plains: The
Prairie Pothole Region
consists of about 300,000
square miles extending from
south-central Canada to  the
north-central United states.
Prairie pothole wetlands are
water-holding depressions
usually of glacial origin.
These are perhaps the most
valuable inland marshes for
waterfowl production in
North America. Although the
Prairie Pothole Region
comprises only 10 percent of
the continent's total
waterfowl breeding area, it
produces 50 percent of the
duck population in an
average year. Millions of
acres of potholes have been
drained and converted to
agricultural uses or destroyed
by irrigation and flood
control projects.
  Northeast: Unlike many
other regions of the  country,
the primary threat to the
inland marshes and swamps
of the Northeast in recent
years has not been
agricultural activities. These
wetlands are being destroyed
by highway construction,
hydroelectric and water
supply projects, and
recreational houses and
Alaska: Alaska has more
than 200 million acres of
wetlands, encompassing
about 58 percent of the
state's land area. Although
wetland losses have not been
great, the discovery of
significant oil and gas
deposits at Prudhoe Bay and
the subsequent pipeline
construction and energy
development have altered
Coastal California: Of special
concern are the coastal
wetlands of San Francisco
Bay, California's largest
estuary. Most of the bay's
original wetland acreage was
lost to urban and industrial
development, while many
remaining coastal wetlands
were diked to create
salt-evaporation ponds.
Despite the existence of state
and local wetland protection
laws, these wetlands are still
under heavy pressure for
urban and industrial
Urban Areas: Wetlands in
urban areas frequently
represent the last large tracts
of open space and often are a
final haven for wildlife. Not
surprisingly, as suitable
upland development sites
become exhausted, urban
wetlands are under increasing
pressure for residential
housing, industry, and
commercial facilities.
  Increasing evidence exists
that our nation's wetlands, in
addition to being destroyed
by physical threats, also are
being degraded by chemical
contamination. Although the
extent of the threat is not
known, the problem of
wetland contamination
received national attention in
1985, with reports of
waterfowl deaths and
deformities caused by
selenium contamination at
Kesterson National Wildlife
Refuge in California.
Selenium is a trace element
that occurs naturally in soil
and is needed in  small
amounts  to sustain life.
However, for years it was
being leached out of the soil
and carried in agricultural
drainwater used to flood the
refuge's wetlands, where it
accumulated in dangerously
high levels.

In 1986, after a major
strategic study of wetlands,
EPA Administrator Lee
Thomas underscored the
Agency's commitment to
protecting this resource  by
creating an Office of
Wetlands Protection (OWP).
Wetland protection activities
will be expanded beyond the
traditional Clean Water  Act
section 404 authorities with
the following areas of

Expedite Section 404
Policy Development

The section 404 regulatory
responsibilities will continue
to serve as the cornerstone
for EPA's wetland protection
activities, with particular
emphasis on expediting
policy development in such
areas as enforcement,
mitigation, and delineation of
wetland boundaries.
Enhance State and Local

EPA has long recognized the
importance of the state and
local roles in wetland
protection. In the context of
the section 404 program, we
are continuing to look for
ways to make program
assumption more attractive
and easier for the states. We
are expanding technical
assistance to state wetland
programs and developing
scientific initiatives to
strengthen the role of local
governments in wetlands

Superfund Sites fin

Preliminary estimates
indicate that less than 10
percent of contamination
from Superfund sites has
been found in wetlands. In
1988, EPA will be refining
these estimates by
conducting a more detailed
evaluation of Superfund sites.
EPA is identifying how the
Superfund program can take
better account of the special
needs of Superfund sites in

Increase Anticipatory
Approaches to Wetlands

While seeking to make the
traditional regulatory
programs more efficient and
effective, we are also
identifying and promoting
complementary or related
nonregulatory; programs. The
goals of this effort include:
ensuring protection of high
priority wetlands;
complementing wetland
protection where section 404
does not apply or is
ineffective; and
permit-by-permit review with
other approaches that
facilitate consideration of
indirect or cumulative
impacts. In addition to the
advanced identification
process, we are also working
with the comprehensive
planning processes of other
agencies that could provide
more wetland protection,
such as special area
management planning under
the Coastal Zone
Management Act.

Increase Coordination
with and Consistency of
Federal and State
We are improving integration
of wetlands into EPA's
planning and management
efforts. The Agency also is
working with other federal
agencies to support
complementary programs
        Rainwater Basin Advanced Identification Project
        The Rainwater Basin spans 4,200 square miles in
        central Nebraska south of the Plane River. Early in
        this century, it contained nearly 4,000 distinct
        wetlands, totalling about 94,000 acres. Today,
        largely as a result of the installation of irrigation or
        drainage systems, more than 90 percent of the
        original wetland basins have been destroyed. About
        375 wetlands remain. Destruction of the wetlands
        has resulted in the loss of habitat for the millions of.
        ducks and geese that migrate annually through the
        central flyway.                        :  :  :
          EPA and the Corps of Engineers Omaha District
        established an interagency team comprised of
        technical representatives of the Nebraska
        Department of Environmental Control, U.S. Fish and
        Wildlife Service, the Nebraska Game and Parks
        Commission,  and the U.S. Soil Conservation Service.:
        The team has undertaken four concurrent efforts
        designed to increase the chances of preserving
        wetlands of the Rainwater Basin.
        • Establishing an Inventory of the Existing
        Wetlands. This is  a particularly complex task in the
        Rainwater Basin area because these wetlands are
        extremely dynamic systems, sometimes disappearing
        completely during periods of drought.
                                * Collecting Technical Data. Limited information is
                                available on the wetlands in the Rainwater Basin.
                                Data are being collected systematically to document
                                the scientific and environmental significance of these
                                ecosystems^ These data also will be used to develop
                                criteria for identifying wetlands subject to Clean
                                Water Act jurisdiction and for designating areas as
                                suitable or unsuitable for disposal site specification.
                                • Analyzing the Costs and Benefits of Wetlands
                                Conversion. Because careful consideration must be
                                given to the economics involved in wetland
                                designation, an analysis is being conducted of the
                                profitability of converting wetlands to agricultural
                                use, and the costs associated with wetlands
                                destruction. Economic costs attributable to wetlands
                                destruction could prove to be the most compelling
                                argument in favor of preservation.
                                » Conducting a Community Involvement Program.
                                EPA initiated a community involvement program to
                                set the stage for the designation process, stress  the
                                values of wetlands and the implication of their
                                destruction, and raise public awareness of the Clean
                                Water Act section 404 program.
                                  The result of these efforts will be the identification
                                and protection of those wetlands in the Rainwater
                                Basin that will serve as a stopover and nesting

 such as the Department of
 Agriculture's implementation
 of the Swampbuster
 provisions of the Food
 Security Act of 1985, and to
 eliminate policies that harm

 Expand Scientific
 Knowledge of Wetland

 Wetland ecology is a
 relatively young science with
 jnajor information gaps.
 Thus, the Agency is
 implementing a five-year
 Wetlands Research Plan,
 adopted in 1986,  that
 addresses: (1) the
 Contribution of wetlands to
 water quality/ (2) prediction
 of the cumulative impacts of
 wetland loss and the relation
 i){ individual permit decisions
 to that loss; and (3)
 techniques for  creating and
 restoring wetlands.

 Enhance Public
 Awareness of Wetlands
 Ultimate protection of our
 nation's wetlands requires
 that all Americans
 understand the need to
 protect these natural
 resources. Private
 landowners, public land
 managers, developers, and the
 general public should be
 more aware of the ecological
 value of wetlands. Ongoing
 and proposed public
 education projects include
 public service
 announcements for
 television, informational
 brochures, and  educational
 curriculum materials. The
 National Wetlands Policy
 Forum is also part of EPA's
 efforts to increase public
 awareness (see  the highlight
 "National Wetlands Policy
Excavation and filling operations are a serious threat to wetlands.
      National  Wetlands
      Through the Conservation Foundation, EPA has
      convened a National Wetlands Policy Forum to
      develop sound, broadly supported
      recommendations for effective wetlands
      management. The issues to be addressed are
      intended to go beyond those relating to the Clean
      Water Act section 404 program.
        The Forum has been organized to involve people
      with varying opinions on the process  of wetlands
      management. It is being chaired by New Jersey
      Governor Thomas Kean and its members
      represent state and local governments,
      environmental groups, academia, business,
      agriculture, and forestry interests. In  addition,
      representatives of five federal agencies involved in
      wetlands management are participating in the
      Porum as ex officio members.
        The purpose of the Forum is to address major
      national policy concerns about the protection and
      use of the nation's wetland resources, disc.uss
      goals for future wetlands initiatives, and, establish
      a framework for comprehensive national wetlands
      policies.  The forum expects to make its
      recommendations by mid-1988 on how federal,
      state, and locc^~weuqnf[s policy could be
      improved to benefit both environmental
      protection and economic development.

Near  Coastal  Waters  and  the  Great  Lakes
Near Coastal Waters

The nation's near coastal
waters encompass inland
waters from the coast to the
head of tide (i.e., the farthest
point inland at which the
influence of the tides on
water level is detected). These
waters include bays,
estuaries, and coastal
wetlands, and the coastal
ocean out to where it is no
longer affected hy land and
water uses in the coastal
drainage basin. Taken
together,  these ecosystems
support a wide range of
ecological, economic,
recreational, and aesthetic
uses that depend upon good
water quality.
  Coastal waters and
wetlands are home to many
ecologically and
commercially valuable
species of finfish, shellfish,
birds, and other wildlife.
Eighty-five percent of our
nation's commercially
harvested fish are dependent
upon near coastal waters at
some point in their life
cycles. These waters generate
billions of dollars a year in
income from commercial and
recreational fisheries, tourism
and travel, urban waterfront
and private real estate
development, recreational
boating, marinas, and
harbors. Millions of people
enjoy the bays, beaches,
wetlands, and coastal ocean
for swimming, boating,
fishing, hiking, birdwatching,
and open space every year.
  These environments are
particularly susceptible to
contamination because they
act as sinks for the large
quantities of pollution
discharged from municipal
sewage treatment plants,
industrial facilities, and
hazardous waste disposal
sites. In many coastal areas,
nonpoint source runoff from
agricultural lands, suburban
developments, city streets,
and combined sewer and
 Coastal Wetlands

 stormwater overflows poses
 an even more significant
 problem than point sources.
 This is due to the difficulty
 of identifying and then
 controlling the source of the
—Physical and hydrological
 modifications from such
 activities as dredging
 channels,  draining and filling
 wetlands,  constructing dams,
 diverting freshwater for
 irrigation  and drinking, and
 building shorefront houses
 may further degrade near
 coastal environments.
 Growing population pressures
 will continue to subject these
 sensitive coastal ecosystems
 to further stress. As a result,
 near coastal waters are
 suffering from a number of
 major environmental
 problems whose specific
 impacts vary from waterbody
 to waterbody. These
 problems include  toxic
 eutrophication,  pathogen
 contamination,  habitat loss
 and alteration, and changes
 in living resources.
   Toxic chemicals
 contaminate finfish, shellfish,
 water birds, and a number of
 near coastal habitats.
Contamination often results
in closures of shellfish bed
harvesting areas and fishery
bans or advisories against fish
consumption. Eutrophication
is the extensive algae growth
that results from excessive
nutrient loadings.
Eutrophication recurs every
summer along parts of the
Gulf and East Coasts.
Pathogen contamination
causes many shellfish
closures, as well as beach
closures. From 1980 to 1985
alone, eleven coastal states
suffered losses of 1,000 to
200,000 acres of productive
shellfish beds.
  Destruction of coastal
habitats including wetlands
and shallow open waters has
been accelerating in recent
years. As a result, coastal
fisheries, wildlife and bird
populations have been
declining, with  fewer species
represented. Expanding
development into previously
pristine coastal areas is  a
major threat.
The Great Lakes

The Great Lakes provide an
invaluable resource to the 45
million people living in the
surrounding basin. The five
lakes, which fall under the
jurisdiction of eight states in
the U.S. and one province in
Canada, possess 95 percent of
the entire U.S. fresh surface
water. A 1970 study by the
International Joint
Commission, created under
the Boundary Waters Treaty
of 1901, identified nutrients
and toxics problems in the
lakes. The study found that
Lake Ontario and Lake Erie
in particular suffered from
eutrophication problems
caused by excessive nutrient
inputs. Since then, joint
efforts by the two  countries
have resulted in major
successes in reducing the
nutrient loadings, particularly
phosphorus, and controlling
the eutrophication. However,
contamination of the water
and fish by toxics from
pesticides runoff, landfill
leachates, and in-place
polluted sediments remains a
major problem. These issues
now are being addressed by
the U.S. and Canada.

As an indication of our
continued and heightened
Commitment to protecting
the nation's marine and
coastal waters, EPA
established the Office of
Marine and Estuarine
Protection in 1984. The
Office administers all of
EPA's ocean and coastal
programs. The two major
statutory authorities under
which it operates are the
Marine Protection,  Research,
and Sanctuaries Act, which
covers ocean dumping and
monitoring, and the Clean
Water Act, which covers
coastal and ocean discharges
and the  National Estuary
Program. The Agency also
has implemented programs to
address the problems of the
Chesapeake Bay and other

Great Lakes Program

pur Great Lakes Program
originated in 1972 under the
Clean Water Act in response
to major nutrient pollution
problems, particularly in the
Western Basin of Lake Erie.
In the same year, the
U.S. signed the first of its
Great Lakes Water Quality
Agreements with Canada,
which focused on nutrient
pollution, mainly phosphorus
from urban and agricultural
Sources. The two countries
expanded the agreement in
1978 and again in 1983. In
addition to research on the
problems from toxic
compounds in the lakes, the
agreement calls for five of the
Great Lakes states to develop
individual programs to meet
phosphorus limits. In 1987,
the U.S. and Canada agreed
to address more closely
toxicant concentrations in
the Great Lakes.
Coastal storm damage.
  The federal government
has spent over $6 billion
dollars on Great Lakes
problems since the passage of
the Clean Water Act in 1972.
This money was for the
construction and upgrading of
more than 1,000 municipal
sewage treatment facilities in
the Great Lakes basin. Today,
virtually all U.S. municipal
facilities discharging to the
Great Lakes basin are in
compliance with the 1
mg/liter phosphorus limit set
by the Great Lakes

Chesapeake Bay Program

In 1983, we completed a
seven-year study of the
causes of declining
productivity in the
Chesapeake Bay. The study
was the first milestone in the
ongoing Chesapeake Bay
cleanup effort. The main
report, A Framework for
Action, concluded that the
major problems affecting the
bay were nutrient
enrichment, toxic
contamination, substantially
increased areas of low
dissolved oxygen, declines in
striped bass, submerged
grasses and other living
resources, and substantial
population growth and
changes in land uses. Later in
1983, the states of Maryland,
Virginia, and Pennsylvania,
the District of Columbia,
EPA, and the Chesapeake Bay
Commission signed an
historic Chesapeake Bay
Agreement to work
cooperatively in cleaning up
the bay. The Chesapeake Bay
Restoration and Protection
Plan recommended that state
and federal programs improve
habitat and restore finfish
and shellfish populations. It
also calls for reducing
nutrient and toxic substance
contamination from
industrial and municipal
point sources and from
agricultural and urban
nonpoint sources.
  In 1987, two additional
milestones for the program
were achieved. In February,
the program was enacted into
law as part of the new Clean
Water Act. And on December
16, Maryland, Virginia,
Pennsylvania, the District of
Columbia, EPA, and the
Chesapeake Bay Commission
signed a new, more specific
Chesapeake Bay Agreement.
This agreement specifies
goals for state
implementation programs
and commits the federal
government  to have a
coordinated work plan in
place by July 1988. The plan
will outline all federal
activities and resources that
will be dedicated to
protecting and restoring the

National Estuary

The experiences of the Great
Lakes and Chesapeake Bay
programs with successful
management through
partnership of the public and
private sectors helped lay the
foundation for EPA's
National Estuary Program.
This program began in 1985
with a $4 million
appropriation from Congress.
Passage of the Water Quality
Act of 1987  signaled national
recognition of the need to
ensure protection of our
estuaries by formally
establishing the National
Estuaries Program. The Act
authorizes the Administrator
to convene management
conferences  to develop
Comprehensive Conservation
and Management Plans for
estuaries of national
significance that are
threatened by pollution,
development, or overuse.
These national
demonstration programs are
based on a cooperative
three-phased approach:
characterization of the
environmental problems,
development of a
management plan, and
  The Water Quality Act
'listed twelve estuaries to be
considered for inclusion into
the National Estuary
Program. EPA has formally
convened management
conferences  for six estuaries:
Buzzards Bay in
Massachusetts, Narragansett
Bay in Pvhode Island, Long
Island Sound in New York
and Connecticut, Puget
Sound in Washington,
Albemarle-Pamlico Sounds in
North Carolina, and San
Francisco Bay in California.
Other waterbodies under
consideration are New
York-New Jersey Harbor,
Delaware Bay in New Jersey
and Delaware, Delaware
Inland Bays, Sarasota Bay in
Florida, Galveston Bay in
Texas, and Santa Monica Bay
in California.

Near Coastal  Water

In 1985 EPA developed a
long-term strategic plan to
manage environmental
problems in near coastal
waters that were not being
addressed by the ongoing bay
and estuary programs.  The
Agency currently is
conducting an assessment of
near coastal waters to
identify those in need  of
management attention. We
are sponsoring three projects
designed  to demonstrate
innovative and cost-effective
techniques for cleaning up
and protecting near coastal
Protection of the coastal and
marine environment in the
face of accelerating growth
will continue to present
challenges for the nation.
Current estimates predict
that by the year 2000,  75
percent of the U.S.
population will live within
50 miles of the coast. Near
coastal water pollution
problems became highly
visible to the public during
the summer  of 1987 when a
number of pollution
incidents around the country
were reported, including the
death of fish and shellfish,
closing shellfishing and
swimming areas, bans on
eating fish, and incidents of
garbage washing up on New
Jersey beaches.
  The challenge for resolving
the various pollution
problems in  coastal waters
will be to get federal,  state,
and local governments to
follow through on their
commitments. For example,
federal, state, and local
agencies must work together
to achieve nutrient reduction
of 40  percent by the year
2000,  in Chesapeake Bay.
  As in most programs,
success will  largely depend
on obtaining the necessary
financial resources to
improve environmental
controls. In particular,
managers will need to rely
more  on innovative financing
strategies such as tax
incentives, user fees, and
promoting land acquisition
by private parties. Incentives
will be needed for farmers to
change to less polluting
agricultural practices and for
industry to convert to
recycling and reduction of
chemical wastes. Finally,
expanded public awareness of
the effects of pollution from
the watershed on near coastal
waters is crucial  to
protection of coastal waters.
A high priority will be to
continue EPA's coastal
waterbody management
programs. EPA will be
overseeing the National
Estuary Programs in
designated estuaries. EPA
will continue to implement
both the Chesapeake Bay and
the Great Lakes agreements.
  The Agency will be
focusing more permitting and
enforcement actions on
coastal waters. Criteria to
assess marine water quality
and the extent of toxic
contamination of estuarine
sediments will be developed.
More extensive research on
near coastal water impacts
will be conducted.
  We will continue to
update, with the assistance of
National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration
and the coastal states, our
national assessment of near
coastal waters as a basis for
identifying waterbodies
needing management
attention. Technology and
information transfer of
successful management
techniques and solutions
developed through the Great
Lakes, Chesapeake Bay,
National Estuary, and other
programs will continue to be
a high priority. Through
work with state and local
governments, scientists,
fishermen, industry, and the
public, we hope more people
will be committed to
protecting our valuable
coastal water resources.

The  Ocean



Ocean dumping of dredged
material, sewage sludge, and
industrial wastes is a major
source of ocean pollution.
Sediments dredged from
industrialized urban harbors
are often highly
contaminated with heavy
metals and toxic synthetic
organic chemicals like PCBs
and petroleum hydrocarbons.
When these sediments are
dumped in the ocean, the
contaminants can be taken
up by marine organisms.
National concern for the
threat of environmental
Quality impacts from ocean
dumping led to passage of the
Marine Protection,  Research
and Sanctuaries Act in 1972.
Under this act, EPA and the
U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers are responsible for
regulating the transportation
and dumping of wastes in the
   The Congressional Office
of Technology Assessment
 1987 report entitled Wastes
in Marine Environments
indicates that the ocean
dumping of dredged
materials, sludge, and
industrial wastes is now less
of a threat to the ocean.
However, persistent disposal
of plastics from land and
ships at sea have become
serious problems, particularly
in the past several years. The
most severe impact of this
nonbiodegradable debris
floating in the ocean is injury
and death of fish, marine
mammals, and birds. Debris
on beaches from sewer and
storm drain overflows, or
mismanagement of trash
poses public safety and
aesthetic concerns and can
result in major economic
losses for coastal
communities during tourist
Herring Gull entangled in plastic tiash.
     ''FIGURE W-6
      Sewage Sludge and Industrial Waste
      Ocean Disposed in U.S. Waters Between
      1973 and 1986
                                                                     I          I
                            Note: For the purpose of this graph, Industrial Waste Category also includes Fish Waste and Construction Debris
                            Source: Office of Marine and Estuarine Protection, USEPA



Ocean dumping of industrial
wastes has declined from 5
million tons in 1973 to 0.3
million tons in 1986 (see
Figure W-6). Sewage sludge
dumping in the ocean has
increased from 5 million tons
in 1973 to 7.9 million tons in
1986. This increase is due
largely to construction and
operation of new or improved
sewage treatment plants that
increased the production of
sewage sludge. In December
1987, due to action taken by
EPA, dumping at the
relatively shallow sludge
dumping site 12 miles
offshore in the New York
Bight ceased and dumping
operations were transferred to
a site located about 100 miles
offshore. This action is
expected to result in an
improvement of the
condition of the nearshore


The major challenge facing
the oceans will be the
resolution of the country's
waste disposal crisis. In the
past, dumping in the ocean
was sometimes seen as the
"quick fix" solution for
waste disposal problems. The
nation needs an integrated
long-term waste management
strategy, with ocean dumping
as one of several waste
management options.
Resolution of the marine
debris problem, particularly
problems due to
nonbiodegradable plastics,
presents a different challenge.
It involves lifestyle changes
of the average citizen using
and throwing away plastic
products and of the
fisherman who discards
plastic fish nets at sea.
Manufacturers need to be
encouraged to use more
biodegradable or recyclable


EPA's long-term agenda for
the oceans will be to work
towards an integrated waste
management strategy, that
shifts away from ocean
disposal alternatives. The
short-term agenda will be to
issue the revised ocean
dumping regulations, and
investigate the extent of the
persistent marine debris
problem. Where EPA has
authority, we will work to
improve existing controls.
We will also work with other
Federal agencies to determine
how their laws, regulations,
and policies  can help address
marine problems.

Surface  Waters
   Pollutants in our waterways
   impair or destroy aquatic life,
   threaten human health, or
   Simply foul the water such
   that recreational and
   aesthetic potential is lost.
   They come from industries  or
   treatment plants discharging
   wastewater into streams or
   from waters running across
   urban and agricultural areas
   and carrying the surface
   pollution with them
   fnonpoint sources).
   Restrictions in shellfish beds,
   fishing bans, and swimming
   and beach closings are all
   symptoms of water pollution.
   The most visible water
   pollution problems such as
   choked algae-coated lakes
   and rivers are due to
   pollutants such as nitrates
   and phosphates. Toxic
   pollutants present a less
   visible and ultimately more
   challenging problem to
   control. Early efforts to
   control toxic discharges
   focused on EPA establishing
   technology-based effluent
   standards that industries had
   to meet. We found, however,
   that these controls alone
   were insufficient. Rivers and
   streams continue to show
   Impairment due to the
   presence of toxic pollutants.
   Toxicants continue to pass
   through municipal
   wastewater treatment plants
   which are not equipped to
   treat them: in 1986 it was
   reported that an estimated 37
   percent of the toxic industrial
   compounds entering our
surface waters did so by
passing through treatment

Municipal Wastewater

Raw or insufficiently treated
wastewater from municipal
and industrial treatment
plants still threatens our
water resources in many
parts of the country.
Nutrients in sewage foster
excessive growth of algae and
other aquatic plants. Those
plants then die and decay,
depleting the dissolved
oxygen needed by fish.
Moreover, poorly treated
wastewater may contain
bacteria and chemicals
harmful to both human and
aquatic life.
  Sludge, the residue left
from wastewater treatment
plants, is a growing problem.
Since 1972, municipal sludge
has doubled in volume to
about 7 million dry metric
tons annually, and quantities
are expected to double again
by the year 2000. The toxic
properties of sludge vary.
Some sludges are relatively
"clean",  or free from toxic
substances, and can be used
for beneficial purposes such
as soil conditioners. Other
sludges may contain organic,
inorganic, or toxic pollutants
and pathogens. These sludges
present disposal difficulties
because there are limited
disposal options for them and
those options that are
available are costly.
Industrial Discharges

An important source of toxic
pollution is industrial
wastewater discharged
directly into waterways or
indirectly through municipal
wastewater treatment plants.
Industrial wastes discharged
directly into surface waters
are controlled through
National Pollutant Discharge
Elimination System (NPDES)
permits. Industrial wastes
discharged indirectly to
municipal waste water
treatment plants are treated
to remove toxic pollutants.
This process is known as
pretreatment (see the
highlight "Pretreatment"). It
is important since toxic
wastes may interfere with
the operation of the
treatment plant, and pass
through into surface waters
creating health and
environmental risks. The
toxics may also may end up
in sludge making it harder to
dispose of safely.

Pollution from Nonpoint

Nonpoint sources present
continuing problems for
achieving national
    FIGURE W-7
    Pollutants and Their Sources
                         Common Pollutant Categories
    Municipal Sewage
    Treatment Plants
    Sewer Overflows
                                                                Mining Runoff
                                                                Septic Systems

                                                                Source: Modified from 1986 305|b| National Report
                                                                      ojjis Biological Oxygen Demand, BOD^ Total Dissolved Solids, TDS

water-quality goals in many
parts of the country. Some of
the most common nonpoint
pollutants and their sources
are listed in Figure W-7.
Sediment, the largest
contributor to nonpoint
source problems, causes
decreased light transmission
through water resulting in
decreased plant reproduction,
interference with feeding and
mating patterns,  decreased
viability of aquatic life,
decreased recreational and
commercial values, and
 increased drinking water
 costs. Nutrients, the second
 most common nonpoint
 source pollutant, promote the
 premature aging of lakes and
 estuaries. Pesticides and
 herbicides hinder
 photosynthesis in aquatic
plants, affect aquatic
reproduction, increase
organism susceptibility to
environmental stress,
accumulate in fish tissues,
and present a human health
hazard through fish and
water consumption. Other
     Beneath the streets of every city and
     many smaller communities, a
     system of sewers and pumps
     conveys wastewater from homes,
     factories, offices, and stores. This
     disposed water, which may contain
     a variety of domestic, commercial,
     and industrial wastes, flows through
     the sewers to a wastewater
     treatment plant. There, pollutants
     are removed and the cleansed water
     is discharged into an adjacent river,
     bay, lake, or ocean. The residues of
     the treatment process (sludges) are
     used either as soil conditioners or
     are disposed as a solid waste.
       Industrial plants are only one of
     many sources of wastewater
     discharged into municipal sewers.
     However,  the industrial wastewater
     discharged by industry often is
     contaminated by a variety of toxic
     or otherwise harmful substances not
     common to other sources. Industrial
     wastewater often contains the
     by-products of industrial processes,
     such as  cyanide from electroplating
     shops and lead from the
     manufacture of batteries. These
     industrial wastes can pose serious
     hazards because sewage collection
     and treatment systems have not
     been designed to treat them. The
     wastes can damage the sewers and
     interfere with the operation of
     treatment plants; they may pass
     through the systems untreated,
     resulting in contamination of
     nearby water bodies; and they can
     increase the cost and environmental
     risks of sludge treatment and
       The undesirable effects resulting
     from the discharge of industrial
     wastewater into municipal sewers
     can be prevented. Industrial plants,
     using proven pollution control
     technologies, can remove pollutants
     from their wastewaters before
             discharging the wastewater into the
             sewer system. This practice is
             known as "pretreatment."
               Industry already is pretreating its
             wastewater in many communities.
             The National Pretreatment Program,
             a cooperative effort of federal, state,
             and local officials, is implementing
             this practice on a nationwide basis.
             EPA identified 1500 municipal
             wastewater treatment plants which
             handled 82 percent of all industrial
             wastewater discharged to municipal
             treatment plants. We required that
             they develop programs to develop,
                    implement, and enforce appropriate'
                    effluent limits for industries
                    discharging wastes into -their
                    system. As of July 1987, 95 percent
                    of these plants had developed these
                    pretreatment programs. Many of
                    these programs are just beginning to
                    be implemented. By reducing the
                    level of pollutants discharged by
                    industry into municipal sewage
                    systems, the program ensures that
                    industrial development vital to the
                    economic well-being of a
                    community will be compatible with
                    a healthy environment.
                                                                     Limited or More
                                                                     Expensive Sludge
                                                                     Disposal Options "* ^-^
                                               Exposure of Workers
                                               to Toxic Substances
                                               and Hazardous Fumes
Corrosion of
Collection Sys
or of the Sewage
Treatment Plant
                    Interference with
                    Plant Treatment
                               of Toxic Pollutants::
                                 to Surface Waters7
             Problems that May Occur When Industrial Wastewaters are Discharged into
             Sewage Treatment Systems.  All these Problems can be Controlled through


                             To  DATE
nonpoint source pollutants
have similar impacts
including: increased
treatment costs of drinking
water, reduced commercial
and recreational values,
disrupted aquatic  food chains,
and reduced reproduction
rates and life spans of aquatic
  Nonpoint sources are also a
major source of toxics,
among them pesticide runoff
from agricultural  areas,
metals from active or
abandoned mines, gasoline,
and asbestos from urban
areas. Bottom sediments are
also significant toxic
contributors. They retain
substances discharged in the
past and release them to the
water and aquatic organisms
long after the discharge has
  Another source of surface
water pollutants is the
atmosphere. By attaching
themselves to small particles
of dust, toxic substances may
be transported far from their
sources and deposited in
surface waters through
precipitation. A recent study
demonstrated that certain
pesticides used only in Texas
and the southwest had been
transported in the
atmosphere to the Great
Lakes. The atmospheric
source of water pollution still
needs to be fully investigated.
  The extent and intensity of
nonpoint sources  of pollution
has oecome more evident as
better information is
collected and as we
successfully address point
sources. Or the 52 states  and
territories ranking the
relative impacts of nonpoint
sources in 1986, 33 found
them to be a major problem
and 14 found them to be a
moderate problem.
Agricultural runoff is the
most common nonpoint
source of pollution, followed
by runoff from urban and
mining activities.
Many of the basic laws,
policies, and organizations
needed to manage our surface
waters are in place: state
standards for protecting
waters;  a nation-wide
technology-based system of
pollution control, augmented
by pretreatment and a
growing number of water
quality-based controls; a
national network of federal,
state, and local agencies; and
a nucleus of trained
inspectors to ensure that the
controls are in place and
operating effectively. This
infrastructure, a capital
investment coupled with
resources at federal and state
levels, is our "core" program.
The 1987 Water Quality Act
built upon and in some cases
expanded this core program.
For example, the surface
water toxics provisions in the
act require us to go beyond
technology-based controls for
toxic pollutants to water
quality-based controls where
they are needed to restore
and maintain water quality.
In addition, a number of
provisions greatly strengthen
our base program, such as the
enhancement of our
enforcement powers through
the addition of administrative
penalty authority.
  Since 1972, EPA, state and
local governments have
invested heavily in the
construction and upgrading of
municipal wastewater
treatment facilities. As a
result of these expenditures,
the nation's ability to treat
wastewater has improved
substantially. The population
served by secondary
treatment or better has
increased from 85 million (42
percent of the nation) in 1972
to 127 million (54 percent of
the nation) in 1986. Federal
expenditures through the
construction grants program
have resulted in the
completion of over 8,000
projects at 5,000 municipal
wastewater treatment plants.
  The Water Quality Act of
1987 continues a shift to
eventual complete state and
local responsibility for the
construction, operation,
maintenance, and
replacement of municipal
wastewater treatment plants
One of the major changes
involves a transition from a
federal grants program to a
state revolving fund program
for financing municipal
wastewater treatment. Under
the state revolving fund
program, the federal
government can award initial
seed money to the states for
a water pollution control
revolving loan fund. Each
state will use its revolving
fund primarily to make loans
for local wastewater
treatment facility
construction, although
nonpoint source and
estuarine protection may also
be supported. The
repayments of principal and
interest from these loans will
be used to replenish the fund.
  Setting and enforcing
NPDES permits remains the
cornerstone of the national
water pollution effort.
Currently, 39 states
administer their own NPDES
programs while EPA has the
lead implementation
responsibility in the
remaining states and on
Indian reservations. Even
with this federal-state
permitting and  enforcement
partnership, about 10 percent
of all major facilities
(generally larger facilities
and/or facilities with
potentially harmful
discharge) are in significant
noncompliance with their
permit conditions. Facilities
that are not in compliance
with their permits are subject
to federal and state
enforcement action.
Enforcement actions range
from an informal phone call
to formal judicial proceedings
with possible financial
                             Runoff from fields is major source of sediment and pesticide pollution
                             in rivers and lakes.

Plant and animal species have served
as reference points for environmental
quality throughout human history. For
example, miners used a crude form of
biomonitoring when they took canaries
with them into the coal mines. When
the canaries died from accumulating
methane, the miners knew it was time
to evacuate the mines. Disappearance
of valued plants or wildlife is also a
familiar indicator of environmental
  In recent years, biomonitoring
techniques have become so reliable
that they are now being built into the
regulatory process. The Clean Water
Act specifically refers to biological
testing for assessing environmental
hazards, especially where the mix of
potential pollutants is complex.
Instrumental techniques such as
atomic absorption  spectroscopy can
detect concentrations as small as
parts-per- trillion. However, they
cannot demonstrate effectively the
interaction of chemicals with each
other.  They also are not sensitive to
other variables such as acidity,
hardness, solubility, exposure time, or
the effects on living organisms.
Biomonitoring integrates these
variables and can indicate when
chemicals have reached toxic levels,
even if the identity of the chemicals is
not known.
  Biomonitoring allows us to assess
the cumulative effects on aquatic life
of multiple sources of pollution. With
biomonitoring, we can assess the
health of a waterbody as a whole.
Biomonitoring may be a controlled
laboratory experiment, where test
organisms are exposed to water
containing a specific chemical or a
complex mixture of chemicals. This
type of experiment, known as a
bioassay, is used to evaluate the
relative potency of a chemical or
mixture by evaluating its. effects on
living organisms under controlled
conditions. Another type of
biomonitoring takes place in the field.
Aquatic biologists look for
abnormalities in fish and aquatic
insects. Population diversity, size, and
structure, as well as physical
characteristics of the population may
indicate stress upon the ecosystem.
  Biomonitoring,  therefore, can  serve
two major needs. First, it allows us to
screen  waters for signs of stress, using
fewer resources than chemical
monitoring. Second, it can confirm the
results of chemical monitoring data. In
short, it is a very useful tool for
assessing the safety of the water for
living things.
                                                •**  *-».*? t Jfes4
    Field biologists monitor the water quality of streams through collection of aquatic organisms.

  In an effort to improve
municipal compliance, EPA
and the states developed the
"National Municipal Policy"
jn January 1984. This policy
requires municipalities to
install secondary levels of
treatment by July 1988. At
the beginning of 1988, all but
22 of the 1500 facilities
targeted under the National
Municipal Policy had
achieved compliance, were
under enforceable schedules
for compliance, or had been
referred for judicial action.
  By the mid 1980s it
became clear that stricter
control of nonpoint source
pollution was needed to meet
the goals of the 1972 Clean
Water Act. The Act provided
states with money to develop
plans for both point and
nonpoimvpollution control
(under section 208). Until
passage of the Water Quality
Act of 1987 there was no
provision to implement the
nonpoint source components
of these plans. States are now
required to identify and
assess waters impaired due to
nonpoint pollution and to
develop management plans
for these waters.


The major challenges facing
EPA are to implement the
new requirements embodied
in the Water Quality Act of
1987 while maintaining
existing water quality
program achievements.

Municipal Wastewater

Since 1956 the construction
grants program has provided
financial assistance to
municipalities for
construction of wastewater
treatment plants. The
transition during the late
1980's to the
state-administered revolving
fund program will place
many additional
responsibilities on state
agencies, including the lead
role in designing and
managing programs for
funding construction projects.
The advantage of state
revolving fund programs and
other alternative financing
approaches is that each can
be tailored to address specific
state needs.


Much remains to be done to
address the impact of toxic
pollutants as EPA and the
states implement and enforce
toxics control programs over
the next few  years. Efforts
will focus on upgrading state
programs for  monitoring,
adopting water quality
standards for toxic pollutants,
identifying impaired waters,
and preventing degradation of
existing water quality. As
state programs are upgraded,
improved toxic controls will
be implemented by
establishing more stringent
NPDES permits based on
ambient water quality
considerations,  and through
implementation and
evaluation of the
pretreatment program. The
 1987 amendments deal with
toxic pollution discharges to
surface waters. An important
objective is to assure that
wastewater treatment plants
fully implement, enforce, and
evaluate the effectiveness of
pretreatment controls.

Sludge Disposal

Sludge cleaning and disposal
is one of our most significant
environmental challenges.
Based on statutory and
regulatory requirements,
states will need to develop a
comprehensive approach to
reducing the health  and
environmental risks while
maximizing the beneficial
uses of sludge.


Stormwater transports
pollutants into waterbodies
from city streets, farmlands,
and construction sites.
Particularly intense storms
often cause sewer overflows.
In cases where storm sewers
are combined with municipal
sewage systems these
overflows can result in
untreated sludge being
discharged into waterbodies.
Our initial challenge will be
to develop a permit program
for Stormwater discharges
from industrial activities and
for separate municipal sewers
for Stormwater.

Nonpoint Source

The principal nonpoint
source pollution challenge
will be the development^and
implementation of effective
state programs.  The Water
Quality Act of 1987
established two new
requirements: (1) state
reporting on waters impaired
due to nonpoint sources, the
types of sources causing the
problems, and state and local
control programs; and (2)
state programs for controlling
nonpoint source pollution
including methods and a
time frame for remedying
  Better evaluative
techniques are required to
estimate nonpoint source
impacts; appropriate best
management practices must
be implemented; and close
cooperation is need among
                                                           Storms wash plastic litter into rivers and lakes.

the many federal, state, and
local agencies involved to
ensure we effectively address
nonpoint pollution.

Keeping Up with Change

Conventional pollutant
contamination is being
controlled, but the efforts
 fsnerally are just enough to
 eep pace with population
growth. Water quality has
been restored in many
instances, but these waters —
along with previously
unpolluted, high quality
waters — remain threatened
from the effects of economic
and population growth. Much
of the technology installed in
the 1970s is aging and must
be maintained at great
expense. We are challenged
to maintain past gains while
finding means to address new
and emerging issues.
      Clean  Water  Act
      Los Angeles
      The Clean Water Act requires that cities meet
      stringent standards for treating waste-water from     \
      their sewage systems. EPA's National Municipal
      Policy, issued in 1984, makes clear that cities that
      fail to install needed treatment equipment will be
      forced to meet court-enforceable compliance        .'•
      schedules. EPA has undertaken more than 150
      lawsuits under the policy, suing cities in 20 states,
      plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and
      the Virgin Islands. The agreement reached
      between EPA and the City of Los Angeles, entered   :
      as a federal court  order, is an example of the
      success of EPA's National Municipal Policy.
        EPA first sued Los Angeles for violating its     .-•'''
      discharge permits in 1977. After almost ten years    ',
      of construction problems, funding holdups, and
      other delays, however, the city's main treatment
      facility, the Hyperion plant, was still pumping
      more than a million gallons of sewage sludge into
      Santa Monica Bay every day. In addition, the
      Hyperion plant was consistently in violation of its
      permit limits for suspended solids, oil, grease, and
      occasionally chlorine and various metals.           •
        Under the 1987 agreement, Los Angeles had to
      pay the highest civil penalty assessed to a city
      under the Clean Water Act up to that time
      ($625,000). It also must carry out a storm water
      control project that may cost as much as $3.3       :
      million. Most importantly, the city committed       j
      itself to wastewater treatment and management
      improvements that could cost more than $2.3       '•':
      billion over the next 12 years. The city ended the
      ocean discharge of sludge in December 1987, and
      agreed to build a sludge treatment and disposal
      process known as the Hyperion Energy Recovery
      System  by June 1989.
Water related environmental
data are essential for sound
management decisions. We
must be able to characterize
water quality problems and
trends in order to identify the
most serious or sensitive
problem areas. Water quality
information is also important
in developing the appropriate
mix of management and
technical solutions to
problems. Finally,, we must
collect information that will
allow us to revise programs
to achieve our environmental
goals. This is a complex and
costly process, but it is one
that we are committed to
  As states assume primary
responsibility for wastewater
treatment plants, EPA's role
will be to ensure a smooth
transition to the State
Revolving Fund program and
that the CWA objectives are
achieved. EPA will continue
to provide substantial
assistance to states and
communities on effective
wastewater treatment, sludge
management technologies,
and local financing
approaches. At the same
time, the existing wastewater
treatment infrastructure
must be protected. EPA will
help strengthen local
municipal wastewater
treatment operations and
maintenance programs,
especially in regard to sludge
and toxics problems.
  The states will be required
to review and upgrade
standards for toxics, to adopt
specific criteria for certain
toxic pollutants,  and to
complete upgrading of their
programs for preventing
water degradation. Permits
incorporating limits for toxic
pollutants will be issued, and
compliance with these
permits will be enforced.
  The NPDES permit
program will be expanded to
meet stormwater and sludge
requirements. ;EPA is in the
process of revising
regulations to add new
permit application
requirements for stormwater
discharges from large (over
250,000 population) and
medium sized (between
100,000 and 250,000)
municipalities. EPA will
develop technical
requirements for sludge use
and disposal, and will work
with states to ensure that
appropriate regulations and
guidance are developed for
state sludge management
  EPA is working with states
as they develop State Clean
Water Strategies. These
strategies will establish
priorities for addressing the
remaining point and
nonpoint source water
quality problems in surface
waters, streams, rivers, lakes,
wetlands, and estuaries. The
State Clean Water Strategies
will serve as the road map for
the states and EPA to
identify the  remaining
troubled or threatened waters
and find the most effective
route to address them.
  Although the Water
Quality Act of 1987 provides
for expanded enforcement
authorities, it does not
modify the existing industrial
and municipal permit limits
which must be enforced. The
NPDES enforcement program
priority continues to be
implementation of the
National Municipal Policy,
ensuring municipalities are
in compliance with
secondary treatment
requirements. However, all
point sources must continue
to meet in-place water
quality and technology-based
requirements. Enforcement is
critical to maintaining the
progress we have achieved.
EPA will continue to
maintain and enhance
existing enforcement



     Historically, land has been
     used as the dumping
 ground for wastes, including
 those removed from the air
 and water. Early
 environmental protection
 efforts focused on cleaning up
 air and water pollution. It
 was not until the 1970's that
 there was much public
 concern about pollution of
 the land. We now recognize
 that contamination of the
 land threatens not only
 future uses of the land itself,
 but also the quality of the
 surrounding air, surface
 water, and ground water.
   The biggest challenge for
 the next decade is to reduce
 the amount of waste. We
 must invest in recycling
 programs, more efficient
 production processes,
 substituting less harmful
 products, and reducing
 unnecessary wastes like
 excess packaging. Some
 amount of waste, however,
 can not be avoided. Waste
 must be properly managed  to
 make as little impact on the
 environment as possible.
   Improper handling, storage,
 and disposal of chemicals can
 cause serious problems. Most
 of us are familiar with these
 •  Gasoline leaks from
 underground storage tanks
 caused a gas station
 explosion in Council Bluffs,
 •  In Love Canal, New York,
 and Times Beach, Missouri,
 improper land disposal of
 hazardous wastes resulted in
 contaminated land and water
 in the surrounding
 •  Hundreds of drinking
 water wells have been
 contaminated by improper
 waste disposal throughout
 the U.S.
• A barge carrying 90 tons of
garbage from the
northeastern U.S. travelled
for several months in the
Caribbean and Gulf of
Mexico as its operators
searched for a place to
dispose of the cargo in an
appropriate manner.
• Accidental release of the
gas methyl isocyanate killed
2,800 people in Bhopal, India.
  To address the causes of
these and other problems,
Congress enacted legislation
to clean up problem waste
sites, address leaks from
underground storage tanks,
and regulate hazardous waste
handling. Additional
legislation promoted planning
for chemical emergencies and
the public's right to know
about storage and use of
chemicals  in their
  This  chapter begins with
an overview of waste
generation and disposal
issues;  EPA's legislative
authorities to address
hazardous substance storage
and disposal; EPA's approach
to waste management, clean
up, and preparedness for
chemical emergencies; and a
summary of progress
achieved so far. The
remainder of the chapter
describes four key problems
facing the nation and EPA's
plans to address those

     More than six billion tons
     of agricultural,
 commercial, industrial, and
 domestic waste are produced
 in the United States each
 year. Most waste presents
 few health or environmental
 problems. Half the total, for
 example, is agricultural
 waste, primarily crop
 residues, most of which is
 plowed back into the land.
 Other waste, particularly that
 from industrial sources, can
 imperil both public health
 and the environment (Figure
 L-l). Leaks from underground
 storage tanks and chemical
 emergencies also contribute
 to contamination of the land
 and ground water.
  If not properly disposed,
 even common household
 wastes can cause
 environmental problems
 ranging from foul-smelling
 smoke from burning trash to
 breeding grounds for rats,
 flies, and mosquitoes. Even at
 properly run'disposal sites,
 land contamination can
 contribute to air and water
 pollution because small
 quantities of toxic substances
 such as pesticides, paints, or
 solvents may be dumped
 with other household wastes.
 Rain water seeping through
 the buried wastes may form
 "leachate" that percolates
 down through soil and may
 contaminate ground water.
 Other organic wastes such as
 garbage and paper products
 decompose and can form
 explosive methane gas.
  Industrial wastes may
 present particularly
 troublesome problems. Many
 components of these wastes,
 such as dioxins, may present
 serious health or
 environmental threats by
 themselves; others are
 hazardous only in
 combination with other
 substances. Potential health
 effects range from headaches,
 nausea, and rashes, to acid
 burns, serious impairment of
 kidney and liver functions,
 cancer, and genetic damage.
  Congress enacted several
laws to regulate the
generation and disposal of
hazardous wastes. These laws
are aimed at three basic
• Proper management and
disposal of wastes being
 Generated now, and that will
 e generated in the future.
• Cleanup of sites where the
results of past disposal
practices now threaten
surrounding communities
and the environment.
• Minimizing generation of
wastes and recycling
materials where possible to
lessen the burden on the
6 Billion Tons of Waste
Are Generated in the
U.S. Each Year
(excludes high-level
radioactive waste)
 Municipal 3.1%
Utility 1.2'
             Industrial 6.4%
                   39%   .
               (includes uranium
  Agriculture 50.3%^  mill tailings!
Source: Office of Solid Waste, USEPA
Regulating Waste

Developing methods for
proper disposal of the wastes
Americans generate in their
daily lives has been a focus of
federal legislation for some
time. In 1965, the Solid
Waste Disposal Act was
enacted to fund research and
technical assistance for state
and local planners.
  In 1970, the program was
expanded by enactment of
the Resource Recovery Act.
This law promoted the
development of sanitary
landfills and encouraged a
shift from disposal toward
conservation, recycling, and
newer control technologies.
  As the potential
environmental problems
posed by disposal of wastes
generated by chemical and
other industrial processes
became clearer, Congress
passed the Resource
Conservation and Recovery
Act (RCRA) in 1976. RCRA
promotes "cradle-to-grave"
management for hazardous
waste, from their point of
 feneration to their final
 isposal location. The
program works through
requirements for  hazardous
waste generators,
transporters, and  treatment,
storage, and disposal
  RCRA was amended by the
Hazardous and Solid Waste
Amendments (HSWA) in
1984. The amendments
altered the focus  of waste
management in many ways.
HSWA required EPA to focus
on permitting land disposal
facilities and eventually
phasing out land  disposal of
some wastes. It expanded the
RCRA-regulated community
to include businesses that
generate small amounts of
hazardous waste.  Recycling
and waste minimization
provisions also were included
in the Act as promising
methods of reducing  the
overall amount of waste
generated.     .
  HSWA also addressed
previously exempted
underground storage tanks
containing petroleum and
some hazardous substances.
With these provisions,
Congress gave EPA the
responsibility under RCRA
for regulating the storage of
gasoline and other
commercial products rather
than only wastes.

Cleaning Up Existing
Waste Problems

The problem of past
hazardous waste disposal was
brought to national attention
in a series of incidents and
the resulting news stories in
the late 1970s. The first
major incident was Love
Canal in Niagara Falls, New
York, where people were
evacuated from their homes
after hazardous waste buried
for over 25 years seeped to
the surface and into
basements. Times Beach,
Missouri represents another
prominent story of hazardous
waste mismanagement.
There, oil contaminated with
dioxin was used on roads and
subsequently contaminated
the soil and ground water in
the community.
  It soon became clear that
hazardous waste problems
caused by past
mismanagement were outside
of existing environmental
statutes. A survey requested
by a Congressional
committee found that
one-third of the 3,383 waste
disposal sites used since 1950
by the 53 largest U.S.
chemical companies were not
covered under federal
  The Federal Water
Pollution Control Act of
1972 established a fund of
$35 million for the cleanup
of hazardous substances and

oil released into navigable
waters. However, no similar
fund existed for addressing
hazardous waste releases
solely on land. In response to
this need, the Comprehensive
Environmental  Response,
Compensation and Liability
Act (CERCLA), or
"Superfund," was enacted in
1980. CERCLA authorized
SI.6 billion over five years
for a comprehensive program
to clean up the worst
abandoned or inactive waste
sites in the nation. CERCLA
funds used to establish and
administer the cleanup
program are derived primarily
from taxes on crude oil and
42 different commercial
  The reauthorization of
CERCLA is known as the
Superfund Amendments and
Reauthorization Act of 1986
(SARA). These amendments
provided $8.5 billion for the
cleanup program and an
additional S500 million for
cleanup of leaks from
underground storage tanks.
  Under SARA, Congress
strengthened EPA's mandate
to focus on permanent
cleanups at Superfund sites,
involve the public in decision
processes at sites, and
encourage states and tribes to
actively participate as
partners with EPA to address
these sites. SARA expanded
EPA's research, development
(especially in the area of
alternative technologies), and
training responsibilities.
SARA also strengthened
EPA's enforcement authority
to get others to clean up
hazardous waste problems for
which they are responsible.

Emergency Planning and

In the process of amending
CERCLA, Congress passed
the Emergency Planning and
Community Right-to-Know
Act, known as Title HI. Title
HI was enacted to promote
the public's awareness of the
hazardous or toxic chemicals
used or produced by industry.
It also mandates that each
community be prepared to
respond to emergencies
resulting from release or
explosion of chemicals.
Industrial and commercial
facilities also will be required
to report annually on the
quantities of substances
present in their facilities and
released to the environment
on a routine basis.

 As Figure L-l shows, every
 major sector of the economy
 contributes to  producing
 waste in the United States.
 The kinds of wastes produced
 by these sources and their
 effects vary greatly. As a
 result, wastes need different
 levels and types of control.
 The principal sources of
 waste are discussed below.

 Industrial Hazardous

 The chemical, petroleum,
 metals, and transportation
 industries are major
 producers of hazardous
 industrial waste (see Figure
 L-2). Ninety-nine percent of
 the hazardous  waste
 produced and managed under
 the RCRA program is
 produced by facilities that
 generate large quantities
(more than 2,200 pounds) of
hazardous waste each month.
  A much smaller amount of
hazardous waste, about one
million tons per year, comes
from small quantity
generators that each produce
between 220 and 2,200
pounds of waste per month.
These include automotive
repair shops, construction
firms, laundromats, dry
cleaners, and equipment
repair shops. Over 60 percent
of these wastes are derived
from lead batteries. The
remainder includes acids,
solvents, photographic
wastes, and dry cleaning
  The large majority of
hazardous waste is managed
in the more highly
industrialized areas of the
United States, particularly
those areas with active
chemical and petroleum
industries. The quantity of
RCRA-regulated hazardous
waste handled in the  Rocky

 The Chemical Industry Manages the Bulk of
 Hazardous Waste in the U.S.
    National Security 0.4%
  Electrical Equipment 0.4%
Transportation Equipment
     Fabricated Metals 1%  I           Petroleum Refinery  7%
       Primary Metals
                                                              Source: National Screening Survey at Hazardous Waste Treatment Storage Disposal and
                                                              Recycling Facilities, Office of Solid Waste, USEPA

 Mountains and the far west
 is much smaller than the
 amount in the eastern,
 southern, and midwestern
   EPA and the states share
 responsibility under RCRA
 for management of newly
 generated industrial
 hazardous waste. The ideal
 solution to the hazardous
 waste problem would be to
 not create these wastes right
 from the start. By employing
 more efficient production
 processes and substituting
 less harmful products we can
 lessen the risks posed by
 these wastes. Moreover,
 under RCRA there are
 permitting and inspection
 procedures to ensure that
 wastes are managed
   Under CERCLA, the
 Agency has established a
 comprehensive, national
 program for identifying sites
 that may pose threats,
 evaluating these to determine
 which are the most critical,
 and implementing remedies
 that reduce the threats.
 CERCLA authorizes EPA to
 act directly to clean up
 hazardous waste disposal
 sites where public health,
 welfare, or the environment
 is endangered.

 Municipal  Wastes

 Municipal wastes include
 household and commercial
 wastes, demolition materials,
 and sewage sludge.. Solvents
 and other harmful household
 and commercial wastes are
 generally so intermingled
 with other materials that
 specific control of each is
 virtually impossible.
 Leachate resulting from rain
 water seeping through
 municipal landfills may
 contaminate underlying
 ground water. While the
 degree of hazard presented by
 this leachate is often
relatively low, the volume
produced is so great that it
may contaminate
ground water. EPA issues
requirements for municipal
facilities under its program to
regulate nonhazardous waste.
State and local governments
then are responsible for
ensuring compliance.
  Industrial societies with
smaller farming populations
and higher incomes produce
considerably more waste per
person than do developing
countries. Figure L-3 shows
the amounts of refuse
generated per capita for
selected cities. The United
States produces the most
waste per person among
industrial nations. Taking
certain materials out of those
headed for  the dump and
recycling them is one way to
manage the large volumes of
waste generated. EPA
encourages state and local
governments to set up
recycling programs, and has
set a four year goal to achieve
a nationwide 25 percent rate
of recycling of nonhazardous
wastes at their source.
  Sewage sludge is the solid,
semisolid, or liquid residue
produced from treating
municipal wastewater. Some
sewage sludges contain high
levels of disease-carrying
microorganisms, toxic
      FIGURE L-3
      Refuse Generation Rates in Selected Cities
      (circa 1980)
      City                     Per Capita Waste Generation Bate
                                          (pounds per day)
metals, or toxic organic
chemicals. Because of the
large quantities generated,
sewage sludge is a major
waste management problem
in a number of
  In the past, sewage sludge
was regulated as a solid
waste under RCRA or a
variety of other laws. The
1987 Water Quality Act
provides for a comprehensive
program to reduce
environmental  risks and
maximize the beneficial uses
of sewage sludge. The options
for using and disposing of
this sludge include land
application, landfilling, ocean
disposal, incineration, and
marketed  products. In 1987,
the Agency proposed
regulations for sewage sludge
in National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination
System (NPDES) permits (see
Water Chapter) and
established requirements for
state sludge management
      Industrial Cities

      New York, United States                  4.0
      Tokyo, Japan                            3.0
      Paris, France                            2.4
      Hong Kong                              1.9
     "Rome, Italy                             1.5

      Low-Income Cities

      Lahore, Pakistan                          1.3
      Medellin, Colombia                       1.2
      Calcutta, India                           1.1
      Manila, Philippines                       1.1
      Kano, Nigeria                            1.0
      Source: Cynthia Pollock/'Mining Urban Wastes: The Potential for RecycSng" (WorldWatch Paper.
      April1987|                                    .   -
Mining Wastes

A large volume of all waste
generated in the United
States is from mining coal,
phosphates, copper, iron,
uranium, and other minerals
and from ore processing and
milling. These wastes consist
primarily of overburden, the
soil and rock cleared away
before mining, and tailings,
the material discarded during
ore processing.
  Mining wastes are a source
of environmental problems
particularly in a few western
and southwestern states.
Although mining wastes are
generally considered to
present low hazards, they
present a disposal problem
because of the estimated 2.34
billion tons generated per
year. Runoff from these
wastes increases the acidity
of streams and pollutes them
with toxic metals.
Furthermore, the tremendous
amounts of overburden
generated in surface mining
can pose local management
  Coal mining wastes are
controlled at the federal level
by the Department of the
Interior under the Surface
Mining Control and
Reclamation Act of 1977.
Under federal law, EPA has
specific responsibilities for
uranium mill tailings. EPA's
primary role is to assess the
effects of these wastes on the
environment and, if
necessary, propose additional
controls. The Agency is
currently developing a
regulatory program under
RCRA for mining wastes.

                                                                 A Few  Important
Radioactive Wastes

Radioactive materials are
used in a wide variety of
applications, from generating
electricity to medical
research. The U.S. has
produced large quantities of
radioactive wastes that can
pose environmental and
nealth problems for many
  The Department of Energy,
the Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, the states,  and
EPA share responsibility for
managing radioactive wastes.
EPA issues radiation
standards that set limits on
the levels of human exposure
to radiation or on quantities
of radioactive materials that
may be released into the
environment. In addition, the
Agency develops
recommendations for federal
agencies that handle
radioactive wastes, and
provides technical assistance
to other federal agencies and
states for carrying out their
radiation protection
  To reduce the risks from
low-level radioactive wastes,
EPA published criteria to
help select low-level waste
disposal sites. In 1985, the
Agency issued environmental
standards for the
management and disposal  of
high-level radioactive wastes.
The Agency currently is
re-evaluating some of the
technical aspects of these
   The Agency also conducts
emergency and routine
monitoring of radiation levels
in the environment. For
example, several ongoing
programs monitor radiation
levels in air, precipitation,
surface and drinking water,
and milk samples. EPA also
coordinated offsite
monitoring activities during
cleanup of the damaged
Three Mile Island nuclear
reactor in Pennsylvania, and
closely tracked radiation
levels after the Chernobyl
nuclear accident.
Other Wastes

Of the six billion tons of
waste generated each year,
more than half are from
agriculture and forestry. Most
of this waste poses relatively
small health and
environmental hazards. Much
of forestry waste is now
burned for energy, and
agricultural  waste is mostly
E lowed back into the fields or
 urned. Some agricultural
wastes, such as unused
pesticides and empty
pesticide containers, do
require safe  treatment and
disposal and are regulated by
EPA. (See "Pesticides:
Human Health Concerns" in
the Toxics Chapter.)
  Utilities also contribute to
the nation's waste
production.  The principal
wastes produced by electric
power plants are sludges from
processes designed to prevent
air and water pollution.
Ninety percent (over 70
million tons annually) of all
combustion waste generated
in the U.S. is from coal-fired
power plants. These wastes
are generated in large
amounts but generally are of
low risk. Under RCRA, EPA
is responsible for determining
whether there is a need to
regulate the sludges resulting
from air pollution control
equipment at these plants.
The Agency is currently
studying the effects of these
wastes to determine the
extent of regulation needed.

Underground Storage of

Leaking underground storage
tanks are another source of
land contamination that  can
contribute to ground-water
contamination. The majority
of these tanks do not store
waste, but instead store
petroleum products and some
      Definitions of hazardous substances are not as
      straightforward as they appear. For purposes of
      regulation, Congress and EPA have defined terms
      to describe wastes and other substances that fall
      under Regulation. The definitions below show the
      complexity of our regulatory task.

      Hazardous Substance (CERCLA) - Any substance
      that, when released into the environment, may
      present substantial danger to public health,
      welfare, or the environment. Designation as a
      hazardous substance grows out of the statutory
      definitions in several environmental laws: the
      Comprehensive Environmental Response,
      Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the
      Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA),
      the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Clean Air Act
      (CAA), and the Toxic Substances Control Act
      (TSCA). Currently there are 717 CERCLA
      hazardous substances.
      Extremely Hazardous Substances (CERCLA as
      amended) -  Substances which could cause serious,
      irreversible health effects from a single exposure.
      For purposes of chemical emergency planning,
      EPA has designated 366 substances as extremely
      hazardous. If not already so designated, these also
       will be listed as hazardous substances.
       Solid Waste (RCEA) - Any garbage, refuse, sludge,
       or other discarded material. All solid waste is not
       solid; it can be liquid, semisolid, or contained
      gaseous material. Solid waste results from
       industrial, commercial, mining, and agricultural
       operations and from community activities. Solid
       waste can be either hazardous or nonhazardous.
       Howler, it does not include solid or dissolved
       material in domestic sewage, certain nuclear
       material, or certain agricultural wastes.
       Hazardous  Waste (RCRA) - Solid waste, or
       combinations of solid waste, that because of its
       quantity, concentration, or physical, chemical or
       infectious characteristics, may pose a hazard to
       human health or the environment. Under RCRA,
       these wastes are -further defined by characteristics
       described in the section, "Preventing Future
       Contamination From Improper Waste Disposal."
       Nonhazardous Waste (RCRA) - Solid  wastes,
       including municipal wastes, household hazardous
       waste, municipal sludge, and industrial and   ,j-,0
       commercial wastes that are not hazardous.
hazardous substances. Most
of the tanks now in place are
bare steel and subject to
corrosion^ Many are old and
near therend of their useful
lives. Hundreds of thousands
of these tanks are thought to
be leaking, with more
expected to develop leaks in
the next five to ten years.
Leaking tanks can
contaminate local
ground-water supplies, may
endanger local drinking water
systems, or may lead to
explosions and fires.

Regulations developed to
implement the requirements
of RCRA and its
amendments now provide the
basis for environmentally
sound management of the
millions of tons of hazardous
waste generated each year. In
addition,  under CERCLA,
EPA and the states are
investigating potentially
hazardous disposal sites. The
most serious of these sites
are being cleaned up.
Congress has given EPA new
responsibilities for
controlling pollution from
underground storage tanks,
and the Agency is assisting
communities in preparing for
chemical emergencies.

Preventing Improper
Management of Waste

Since the passage of RCRA
and the 1984 HSWA
amendments, one of EPA's
greatest accomplishments has
been to establish the
framework to properly
manage hazardous wastes as
they are generated and to
minimize associated risks to
humans and the
  We are enforcing basic
requirements governing
waste storage, treatment, and
disposal and have granted or
denied final operating
permits to hundreds of
hazardous waste facilities.
Rather than trying to meet
the strict HSWA
requirements for receiving an
operating permit, many land
disposal facilities have
chosen to stop managing
hazardous waste. EPA
continues to work with the
states and operators of these
facilities to ensure no waste
 Eroblems are left when the
 icilities close.
  EPA and the states are
taking the following steps to
ensure that currently
generated waste will not
result in additional
multi-million dollar cleanup
• The  land disposal
restrictions program (land
ban) required under HSWA is
being implemented. Wastes
that do not meet specified
treatment standards will be
banned from land disposal
over the next several years.
• Wastes from cleaning up
Superfund sites are being
transported only to approved
and frequently inspected
RCRA hazardous waste
• Efforts to encourage waste
minimization have been
increased. By outlining short-
and long-term goals and by
further developing policies,
EPA hopes to decrease the
amount of waste generated in
the nation.

Cleaning Up Releases of
Hazardous Substances

Under CERCLA, EPA and the
states take responsibility for
cleaning up hazardous sites
where there are no
responsible parties or where
those responsible for the spill
or leak do not agree to a
settlement for cleanup.
Under these circumstances,,
cleanup costs are paid
directly from the $8.5 billion
Superfund with a minimum
of 10 percent contribution
from the state. The federal
government will later sue the
responsible parties to recover
cleanup costs. Cleaning up
one Superfund site often
takes  years and can cost
millions of dollars.
  Working with the states,
the public, and tribal
governments, the Agency has
identified approximately
30,000 sites where there is a
potential of release of
hazardous substances. Initial
investigation of the vast
majority of these sites has
determined that:
• 1177 have completed the
Superfund screening process
and have been included or
proposed for inclusion on the
National Priorities List;
• more than 8,000 sites
require no further action
under Superfund; and
• the rest await a final
  The Agency has
investigated in detail over
two hundred sites and has
selected remedies  to the
contamination problems.
Over 1,000 short-term
actions to address immediate
threats have been  started
throughout the United States.
  Under RCRA, corrective
actions are conducted to
clean up all operating or
closing RCRA facilities  that
released hazardous waste
threatening health or the
environment. The Agency
has pursued corrective action
by identifying facilities
subject to  the provisions of
RCRA, identifying possible
releases from these facilities,
and requiring cleanup
through permits or
enforcement orders. EPA has
completed initial assessments
at 400 active RCRA facilities
and estimates that a
minimum of 60 percent will
require further investigation.

Pollution From
Underground Storage

An estimated five to six
million underground storage
tanks in use in the United
States contain petroleum
products or hazardous
chemicals. Approximately
two million of these tanks
may be leaking and will
come under RCRA regulation
this year. EPA is developing
regulations for new and
existing underground tanks
that address leak prevention
and detection, corrective
action, record-keeping, and
reporting of leaks or spills. In
addition, regulations are
pending that require owners
of these tanks to show they
can pay for cleanup of leaks.
States and EPA will be
responsible for implementing
this program. Some states
have already moved ahead of
the federal government in
regulating underground

Chemical Emergency

Title III is a relatively new
law directed at chemical
emergency planning and
community right to know.
EPA has already made
significant progress in
carrying out the mandates of
this law. The Agency is
establishing a data base,
accessible to the public, with
comprehensive information
on chemical releases to all
environmental media. In
addition, we are helping state
and local governments use
the information in the data
base to plan for chemical
emergencies, and have
published  a list of 366
Extremely Hazardous
Substances for release
reporting and emergency
planning purposes.


EPA, the states, and industry
face many significant land
pollution challenges. Four
major challenges discussed in
this chapter are:
• Preventing future
contamination from improper
waste disposal. Focusing on
major generators, and storage,
treatment, and disposal
facilities, EPA is taking steps
with the states to ensure me
proper managementrof
hazardous and municipal
wastes. We are regularly
informing citizens and large
and small businesses of the
necessity to dispose of waste
properly, and we will
continue to enforce
compliance with the laws.
Encouraging waste
minimization at production
facilities and recycling in
businesses and homes will
also be high priorities.
• Cleaning up of releases of
hazardous substances. One of
the Agency's highest
priorities is to clean up the
many uncontrolled hazardous
waste sites across the
country. The rate at which
these sites are addressed,
making use of the new
authorities of SARA and
HSWA, is accelerating.
• Tackling pollution from
underground storage tanks.
Focusing on a recently
recognized problem, EPA will
continue to develop programs
to assist the states in
managing underground
storage tanks. The vast
number of these tanks,
coupled with the need to
replace many of them, make
this both^a communications
and a technological
challenge. EPA will help
states ge"t started on cleaning
up contaminated land and
water where leaks have
already occurred, and ensure
that new tanks have
 Erotection to prevent future
• Chemical Emergency
Planning and Community
Right to Know. EPA will
continue to work with state,
tribal, and local agencies and
citizens to ensure that
facilities in each community
provide full information
about the presence and
release of toxic chemicals in
their communities. The
Agency will also support
state, tribal, and local
emergency planning activities
to mitigate the potential
effects of any accidental
releases that may occur.
      Hazardous  SuBstances  Around  the House
           (he. proliferation of new
      chemicals in our society, the types
      tin,d number^ of ^Qnsjjmer products
     I have risen sharply. 'Products such as
      medicines, insecticides, cleaners,
      faints, and plastics, contain a
      vdrlety of chemicals. Once the
      useful life of these products is over,
      they become wastes, some of them
        Household hazardous materials
      can be properly handled by
      carefully following label directions
      fdfuse and disposal. Local health,
      waste management, or fire
      department officials are good
      sources for advice on disposal
      options. For example, used motor oil
      can be returned to a collection
      Wnfer to be burned as fuel or
    / .......... f e^ttfined, for use as ..... g_lubricant. If
      not properly handled, household
      hazardous wastes can contaminate
      wafer if poured into storm drains,
      streams, rivers, lakes, or on the
      Common Household Hazardous
      H«re is a partial list of some of the
      household products that may be
      hazardous if not used or disposed of
           the kitchen and bathroom:
                              .......... ......
                     ..  - -
               and metal cleaners _and
               - discarded medicines
             • In the garage:
               - oil and fuel additives
               - grease and rust solvents
               - carburetor and fuel injection
                 cleaners and starter fluids
               - outdated chemistry sets
             • In the workshop:
               - paint thinners, strippers and
               - adhesives
             • For the lawn and garden:
               - herbicides
               - pesticides
               - fungicides and wood
               Like garbage, sewage, or any other
             type of waste, the less household
             hazardous waste there is, the less
             the threat to our environment and
             public health. One of EPA's goals is
             to reduce the amount of hazardous
             and nonhazardous waste produced.
             Homeowners are encouraged to buy
             only as much of a product as
             needed, and to recycle when
             possible. Leftoverjpaint can be given
             to a neighbor, for example. Another
             way to minimize waste is by using
             less toxic substitutes that work for
             several household jobs.
             Alternatives to detergents, polishes
             and potions.
             Although not infallible, these
             methods have been found to be
           iiin	effective and economical.
                    Dram Cleanser - Pour boiling water
                    down drain. Two handfuls of salt
                    followed by boiling water should
                    clear most pipes.
                    Cleanser - For sinks, salt is an
                    excellent scouring agent and
                    possesses disinfecting qualities. For
                    ovens and refrigerators, baking soda
                    is a good cleanser and freshener.
                    Chrome, Stainless Steel Cleaner -
                    Dip dry cloth into flour and rub on
                    General Furniture Polish - 1/2 cup
                    vinegar, 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol, 1
                    cup linseed oil. Shake well before
                    applying. Test in small area before
                    total application.
                    Air Freshener - Bowls filled with
                    white vinegar placed next to stove
                    lessens cooking odors.
                    Moth Repellent - Cover surface of
                    apple or orange with cloves. Cover
                    with white tissue and let dry for
                    two weeks in dry, airy place.
                    Unwrap and hang in closet. Cedar
                    wood chips also repel moths.
                    Insect Repellent - Companion
                    planting, including certain plants
                    throughout and around the garden
                    can repel a  variety of insects. Some
                    of tliese plants: nasturtium,   (	
                    marigolds, rosemary, petumas~,~nnd
                    Slug and Snail Poison -  Pour beer in
                    flat containers and place below
                    ground level in infested area.
      * Adapted from Household Alternatives for a Safer Environment — Connecticut Fund for the Environment

                           Preventing  Future Contamination
                           from   (Improper Waste  Disposal
Solidified chemicals at an abandoned hazardous waste site.
                                                  The nation's waste disposal
                                                  programs focus on two
                                                  categories of wastes:
                                                  hazardous wastes, and
                                                  municipal and other
                                                  non-hazardous wastes. The
                                                  disposal problems associated
                                                  with each waste category are
                                                  summarized below.

                                                  Hazardous Wastes

                                                  Before the early 1970s, the
                                                  nation paid  little attention to
                                                  industrial production and the
                                                  disposal of the waste it
                                                  generated, particularly
                                                  hazardous waste. In fact,
                                                  until the passage of RCRA in
                                                  1976, there  was no federal
                                                  legislation dealing with the
                                                  problems of hazardous waste
                                                  management. As a result,
                                                  billions of dollars must now
                                                  be spent to clean up disposal
                                                  sites neglected through years
                                                  of mismanagement.
                       Every year about 3,000
                     facilities manage 275 million
                     metric tons of RCRA
                     hazardous waste in the
                     United States. For the
                     purposes of RCRA regulation,
                     EPA may identify a waste as
                     hazardous, if it poses a fire
                     hazard (ignitable); dissolves
                     materials or is acidic
                     (corrosive); is explosive
                     (reactive); or otherwise poses
                     danger to human health or
                     the environment (toxic)
                     (Figure L-4). Figure L-5 shows
                     that most hazardous waste
                     results from the production
                     of widely used goods such as
                     polyester and other synthetic
                     fabrics, kitchen appliances,
                     and plastic milk jugs. A
                     small percentage of
                     hazardous waste (less than
                     one percent) is comprised of
                     the used commercial
                     products themselves, -
                     including household cleaning
                     fluids or battery acid.
                       Wastes that are-improperly
                     disposed can pose dangers to
                     human health ranging from
                     headaches to, cancer.
                                                  FIGURE L-4
                                                  Examples of Wastes and Hazardous Waste
                                                  Characteristics They Exhibit

                                                                                        • some pesticide
                                                                                        waste       j
                                                                                        • substances with •
                                                                                        high levels of
                                                                                        mercury, lead,   3
                                                                                        aresenic, etc.   i
• solvents
• oils
• acid wastes

• water from
TNT operations
• used pickle
liquor (to clean
steel during its
                       • used cyanide

Hazardous wastes also could
damage the environment, for
example, by seeping into
surface waters and killing
fish or other organisms.
Reducing the risks of
exposure to hazardous
materials by proper disposal
will help assure our nation's
long-term environmental
well being.

Approaches to
Management of
Hazardous Wastes

Proper management to reduce
the risks of hazardous wastes
requires a mix of waste
minimization, treatment, and
disposal. Waste minimization
is the most desirable
approach, in that  it reduces
the amount of waste and
therefore reduces  the risk that
they pose. Many companies
have changed their
production processes or have
begun to use less  hazardous
products. As a result,  they
are generating less hazardous
raw materials, and may lower
their hazardous waste
handling costs. Where waste
minimization is not feasible,
                           treatment or proper disposal
                           is an additional tool for
                           limiting the risks from
                           hazardous wastes.
                             Choosing wisely among
                           these options will ensure that
                           waste is managed in the most
                           economical way with full
                           protection of human health
                           and the environment. One of
                           the great ironies in hazardous
                           waste management, however,
                           is the difficulty in the siting
                           and construction of new
                           management facilities
                           because of public opposition
                           to having such facilities in
                           their communities. The lack
                           of nearby disposal capacity
                           means that producers of the
                           waste can be forced to ship
                           them long distances to  a
                           disposal facility. For instance,
                           in 1986 Connecticut opted to
                           send the majority of its
                           hazardous waste to Canada,
                           Pennsylvania, and New
                            The number of facilities
                           available  for managing
                           hazardous wastes is shrinking
                           steadily. Many facilities that
                           do not have the financial and
                           technical means to ensure
                           continued safe management
           * i- &
            ifl  Si  if   Till   h nmnffl  ITf        if il I    t
           Products    ,          ..  .     ,
    lsWe"Use  "       ™"e potentia'ly hazardous
    '	;	'	~~~	BB553BE8SI8!? tIie>L§enerate»"»^
                   5rgan|c chlorine compounds, organic
                   glgegs^^	lllelMlfl	(l(i¥1 „„ l(l|l ,„,  	, l(l „„ r „
                   Jjganic chlorine, compounds, organic
                    nosphate compounds
                        jc solvents and residues heavy
                        > (mercury and zinc,  for
                                  pigments, solvents,
      ,„ ..,
     '. Oi
       ,	ine, and  Oil, phenols and other organic
      p, petroleum	cpmpounds, heavy metals, ammonia,
      lU'cts  _ '	ni i i ^'silt acids, caustics	
                   *Jea,yy,	metals^, fluorides, cyanides,
                   irSfl nnrf j^jj^Opp cjeanejs, solvents,
                         s, abrasives, plating salts, oils,
                    	i	n		
                  _He,!,yv metals, organic solvents

   Textiles         Peavy metals, dyes, organic chlorine
                  ~'~"", solvents
are closing. Their closure
from environmental and
health standpoints is a
welcome outcome, but if too
many facilities close, there
will be inadequate capacity
remaining for correctly
managing hazardous waste.
Solid Waste
The bulk of "nonhazardous"
wastes actually fall
somewhere between
hazardous and non-hazardous
waste (like most municipal
waste). Nonhazardous waste
includes: industrial refuse,
sludges from wastewater
treatment facilities, and other
discarded materials from
commercial, mining,
agricultural, and community
                                                             FIGURE L-6
                                                             Paper and Yard Waste
                                                             is More than Half of our Trash
                     Source: Office of Solid Waste, USEPA, 1980
                                                                         Source: Office of Solid Waste, USEPA, 1986

                                    Treatment  and  Disposal
                                   of Hazardous Wastes
activities. The quantity of
solid wastes generated
annually is several orders of
magnitude greater than the
amount of hazardous waste.
For example, approximately
2.34 billion tons of mining
wastes are produced
annually. This alone amounts
to more than five times the
amount of hazardous waste
managed each year.
  Municipal waste is a
substantial part of the waste
generated in the U.S. every
year. Americans throw out
more trash every day than
any other nation. On average,
we discard about 4 pounds of
trash a day, compared  to the
average Japanese who throws
out 2.5, or the average
Norwegian who throws out
1.7 pounds per day.
Approximately  158 million
tons of municipal solid
wastes were discarded in
1986. As shown in Figure
L-6, paper products and yard
wastes make up about 59
percent of all municipal solid
  The United States has
relied on landfills for the
disposal of  almost 160
million tons of  municipal
waste generated every year.
But in recent years, questions
have arisen whether land
disposal alone affords the
best disposal solution
possible. Unless the wastes
are carefully managed, they
may contaminate drinking
water supplies,  release toxic
vapors into the air, create
explosive conditions near
landfills, or otherwise
threaten public health. Many
municipal landfills are now
close to overflowing and
almost  70 percent of all such
landfills are expected to reach
capacity in 15 years.
Furthermore, communities
where old landfills have
reached capacity are having
trouble siting new landfills.
The recent Islip, New York
"garbage barge" odyssey
further highlights the
difficulties arising from the
generation and  management
of trash.
  Treatment and disposal differs for
organic and inorganic substances.
Organic substances are made
principally of carbon, hydrogen, and
oxygen. Some of these materials can be
broken down into relatively harmless
substances such as water and carbon
dioxide. In contrast, no matter what
type of treatment is used on certain
inorganic substances, they can only be
broken down into components that
still pose a potential risk. For instance,
metals can never be broken down
beyond their basic metallic elements,
therefore, they ultimately require land
  Landfilling of wastes is the last stop
in the waste management  chain and is
one method of waste disposal.  Only a
small portion of waste is ultimately
land-filled. The long-term goal of a
landfill is to serve as an indefinite
holding place for wastes and to
minimize the potential of exposure.
Hazardous wastes often are disposed of
by injection as  a liquid into the
ground in specially designed wells.
Approximately  20-35 million metric
tons (about 10 percent  by weight) of
dilute, hazardous waste is disposed of
annually into deep-well injection
systems. These wells penetrate to
depths well below drinking water
sources where natural brine makes
water unusable.
  The vast majority of the hazardous
waste managed annually is treated in
man-made surface ponds (or
impoundments) and wastewatei
treatment plants.  The volume of
wastewater disposal into surface
waters is great, but these wastewaters
can be regulated by the Clean Water
Act (see section titled "Surface Water"
in the Water Chapter). A relatively
small amount — about 2 million
metric tons -— is incinerated. A
number of different treatment
technologies are used on hazardous
wastes to render them less toxic before
final disposal:
• Wastewaters are made less
hazardous by biological
decomposition, chemical
neutralization, precipitation, or steam
stripping. Steam stripping converts the
hazardous constituents to gas, which is
then captured in air pollution  control
• The only alternative for metals and
inorganics is recycling or solidification.
Solidification involves combining the
waste with a stabilizing agent, such as
cement, to create a solid, impermeable
material which lessens the likelihood
of leaching into the soil.
• Enclosed incinerators primarily burn
liquid organic waste and some sludges
at high enough temperatures so that
virtually complete combustion takes



  EPA and the states share the
  responsibility for regulating
  newly generated hazardous
  waste under RCRA. RCRA
  was created to minimize the
  risks  from hazardous wastes
  at all points in their life
  cycle, from their generation
  to their disposal. It was also
  designed to require
  safeguards; to encourage the
  proper disposal of municipal,
  commercial, and industrial
  waste; to eliminate or reduce
  waste; and to conserve
  energy and natural resources.

  Hazardous Waste and
  "Cradle to Grave"
  RCRA involves a "cradle to
  grave" effort covering the
  generation, transportation,
  storage, treatment, and
  disposal of newly generated
  hazardous waste. EPA's
  system includes five basic
  * Identification —
  Generators and the types of
  waste that they produce must
  be initially identified.
  • Tracking — A uniform
  "manifest'" describing the
  waste, its quantity, the
  generator, and receiver, must
  accompany transported
  hazardous waste from the
  point at which it is generated
  to its final off-site destination
  and disposal (see Figure L-7).
  • Permitting — All
 hazardous waste treatment,
 storage, and disposal facilities
 will be issued permits to
 allow EPA ana the states to
 ensure their safe operation.
 There are about 7,000
 facilities that must receive
 permits in order to continue
 * Restrictions and controls
 — Hazardous waste facilities
 must  follow EPA's rules and
 guidance specifying
 acceptable conditions for
 disposal, treatment, and
 Storage of hazardous wastes.
• Enforcement and
compliance — Generators,
transporters, and facilities are
penalized if they do not
comply with the regulations.
  The cradle to grave system
works through requirements
for hazardous waste
treatment, storage, and
disposal facilities. Key to this
system are RCRA operating
permits. Basic operating
permits identify
administrative and technical
standards with which
facilities must comply. For
example, the permits require
operators of hazardous waste
landfills to keep thorough
records of the types and
quantities of wastes they
  The number of permits
     FIGURE L-7
     The Hazardous Waste Manifest Trail
                 HAZARDOUS WASTE 1
                        EPA or State Agency
     A one-page manifest must accompany every waste
     shipment. The resulting paper trail documents the
     waste's progress through treatment, storage and
     disposal. A missing form alerts the generator to
     investigate, which may mean calling in the state
     agency or EPA.
                                    Note: A manifest is unnecessary for waste treated and disposed oi
EPA processes is very large.
There are 1,460 land disposal
facilities that need permits to
continue operating. As of
April 1, 1987, 170 had their
permits issued. In addition,
most of the 1,100 facilities
that are closing will need
post-closure care. Incinerators
and storage facilities must
also be permitted.
  Operators of land disposal
facilities must monitor
ground-water quality near the
facility and report
contamination problems to
the state or EPA. They must
comply with restrictions
regarding the handling of
certain types of wastes and
waste containers. For example,
a liquid waste must be
solidified before being
disposed of in a landfill.
  Owners and operators must
comply with strict rules not
only during, but also after
closure of a unit if
contaminants are left in
place. The rules include
construction of a protective
cover or "cap," ground-water
monitoring for thirty years,
erosion control, prevention of
rainfall entry, and security
  The most recent revisions
to RCRA, the 1984
Hazardous and Solid Waste
Amendments (HSWA),
greatly strengthened the
hazardous waste program.
Some of the major changes
• Recognizing that technical
requirements (such as liners)
and operating requirements
do not always sufficiently
protect human health and the
environment from exposure
to contaminants which are
land disposed, HSWA
authorized EPA to require
treatment of all hazardous
wastes to EPA-specified
levels or methods before their
disposal on the land. As a
result of this "land ban" and
other regulations, there will
be more treatment of
hazardous wastes.

Lineis ate one of the design requirements for surface impoundments.
• Although treatment of
hazardous waste will become
routine, there will always be
a need for landfills to isolate
safely the unusable leftovers
of treatment such as
incinerator ash, stabilized
wastes, and sludges from
sewage treatment facilities.
HSWA establishes more
stringent requirements for
hazardous waste land
disposal facilities, including
double liners, leachate
detection and collection
systems, and ground-water
monitoring. As a result of
these stringent new
permitting requirements,
about 1,000 active land
disposal facilities will no
longer handle hazardous
• Approximately 100,000
small-quantity generators
(businesses generating
220-2,200 pounds of waste
per month) are no longer
exempt from RCRA's
hazardous waste
requirements.  1.15,000
hazardous waste generators
will now be  regulated,
whereas before HSWA only
15,000 were  regulated. The
new small businesses to be
regulated by EPA include
vehicle repair shops, metal
manufacturing and finishing
operations, laboratories,
printers, laundries, and dry
cleaners. Before HSWA, they
could discard their waste at
the same landfills where
communities dispose of their
garbage. Now these
businesses will be required to
dispose of hazardous wastes
at EPA-permitted facilities.

• Facility owners are
required by RCRA to clean
up leaks of wastes that occur
at their facilities. HSWA
broadened this requirement
and EPA is implementing its
new authorities (see section,
"Cleaning Up Releases of
Hazardous Substances" in
this chapter).

  EPA continues to refine the
process set up to manage
hazardous wastes under
RCRA. Recently the
restrictions on land disposal
have increased, particularly
for those wastes named by
Congress in HSWA. Several
new regulations for
permitting and closure have
been finalized and others are
underway. We will
streamline the permit
process, to help issue them
more expeditiously.
  EPA's general enforcement
strategy has been to focus
attention on  facilities whose
violations pose the greatest
threat to human health and
the environment. Inspections
are an important tool in
ensuring compliance; they
focus on ground-water
monitoring, corrective action,
closing facilities, and federal
facilities for priority
attention. EPA is also
emphasizing criminal
enforcement as the limited
number of legal disposal'
options may prompt illegal
disposal activities.
                                                               Reducing  Hazardous
                                                               Environmental Quality
                                                               with Economic Benefits
 "The Congress hereby declares it to be
 the national policy of the United States
 that, whenever feasible, the generation
 of hazardous waste is to be reduced or
 eliminated as expeditiously as
                            HSWA, 1984

 Many companies have discovered that by
 generating less waste, they can reduce costs
 through lower waste storage and  transportation
 expenses, fewer administrative and reporting
 burdens, less Hkelihood of financial liabilities
 from accidental  releases, and lower insurance
 premiums. Insurance, however, is often not
 available to waste generators. EPA has developed
 a handbook to help waste generators better
 understand and  calculate such returns on
 potential waste minimizing investments, and is
 assisting industry in identifying where their waste
 minimization opportunities may lie. Here are
 examples of waste minimization  successes.
 Product Substitution. The Department of Defense
 has developed a  process in which small plastic
 beads are air blasted at the surface of an airplane
 to remove paint. This removes the need for
 hazardous solvents. The department estimates
 that this process has decreased the amount of
 hazardous waste from 10,000 pounds of wet
 sludge to 320 pounds of dry paint chips and
 decomposed plastic material per aircraft. In
 addition, the amount of work required per aircraft
 to remove the paint by air blasting is eight times
 less than by traditional methods.
• Process Efficiency. A California chemical plant
 changed the reactor rinse and cleaning procedures
 in its resin-manufacturing operations. This
 reduced the use  of organics by 93 percent.
 Previously, phenol used in the manufacturing
 process was allowed to drip into the plant's
 sewage treatment system.  The company now
 recovers the water-phenol mixture for reuse.
 Resource Recovery. An assessment of a
 steel-making facility showed that calcium fluoride
 (fluorspar) in the sludge generated during
 neutralization of the pickling line wastewater
 could be recovered. By recycling the fluorspar, the
 company would save a substantial amount of
 money spent to  buy it,  and also reduce by thirty
 percent the volume of sludge requiring disposal.

Management of
Nonhazardous Waste

Recycling, land application,
arid permanent disposal are
the three major ways in
which nonhazardous wastes
may be disposed. Recycling
involves reusing materials,
recovering components of
materials that can be reused,
erf making materials into new
products. EPA estimates that
In 1986, 11 percent of
municipal wastes were
recycled (see Figure L-8).
Certain wastes — like
sludges and wastewaters —
can be applied to the land
arid thereby incorporated into
th^e soil. In some instances,
the soil is used for
agricultural purposes. The
major method of permanent
disposal for nonhazardous
wastes is in landfills. Many
landfills have elaborate
systems to contain the
wastes and to monitor the
contents and ground-water
  States are responsible for
administering nonhazardous
waste management programs.
EPA currently is focusing on
the new HSWA requirements
for management or
nonhazardous waste. For
• The Agency will soon
revise the  criteria for
municipal solid waste
landfills. At a minimum, the
criteria now being developed
for these facilities wjll
require ground-water
monitoring, location
restrictions, and corrective
action  as appropriate. States
\will be required to
incorporate the revised
criteria into their programs.
• EPA will study and
determine the need for more
comprehensive requirements
for municipal waste
• The Agency has written
guidelines to assist other
federal agencies in the
purchase of products made
with a certain percentage of
recycled material such  as
paper, retread tires, and
used oil.
   EPA also is evaluating the
need for new federal controls
of certain wastes produced
during mining activities,
wastes from oil, gas, and
geothermal energy
production, and coal-fired
utility wastes. We are
investigating these wastes
because their great volume
and low toxicity exempted
them from hazardous waste
regulations under RCRA. We
are studying them thoroughly
to determine if they should
be regulated as hazardous
Recycling Is Becoming a
More Important Option
for Municipal Waste

    f™! incinerated

    • Recycled
                             Source: Office of Solid Waste, USEPA,


 How much to regulate is a
 very difficult issue.
 Under-regulation may foster
 poorly managed hazardous
 waste, and over-regulation
 may put economic burdens
 on those regulated and,
 ultimately, the consuming
 public. The Agency is
 constantly striving to refine
 the regulatory process to find
 the optimal balance as it
 issues permits for land
 disposal facilities and
 enforces regulatory
 requirements. Incentive
 approaches and other
 non-traditional control
 techniques can supplement
 regulation, especially where
 numerous small sources
 contribute to the problem.
 For almost all aspects of the
 program, success depends
 upon constructively
 involving the public  and
 getting information to those
 who need it.

 Issuing  Permits

 The large numbers of
 facilities to be permitted
 present a difficult challenge,
 especially given the technical
 and legal complexities of the
 task. Commercial land
 disposal facilities and
 incinerators are the most
 difficult to permit because of
 frequent local opposition.
 Communities often feel
 threatened by commercial
 treatment facilities located
 close to their homes.
  Thorough assessments of
 each site are needed in order
 to develop  operating
 requirements for permits.
 Specialists  trained in
 engineering, hydrology, and
 chemistry are called on to
 develop site-specific permit
 conditions  to minimize the
 risks. Much effort is devoted
 to coordinating the activities
 of these specialists.


Before HSWA, land disposal
facilities were inspected
annually for compliance with
RCRA. Treatment and
storage facilities were
inspected less regularly.
Now, all federal- or
state-operated facilities must
be inspected annually, and
other commercial facilities at
least every two years. If a
serious violation has
occurred, EPA or the state
will issue an administrative
order or initiate a civil or
criminal law suit to make
sure the facility is returned
to compliance.

Involving the Public

Public participation in
hazardous waste management
is an integral part of the
regulatory system. EPA tries
to make sure the public has
access to information and is
given the opportunity to
comment on EPA's actions,
including permitting. Public
notices, a 45-day comment
period, and fact sheets are
required during the permit
process. Also, the 1984
amendments require that
authorized states disclose
information to the public
about compliance,
enforcement,  and the results
of inspections.
Communicating to the public
what this information means
and coordinating with
interested groups is an
important part of the process.


Lack of information has been
a barrier to companies who
want to set up waste
minimization or recycling
programs. Identifying waste
minimization opportunities
can require specialized
engineering knowledge that
many small- or  medium-sized
companies do not have and
may not be able to obtain
independently. Improving
information dissemination
will help such companies
reduce the wastes they

 Recycling  to  Reduce Large  Quantities of Wastes
 Recycling is an increasingly
 attractive option for handling our
 municipal wastes as municipal
 dumps fill up and communities
 become more resistant to new
 landfills and incinerators. Other
 countries such as Japan already
 have a recycling system in place.
 Japan recycles 50 percent of its
 wastes, and in one community they
 have shown that recycling can
 reduce garbage volume by as much
 as 65 percent.
  In the United States, a few states
 have mandatory, statewide
 recycling laws (see map). In these
 states, residents have their
 recyclables picked up at the curb,
 much like regular garbage
 collection. A few states have new
 laws yet to be implemented, and as
 many as 8,000 localities have  their
 own programs. Nine states have
 "bottle bills," whereby consumers
 pay a small deposit on cans and
 bottles, which is returned to them
 upon redemption. The cans and
 bottles then are collected by the
 distributor and recycled. Many
 states are considering taxes on both
packaging and products made with
nonrecyclable materials.  These
materials make up 33 percent  of the
garbage we throw out.
  The federal government, to
 encourage use of recycled materials,
 will soon purchase paper and paper
 Recycling paper increases energy savings by 95% and reduces solid waste.
products containing the highest
possible percentage of recycled
materials. It is also .considering
purchasing cement and concrete
made with incinerator ash and
asphalt made from used tires and
re-refined lubricating oils. EPA has
recycled its own office paper for
years and has plans to start
recycling newspaper, bottles, and
aluminum cans.
  There is strong momentum for
recycling around the country. EPA
plans to capitalize on it through
educational programs, providing
technical assistance, encouraging
market forces, and helping states
develop solid waste/recycling plans.
                                                                            Recycling Laws by State

                                                                            States with a statewide recycling law
                                                                            States with a bottle bill
                                                                            States with both a bottle bill
                                                                            and statewide recycling laws
                                                                      I     I States where legislation is pending
                                                                            Note: New York is a bottle bill state and has pending
                                                                               legislation for mandatory recycling



EPA must meet the
permitting and other
regulatory deadlines of
HSWA. Between 1988 and
1990, the land disposal
restrictions program will be
In full force. The deadline for
issuing waste incinerator
permits is 1989. The statute
requires all land disposal
facilities to be permitted by
the end of 1988.
1  As part of the HSWA
implementation process, the
Agency will continue to
revise facility performance
standards, For certain land
disposal units, double liners
and leak detection systems
sire required in addition  to
Other requirements such as
ground-water monitoring. We
fllso are writing regulations
that will ban certain
management practices and
types of facilities from being
located in sensitive
environments. The Agency
will also make existing
incinerator regulations more
stringent to address the
potential problems caused by
products of incomplete
combustion. To this end, we
are conducting various
Analyses that could
ultimately lead to
amendments to existing
Incinerator regulations.
  EPA is proposing a
correction in the permit
modification system to allow
more flexibility for hazardous
'Waste facilities to respond to
changing wastes, to perform
corrective action activities,
and to make improvements.
There is a streamlined
process for the issuance  of
permits for research,
development, and
demonstration facilities  to
encourage the growth of new
technologies. Other planned
activities in the hazardous
waste area include listing of
new wastes to be categorized
as "hazardous," controlling
air emissions Jrom hazardous
treatment facilities, and
determining the hazards from
certain wastes previously
considered nonhazardous.
 'EPA will soon revise the
criteria for the construction
and placement of municipal
waste landfills. The new
criteria will require
ground-water monitoring,
location restrictions near
critical wildlife habitat or in
areas likely to flood, and
provisions to address any
spills or leakage from these.
  EPA will continue to
endorse and support
voluntary collection
programs for household
hazardous  wastes. Other
possibilities for agency
involvement in the
municipal  waste area are
increased technical assistance
to states and localities,
reduction of wastes at the
source, and recycling of
aluminum, newspaper, office
paper, and glass.
        Hazardous  Waste  Management  in
        Anchorage,  Alaska
       Anchorage developed one of the
       country's first household and business
       hazardous  waste collection programs.
       The program was started in 1983 with
       the city's first annual hazardous waste
       cleanup week. Since then, the program
       has collected about 800 drums — or
       more than  30,000 pounds of hazardous
       wastes —from generators who produce
       too little waste to be regulated by
         Because enforcement is difficult,
       hazardous  wastes from small
       businesses  often  end up in sewers and
       in the garbage or are dumped illegally.
       Proper hazardous waste disposal in
       Anchorage is a particular concern
       because the nearest approved disposal
       facilities are over 2,000 miles away  in
       the lower 48 states, disposal costs are
       extremely high, and the-Arctic
       environment is fragile and hence very
       sensitive to contamination.
         During one week every year,
       individuals and businesses bring their
       hazardous  wastes to a central
       collection point where they are
       packaged properly and shipped to
       EPA-approved facilities. These annual
       cleanups, however, are only a partial
       solution. During the 51 weeks when
       the wastes are not  collected, generatpr^
       may be improperly storing them or,
       worse, dumping them illegally.
         for this reason, Anchorage is
       designing both a collection program
                and storage facilities that will provide
                a year-round means for the safe
                management of hazardous wastes from
                households and very small-quantity
                generators. A warehouse  type structure
                will be used to store the  wastes. The
                wastes will be analyzed,  packaged,
                and stored with compatible materials
                in specially designed containers. When
                enough wastes are collected, they will
                be shipped to approved facilities in the
                lower 48 states. A drop-off station for
                up to five gallons of household
                hazardous wastes will be located at an
                in-town solid waste transfer station.
                  A major emphasis of the Anchorage
                program has been public  education
                and awareness. A hazardous waste
                school curriculum has been prepared
                for grades four through six for use in
                the Anchorage School District. The
                curriculum gives  students an
                opportunity to see what happens  when
                hazardous wastes (food coloring)  are
                introduced into a simple  hydrological
                model (terrarium with clay and sand
                layers and a water table). The
                curriculum also shows students how to
                conduct a  home survey with their
                parents to  identify hazardous products
                and methods used for disposal. Taken
                together, these steps should go a long
                way toward encouraging  safe  disposal
                of hazardous wastes by both
                businesses and individuals.         , ,

Cleaning  Up  Releases  of
Hazardous  Substances


                   Uncontrolled disposal sites
                   containing hazardous wastes
                   and other contaminants
                   present some of the most
                   serious environmental
                   problems our nation has ever
                   faced. These sites can
                   contaminate ground water,
                   lead to explosions, and
                   present other dangers to
                   people and the nearby
                   environment. In many cases,
                   the people who disposed of
                   the waste were unaware of
                   the problems that the sites
                   eventually would create for
                   public health and the
                     Most of the abandoned or
                   inactive waste sites and
                   many of the active hazardous
                   waste facilities where
                   hazardous wastes have
                   escaped are linked in some
                   fashion to the chemical and
                    §etroleum industries (see
                    iscussion of sources in the
                        section, "Preventing Future
                        Contamination from
                        Improper Waste Disposal").
                        Many of the sites were once
                        municipal landfills that may
                        have become hazardous
                        simply as a result of
                        accumulated pesticides,
                        cleaning solvents, and other
                        chemical products discarded
                        in household trash. A few
                        sites are the result of
                        transportation spills or other
                        accidents. We have identified
                        radioactive materials as one
                        of the hazards, at
                        approximately twenty sites.
                         Many inactive waste sites
                        are located in
                        environmentally sensitive
                        areas such as floodplains and
                        wetlands. A number also are
                        located close to populated
                        areas. These sites threaten
                        drinking water supplies when
                        rain and melting snow seep
                        through the site's surface and
                        carry chemicals that
contaminate nearby streams,
lakes, and underground
waters. At some sites, air is
contaminated as toxic vapors
rise from evaporating liquid
waste or from uncontrolled
chemical reactions. Some
pollutants, such as metals
and organic solvents, can
damage vegetation, endanger
wildlife, and threaten the
health of people who
unknowingly drink
contaminated water. For
other pollutants, the extent
of the danger is not known.
  Approximately 30,000
potentially contaminated
sites that may pose a threat
to human health or the
environment have been
identified nationwide. In
addition, hazardous waste has
leaked from some active
hazardous waste treatment,
storage, and disposal facilities
now regulated under RCRA.


 to DATE

 Cleanup under

 Under CERCLA, responsible
 parties clean up sites
 themselves with EPA or state
 oversight. EPA and the states
 also can start actions to  clean
 up sites after attempts at
 negotiation with the
 companies that created the
 problem have failed or there
 is an emergency. The
 government will later sue
 those companies to recover
 the costs of cleanup.
   To implement CERCLA,
 the Agency designed a
 process that begins with site
 discovery. The basic steps are
 to assess  the nature and
 degree of contamination,
 determine the relative threat,
 analyze the potential cleanup
 alternatives, and take actions
 to clean up the site.
   The process also provides
 for emergency cleanup of
 contamination. When a site
 is determined to present an
 immediate danger to public
 health, welfare or the
 environment, EPA will step
 in with funds to  take any one
 of several actions to alleviate
 the threat. For example,  we
 may provide an alternate
 \yater supply, put up fencing,
 remove discrete sources  of
 contamination on the surface
 {e.g., drums) or in severe
 cases, temporarily relocate
 residents until the danger is
 eliminated. These "removal
 actions" can take place when
 a Site  is first discovered or at
 ahy time  other work is being
 conducted at the site and a
 threat is encountered.
 Removal  actions under
 Superfund are valuable for
 ajileviating short-term threats
 ahd support long term efforts.
 JVIany of the sites where
 removal actions are taken
 need no further EPA action.
 It further action is needed,
 E.PA actions will be designed
 to achieve long-term cleanup.
  The Superfund process
begins with site discovery.
Sites may be brought to
EPA's attention as a potential
problem in a number of
ways. For example, a hunter
may come across a site where
waste was dumped illegally;
residents may notice a bad
taste in their  drinking water
or a foul odor,- or there may
be an explosion or fire which
alerts authorities to a
problem. The approximately
30,000 potentially
contaminated sites identified
range from a closed-down
hazardous waste incinerator
in Maine to a leaking
underground pipe in Florida.
  After discovering a site,
EPA or the state conducts a
Preliminary Assessment to
determine whether there is
an imminent  threat which
would require immediate,
emergency attention or
whether additional
investigation or further
action is needed. Even when
it is determined that no
further action is needed at a
site because no hazard
appears  to exist, the site
remains in the Superfund
inventory  for record keeping
and future reference. To date,
the Agency has completed
over 27,000 Preliminary
  If the Preliminary
Assessment at a site
indicates that further
investigation is necessary, a
more detailed Site Inspection
is conducted. The results of
the Site Inspection are
evaluated, using the Hazard
Ranking System. This is a
    FIGURE L-9
    The Number of Superfund NPL Sites Varies Widely from State to State
                              Numbers are actual and proposed sites on EPA's National Priorities List as of June 1988
 Puerto Rico - 9

 Alaska - 1

 Hawaii • 6

                                Priority hazardous waste sites per state
                                                                                     Source; National Priority List, Supplementary Lists and
                                                                                     Supporting Materials, June 1988, Office of Emergency and
                                                                                     Remedial Response (Superfund), USEPA

technical evaluation which
considers how contamination
at a site could affect people
or the environment. By
factoring in criteria such as
how many people may be
exposed to chemical
contamination from the site,
the scoring system helps to
set cleanup priorities for the
Superfund program.
Currently, sites that score
28.5 or above, using the
Hazard Ranking System, are
placed on the National
Priorities List (NPL), EPA's
official list of hazardous
waste sites warranting
attention under Superfund.
Additionally, each state  may
propose to list a top-priority
  Since the Superfund
program was established in
1980 almost 9,000 sites have
been determined to require
no further action from EPA
and over 8,000 Site
Inspections have been
conducted. One  thousand,
one hundred and
seventy-seven sites  have been
listed or proposed for  listing
on the NPL. The location of
these sites is shown in Figure
L-9. Except for removal
actions, listing on the NPL is
a prerequisite for cleanup
activities that would use
federal Superfund money.
  For sites included on the
NPL, further in-depth study
defines the nature and extent
of contamination. Such
studies have been initiated at
over half of the sites
currently listed on the NPL.
In many cases states and the
parties responsible for the
site contamination have
taken the lead in conducting
these studies.
  After the public has had an
opportunity to comment on
the in-depth study,  the most
effective.remedy for
long-term cleanup is
determined. Before selecting
a remedy, EPA or the
responsible state considers
whether the remedy would
comply with the federal and
state cleanup standards, the
cost-effectiveness of the
action, and the mandate to
use treatment to the
maximum extent practicable.
Some commonly used
remedies are incinerating
contaminated soils to
permanently destroy
contaminants, depositing
contaminated materials in a
landfill that is designed to
prevent any movement of the
contaminants from the fill,
and pumping arid treating
contaminated ground water
to clean up an aquifer.
  To date, over 140
long-term cleanups have been
initiated at Superfund sites
across the nation. EPA works
with the state or responsible
parties to develop the
site-specific cleanup plan.
After the Superfund action is
completed, the state takes
responsibility for long-term
maintenance of the site to
ensure that the remedy
continues to work.
     The  Superfund Amendments  and
     Reauthorizatioii Act of  1986
     The 1986 amendments of CERCLA,
     known as the Superfund Amendments
     and Reauthorization Act (SARA),
     authorized $8.5 billion for both the
     emergency response and longer term
     (or remedial) cleanup programs. The
     Superfund amendments focused on:
     • Permanent remedies - EPA must
     implement permanent remedies to the
     maximum extent practicable. A range
     of treatment options will be considered
     whenever practicable.
     •  Complying wdth other regulations -
     Applicable or relevant and appropriate
     standards from other federal, state, or
     tribal environmental laws must be met
     at Superfund sites where remedial
     actions are taken. In addition, state
     standards that are more stringent than
     federal standards must be met in
     cleaning up sites.
     • Alternative treatment technologies -
     Cost effective treatment and recycling
     must be considered as an alternative
     to the land disposal of wastes. Uridex
     RCRA, Congress banned land disposal
     of some wastes. Many Superfund site
     wastes, therefore, will be banned from
     disposal on the land; alternative  „
     treatments are under development and
     will be used where possible.
     • Public involvement - Citizens living
     near Superfund sites have been
     involved in the site decisionmaking
     process for over five years. They will
     continue to be a part of this process.
     They also will be able to apply for
     technical assistance grants that may
               further enhance their understanding of
               site conditions and activities.            :
               • State involvement - States and tribes
               are encouraged to participate actively
               as partners with EPA in addressing
               Superfund sites. They will assist in
               making the decisions at sites, can take    :
               responsibility in managing cleanups,      :'
               and can play an important role in
               oversight of responsible parties.           ;
               • Enforcement authorities - Settlement
               policies already in use were              1
               strengthened through Congressional      ;
               approval and inclusion in  SARA.         >.
               Different settlement  tools, such as de
               minimis settlements (settlements with
               minor contributors),  are now part of      '
               the Act.
               • Federal facility compliance -
               Congress emphasized that federal         •
               facilities "are subject to, and must
               comply with, this Act in the same       _..
               manner and to the same extent... as     ^
               any non-government entity."
               Mandatory schedules have been
               established for federal facilities to       ^
               assess their sites, and if listed on the    j
               NPL, to clean up such sites. We will be   ;
               assisting and overseeing federal
               agencies with these new requirements.   .:
                 The amendments also expand          <
               research and development, especially    ]
               in the area of alternative technologies.   :|
               They also provide for more training for    :
               state and federal personnel in
               emergency preparedness, disaster  ,
               response, and hazard mitigation.  ,

                                   FIGURE L-10
                                   Superfund Emergency Actions Were Taken To
                                   Address Many Environmental or Public Health
                                   Threats *
  Over 1,000 short-term
actions to address immediate
threats have been initiated
(see Figure L-10). By the Fall
of 1987, the Agency reached
agreements with responsible
parties for 184 removal

Identification of
Responsible Parties
Throughout the Superfund
process, EPA tries to identify
the companies or individuals
whose wastes caused or
contributed to the problem.
The parties responsible for
the contamination must
either clean up the site or
reimburse EPA for cleaning it
up. Identifying the
responsible parties is not
always easy and in some
cases involves substantial
investigation. For example,
over 400 narties are under
investigation for contributing
contamination to one
particular site.
  In many cases, responsible
parties have conducted the
cleanup work at a site with
EPA and state oversight.
Figure L-ll shows that 19
percent of emergency actions
and 38 percent of long-term
actions are funded by
responsible parties. Since
1980, responsible parties have
agreed to conduct 444
cleanups at a total cost in
excess of S642 million. EPA
also has recovered more than
SSI million in compensation
for cleanups it has performed,
and has suits pending for
another S254 million. If a
responsible party refuses to
comply with an EPA order
and EPA cleans up the site,
EPA may choose to seek
"treble damages," tripling the
amount of the cleanup costs
due the government.

Public Involvement
The Superfund site cleanup
process encourages public
involvement. At public
meetings, citizens can raise
issues and ask questions of
EPA and state officials. The
public has an opportunity to
comment on proposed plans
for all long-term actions.
                        Direct Contact with
                        Hazardous Waste
Source: Office of Emergency and Remedial Response (Superfundl, USEPA
" More than one threat may be present at a specific site. Consequently the number of threats
is greater than the number of sites or actions.

                              public meetings. For NPL
                              sites, community groups may
                              obtain technical assistance
                              grants to help them interpret
                              technical information related
                              to cleanups at Superfund
Each Superfund site has a
community relations plan
tailored to the needs of the
affected community. The
plan may include publication
of a newsletter, site tours,
and regularly scheduled
Cleanups can be Financed by the Superfund or by
Responsible Parties
 Removal Activities
 Removal started OR initial remedial
 measure started at a site
                                 Remedial Activities
                                 Remedial design started OR remedial
                                 actions implemented at a site
Cleanup Under RCRA

The 1984 RCRA
amendments authorized EPA
to compel owners of RCRA
hazardous waste treatment,
storage, and disposal facilities |
to clean up releases of
hazardous wastes and
constituents at their
facilities. EPA has designed a
process called "corrective
action" to clean up these
releases. It builds upon the
knowledge gained from
implementing Superfund and
is consistent with the
Superfund site cleanup
  In this cleanup effort, EPA
first examines historical data
on the facility's operations to
identify releases. Additional
studies are done to determine |
the nature and extent of any
identified releases. If the data
indicate the release .may pose
a threat to health or
environment, the Agency
will draft corrective action
requirements in a permit or
  EPA recently  issued its
strategy for corrective  action
and will begin proposing
regulations shortly. Among
the most important decisions
will be determination  of
when corrective action is
needed, and to what level
cleanup is needed.
  The steps in corrective
action will be imposed
through permit  conditions or
through enforcement orders
(see section on "Preventing
Future Contamination From
Improper Disposal"). Priorities|
for action will be established
yearly and will focus on
those facilities that pose the
greatest overall  threat  to
human health and the
environment. We have
decided initially to targets
limited number of facilities
rather than address all
facilities that may require
action simultaneously.
 "PRP - Potentially Responsible Parties who have agreed to pay for or conduct a cleanup
 needed at the site, through negotiations or EPA enforcement action.
 FUND - Sites where Superfund monies will/or have been used to clean up the site.
 Responsible parties may be bankrupt or defunct. If possible, EPA will sue to recover cost at a
 later date.
 Source: Superfund Progress Report of September 30, 1987, USEPA

The Steps in  Cleaning Up
an Uncontrolled Waste  Site
 After someone alerts EPA about a potential problem
 site, what happens^ If the site is found to present.a
 release or threat of release to public health or the
 environment that must be addressed quickly, EPA
 may take emergency measures to remove the threat.
 These removal actions range from installing security
 fencing to digging up and removing wastes for safe
 disposal at a RCRA  approved facility. Such actions
 may be taken at any site, not just those on the
 National Priority List (NPL). These actions can take
 place at any time during investigation or cleanup at
 a site when a determination is made that response
 should not be delayed.

 1. Identification and Preliminary Assessment
 'If response can be delayed without endangering
 public health and the environment, we can take
 additional time to evaluate  the site further. We
 collect all the available information on the site from
 our files, state and local records, and U.S. Geological
 Survey maps. We analyze the information to
 determine the size of the site, parties most likely to
 have used it, local hydrological and meteorological
 conditions, and the impact of the wastes on the

 2. Site Inspection
 Inspectors then go to the site to collect sufficient
 information to rank its hazard potential. They look
 for evidence of hazardous waste, such as leaking
 drums and dead or discolored vegetation. They may
 take samples of soil or water. Inspectors analyze the
 ways hazardous materials could be-polluting the
 environment, for example, through runoff into
 nearby streams. They also check to see if the public
 (especially children) have access to the site.

 3. Ranking Sites for the National Priorities List
 Sites are evaluated according to the type, quantity,
 and toxicity of wastes at the site, the number of
 people potentially exposed, the pathways of
 exposure, and the importance and vulnerability of
 the underlying ground-water supply. This
 information is used  to determine the Hazard
.. Ranking System score. If the score is 28.5 or  above,
                                                    the site may be proposed for listing on Superfund's
                                                    National Priorities List. Each state may also propose
                                                    one site for listing if it is the top priority site in the

                                                    4. Negotiating with Potentially Responsible
                                                    After the parties potentially responsible for the
                                                    contamination are identified, EPA notifies them of
                                                    their potential liability. We then negotiate with
                                                    them to reach an agreement to undertake
                                                    the studies and subsequent cleanup actions needed
                                                    at the site. If negotiations are not successful, EPA
                                                    may use its enforcement authorities to require
                                                    responsible parties to  take action, or the Agency may
                                                    choose to clean up the site and seek to recover costs
                                                    at a later date.

                                                    5. Remedial Investigation
                                                    The objective for hazardous waste sites placed on
                                                    the NPL is long-term cleanup. To select the cleanup
                                                    strategy best suited to each unique site, a more
                                                    extensive field study or remedial investigation is
                                                    conducted by EPA, the state, or the responsible
                                                    parties. This study includes extensive sampling and
                                                    laboratory analyses to generate precise data on  the
                                                    types and quantities of wastes  present at the site, the
                                                    soil type and water drainage patterns, and resulting
                                                    environmental or public health risks.

                                                    6. Feasibility Study and Cleanup
                                                    Cleanup actions must be tailored exactly to the
                                                    needs  of each individual site. The feasibility study
                                                    analyzes those needs and evaluates alternative
                                                    cleanup approaches on the basis of their relative
                                                    effectiveness and cost. Remedial actions must use
                                                    permanent solutions and alternative treatment to the
                                                    maximum extent practicable. They may include
                                                    technologies such as ground-water treatment or

                                                    7. Post-Cleanup Responsibilities
                                                    After cleanup, the state is responsible for any
                                                    long-term operation and maintenance required to
                                                    prevent future health hazards or environmental

        Long-Term  Cleanup  at

        a jSyperfund Site in


        The Baird et> McGuire Superfund site encompasses
        a 20-acre area south of Boston in Holbrook,
        Massachusetts.FOI OKI" 20 years at the site, a
        company formulated and produced soaps,
        disinfectants, floor waxes, pesticides, and
         Qver 100\QQO gallons of hazardous materials
        wefe storedkjn_a	nurnberofr	tanks	at, theusite.rOf	
        i^ possible	$vp^und'priority 'pollutants, 100
        have been found there, the town's wellfield has
        been contaminated, and three of its public water
        supply wells have had to be closed.
      .... In1984, EPA began a series of extensive
        emergency removal actions at_the Baird et)
        McGuire site, EPA removed 50 truckloads of
        contaminated soil, installing a ground-water
        recifSiilation system, temporarily capping part of
        the sjte, and closing sluice gates on a nearby
        leseryoir. In addition, a 5,700-foot fence was
        installed around the site after dioxin  was
       	At the same time the imminent threats were
        being stabilized, EPA conducted a remedial
        investigation and feasibility study  to determine
        the nature and extent of site contamination.
        When the studies of the site began, the
        community became actively involved in the
        cleanup process. A Citizens Advisory Committee
        vfai formed, and the EPA site manager presented
        Information and answered questions at biweekly
         After completing the remedial investigation and
        feasibility study in 1986, EPA selected a remedy
        to address permanently the remaining
        contamination at the $ite, Thejemgdy calls for
        Incineration of contaminated soils, ground-water
        treatment, and wetland restoration. Because no
        responsible parties were able to pay for the
        cleanup, federal and state dollars will be used to
• The Agency must strive to
develop and implement
permanent remedies to the
maximum extent practicable
that meet relevant
environmental and public
health standards. The
development and use of
technologies such as
bioremediation (see highlight)
that cost-effectively destroy
hazardous wastes, will be a
key to meeting this
• Through the 1986
Superfund  amendments,
many enforcement tools  are
available to us to encourage
responsible parties and
facility owners to comply
with the law. The challenge
will be to use these tools
effectively to reach
settlements with parties and
recover the costs of cleanups
funded by EPA.
• The RCRA corrective
action authorities are broad
and the universe of facilities
to which they may apply is
diverse. The challenge is to
recognize the diversity and
provide sufficient flexibility,
while protecting human
health and the environment.

      Interstate 70  Acid Spill

      Near Wheeling,  West;


      A truck carrying a 40,000-pound load of bottled
      concentrated acids crashed on a major interstate
      near Wheeling, West Virginia, spilling hazardous
      substances. Toxic fumes were generated by
      interaction of the acids, endangering nearby
      schools, residences, and a trout stream.
        Given the urgency of the situation which was
      exacerbated by severe weather conditions, the
      EPA official in charge promptly began a
      Superfund-financed response. Several measures
      were taken in response to the incident.
      Incompatible chemicals that could explode if
      mixed were isolated. Damaged containers were
      repackaged for disposal. Acids spilled on the
      ground and near a drain were neutralized to
      prevent further damage, and contaminated soil
      was excavated for proper disposal.'The threat was
      expeditiously eliminated, and public health and
      the environment were protected.
 Using Biological
 Organisms to  Clean
 Up Hazardous  Waste
 Tests dating to the early 1970s have demonstrated
 the success of using biotreatment to address
 contamination. More recent tests indicate that
 techniques using micro-organisms to "eat"
 hazardous waste may be a promising solution for
 disposing of many organic wastes and cleaning up
 contaminated ground water. Where cleaning up
 one site with bioremediation may cost $45-50
 million, it may cost $140 million if a lagoon has
 to be drained and an incinerator built to dispose
 of the wastes.  We are studying closely the use of
 these large-scale biological techniques to help
 clean up some hazardous waste sites.
   To use bioremediation at a site, we must first
 discover more about the wastes in the site and
 identify potential methods of biodegradation. At
 many waste contamination sites, microorganisms
 that break down organic wastes have developed
 over time. The bioremediation technique
 generally starts by collecting and isolating these
 rnicro-organisms to determine what nutrients and
 climatic conditions (e.g., pH, moisture,
 temperature, oxygen levels) enhance the
 degradation process. Such micro-organisms are
 usually transferable to other sites contaminated
 with the same wastes.
   In one study, scientists have found numerous
 types of fungi and bacteria — up to 10 million per
 gram of soil — 850 feet below the surface of the
 earth, which is almost 30 times deeper than the
 previously recorded limit. Many aquifers used for
 drinking water also are found at such depths, and
 scientists believe that these indigenous organisms
 may be best suited to cleaning up the aquifers. If
 some of the organisms are not already adapted to
 break down specific ground-water pollutants, it
 might be possible to manipulate them through
 genetic engineering so that they can  digest the
Atoxic compounds.


0ver the next few years, EPA
iwill continue to focus on
pleaning up threatening
CERCLA and RCRA sites.
Accordingly, we are
committed to accomplish the
following six goals.
Respond to Immediate

With the 1986 amendments,
EPA now is allowed up to
one year to complete removal
actions and may use up to $2
million per site in the
process. These actions will be
consistent with any
longer-term remedial and
enforcement objectives.
Where feasible, EPA will use
removal authorities to
complete cleanup at the site,
thus reducing the number of
long-term remedial cleanups.

Streamline the Cleanup

The Agency will take many
steps to increase the
efficiency and accelerate the
pace of cleanups and  focus on
Congressional deadlines. This
includes initiating more
cleanup actions and
                              Development of
      Innovative  Technologies
      As oart of SARA, Congress directed
      &PA to focus on permanent remedies
      jfor Sttjt&rftatd sites, with less
      pre/Brancs to be given to containment
      o;/j|flft'ff<«a4 wastes onsite. In 1987, 75
      Q&ct&ions about femedies were made
      at sites.

      Selected	Remedies for Super/and
  t—SfeJS	&  1987
                             Number of Sites
                                Where Used
                Technology Evaluation Program (SITE),
                required under SARA. Funded by
                Congress at a level of up to $20
                million per year through 1991, SITE is
                a research, demonstration, and
                evaluation program.
                  Under SITE, EPA solicits proposals
                from developers of technologies that
                destroy, immobilize, or reduce the
                volume of hazardous wastes.  The
               ^selected developers operate their waste
                disposal units, and the Agency takes
                       "    evaluates test results.
      Soil Washing/Plushing
      Biodegradation/Land Application
      Oa*&ite	"Containment	
                With these data, EPA is able to assess
                the performance, reliability, and cost
                of innovative technologies.
                 Examples of technologies being
                evaluated under the SITE program
                • In-situ vacuum extraction: This
                process will be used to extract volatile
                contaminants, such as
               ~ffichloroethylene (TCE), from soils at
                the Groveland Wells Superfund site in
               -Massachusetts. _______ ___ __ . ______ _,
      Pump and Treatment
     ^Alternate Water Supply
     -Although we are, making progress using
   	these technologies, we suspect there
     -$na,y he other useful methods to clean
     _up a site. To promote the development
      anct use of innovative technologies for
      tnallag hazardous wastes, EPA has
     - established the Superfund Innovative
                • Solidification and stabilization
                process: At the Douglass Disposal
                Superfund site in Union Township,
                Pennsylvania a unit will demonstrate
                a new way to solidify soil
                contaminated with a wide variety of
                organics and metals.
                  EPA will document the SITE
                demonstration results in reports made
                available  to fed.eral, state, and private
                cleanup managers and other interested
completing actions at sites
quickly, where feasible. To
facilitate this faster pace,
regional EPA staff, who are
most familiar with a site's
cleanup efforts, will manage
site contracts. In addition, a
single project manager will
carry the site through
remedial planning, design,
and implementation.

Secure Action by
Responsible Parties

EPA will continue to require
RCRA facility owners or
operators who are responsible
for contamination to take
corrective actions under
RCRA. To achieve swift
settlements with responsible
parties in the Superfund
program, the Agency will use
their new settlement tools
that should help them reach
agreement with responsible
parties more easily. Among
these tools are mixed funding
agreements through which
EPA and responsible parties
share the financial burden of
cleanup. De-minimis
settlements are another tool
to expedite settlements with
parties who contributed
small amounts of hazardous
substances. EPA will identify
parties early in the cleanup
process and sue nonsettlers
where necessary to recover
the costs of clean up.

 Maintain and Improve a
 Strong EPA/State

 The Agency will help states
 develop a greater role in the
 Superfund cleanup process by
 developing regulations
 requiring meaningful state
 involvement. We will work
 with states to conduct
 cleanups through Cooperative
 Agreements and will
 negotiate with states to
 outline Superfund site
 cleanup priorities and
 important issues of
 cooperation. States will also
 begin to take more
 responsibility in Superfund
 enforcement actions over the
 next several years. In
 addition,, EPA will continue
 to work with states to
 assume greater roles in the
 RCRA program.

 Enhance Community
 Outreach Efforts

 The 1986 Superfund
 amendments reaffirmed the
 necessity of public
 involvement in Superfund
 site decisions. Superfund site
 cleanups are often very
 complex and difficult to
 understand. EPA will work to
 enhance the public's input
 into the decisionmaking
 process in several ways.
 Opportunities for public
 meetings and community
 relations plans will continue
 to be provided for every site
 on the  NPL. Technical
 assistance grants will be
provided to citizen groups to
help them interpret technical
data and understand the
implications of Superfund
site work.
Implement the RCRA
Corrective Action

EPA and the states are
responsible for management
of the corrective action
program. Permits will be
modified to reflect corrective
action provisions, and the
public will be involved in
decisions about the action
needed. Discussions with
facility owners and operators
about the scope of the
actions needed will be
necessary. EPA, in
conjunction with the states
will identify a limited
number of facilities for
priority attention in the
corrective action process.
When a facility is clearly not
able to undertake cleanup,
action will be taken as soon
as possible to determine if it
should be addressed under
the Superfund program.
      A Landmark  Federal Facility
      Hazardous Waste Agreement
      EPA's Regional office in Chicago and
      the state of Minnesota negotiated with
      the Aimy to reach the first federal
      facility interagency cleanup agreement
      under the new Superfund law. One of
      the primary sources of the
      contamination at the New
      Brighton/'Arden Hills/St. Anthony
      Superfund site is the U.S. Army's Twin
      City Ammunition Plant. The site has
      contaminated ground water extending
      over 20 square miles.
      .,. Both the Army and EPA have
      provided adequate potable water
      sy.pplies for affected ground-water
      users.  This includes connecting
     -residents to municipal water supplies,
      providing treatment to municipal
      water  supplies at St. Anthony, and
      developing new wells for the affected
        The history of the site shows its
      • 1982- The site was listed on the
      Superfund National Priorities List,
      primarily because of ground-water
      • 1983 - The Army reimbursed Arden
      Manor Trailer Park for costs of
      replacing contaminated water supply.
      • 1985 - The state completed its first
      phase of the $1.4 million investigation
      of the  contamination, which indicated
      the ammunition plant as a likely
      contributor to the contamination.
               • 2986 - New Brighton abandoned
               drinking water wells and replaced its
               water supply because of
               contamination. EPA finalized a plan
               for cleanup of one well in New
               • 1987 - St. Anthony replaced its
               water. EPA finalized a plan for carbon
               treatment of existing closed wells.
                After numerous ongoing studies
               since 1978, EPA, Minnesota, and the
               Army entered into a joint agreement in
               August 1987.  The agreement is the first
               of its kind between the Army, EPA,
               and a state under the newly
               authorized Superfund law. It ensures
               cooperation among the organizations
               and defines the scope of activities
               necessary to address the site.
                The agreement is the culmination of
               negotiations between the state, EPA,
               and the Department of the Army.
               Among other  things, the agreement
               establishes provisions for:
               • coordination of overlapping
               requirements  of RCRA and CERCLA;
               • policies and procedures consistent
               with those for non-federal facilities;
               • EPA approval of selected remedies;
               • EPA and state oversight of the
               Army's activities at the site.



contamination caused by
leaking underground storage
tanks has not received the
national attention paid to
many Superfund sites. Yet
leaks from underground
storage tanks are a result of
'simple, everyday tank use
and are far more
commonplace and
widespread. Furthermore,
leaks from underground
, tanks (or their piping) can
pose serious environmental
and health problems for
many communities.
   An estimated five to six
million underground storage
 tanks containing hazardous
substances or petroleum
 products are in use in the
 United States. Originally
 placed underground as a fire
 prevention measure, these
 tanks have substantially
 reduced the damages from
 stored flammable liquids.
 However, an estimated
 400,000 underground tanks
" ate thought to be leaking
 now, and many more will
 begin to leak in the near
 future. Products released
 Almost Half of
i Underground Storage
 Tanks are Owned by
 Gas Stations
              Storage by
              Other Firms
 Ntxc BawJ on number at regulated tanks,
 tot»I estimated tank universe is 506 million,
 Source; Office of Underground Storage
 T»nk», USEPA
Tackling  Pollution  from
Underground  Storage  Tanks
Leaking underground storage tanks are large — and even small leaks
add up to big problems over time.
from these leaking tanks can
threaten ground-water
supplies, damage sewer lines
and buried cables, poison
crops, and lead to fires and
  Under RCRA, underground
storage tanks are defined as
tanks with 10 percent or
more of their volume,
including piping,
underground. Figure L-12
shows that almost half of the
tanks to be regulated by EPA
are petroleum storage tanks
owned by gas stations, and
another 47 percent are
petroleum storage tanks
owned by a group of other
industries that store
petroleum products for their
own use. Airports, firms with
large trucking fleets,  farms,
golf courses, and
manufacturing operations
may all own tanks. The
remainder of the tanks that
will be regulated are  used by
a variety of industries for
chemical storage.
  Many of the petroleum
tank systems were installed
during the oil boom of the
 1950s and 1960s. Two 1985
studies of tank age
distribution indicate that
approximately one-third of
the existing motor fuel
storage tanks are over 20
years old or of unknown age.
Figure L-13 shows that most
of these aging tank systems
are constructed of bare steel,
not protected against
corrosion, and nearing the
end of their useful lives.
Many of these old tank
systems have already had a
leak, or will soon leak unless
measures are taken to
improve or remove them.
When these old tanks are
pulled from the ground,
many of them have holes
where a dip stick was
dropped hundreds of times to
measure the amount of fuel
in the tank.
  Exacerbating the problem
of old tanks still in use are
the thousands of gas stations
that closed during the oil
crisis of the 1970s. Although
these tanks are not the only
ones of concern, the
abandoned tanks at these
stations frequently were not
closed properly, and
ownership and responsibility
for future problems is
difficult to determine.
  The primary reason for
regulating underground
storage tanks is to protect
water, especially ground
water that is used for
drinking water. Fifty percent
of the U.S. population
depends on ground water for
drinking water. Rural areas
would be seriously affected if
their ground water were
contaminated, since it
provides 95 percent of  their
total water supplies. Ground
water drawn for large-scale
agricultural and industrial
uses also  can be adversely
affected by contamination
from leaking underground
                                                       FIGURE L-13
                                                       Many Tanks Currently in Use ate Unprotected
                                                                          Bare Steel (Easily Corrodes)

                                                                          Corrosion Protected Steel



 Federal laws were enacted in
 response to the increasing
 problems resulting from
 leaking underground storage
 tanks. These laws generally
 are based on many state and
 industry ongoing efforts.
 Congress provided for federal
 regulation of underground
 storage tanks as part of the
 1984 RCRA amendments but
 it exempted residential
 heating oil and small farm
 tanks. As a first step,
 Congress required that all
 owners or operators register
 their tanks with the
 appropriate state agency,
 indicating tank age, location,
 and contents. Thus for the
 first time, states had to set
 up an inventory of tanks in
 their jurisdictions. The
 amendments also included
 interim design requirements
 to tanks installed after May
 1985  (this "Interim
 Prohibition" is in effect until
 EPA publishes regulations in
 1988). Congress further
 directed EPA to develop
 regulations requiring owners
 to detect leaks from new and
 existing underground storage
 tanks and clean up
 environmentally harmful
releases from such tanks.
Tank owners also must
demonstrate that they are
financially capable of
cleaning up leaks from tanks
and compensating third
parties for damages resulting
from such leaks.
  As required by HSWA, EPA
has been developing a
comprehensive regulatory
program for underground
storage tanks. EPA proposed
three  sets of regulations
pertaining to underground
tanks. The first addresses
technical requirements for
 petroleum and hazardous
 substance tanks, including
 new tank performance
 standards, release detection,
 release reporting and
 investigation, corrective
 action, and tank closure. The
 second proposed regulation
 addresses financial
 responsibility requirements
 for underground petroleum
 tanks. The third addresses
 standards for approval of
 State tank programs. These
 regulations are expected to be
 finalized during 1988.
  While amending CERCLA
 in 1986, Congress also
 amended RCRA to provide
 $500 million over the next
 five years for a Leaking
 Underground Storage Tank
 Trust Fund. Generated by a
 1/10 of a cent federal tax on
 certain products, primarily
motor fuels, the Trust Fund
has been made available to
the states to help them
cleanup leaks from
underground petroleum
storage tanks if certain
 conditions for use of the fund
 are met.
   Because the number of
 tanks that require
 investigation and attention is
 too great for EPA to tackle
 alone, the Agency has
 developed a program that will
 be carried out primarily by
 state and local governments.
 The national tank program is
 designed primarily to be a
 network of state and local
 programs. EPA will provide
 research, regulations,
 training, technical support,
 and enforcement backup as
   Over 20 states and a
 number of local governments
 have already developed
 programs to regulate
 underground storage tanks.
 The Agency will work to
 accommodate these programs
 under its requirements.
 However,  some of these
 programs will likely need to
 adapt their requirements to
make them as stringent as
the forthcoming federal
   New provisions in SARA
 authorize EPA and statexs that
 enter into cooperative
 agreements with EPA to
 issue orders requiring owners
 and operators of underground
 storage tanks to undertake
 corrective action where a
 leak or spill is suspected or
 has occurred. This corrective
 action could  include testing
 tanks to confirm the presence
 of a leak, excavating the site "
 to determine the exact nature
 and extent of contamination,
 and cleaning  contaminated
 soil and water. It also may
 include providing an
 alternative water supply to
 affected residences, or
 temporary or permanent
 relocation of  residents.
  EPA has signed cooperative
 agreements with most states
 and transferred millions of
 dollars from the Trust Fund
 to do this work. With these
funds, states have begun
cleanups at many of these
sites around the country.
                           Fiberglass tanks are commonly used to replace corroded metal tanks.

    Why  Underground
    Tank  Systems   Leak
   "TheJour primary types of tank system
    leak^Jnvolye_	tqnksmthemsely_es, piping
    failtfties,	spills	and~bverfills, and loose
    Tanks — The major cause of tank
    leak is corrosion of steel tanks. Most
    of the, tanks currently in the ground
    are constructed' of unprotected bare
    Steel. "When the external surface of a
    steel tank comes in contact with  the
    St)i1, it naturally seeks to return to its
    original state — iron oxide, more
    commonly known as rust. Metal
    (Corrodes under almost any naturally

   in g^Jjgyo^j jy Affected by the amount of
    oxygen and moisture in the soil and
    Other site-specific factors.
       galvanic" corrosion is  the primary
    type of corrosion of unprotected steel.
    In tJlis situation, the tank and its
    underground surroundings act like a
    battery! part of the tank can become
    negatively charged, and another part
    positively charged. Various soil
    conditions provide the connecting link
    that finally turns on the tank
[i I  ''batteries," causing the negatively
1    charged part of the tank (where the
    current exits from  the tank) to
    deteriorate. As electric current passes
    through this part, the hard metal
Spills and overfills — Spills and
overfills are the most frequent causes
of release at many underground
storage tank installations. Spills occur
when the delivery hose is disconnected
from the fill pipe before the hose has
drained completely into the tank.
Overfills result from trying to transfer
more product to the tank than  the
tank can hold. Spills and overfills are
over extended periods  of time usually
smaller than tank or piping leaks, but
they occur frequently and can
eventually add up to a large release.
Both spills and overfills result from
human error,  and there are simple
mechanical devices available that can
prevent their  occurrence.
Piping failures — The piping that
connects the tank to the dispenser can
leak for many reasons, including poor
installation and corrosion. Pressurized
piping, which works like a garden
hose, is of particular concern because a
lot of gasoline being "pushed"  under
pressure through the piping can escape
through a loose joint.  Suction piping,
which works  like a soda straw, is of
lesser concern because leaks tend to
allow air to enter the pipe instead of
allowing gasoline to escape. Leak
detection  for pressurized piping,
                    ,                                ,              _ _   .
     begins to turn into soft ore, holes Jorm,   therefore, is critical to protecting
     and the tank leaks.                     .11.-.    -T .>
      Several types of tanks are available
    now that largely eliminate external
    corrosion as a cause of tank failure.
    Cathodic protection can be used to
    reverse the electro-chemical forces that
    cause steel to corrode. Special
    attachments to the tank focus
    efecttfc/ty on the attachments, instead
    of tfte  tank. Fiberglass-reinforced
    plastic tanks also are not subject to
    soil corrosion. Composite tanks use a
    tliick fiberglass-reinforced plastic
    coating to isolate a steel inner tank
    frqm the surrounding soil. These three
    new style tanks rarely fail, but poor
    Installation and maintenance practices
    have caused some problems.
human health and the environment.
Loose fittings — Most underground
storage tanks have several fittings
along the top of the tank for attaching
vent lines, pumps, and fuel pipes.
These fittings sometimes are not
tightened properly at installation.  In
addition, they often loosen with age,
as does the delivery piping. Normally,
loose fittings pose no problem;
however, if the tanks are overfilled,
these fittings will leak. These loose
fittings also cause many tanks to fail
 "tightness tests." Careful attention to
proper tightening of these fittings
during installation can reduce these
leaks. Overfill prevention devices  also
prevent releases from loose fittings.


The problem of leaking
underground storage tanks
presents several major
challenges not only for the
Agency but also for states,
local governments, and
industry. Perhaps the biggest
challenge is to achieve better
but less expensive tank
design, and leak detection
technology. Research and
development in this area is
strong and the potential for
improvement is great.
Effective and affordable
technology should encourage
voluntary compliance among
tank owners. It will become
less expensive to comply
with the law and, at the
same time, the environment
will be protected from leaks
and spills from underground
storage tanks. Research and
development in this area is
strong and the potential for
improvement is great.
  The large number of
underground tanks presents
significant regulatory
challenges. This is best
illustrated by a comparison
to the hazardous waste
program. In New England
alone, approximately 5,000
handlers of hazardous waste
are regulated under RCRA
and there are 59 sites on the
Superfund National Priorities
List. In the same region, the
number of underground tanks
falling under EPA or state
regulations is 150,000 or 30
times larger than the number
of regulated RCRA facilities.
  Congress directed EPA to
require that tank owners
demonstrate that they are
financially capable of
cleaning up leaks from their
underground storage tanks
and compensating third
parties for damages  resulting
from such leaks. These costs
could include cleaning up
leaked petroleum, supplying
drinking water, or
compensating individuals for
personal injury or property
damage. More recently,
SARA imposed the
requirement that owners or
operators of underground
storage tanks have a


minimum insurance coverage
of $1 million per occurrence.
A major challenge that EPA,
state and local governments
and the regulated community
face involves this assurance
of tank owner's financial
  The lack of an adequate
pollution liability insurance
market makes finding
affordable insurance
extremely difficult. Insurance
programs, state funds, and
other assurance mechanisms
are sorely needed. EPA will
be working with states and
with the insurance industry
on ways to develop such
mechanisms to help tank
  The cleanup of areas
contaminated by leaking
underground storage tanks is
another major challenge that
EPA faces. Often the
contamination is in the soil
directly above ground water.
The challenge lies in quickly
finding the most seriously
contaminated sites. These
sites need  to be addressed
before petroleum reaches
ground-water supplies.
       Three Communities
       Where Underground
       Storage Tank  Leaks
      • Council Bluffs, Iowa - In 1984, gasoline that
      leaked out of an underground storage tank at a
      service station seeped down through the soil to
      the water table, and spread out across the surface
      of the ground water. When heavy spring rains
      caused the water table to rise, the moisture that
      seeped into the station's basement carried
      gasoline with it. The fumes eventually reached
      explosive levels. A spark from the air compressor
      that controlled the lift ignited the vapors, and the
      gas station building was destroyed in an

      • Friendship Village, Maine - A leak from an
      underground storage tank at a local service
      station in 1984 contaminated ground water,
      affecting 14 wells. Property values dropped
      dramatically. Twelve families were forced to rely
      on bottled water for months. Some residents were
      affected by headaches, nausea, and eye and skin
      irritations.                        '

      • St. Paul, Minnesota  - When a homeowner in a
      residential neighborhood noticed a pool of
      gasoline near the foot of his driveway, an
      investigation  uncovered a pinhole leak in  a
      petroleum pipeline. Fortunately, most of the
      neighborhood was connected to the municipal
      water system and did not rely on wells for
      drinking water.  But the private wells that did
      exist in the neighborhood had to be sealed as a
      precautionary measure. Three recovery systems,
      involving about 60 monitoring wells and more
      than 100 recovery wells, had to be established in
    «.fthe._neighborhood  a§ part of the cleanup operation.
 EPA is using a new approach
 to implementing the
 Congressional mandate to
 address underground tanks,
 the "franchise concept." The
 Agency sees itself as the
 franchiser with the
 responsibility to see that the
 franchisees, in this case the
 states and counties, run their
 operations successfully. The
 Agency initially will focus on
 assisting the states to
 establish basic tank programs
 and then providing a range of
 services to help them
 improve their performance.
  This will be a significant
 departure from1 the traditional
 approach under which EPA
 manages all areas of a
program until a state
 demonstrates it can operate
independently. Our agenda,
therefore, is to provide the
necessary assistance for the
states to succeed in
implementing and enforcing
this program. This includes
providing special expertise,
developing training
videotapes (e.g., for tank
installers and inspectors),
publishing handbooks, and
training state and local
  As we work with states
and local communities to do
a better job of
communicating the dangers
of leaking tanks to the
estimated 750,000 tank
owners, more and more
owners will replace older
tanks with protected, safe
tanks. Figure L-14 shows
what we hope to accomplish
in the next few years.
                                 .  Out Goals For Addressing Underground
                                   Silage Tanks       ^
                                                 LEAK DETECTION
                                    15% have it now
                                                               1996-90%       .
                                                              - have leak detection
                                                 PROTECTED TANKS
      -  ,%_ ^	tlybave
      corrosion protection
                                                              1998 - 85% or more
                                                              wdljje protected
                                                NCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
                                       of ownets
                                   liare financial agstance
                                   cosrerage   "' *"
                                 1991 - 90% of
                                 owners will have
                                 financial assurance*
                                 to Cover leaks or
                                     jjte foods, etc
                                     strcejjpfte qfOrnfergisond Storage Tanks, USEPA

Chemical   Emergency  Planning  am
Community  Right-to-Know
 In December 1984, an
 accidental release of methyl
 isocyanate from a pesticide
 facility killed 2,800 people in
 Bhopal, India. This incident
 focusea international
 attention on the seriousness
 of chemical accidents. It also
 created an awareness of the
 possibility of a major
 chemical accident in the
 United States. Six months
 later, a chemical accident in
 the United States brought
 even greater attention to the
 problem. A release of
 methylene chloride and
 aldicarb oxime occurred in
; Institute, West Virginia,
 causing concern among many
 of the town's residents and
 indicating that better
 chemical emergency response
 procedures were needed (see
 highlight on "Lessons from
 Institute. West Virginia").
   Chemical accidents can be
 caused by human error,
 equipment malfunction,
 explosion, highway accidents
 or other factors. The extent
 to which each community is
 vulnerable to a serious
 chemical emergency depends
 on these factors and its
 particular meteorological and
 topographical conditions.
 Tnese conditions will
 determine how chemicals
 might disperse after an
 explosion or accidental
 release. Communities at
 greater risk are those near
 facilities that produce or use
 toxic chemicals; a
 transportation corridor where
 large-volume chemicals are
 moved from one facility to
 another; or a waterway where
 ships carry or dock and
 unload chemical cargoes.
   Depending on the
 chemical, amount released,
 and proximity to population,
 the health effects from an
 accidental release may range
 from immediate, short-term
 effects, such as mild
irritation or respiratory
distress, to longer term
effects including cancer or
reproductive disorders.
Accidental releases may also
result in damage to private
and public property, as well
as damage to aquatic and
wildlife habitats.
  Communities can evaluate
the extent of their risk and
prepare to respond to
chemical emergencies. To
begin with, all are faced with
similar questions: 1) does the
community know enough
about the operations of its
industrial facilities to judge
the probability that a sudden,
accidental release might
occur,- and 2) has the
community planned how it
will respond if such an     %
accident does occur? To
respond, communities need
to know the types and
volumes of hazardous
chemicals each local
company transports, stores,
and uses, and what actions
are taken by the company to
prepare for emergencies.
Most communities have not
had access to this
information in the past.
  In addition to information
regarding possible accidental
releases, communities need
to know the types and
volume of chemicals
routinely released from
nearby plant sites.  If several
facilities are routinely
releasing small amounts of
toxic substances in a
community, the community
may judge that the collective
risks posed are unacceptable
and may call for pollution
mitigation measures.
Lessons from Institute,

West Virginia

August 11, 1985
9:25 a.m. Operators at the Union Carbide plant in
Institute heard a rumbling noise in the methyl
carbamate reactor. A gasket on the reactor had
failed, releasing an opaque vapor of aldicarb
oxime. The plant's computer predicted that the
plume would extend to the plant's boundary;
residents also reported seeing a white cloud over
the plant. The plant's toxic gas alarm was
activated, triggering a series of responses by
emergency personnel'
9:36 a.m. Union Carbide first notified the County
Emergency Services Center, At 9:42, when  the
West Virginia pollution control agency contacted
the plant in response to a resident's call, a
spokesperson stated that the release was confined
to the plant. At 9:56, a deputy sheriff arrived at
the plant and the county emergency siren was
10:06 a.m. When it became evident that the leak
was no longer confined to the plant, the
Emergency Broadcast System was activated.
Residents were warned to stay indoors and turn
off air conditioners, Local highways were blocked
to traffic. Hospitals were called to prepare  for
proper treatment, and temporary first aid centers
were established. Another broadcast informed
residents about the first aid centers. In response
to calls from panicked residents, the state's
Department of Natural Resources provided
information on their answering service about the
11:55 a.m. The Emergency Broadcast System
reported that the emergency was over. As a result
of the release, over 130 people sought medical
help. During the event, there was constant
communication among county, state, and  federal
personnel. Nonetheless, an investigation of the
accident concluded that the response could have
been improved. As a result of the Institute
accident, we learned many lessons about
preparing for such emergencies, For example:
• The public should be educated on the meaning
of warning sirens and the appropriate response.
• All localities should be notified immediately in
the case of an accidental release.
• Command centers should be established and
used so that response operations are not organized
at the scene  of the accident.



 The Emergency Planning and
 Community Right-to-Know
 Act (better known as Title III
 of SARA) was passed in 1986.
 This legislation expanded  on
 EPA's Air Toxics Strategy
 developed in  1985 in
 response to growing concern
 about chemical accidents.
 This strategy acknowledged
 the need for a program to
 foster planning and
 preparation within
 communities for hazardous
 substance emergencies. Title
 III builds on this strategy
 • mandates that states and
 local communities prepare
 for chemical emergencies;
 • requires facilities to notify
 their states and communities
 of the presence  of an
 extremely hazardous
 substance and to report spills
 or releases of  these
 substances  immediately; and
 • requires facilities to report
 annually on the volumes of
 certain hazardous chemicals
 produced, used,  and stored
 within the facility, if that
 amount  exceeds a specified
 volume. They are also
 required to  report annually
 on the amount of certain
 toxic chemicals they
 routinely release to the air,
 land and water.
   Title III is based on the
 premise  that the federal
 government cannot be solely
 responsible  for protecting
 each community's
 environment and health
 against toxic chemical
 releases.  Therefore, the law
 charges state and local
 governments with the
 primary responsibility for
 taking action.  It enlists local
 officials together with
 industrial facilities in a
 collaborative planning effort
 to protect their communities
 in the event of an accidental
 release of a hazardous
 chemical. States review the
plans and cooperate in their
execution and enforcement.
Each community must
examine its own
vulnerabilities and resources
to respond to possible
chemical accidents.
  Under Title III, governors
are required to set up State
Emergency Response
Commissions which in turn
create Local Emergency
Planning Committees. Indian
tribes that choose to work
directly with the federal
government may set up tribal
emergency planning
commissions similar to the
state commissions. These
committees are responsible
for developing comprehensive
chemical hazard emergency
plans. The committees
should include the expertise
and experience of local
government officials, facility
representatives, health and
fire officials,  Citizens groups,
news media,  and others who
may have a role in this
process |see Figure L-15).
Facilities must participate in
cooperative activities with
their local  committee,  and
have reporting requirements
to different levels of
government (see Highlight,
"Major Provisions of Title
  Although Title III is
relatively new legislation,
EPA has made significant
progress in carrying out its
mandates and in working
with other federal and state
governments  to promote
coordinated implementation.
For example,  we have
published a list of 366
       Participants in the
       Emergency Planning
       Community Right-to Know
       (Title III) Program
    Local Emergency
    Planning Committees
                                         Tribal Emergency
                                         Response Commissions
 Extremely Hazardous
 Substances, and the volumes
 of concern of these
 chemicals. We are reviewing
 ways to detect and monitor
 hazardous releases, and
 models for use in onsite
 emergency response. We will
 also be encouraging the use
 of these systems at the state
 and local level.
   While many requirements
 of Title III are the
 responsibility of industry and
 state and local governments,
 EPA'has the following
 activities underway:
 • developing regulations and
 assisting facilities in
 understanding and meeting
 their reporting obligations;
 • establishing a publicly
 available Toxics Release
 Inventory, the first consistent
 and-comprehensive, national
 database of toxic chemical
 releases to all environmental
 • conducting workshops and
 preparing documents to help
 state and local governments
 design emergency plans and
 establish emergency
 notification procedures;
 • offering state and local
 governments technical
 assistance in information
 management techniques and
 tools, so that they might
 better manage and use the
 massive amounts of data they
 will receive;
 • developing and
 administering training
 programs (in cooperation
 with the Federal Emergency
 Management Agency) for
 planners and response
personnel, and making $5
 million available to states to
 enhance their training
programs; and
 •  establishing enforcement
policies to ensure industrial
compliance, and coordinating
enforcement activities with
states and localities.
                                  The Public
                      State Emergency
                      Response Commissions
                                                                      Transportation Personnel



 Title III poses a great
 challenge in information
! management, stemming from
 the unprecedented amount of
 data that will be collected
I (estimated to be greater than
 all other current EPA
 reporting requirements
! combined). In addition, the
 sheer number of people,
 governments, and
 organizations to whom this
 information will be
 transferred or communicated
 complicates the task further.
 Finally, information about
 tens of thousands of
 chemicals must be
 interpreted for the public.


 To achieve the goals of Title
 III, a large volume of
 information  must be shared
 among numerous program
 participants  with varied
 interests and backgrounds. In
 addition to EPA and other
 federal agencies, the
 participating organizations
 and individuals will include
 more than 50 state and
 territorial emergency
 response commissions; more
 than 3,000 local emergency
 planning committees and at
 least an equal number of fire
 departments; representatives
 of an estimated 1.5 million
 industrial facilities; and
 thousands of citizens,
 including members of
 environmental and public
 interest groups.
    Federal, state, and local
 governments will be the
 repositories for large volumes
 of data on facilities,
 chemicals, and releases.
 Effective information
 management, information
 transfer, and communication
 are crucial to the successful
 implementation of Title HI.
Community Awareness

The law's success depends
also on how well individual
citizens are prepared to
receive, understand, and
make decisions based on the
information gathered.
Accidental release and annual
emissions reports will be
available, either from
industry, a community's
Local Emergency Planning
Committee, the state, or
through EPA's national
computerized data base.
  Initially, these data may  be
of unknown reliability since
they are being reported by
businesses that have little or
no experience in such
reporting. In the first years of
compliance with Title HI, the
data may be useful primarily
for identifying potential "hot
spots" of apparently high
levels of emissions. The
Agency plans to evaluate the
validity of the data and
improve the reliability and
usefulness of these data over

 Planning for Emergencies

Under Title III, each
community will need to
develop an effective plan for
responding to chemical
emergencies. Each
 community's emergency
response plan must be a
 cooperative effort of the
 people who administer the
 local emergency response
 agencies, manage the
 facilities from which releases
 might occur, and live in that
 community. For people with
 such disparate
 responsibilities and points of
 view to work together
 effectively will require a
 strong commitment by all
 participants to the success of
 the planning effort.
 Major Provisions of
 Title m
 Emergency Planning
 Title Hi established a broad-based framework at
 the state and local levels to receive chemical
 information and use that information in
 communities for chemical emergency planning.

 Emergency Release Notification
 Title III requires facilities to report certain
 releases of extremely hazardous chemicals and
 hazardous substances to their state and local
 emergency planning and response officials.
 Hazardous Chemical Inventory Reporting
 Title III requires facilities that already have
 prepared Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
 under Occupational Safety and Health
 Administration Worker Right-to-Know rules to
 submit those sheets  to state and local authorities
 by October 1987. It also requires them to report
 by March 1988 and annually thereafter
 information  on chemicals on their premises to
„ local emergency planning and fire protection
 officials, as well as state officials.
 Toxic Release Inventory Reporting
 Title III requires facilities to report annually on
 routine emissions of certain toxic chemicals to the
 air, land, or water. Facilities must report if they
 are in Standard Industrial Classification code 20
 through 39 (i.e., manufacturing facilities) with 10
 or more employees; manufacture or process more
 than 75,000 pounds of a specified chemical, and
 use more than 10,000 pounds in one calendar year
 of specific toxic chemicals or chemical
 compounds. The reporting thresholds for
 manufacturing and processing drops to 50,000
 pounds for reports covering 1988,  and to 25,000
 pounds for 19&9 and thereafter. EPA is required to
 use these data to establish a national chemical
 release inventory data base, making the
 information available to the public through
 computer, telecommunications, and by other

 State, tribal, and local
 government officials and
 managers of industrial
 facilities will bear the
 responsibility for
 implementing Title III. EPA
 will act as initiator and
 facilitator. To support state
 and local  efforts, we will
 continue our emergency
 response activities, assisting
 in preparedness and planning.
 The Agency will present
 workshops and conferences
 focusing on Title III issues
 such as effective planning,
 implementing emergency
 response procedures,
 information resource
 management, and
 community awareness. We
 will participate in
 conferences at which
 community planners,
 industry representatives, and
 other officials will share
 information on emergency
 response to chemical spills.
 EPA also will be available to
 respond to requests for
 technical assistance,
 information sharing, and data
  To address the information
management needs, EPA is
 developing a variety of
additional support initiatives.
These include developing
case studies, fact sheets, and
instructional documents that
interpret the EPA
 regulations; describing and
 promoting consistent
 information management
 practices; supplying needed
 chemical toxicology
 information,- and promoting
 coordination for all Title III
 activities by providing
 communication links
 between the various levels of
   We are also exploring the
 usefulness of certain
 state-of-the-art technologies,
 to support state and local
 analysis of Title III data. EPA
 is promoting the
 development of several
 promising computer
 modeling systems that can be
 used on personal  computers
 to help community planners
 and on-site managers to
 determine hazards, exposures,
 and risks.
   Certainly one of the most
 exciting initiatives is the
 computerized data base, the
 Toxics Release Inventory,
 that in addition to furthering
 the community
 right-to-know provisions of
 Title III, will provide an
 opportunity for EPA to
 identify and screen toxic
 chemical problems on a
 nationwide, multi-media
 basis. EPA has developed a
 three-phase program to:
   1) design and implement
 the data base and
 communications systems to
 make it available  on-line to
 the public;
  2) develop programs to
 assist communities in
 understanding and utilizing
 the information; and
  3) explore and maximize
 the potential this  data base
has for adding to the
information base of each EPA
program office.
This program-oriented
information-sharing approach
will be developed in
coordination with state
  In summary, EPA will
strive to coordinate all of the
activities to be conducted
under the Act. This means
encouraging increased public
awareness of the potential
chemical hazards within each
community and promoting
preparedness for accidental
releases of hazardous



    Our high standard of living
    would not be possible
 without the thousands of
i different chemicals produced.
 Most of these chemicals are
• not harmful if used properly.
 Others can be extremely
 harmful if people are exposed
 to them even in minute
 amounts. They may cause
 health effects ranging from
 cancer to birth defects and
 may seriously degrade the
  The serious health and
 environmental consequences
 from uncontrolled exposure
 to pesticides and toxic
 chemicals can be seen in a
 number of cases, including:
 » Exposure to asbestos used
 as insulation and
 fire-proofing in numerous
 buildings, resulting in
 thousands of cases of cancer
 or lung disease?
 • Contamination of food and
 ground water with the
 pesticide ethylene dibromide,
 & substance widely used to
 protect crops and stored grain
 until it was found to cause
 • Contamination of harbors,
 lakes, and rivers with
 polychlorinated biphenyls
 IPCBsj that accumulate in
 fish and shellfish; and
 • Past buildups of pesticides
 such as DDT, aldrin, and
 chlordane in the tissues of
 people and wildlife, resulting
 In the decline of birds such
 as the bald eagle and osprey.
  The nation has made
strides in addressing many of
these problems. For example,
levels of pesticides and toxic
substances such as DDT and
PCBs have declined in
humans and wildlife.
However, we must continue
to ensure that humans and
wildlife are not exposed to
unreasonable dangers from
toxic chemicals.
  As described in other
chapters of this report, EPA
is endeavoring to control
exposure to toxic chemicals
by regulating their release to
air, water, and land. In this
chapter, EPA's efforts to
control the production and
use of pesticides and
commercial chemical
substances are described.

    People have long
    recognized that sulfuric
 acid, arsenic compounds, and
 other chemical substances
 can cause fires, explosions, or
 poisoning. More recently,
 researchers have determined
 that many chemical
 substances such as benzene
 and a number of chlorinated
 hydrocarbons may cause
 cancer, birth defects, and
 other long-term health
 effects. Today, we are
 evaluating the hazards of new
 kinds of substances,
   EPA has a number of
 legislative tools to use in
 controlling the risks from
 toxic substances (Figure T-l).
 This chapter concentrates on
 issues associated with
 pesticides and commercial
 chemical substances that are
 dealt with primarily under
 two laws: the Federal
 Insecticide, Fungicide, and
 Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and
 the Toxic Substances Control
 Act (TSCA).
   FIFRA encompasses all
 pesticides used in the United
 States. When enacted in 1947,
 FIFRA was administered by
 the U.S. Department of
 Agriculture and was intended
 to protect consumers against
 fraudulent pesticide products.
 When many pesticides were
registered, their potential for
causing health and
environmental problems was
unknown. In 1970, EPA
assumed responsibility for
FIFRA, which was amended
in 1972 to shift emphasis to
      health and environmental
      protection. Allowable levels
      of pesticides in food are
      specified under'the authority
      of the Federal Food, Drug,
      and Cosmetic Act of 1954.
        The Toxic Substances
    FIGURE T-l
    Major Toxic Chemical Laws Administered by EPA

     Toxic Substances
     Control Act
     Federal Insecticide,
     Fungicide and
     Rodenticide Act
     Federal Food, Drug
     and Cosmetic Act
     Conservation and
     Recovery Act

     Compensation and
     Liability Act
     Clean Air Act
                                   Clean Water Act
                                   Safe Drinking
                                   Water Act

                                   Marine Protection
                                   Research and
                                   Sanctuaries Act
                                   Asbestos School
                                   Hazard Act
                                   Asbestos Hazard
                                   Response Act

                                   Planning and
                                   Right-to-Know Act
Requires that EPA be notified of any
new chemical prior to its
manufacture and authorizes EPA to
regulate production, use, or disposal
of a chemical.
Authorizes EPA to register all
pesticides and specify the terms and
conditions of their use, and remove
unreasonably hazardous pesticides
from the marketplace.
Authorizes EPA in cooperation with
FDA to establish tolerance levels for
pesticide residues on food and food
Authorizes EPA to identify hazardous
wastes and regulate their generation,
transportation, treatment, storage, and
Requires EPA to designate hazardous
substances that can present
substantial danger and authorizes the
cleanup of sites contaminated with
such substances.
Authorizes EPA to set emission
standards to limit the release of
hazardous air pollutants.
Requires EPA to establish a list of
toxic water pollutants and set
Requires EPA to set drinking water
standards to protect public health
from hazardous substances.
Regulates ocean dumping of toxic
                       Authorizes EPA to provide loans and
                       grants to schools with financial need
                       for abatement of severe asbestos
                       Requires EPA to establish a
                       comprehensive regulatory framework
                       for controlling asbestos hazards in
                       Requires states to develop programs
                       for responding to hazardous chemical
                       releases and requires industries to
                       report on the presence and release of
                       certain hazardous substances.
Control Act (TSCA) of 1976
authorizes EPA to control the
risks that may be posed by
the thousands of commercial
chemical substances and
mixtures (chemicals) that are
not regulated as either drugs,
food additives, cosmetics, or
pesticides. Under TSCA, EPA
can, among other things,
regulate the manufacture and
use of a chemical substance
and require testing for cancer
and other effects.
  Under both TSCA and
FIFRA, the Agency is
responsible for regulating
certain biotechnology
products, such as genetically
engineered microorganisms
designed to control pests or
assist in industrial processes.
In addition, the Emergency
Planning and Community
Right-to-Know Act of 1986
directs EPA to require
industries to report on the
quantities of certain
hazardous substances
released from facilities and to
assist communities in
preparing for chemical
emergencies (see section
titled "Emergency Planning
and Community
Right-to-Know" in the Land


 A tremendous variety of
 chemicals are produced and
 used in the United States
 each year (Figure T-2). Many
 of these are organic
 compounds derived from oil,
 while the remainder are
 inorganic chemicals such as
 ammonia, chlorine, and
 metals. These chemicals are
 important in many facets of
 daily life, from preserving
 food to assisting in
 transportation and
 communication. Others are
 largely unseen by the general
 public, but are extremely
 important in research and
 manufacturing processes.
   Despite their usefulness,
 chemicals can be extremely
 dangerous. They may cause
 immediate, short-term
 effects, such as respiratory
 irritation, as well as
 long-term and permanent
 effects, such as cancer and
 birth defects. Often health
 effects result only after
 long-term exposure to toxic
 chemicals. In other cases,
 effects may develop many
 years after a single exposure.
 Toxic substances can also
 work together or in
 combination with other
 Substances, such as those in
 cigarette smoke, to increase
 the likelihood of long-term
 health effects.

  Commercial Chemical

 TSCA authorizes EPA to
 control the risks from over
 65.000 "existing" chemical
 substances on the market. In
 addition, through a
 premanufacture review
 process, EPA regulates the
 manufacture, processing,
  distribution, and use of
  proposed "new" chemicals,
  as  well as new uses of
  already existing chemicals.
 Chemicals are a Major U.S. Industry
(Total 3rd Quarter Sales = 234,324) Based on third quarter, 1987 sales   Source: Chemicalweek

                                Pharmaceuticals 7.20%

                                       Pulp, paper, packaging 8.35%

                                          Food and dairy companies with chemical process operations 2.95%

                                            Glass, cement, lime, abrasives, refractories 2.12%

                                            Soaps, sythetics, detergents, other cleaning and polishing products 3.04%

                                            Tires, other rubber and plastic products 2.39%

                                           Industrial chemicals and synthetic materials 5.77%

                                        Steel, coke and coal-tar chemicals 3.85%

                                    [onferrous metals and ferroalloys  3.39%
Petroleum and
natural gas processing
New Chemicals
Before a proposed or new
commercial chemical may be
produced, EPA requires a
manufacturer to submit a
"premanufacture notice" that
contains the chemical's
name, structure, production
process, intended uses, and
other available information
about the health and
environmental effects of the
chemical. EPA may prohibit
or limit the production and
use of a new chemical if it
presents an unreasonable risk
to health or the environment.
EPA has similar authority to
review and control significant
new uses of existing
chemicals or chemicals
newly imported into the
United States.
Existing Chemicals
Once a chemical is on the
market, it is considered an
existing chemical. Existing
chemicals also encompass
the thousands of chemicals
and chemical mixtures
already on the market when
TSCA was passed in 1976.
EPA may regulate the
manufacture, processing,
distribution, use, and disposal
of existing chemicals if there
are unreasonable public
health or environmental risks
                         associated with them.
                         Regulatory tools range from
                         labeling and use restrictions
                         to outright bans on their
                         Information Collection
                         TSCA authorizes EPA to
                         require that industry test a
                         chemical when there are
                         insufficient data to assess the
                         risks and there is likely to be
                         substantial exposure or
                         unreasonable risk. EPA also
                         may require industry to
                         maintain records of
                         allegations of significant
                         adverse reactions by workers
                         and to report new
                         information that suggests
                         there may be substantial
                         risks associated with the


                         Each year, about three billion
                         pounds of pesticides are used
                         in the United States (Figure
                         T-3). Pesticides can improve
                         crop yields significantly by
                         controlling weeds,, insects,
                         and plant disease. As might
                         be expected, farmers are the
                         biggest users of pesticides.
                         Health officials also need
                         pesticides to control the
                         spread of diseases carried by
                         mosquitos and other insects.
  Because pesticides are
designed to kill living
organisms, they can cause
serious health and
environmental problems if
not used properly. Some
pesticides persist in the
environment over long
periods, moving up through
the food chain from plankton
or insects to animals and
humans. Thus human dietary
exposure is often
unavoidable. They also may
move downward through soil
to contaminate ground water.
Through these exposures,
many pesticides  may cause
chronic health effects such as
cancer or birth defects.
  Under the Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide, and
Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA
is responsible for controlling
the risks of pesticides
through a registration
process. Pesticide registration
is designed to ensure that,
when used properly, a
pesticide presents no
unreasonable health or
environmental risks; that is,
its risks do not outweigh its
benefits to society. The
registration process thus
involves the careful weighing
of health and  environmental
risks against the benefits of
pesticide use.

Registration of New
Before a new pesticide may
be marketed, it must be
registered with EPA. The
pesticide manufacturer
submits test data with the
registration application. Test
data include information
related to the risk of cancer,
birth defects and other
chronic effects as well as the
risks to wildlife. If test data
show that using a pesticide
may cause harmful human
health or environmental
effects, EPA can refuse to
register it,  can restrict its use
to certain applications, or can
require that only certified
applicators apply the
pesticide.  Once a pesticide is
registered,  manufacturers
must label the product,
clearly indicating the
approved uses. In
emergencies, state or federal

 Pesticide Use in the U.S.
 agencies may be authorized
 to use pesticides not yet
 Reregistration of Existing
 Over 50,000 pesticide
 products have been registered
 since FIFRA was enacted in
 1947. Most pesticides were
 registered before their
 long-term health and
 environmental effects were
 understood fully. As required
 by the 1972 amendments to
 FIFRA, existing pesticides
 must be re-evaluated or
 reregistered, taking into
 account new information.
   Reregistration involves
 several steps. First, EPA
 reviews all current
 information on a given active
 ingredient. About 600
 different active ingredients,
 or those "active" in attacking
 a given pest, require
(1986 Estimates)
                                       All Pesticides

                                       (2.7 billion pounds of active
                                       ingredient per year]
Conventional Pesticides
(1.1 billion pounds of active ingredients per year]
                    Other 5%
      Includes Rodenticides, Fumigants,
                and Molluscicides
                  Fungicides  8%
      Source: Office of Pesticide Programs, USEPA
reregistration. We identify in
initial registration standards
any additional health and
environmental data that are
needed before the
reregistration process can be
completed. Letters requesting
the information are sent to
manufacturers.'Next, the
new data are reviewed for
health and environmental
effects, and EPA determines
whether there is a need for
modifications in labeling,
packaging, or formulations of
the pesticide. Finally, EPA
specifies in Final Registration
Standards and Tolerance
Reassessments that existing
and future products
containing the active
ingredient include
appropriate restrictions,
warnings, or changes in
Special Review
If the data on an old pesticide
indicate  that it: may be
posing a potential safety
problem, EPA may undertake
a special review. A special
review is an intensive review
of the pesticide's risks and
benefits. The Agency first
identifies and quantifies the
health and environmental
 Eroblems and the benefits
 eing derived by agriculture
or other users. Depending on
the data, EPA may decide to
continue current uses,
restrict some or all uses, or
permanently cancel uses of
the pesticide.
  If use of a pesticide is
found to cause unreasonable
risks, EPA may  issue a notice
of intent to cancel its
registration. Such a notice
does not automatically bring
cancellation. Manufacturers
and others who would be
affected by cancellation may
request a hearing within 30
days; if there is no appeal,
registration is cancelled.
Cancellation hearings may
take two or more years,
during which marketing of
the pesticide may continue.
However, EPA may suspend
the registration pending the
outcome of the hearings if
there is evidence that the
risks of continued use
outweigh the benefits.
Under the Federal Food,
Drug, and Cosmetic Act,
EPA, in cooperation with the
U.S. Food and Drug
Administration, sets
allowable limits for pesticide
residues in food. These
limits, called "tolerance
levels," are designed to
protect human health while
allowing for the production
of an adequate, wholesome,
and economic food supply.
Tolerance levels are
established during the
registration progress; for
existing pesticides, tolerances
are re-evaluated during
Monitoring and Enforcement
EPA monitors the
distribution and use of
pesticides and issues civil
and criminal penalties for
violations of FIFRA
regulations. For example, it is
a violation to use a pesticide
in a manner not stated on the
pesticide's label. EPA also
conducts laboratory
inspections to verify the
quality of test data and may
suspend a product's
registration if the required
data is not submitted.
  States and  Indian tribes
have primary responsibility
for enforcing laws and
regulations regarding
pesticide use through
cooperative agreements with
EPA. Individual states or
tribes may have more
stringent controls  than the
federal program and may take
independent action to restrict
certain pesticides. EPA also
may take action if a state
does not take adequate steps.
EPA contributes to the
support of state and tribal
enforcement with federal

                                                              TO  DATE

 Biotechnology involves the
 use of biological science to
 produce chemicals or living
 organisms for commercial
 use. Fermentation is one of
 the oldest examples of
 biotechnology, in which
 microorganisms are used to
 convert sugar into alcohol.
 Microorganisms also have
 been used for some time as
 pesticides. For example, the
 first micrpbial pesticide,
 registered in 1948 by the U.S.
 Department of Agriculture,
 Was a bacterium used to kill
 Japanese beetles.
   The techniques of genetic
 engineering, a type of
 biotechnology, have made it
 possible to develop
 microorganisms with new
 combinations of
 characteristics.  Through gene
 splicing, scientists are
 developing microorganisms
 that help in industrial
 reactions, produce human
 hormones, and degrade
i pollutants. Yet  despite these
I benefits, the release of such
; genetically engineered
, microorganisms into the
 environment has raised
 public concern. One concern
 is that introducing such
 microorganisms could change
 the existing balance of
 microorganisms in the
   EPA has authority to
 evaluate the risks of certain
 genetically engineered
 microorganisms. Under the
 Federal Insecticide,
Fungicide, and Rodenticide
Act (FIFRA), EPA regulates
the use of genetically
engineered microorganisms
and non-native microbes as
pesticides. Under the Toxic
Substances Control Act
(TSCA), we regulate
genetically engineered
microorganisms that are not
already regulated  as
pesticides under FIFRA, or as
drugs, cosmetics,  or food
under other laws. For
example, TSCA governs the
regulation of biotechnology
products used to produce
chemicals, degrade
pollutants, accelerate plant
growth, or extract oil and
Commercial Chemical

EPA screened more than
10,000 new chemicals
proposed for commercial
production between 1976,.
when TSCA was enacted, and
the end of 1987. The majority
of these chemicals were
determined to present no
unreasonable risk to human
health or the environment.
On the basis of these
reviews, EPA has prohibited
or restricted the manufacture
of 533 new commercial
chemicals. For 149 of these
new chemicals,
manufacturers were required
to conduct additional health
      FIGURE T-4
      Some Chemicals
      in the Regulatory Review Process
      Acrylamide - Used to make acrylamide polymers. The
      polymers are then used in substances to take solids out
      of drinking water, to grout sewers and in sugar
      processing. It is a suspected carcinogen, and we are also
      concerned about non-cancer health effects.

      Paradichlorobenzene - Used primarily in mothballs and
      air fresheners. We are evaluating control options, along
      with the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
      Concerns are as an indoor air pollutant, possible health
      effects, and suspected carcinogen.

      Chlorinated  solvents -Used in dry cleaning, metal
      decreasing, aerosols, and paint stripping. Three
      chlorinated solvents are suspected carcinogens;
      chlorinated solvents that might be substituted may cause
      other health problems. For each category of use, we are
      evaluating the risks from all chlorinated solvents and are
      working with other federal agencies to determine
      appropriate action.
                             i          »     |   ^
      Chromium Emissions - Used  to inhibit corrosion in
      cooling towers. Concern is potential to cause lung cancer
      when inhaled, We are using TSCA authorities to address
      tlje problem of emissions, because the Clean Air Act did
      •fijiC haye the authority. Industry is already using
      substitutes, such as phosphates and molybdates.
                       M                    | MM   i
      Formaldehyde - Emitted from certain pressed wood
      products, such as particleboard, hardwood plywood, and
      medium-density fiberbqard. Concerns include cancer as
      well  as respiratory irritation.  We are evaluating the need
      for regulations on the manufacture and use of such
and environmental testing.
  After more than a decade
of experience in reviewing
proposed new chemicals, EPA|
now acts more  quickly to
identify potential problems.
In addition to environmental
impacts, our risk assessments]
screen chemicals for their
potential to cause cancer,
 fenetic mutation, birth
 efects, damage to the
nervous or immune system,
and reproductive failures.
  For the many existing
chemicals, or those already
on the market,  data on the
long-term health and
environmental  effects of
chemicals are available for
only a small fraction.
Identifying which among the
thousands of existing
commercial chemicals to test |
is a very important first step
in managing the risks from
these chemicals. By
December 1987, EPA had
decided to request additional
health and environmental
testing by the manufacturers
of 63  chemical  groups.
During fiscal year 1987, we
reviewed 75 existing
chemicals or chemical groups |
for possible regulatory
controls. Some  examples  of
these are described in Figure
  Earlier actions taken under
TSCA have shown dramatic
results. For example,
restrictions on the use and
disposal of PCBs have
resulted in a significant
decline of these residues in
the environment, food, and
human tissues.  While trace
levels of PCBs are now
almost uniformly present in
the U.S. population, the
number of individuals with
high PCB levels has declined
from over eight percent to
less than one percent of the

  In 1978, the Agency banned
the nonessential use of
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in
aerosol sprays because of
concern that CFCs decreased
ozone in the earth's
stratosphere. In 1987, 31
nations representing the
majority of CFC-producing
countries signed a protocol to
freeze CFC consumption at
1986 levels by mid-1990 and
to halve production levels by
1999 (see section titled
"Global Atmospheric
Change" in the Air Chapter).
  EPA also has been working
to remove or reduce the risks
from the widespread use of
asbestos in schools and other
buildings. For example, we
have implemented programs
to help officials identify and
control asbestos exposure in
the nation's schools under
two new asbestos laws passed
since 1984. We also have
established regulations to
protect workers and proposed
an immediate ban on many
uses of asbestos, along with a
phased elimination of other
  Finally, the Agency has
taken action against
companies that introduce
new chemicals without
notifying EPA, or that import
or use chemicals in the
United States in violation of
TSCA. For example,
Mitsubishi International of
Japan paid $98,000, Canon
U.S.A. Inc. of Japan paid
$400,000, and Sandoz
Chemicals of West Germany
paid $25,000 for violations of
TSCA. American Telephone
and Telegraph also agreed to
pay a penalty of $1,000,000
for illegal use of a chemical
not approved by EPA. In
some settlements, the
Agency has required
companies to provide detailed
reports of further instances of
import, manufacture, or
chemical use violations. We
have also required some
companies,  such as Canon, to
produce and finance public
service announcements and
training for corporate
personnel or other members
of the regulated community.

EPA has banned many uses
of pesticides that have been
shown to cause health and
environmental problems. For
example, virtually all uses of
DDT, aldrin, dieldrin,
toxaphene, and ethylene
dibromide (EDB) were
cancelled, as well as the
agricultural and termiticide
uses of chlordane and
heptachlor, because of their
toxicity and persistence in
the environment (Figure T-5).
Since their cancellation, the
levels of these pesticides
have declined in humans and
wildlife. These pesticides in
turn have been replaced by
products that are less
persistent in the
environment, that are more
precise in attacking a given
target, and that require much
lower rates of application. We
have also promoted research
in the area of integrated pest
management, which takes
into account the biology of a
pest to achieve greater pest
control with less pesticide.
  EPA is working to improve
the timeliness of new
registrations in order to
replace existing pesticides
with less hazardous ones.  In
many cases, registration of a
brand-new active ingredient
has taken several years. To
help speed the introduction
of new, safer chemicals, EPA
is now giving greatest
attention to reviewing new
pesticides (i.e. new active.
ingredients). The Agency is
also requiring manufacturers
to provide all the necessary
scientific information with
their initial application for
  For the hundreds of
pesticides approved before
today's more stringent
standards were m place, the
Agency has focused on
updating health and
environmental information
(see highlight on
"Completing the
Reregistration Cycle"). EPA
has been evaluating
pesticides in clusters of
similar-use products so that
different pesticides with the
same use are reviewed in the
same way. Priority has been
given to those chemicals
which have the greatest
potential for exposure, such
as those used on food and in
high volume. As a result of
this process, we have
completed 173 initial
registration standards that
identify additional data
needed to reevaluate the risks
of a pesticide. These initial
standards account for
one-third of the 600 active
ingredients that must be
reregistered, or 80 percent of
the total volume. In addition,
through requests to industry
to provide data, EPA is
obtaining toxicity data
needed to reregister all
food-use chemicals.
  Finally, the Agency has
taken legal action against
individuals or companies that
have not complied with
restrictions or bans on the
use of certain pesticides. We
also have taken action
against those that either fail
to submit data or that submit
false or incomplete data on a
pesticide. For example, the
sale of over 2,000 products
was suspended .because
required data had not been
submitted to EPA. When
200 of these products  were
shown to be in compliance
with pesticide regulations,
the ban on their sale was
  As the primary enforcers of
pesticide regulations, states
have taken an active role in
inspecting pesticide use.
When violations are found,
states either take legal action
or refer the violations to
EPA. In 1987 alone, the states
conducted over 55,000
inspections and initiated over
10,000 enforcement actions.
For example, investigators in
Maine discovered that 108
growers were using Fusilade
4E on potatoes, although the
 Eesticide was not registered
 jr this use. The state fined
each of the growers and
required a legally-binding
agreement by the growers to
refrain from using the
pesticide on potatoes. Several
pesticide dealers were also
required to pay fines,
maintain sales records, and
participate in training.

   A Number of Pesticides Have Been Taken Off the Market
   (Agricultural uses}
             uses suspended
   of cancelled)
                      Oncogenicity/ reduction in
                      non-target and endangered species
   Compound 1080
   (Livestock collar retained,
   rodenticide u«e under
                      Reductions in non-target and
                      endangered species; no known
                               Coyote control;
                                                 ±_  i   —   j t" t   -a    J
                                                    Oncogenicity; mutagenicity)
                                                    reproductive effects
                               oil Fumigant - Fruits
                              and vegetables^
                                                   Ecological (eggshell thinning),
   DDT and related
™" 'Compounds
                                                   Fetotoxicity; reproductive effects;
                       ................................................. Jpgcjffiide/Ayicid^ ................. r.; ............ Qncggenjcity; (eratogenicity;
                                                               non-target and
                                                    ndangered species
   Ethylene Dibromide (EDB)
^- (Very minor uses and use on
   citnis for export retained)
        ultural uses;
                                                    Oncogenicity,- mutagenicity;
                                                    reproductive effects
                                                    Oncogenicity; reductions in
                                                    non-target and endangered species
                                                    Oncogenicity; teratogenicity;
                                                    reprp3uctjye effects,- acute
                                                    toxicity; other chronic effects
 ~;" Jfidoor, smoke
 """ ................. cclled7 some uses
                                                   Cumulative toxicant causing brain
                                                    ^_     _ __ -ii.A_   -  .  .
                                       :/Fire iAnt	Non-target species, potential
                                                    Oncogenicity; teratogenicity;
                                         r, weed     fetptqxicity
                                         predator    Reductions in non-target and
                              control; rodenticide     endangered species
     odenticide use and
                              Herbicide/Forestry,     Oncogenicity; teratogenicity;
                              Insecticide - Cotton     Oncogenicity; reductions in
                                                    non-target species; acute toxicity
                                       is	teUiHifcii	™iL:i	i^m* tc\ xnuAtic. nTPflriisrhST'rVirnnir
     ves'tock dip retained)
         	IS	tiMSIS:	::::	
                                       -^-Causes major birth defects
                                       !!	-  -   '	'     •    	„.	a>,	f..
Here are some of the major
challenges EPA faces today in
managing risks from
commercial chemicals,
pesticides, and biotechnology.
The remaining sections of
this chapter discuss each of
these in more detail.

Evaluating Existing

Dioxin, asbestos, and PCBs
are chemical substances that
EPA has addressed because
they present significant risks
to health or the environment.
The Agency must use all of
its authority and work
closely with other agencies to
identify and address the risks
of other highly toxic and
pervasive substances.

Reviewing New
The best way to ensure that a
substance presenting
excessive risks does not
become widespread in the
environment is to prevent it
from ever going into
production or to limit the
quantities that can be
produced and used. EPA will
continue to place strong
emphasis on reviewing new
chemicals before they are
introduced into commerce.

Reducing Human Health
Risks from Pesticides

Consumers are exposed to
pesticides through their diet,
drinking water, and the use
of pesticides such as
disinfectants and lawncare
products. Farm workers and
professional pesticide
applicators routinely come
into contact with pesticides
and thus may face even
greater health risks. Even the
storage and disposal of
pesticides whose use is no
longer permitted may pose
risks. EPA's continuing
challenge is to reduce the
health risks from pesticides.

Reduce the Risks of
Pesticides to Fish and

Fish and wildlife may be
exposed to pesticides through
contamination of their food,
water, and habitat. Certain
pesticides have been known
to affect the growth,
reproduction, and existence
of wildlife. The nature of
effects on endangered species
is a particular concern. We
must continue to improve
scientific understanding of
the effects of pesticides in
the environment and to
educate users about the
dangers pesticides can pose.
Ensure the Safe Testing
of and Public Confidence
in Biotechnology

Microorganisms with new
characteristics can now be
developed using the
techniques of gene-splicing.
However, the public has
expressed concern about the
health and environmental
risks posed when such
genetically engineered
microorganisms are released
into the environment. EPA
must ensure that such
microorganisms are safely
tested while maintaining
public confidence in
Completing  the
Reregistration  Cycle
 Chemical products are now an accepted part of everyday life.
Through the pesticides reregistration process, EPA
has been updating data on the health and
environmental effects of existing pesticides. As a
result, EPA has extensive toxicity data on many
existing pesticides. Now the Agency must review
these data to determine the potential dangers to
health and the environment, and to prescribe the
appropriate changes in product formulations,
labeling, or use.
  EPA thus is beginning a comprehensive review
of all new health and environmental data that
have, been gathered on existing pesticides. Based
on our review,  we will issue Final Registration
Standards and Tolerance Reassessments (FRSTR),
which specify any revisions in tolerances, product
labeling, and product formulation.  Two FRSTRs
were completed in fiscal year 1987, and the
Agency plans to increase the rate to ten FRSTRs
in fiscal year 1988 and twelve FRSTRs in fiscal...
year 1989. This step translates new information
about a pesticide into changes in consumer
  The development of FRSTRs completes a major
phase of reregistration. Nonetheless, the process of
evaluating pesticides  is a continuing one, so that
pesticide standards are never truly  "final." In
spite of today's more  stringent standards, what we
think is adequate today may not be adequate in
the future. For example, the potential for even
normal (i.e., approved) uses of pesticides to
contaminate ground water was.not evaluated
when many of today's pesticides were registered.
The problem simply was not anticipated. As we
learn more about pesticides, we also may learn to
ask new questions.

                                        I i '!!< :      |

                            Existing  Chemicals


     Tens of thousands of
     chemicals were being
     Manufactured and used when
     the Toxic Substances Control
     Act was passed in 1976. At
     that time, there was little
     information about long-term
     health and environmental
     effects of the chemicals. A
     program to identify the
     universe of existing
     chemicals and determine
     which chemicals required
     regulatory attention was
     needed. A program also was
     needed to monitor the risks
     from new chemicals once
     they were approved for
     commercial production.
       Polychlorinated biphenyls
     {PCBs] and asbestos provide
     examples of the problems
     that toxic substances can
     present. PCBs were used in
     many commercial activities,
     especially as heat transfer
     fluids in electrical
     transformers and capacitors.
     They also were used as
     hydraulic fluids, lubricants,
     and dye carriers in carbonless
     copy paper, and in paints,
     |nks, and dyes. Over time,
     PCBs accumulated in the
     environment, either from
leaking electrical equipment
or from other materials such
as inks. PCBs eventually
reached humans through the
food chain and caused serious
health problems in high
  Like PCBs, asbestos was
widely used for many
purposes, such as fireproofing
and pipe and boiler insulation
in schools and other
buildings. Asbestos was often
mixed with a cement-like
material and sprayed or
plastered on ceilings and
other surfaces. Now these
materials are deteriorating,
releasing the asbestos.
Unfortunately, the physical
characteristics that make
asbestos so resistant to heat
also make it harmful.
Asbestos breaks into tiny
fibers or dust, which can
float in the air, be inhaled,
and lodge in lung tissue.
Exposure to these airborne
fibers can then cause lung
cancer and asbestosis,  a
chronic scarring of the lungs
that hinders breathing.
                                      The Chemical Substances Inventory contains
                                      information on over 62,000 chemicals.

                    i. Mi'
 Since enactment of the Toxic
 Substances Control Act
 (TSCA), EPA has worked to
 address problems associated
 with specific chemicals
 including PCBs, asbestos,
 dioxin, and CFCs. The
 Agency also gathers
 information on the toxicity
 and releases of a larger
 number of chemicals. All of
 these activities are
 summarized below.



 In TSCA, Congress
 specifically directed EPA to
 ban the manufacture,
 processing, distribution, and
 use of PCBs except in totally
 enclosed electrical
 equipment. Since the 1976
 ban, the levels of PCBs have
 declined in food, humans,
 and the environment (see
 Figure T-6).
  EPA imposed requirements
 to reduce  the risk of PCB
 transformer fires, which can
 spread PCBs, dioxins, and
 furans (chemicals related to
 dioxins). These requirements
 included banning further
 installation of PCB
 transformers in or near
 commercial buildings,
 labeling of transformer
 locations, installing electrical
 protection on certain
 transformers, registering
 transformers with fire
 departments and building
 owners, and phasing out the
 use of certain transformers.
  The Agency also
 established regulations for
 the disposal of PCBs and for
 the safe cleanup of PCB
 spills. In this effort, EPA has
promoted  the development of
new technologies for the safe
destruction or disposal of
PCBs. These include  mobile
incinerators and chemical
and biological methods for
detoxifying PCBs.
!	Iv


EPA has worked to reduce
the exposure of school
children to asbestos through
two asbestos laws passed
since 1984. Under the
Asbestos School Hazard
Abatement Act of 1984,
approximately $135 million
in interest-free loans or
grants has been provided to
schools for over 1,500
asbestos control projects. As
a result, the exposure of
children and school
employees has been reduced
by millions of hours (Figure
   Under the Asbestos Hazard
Emergency Response Act of
1986, which amends TSCA,
schools are required to
identify and respond to their
asbestos problems. Using
EPA or state-approved
professionals, schools must
identify dangerous crumbling
asbestos. They must then
submit plans for addressing
the problem to their state
governor and begin
implementing the plans.
  EPA has established
centers to provide training on
proper asbestos inspections
and control procedures at ten
universities (see highlight on
"Hands-On Training for
Asbestos Control"). Through
EPA grants and technical
assistance, states also have
established training and
certification programs for
asbestos control personnel.
The number of such
programs increased from five
in 1985 to over 39 in 1988.
  Finally, the Agency has
studied asbestos in public
and commercial buildings
and provided
recommendations to
Congress on how to  address
the problem. In addition, we
implemented measures to
protect certain state and local
government workers involved
in asbestos removal. These
employees are not covered by
the asbestos standards issued
by the Occupational Safety
and Health Administration
that cover most workplaces.
                                 DUST HAZARD
                                MOID SHEATHING DUST
                                  WE»B MSIGKEO
                                PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT
                                DO HOT BEMJIN IH AREA
                                 URISSS YOUB WOBK
                                   BEOUIRtS IT
                                 MEAIHIHG ASBESTOS
                                  BUST MAY IE
                                  TOYOU* HEMTH
Crumbling asbestos pipe insulation.
      While Nearly Everyone Now Has "Trace"
      Levels of PCB's ...
        Percent of population with "trace" PCB levels
    10.0  . . . The Percentage of Population with
         "High" Levels Has Gone Down
                                  Population with "high" PCB levels
                                      EPA Programs Have
                                      Bleduced Exposure To
                                      Asbestos in Schools
                                                                    Millions of Exposure Hours Eliminated
                                                                    Hours during which schoolchildren no
                                                                    logger exposed to asbestos
    Source: Office of Toxic Substances, USEPA
                                                                  Source: Office of Toxic Substances, USEPA

             j-on	Training for  Asbestos  Control
                    helpe  establish and fund
                     '	tmmMg.,c§nter§ ..&t. Tufts
           	, Georgia Institute of Technology, the
           of, Kansas, the University of Illinois, and
                 California. We have also started
        ! framing centers at five other universities.
                      1 years, more than 10,000
                     _ workers, and other asbestos
       I professionals have been trained in these
           ";e cenp&£S,help provide the hands-on
            ibriantIn state certification programs.
            s.mpdelj'or,state accreditation,
               "zspectprs, planners, asbestos control
      St designers, supervisors, and workers must
  iMude some "hands-on " instruction in proper
       <$.cgntfoJl practices. The centers may also
       ' other services such as asbestos telephone
  Jtlines, news|etters, technical bulletins, and
""IfallonaZ	meejjngs'oh asbestos issues.
   To train workers on site in a safe but effective
 Way, the University of Kansas National Asbestos
 Training Center has a unique approach. Using
 retrofitted tractor trailers as asbestos control areas,
 the center brings the classroom to the student. The
 mobile classroom has a "clean area" where students
become familiar with personal protective gear and
Isam.toAeGontaminatetherns&ly&s_and their	 ,
equipment. The bulk of the training takes place in
the larger section designed to resemble an asbestos
control site, complete with ceilings or building
fixtures covered with asbestos substitutes. Here
students are taught how to maintain or remove pipe
and boiler wraps, and repair or remove ceiling
materials. They also learn to use sophisticated
asbestos removal equipment. The facility can
accommodate as many as 20 trainees at once,
depending upon the procedure involved.
  The University of Kansas Center presently has four
vans which travel around the country. They have
been particularly useful in providing hands-on
training at technical conferences. The vans also
make it economical for small groups of employees to
receive training by reducing the  expense of travelling
to training courses. Other asbestos information and
training centers are now investigating the potential
use of mobile vans in their programs.  Working
together, university and federal personnel have
developed a creative way to provide hands-on
training for asbestos control personnel.


Dioxin refers to a family of
chemicals with similar
structure, although it is
common to refer to the most
toxic of these -
dioxin or TCDD - as dioxin.
It may cause both immediate
and short term effects, such
as skin disease, cancer,
reproductive problems, and
reduced resistance to disease.
Dioxin is an inadvertent
contaminant of the
chlorinated herbicides 2,4,5-T
and silvex, which were used
until recently in agriculture,
forest management, and lawn
care. It is also a contaminant
of certain wood preservatives
and the defoliant Agent
Orange used in Vietnam.
Dioxins and the related
chemicals known as furans
also are formed during the
combustion of PCBs.
   Several other sources of
dioxin contamination have
been identified in recent
years. These include pulp and
paper production, and the
burning of municipal wastes
containing certain plastics or
wood preserved by certain
chlorinated chemicals. To
gain a clear picture of the
problem, EPA implemented a
national study to determine
the extent of dioxin
contamination. During the
study, the Agency identified
fish contamination thought
to be associated with the
pulp and paper industry.
These results are being
 evaluated further.
   EPA has taken a number of
 actions to control dioxin
 contamination. These include
 cancelling all uses of the
 dioxin-containing pesticides
 2,4,5-T and silvex. Anyone
 handling dioxin-containing
 wastes now is required to
 notify EPA before moving or
 disposing of them. These
 wastes also must be
specially-treated before
disposal on land. Cleanup of
sites containing dioxin, such
as Times Beach, Missouri, is
being addressed under the
Superfund program (see the
Land Chapter). In addition,
the use of chlorinated wood
preservatives and
PCB-containing transformers
has been restricted.


In 1978, the use of
chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) as
a propellant in aerosol cans
and other nonessential uses
were prohibited by EPA. The
Agency took this action as  a
result of evidence that CFCs
caused a decrease in
stratospheric ozone. In 1987,
31 nations representing the
majority of CFC-producing
countries agreed to the
Montreal Protocol. The
Protocol, which must be
ratified by at least 11
countries before it becomes
official in 1989, requires
developed nations to freeze
CFC consumption at 1986
levels by mid-1990 and to
halve CFC use by 1999 (see
the Air Chapter).

Other Chemicals

Other chemicals have been
identified for control under
TSCA. Recent examples
include the following:
hexavalent chromium, a
cooling tower additive;
acrylamide, a material used
as grouting within public
water systems; lead, which
can enter air and ground
water from the ash of
municipal waste combustion;
and chlorinated solvents,
which are used in metal
degreasing, drycleaning, and
 aerosols (see highlight on
 "Chlorinated Solvents:  New
 Directions in Toxics

Information on the health
and environmental effects of
a chemical is necessary to
determine its risks. EPA also
needs information on the
likelihood and routes of
exposure to a chemical, for
while a chemical may be
very toxic, it poses little
danger unless people or
wildlife come in contact with
it. Using a variety of
data-gathering provisions in
the Toxic Substances Control
Act (TSCA), EPA collects
information on chemical
substances to 'determine the
nature and extent of the risks
they pose.

TSCA Inventory

One of the. first tasks EPA
completed under TSCA was
compiling an inventory of all
chemicals commercially
produced or processed in the
United States between
January 1, 1975 and July  1979.
The first inventory was
published in 1979 and
contained information on
over 62,000 chemicals.
Information for the inventory
 came from manufacturers
 and importers and included
production volume and plant
 location. In 1986,
 manufacturers and importers
 were required to report
 current data on a subset of
 the substances on the
 inventory and to update the
 information every four years.
 EPA received over 25,000
 reports on 8,500 substances
 during fiscal year 1987.

 Production and Use Data

 Under TSCA, EPA can
 collect additional information
 on use and exposure for
 selected chemicals. These are
 chemicals for which there is
 reason to believe that they
 may pose unreasonable risks.
 The information is then used
 to screen or conduct a
 preliminary evaluation of
 risk. To collect the
 information, we have
developed a generic
regulation which requires
manufacturers and importers
to provide readily available
information about their
chemicals. EPA designates a
list of chemicals or categories
of chemicals for which it
wants information and must
justify why it wants such
  To date, the Agency has
collected information on 350
substances. For example, EPA
listed 18 chlorinated and
brominated benzene
chemicals because they  can
lead to formation of dioxins
and furans. We also specified
47 other chemicals and
mixtures for which more
detailed information is
required and expect to add
other chemicals to the list in
the future.

Health and Safety
TSCA allows the Agency to
require past and current
manufacturers, importers,
processors, and distributors
to submit unpublished health
and safety data on a list of
specified chemicals.  The list
includes chemicals which are
suspected of causing cancer
or  other health effects. The
unpublished test data,
including both formal studies
 and reports of incidents or
 spills, are contained in  the
 Toxic Substances Control
 Act Test Submissions data
 base. These data are used to
 evaluate risks associated with
 exposure and to determine
 whether toxicity testing
 should be done if it  has not
 already been conducted. Such
 information has been used to
 support a number of
 regulatory programs in  EPA.
 For instance, in 1987, we
 added 102 chemicals to our
 list, including substances
 needed to regulate drinking
 water, set water quality
 standards, and protect
 consumer safety.

  Substantial Risk Notices

  TSCA requires chemical
  manufacturers, processors,
  and distributors to inform us
  Immediately when they
  obtain evidence that a
  chemical presents a
  substantial risk of injury to
  human health or the
  environment. Such notices
  Include unpublished toxicity
  knd exposure  studies and
  may lead to further action by
  EPA or other agencies. To
  date, the Agency has received
  pver 700 substantial risk

  TToxicity Testing

  When there are insufficient
  data to evaluate the potential
  hazards of existing chemicals,
  EPA may require
  manufacturers, importers,
  tod processors to conduct
  tests. An interagency
  committee periodically
  recommends chemicals for
  which testing  may be needed.
  We have also required
  additional testing in response
  t£> a citizens' petition and
  Other regulatory programs. To
  require such testing, the
  Agency issues a test rule that
  Specifies the chemical to be
  tested, the kinds of tests to be
  conducted, and who must do
  the testing. In  1987, the
  Agency received 58
  completed test studies from
  industry and issued a total of
  1.6 final and proposed test


  To identify potential hazards,
  EPA monitors  the exposure
  of humans and the
  environment to chemicals.
  For example, under the
  National Human Monitoring
  Program, EPA has monitored
  the levels of PCBs and
  chlorinated pesticides such as
 DDT in humans since the
 1960s. EPA also has
 developed improved methods
 for monitoring chemicals in
 human tissues  and fluids
 such as a method to measure
 djoxin in fatty  tissue.
  The Agency also has
 conducted a number of
 chemical exposure studies.
 For example, EPA conducted
 an evaluation of the risks
 from exposure to
 formaldehyde in mobile and
 conventional homes.
 Formaldehyde is often
 emitted from certain
 pressed-wood products, such
 as particleboard, hardwood
 plywood, and
 medium-density fiberboard,
 that are used in homes and
 furnishings. The Agency now
 is evaluating the need for
 regulations regarding the
 manufacture and use of these
 products. Other surveys
 conducted by EPA include a
 survey of consumer use of
 household products
 containing chlorinated
 solvents; a study of the
 exposure of sewer workers to
acrylamide grouting; and a
survey of chloroparaffins in
water near a manufacturing

 In addition to TSCA, EPA
 has authority for collecting
 information on toxic
 chemicals under Title III of
 the Superfund Amendments
 and Reauthorization Act of
 1986, also referred to as
 Section 313 of the Emergency
 Planning and Community
 Right-to-Know Act of 1986.
 Facilities that manufacture,
 process, or use any of 309
 designated chemicals in
 greater than specified
 amounts now must report
 routine releases of those
 chemicals. These reports,
 which are sent to EPA and to
 designated state agencies, are
 a new, nationwide source of
 information about toxic
 chemical releases to all
 media. The Toxics Releases
 Inventory is designed to
 assist citizen groups, local
 health officials, state
 environmental managers, and
 EPA to identify and control
 toxic chemical problems. The
Agency is required to make
information from the reports
available to the public. (See
section titled  "Emergency
Planning and Community
Right-to-Know" in the Land


 Asbestos and PCBs

 Further reduction of the
 hazards of PCBs and asbestos
 remains a challenge.
 Although asbestos use has
 declined sharply in recent
 years, approximately 30
 million tons of asbestos has
 been applied to ceilings,
 pipes, and many other parts
 of buildings since 1900. Brake
 linings also are one of the
 major uses of asbestos in the
 United States. Substitutes are
 being developed and
 marketed for most asbestos
 uses, but some of them cost
 more than the asbestos
 products. Since EPA is
 required to consider
 economic as well as the
 health effects of chemical
 controls, developing a
 strategy for eliminating
 asbestos exposure is
 especially difficult.
   Similarly, about 400
 million pounds of PCBs are
 still being used or stored in
 the United States. We expect
 that much of this supply will
 require disposal over the next
 three years as the use  of
 certain PCB electrical
 equipment is phased out. At
 the same time, the Agency
 has learned of some improper
 disposal practices and
 abandoned PCB disposal
 sites. Thus, EPA must
 continue to guard against
 such disposal practices.

 New Hazards
 In addition to the first group
 of chemicals addressed under
 TSCA, EPA must continue to
 evaluate existing chemicals
 to determine whether they
 pose significant health and
 environmental hazards. For
 those that do, the Agency
 must determine the best  way
 to reduce these risks. Toxic
 chemicals can be released to
 all environmental media, i.e.,
 air, water, and land.  EPA in
 turn has a variety of
regulatory approaches for
 controlling toxic substances.
Before taking action, we
must determine which
approach is the most
effective and economical  way
to reduce the risks.

Chlorinated  Solvents: New

Directions in Toxics  CpntrpL

   Chlorinated solvents are in many ways a modem-day
   miracle, making it possible to clean many things
   ranging from tiny electronics components to bulky
   clothing (i.e.  dry cleaning).  Chlorinated solvents ate
   also used in aerosols, paint stripping, and degreasing
  : tools and equipment. In 1985, EPA received evidence
  -;. that one of these solvents, methylene chloride, caused
   cancer in laboratory animals. Other chlorinated
   solvents include perchloroethylene, trichloroethylene,
   methyl chloroform, carbon  tetrachloride, and
   chlorofluorocarbon 113. Some of these  solvents were
   also suspected of causing health and environmental
 .  problems.
     Given the widespread use of these solvents, action to
   control methylene chloride alone would most likely
   result in the  substitution of other chlorinated solvents
   with the potential to cause problems. In addition,
   EPA's approach to regulating toxic  chemicals
   traditionally has been statute by statute,  each of which
  : governs releases to specific media such as air or water.
  • Regulating the chlorinated solvents in  one media
   potentially could shift the problem to another media.
     EPA took a new approach for chlorinated solvents.
  : First, staff from a number of regulatory programs within
   EPA and from other agencies participated, including the
  '" Occupational "Safety and Health Administration
  ' (OSHAj and the Consumer Product Safety Commission
   (CPSC). Second, for each major use —degreasing, dry
   cleaning, paint stripping, and aerosols  — EPA
   investigated the hazards posed by all chlorinated
   solvents, rather than focusing on a single chemical.
     Coordinating the various programs and agencies was
   difficult because each was responsible for implementing
   different statutes.  For example, OSHA regulates hazards
   to workers, while the CPSC regulates hazards to
   consumers. To date, EPA and the other agencies have
   Developed a  comprehensive approach for controlling the
   hazards of chlorinated solvents from dry cleaning. It
   was determined that the Clean Air Act and the
   Occupational Safety and Health Act would be the most
   effective authorities to control chlorinated solvents in
   the dry cleaning industry.
     EPA expects to begin similar approaches to
   controlling the use of chlorinated solvents in metal
   degreasing, paint stripping, and aerosols. In the future,
   this integrated approach to controlling other toxic
  !' chemicals may be  common. By evaluating all potential
   risks of a substance and making use of a variety of
  • regulatory mechanisms, EPA and other agencies can
   control risks more effectively.

    The new Toxic Releases
    Inventory will provide an
    unprecedented amount of
    information on the
    manufacturing, processing,
    uses, and releases of certain
    toxic chemicals. The
    information must be
    communicated to many
    people, including citizens,
government officials, and
representatives of other
organizations. EPA's
challenge is to interpret the
information in the Inventory
to help state and local
officials evaluate and manage
the risks posed by substances
present in their communities.
In addition, the Agency must
help the public understand
the risks and alternatives for
dealing with them.


Continue Actions to
Reduce Risks From
Asbestos and FCBs

EPA has proposed
immediately banning many
uses of asbestos and phasing
out the rest over the next ten
years. This action would ban
the import, manufacturing,
and processing of five
categories of asbestos
products - roofing felt;
flooring felt and
asbestos-backed sheet
flooring; vinyl-asbestos floor
tile; asbestos-cement pipe
and fittings;  and asbestos
clothing. For the remaining
products, such as brake
linings,  EPA has proposed a
phased ban to give industry
time to  develop and market
good substitutes. In addition,
the Agency will continue
actions to ensure that the
hazards of asbestos hi
buildings are properly
  Similarly, the use of
certain PCB-containing
electrical equipment is being
phased put, with those uses
presenting the highest risk
being eliminated first. For
example, the use of certain
PCS transformers with high
secondary voltages in or  near
commercial buildings will be
phased out by October 1990.
The use of large PCB
capacitors also is prohibited
after October1!, 1988, unless
they are in areas with
restricted access. Because
such equipment and its PCB
contents require proper
disposal, EPA is focusing its
attention on improving the
permitting and monitoring of
PCB storage and disposal
facilities. The Agency is also
developing a program for
tracking PCB .wastes from the
waste generator to disposer
and will take faction against
those who violate PCB
disposal regulations.
Improve Information
Collection and Sharing

Under TSCA's information
gathering authority, EPA has
a unique tool  for an
integrated approach to the
control of toxic chemicals.
The Agency will continue to
collect and  share information
among all of its regulatory
programs, as well as those of
other agencies. For example,
an outreach service has been
established to help EPA
regional offices and the states
improve their risk
assessments. The service,
called the Chemical
Assessment Desk, provides
other parts  of the Agency
with toxicity  and risk
information on chemicals
reviewed in the  toxic
substances  program. In
addition, through the
Organization  for Economic
Cooperation and
Development, EPA is
working with other countries
to coordinate the information
gathering, testing, and
evaluation  of existing
chemicals of common
concern. Through such joint
efforts, the Agency hopes  to
ensure coordinated and
comprehensive regulation of
toxic chemicals.

Information on Toxic
Releases to the Public

EPA will make the
information in the Toxic
Releases Inventory available
to the public  through an
automated data base. In
addition, we will help state
and local officials,
community leaders, and
certain  organizations to
interpret the  data and
understand its implications
for individual communities.
Finally, the Agency will use
the data to identify toxic
chemical hazards that require
further investigation  or

                                                   New  Chemicals
                        To  DATE
                                                                                                   j " 1;i!,,|lKii
 The nation's use of chemicals
 has increased rapidly over the
 last 40 years. At present,
 there exist more than 65,000
 chemical substances that
 may be manufactured or
 processed for commercial use
 in the United States, with
   S'cr 1,000 new substances
   troduced each year. By the
 end of 1988, the Agency will
 have received over 13,000
 proposed new chemicals for
 review (Figure T-8). Given
 past trends, the rate at which
 new chemicals are proposed
 each year will probably
   Under the Toxic
 Substances Control Act
 (TSCA), EPA evaluates the
 risks presented by new
 chemicals before they are
 manufactured or imported for
 ciommercial purposes. By
 screening chemicals before
 they are produced in
 significant quantities and
 people are exposed to them,
 EPA can prevent or reduce
 the risks associated with
 their use.
                        The TSCA premanufacture
                        notification process enables
                        EPA to review hundreds of
                        new chemicals proposed for
                        production each year.
                        Chemicals are first screened
                        to separate those likely to
                        pose risks from those that are
                        not hazardous. About 80
                        percent of the new chemicals
                        received appear to present no
                        unreasonable  risks. The
                        remainder must go through a
                        more detailed review. If the
                        effects of a substance are
                        uncertain, EPA may require
                        more toxicity data.
                        Depending upon the data,
                        EPA may restrict the
                        manufacture,  import,
                        processing, distribution, use,
                        or disposal of  a chemical, or
                        prohibit manufacture
                         For those chemicals
                        requiring further review, EPA
                        conducts a structure-activity
                        analysis to screen for
                        potential health and
                        environmental effects. Under
                        this method, a chemical's
                        physical and chemical
     FIGURE T-8
     New Chemical Actions Mid-1979 -
     September 30,1987
                 li                   ..............
             PMNsj Appications for Exemptions
ViM, PjES-MiSMilSSlffiS, Notifications iE
PMNs RcW'iing No Further Action

Voluntary Control Actions by Submitters

PMNs Withdrawn in face of regulatory action

PMNs Subject to control pending data

PMNs Resulting in prohibition or restrictions
                                        	149.    .
     PSlN"	Exemption	Apj^ations'Received

 behavior is predicted by
 comparing die chemical's
 molecular structure with that
 of other chemicals for which
 the behavior is already
 known. For many categories
 of chemicals,
 structure-activity analysis is
 useful for predicting likely
 toxicity, persistence, and
 other factors.
   EPA has exempted some
 categories of chemicals from
 premanufacture review
 because they pose little, if
 any, risk to human health or
 the environment. For
 example, certain polymers
 are exempt, as are a number
 of low-volume chemicals
 where exposures are expected
 to be minimal. Such
 exemptions have allowed
 manufacturers to introduce
 such chemicals expeditiously
 and have allowed EPA to
 focus its resources on
 substances with greater
 potential risks.
  EPA has encouraged
 industry to replace hazardous
 chemicals with less
 hazardous? ones. For example,
 industry is moving toward
 the use of less toxic
 industrial solvents in the
 coatings industry (see
 highlight  on "Replacing
 Toxic Solvents in Paints and
 Coatings"). Industry is also
 using industrial dyes in
pelletized or liquid form
rather than their powdered
form. Both of these new
practices have substantially
reduced toxic exposures,
especially for employees.
 Estimating Risk

 Risk is a product of both
 toxicity and exposure. For
 example, some of the most
 potent carcinogens may
 present little risk if they are
 used in totally enclosed
 chemical reactions. When
 toxicity. information is not
 available for a proposed
 chemical, we have usually
 relied on the use of structure
 activity analysis to predict
 health and environmental
 hazards of the chemical,
 rather than requiring toxicity
 testing. The accuracy of such
 predictions is especially
 important for chemicals that
 will be produced in
 substantial volume and result
 in significant human or
 environmental exposure.
 EPA's challenge is to
 determine whether the
 toxicity predictions that it is
 using are accurate enough to
 protect against unreasonable

 New Uses  of Chemicals

 EPA has traditionally based
 its review of a chemical on
 the uses that a manufacturer
 intends for the chemical.
 Once a chemical goes into
 commercial production, it
 may be put to additional uses
 without review unless we
 intervene. In order to cover
 all possible uses, EPA must
 specify for a given chemical
 that any restrictions, such as
 the use of respirators by
 workers, apply to all
 potential manufacturers as
 well as the original
 manufacturer. We may also
 designate the uses that are
 permitted and require
 premanufacture notification
 if any other use is proposed.
 However, this
 mechanism for controlling
new uses is cumbersome.
Our challenge is to develop a
process for efficiently
controlling those new uses
that may lead to health or
environmental problems.

Replacing  Toxic Solvents in Paints
and Coatings
Coatings, such as the prime coatings
on automobiles and clear films on
floors and magazine covers, contain
solvents to help ensure that the
product flows smoothly and forms a  ,..
film properly. In response to concern
that certain organic solvents in some
coatings could present health  hazards
or contribute to air pollution  when
they evaporate, industry began
developing water-based coatings.
Water-based coatings, however, have
not been developed sufficiently for
many uses. More energy is required to
dry water-based coatings than
organic-based ones and, in  many cases,
such "water-based" coatings still
contain organic solvents. Thus, many
industries continue to use coatings
containing organic solvents.
  EPA has promoted the replacement
of toxic organic solvents with less
toxic or non-toxic  solvents. For
example, ethylene glycol ethers are
used as solvents in applications such
as resin systems and semiconductors.
In 1982, EPA received data indicating
that four ethylene glycol ethers
produced birth defects, reduced sperm
production, and liver and kidney
effects in laboratory animals.  The
effects were at concentrations that
raised concern for workers  exposed to
these chemicals during  coating
  The Agency began a formal
investigation of these four ethylene
glycol ethers. During the investigation,
EPA contacted coating companies
about the uses of ethylene glycol
ethers and the potential for
substitution. EPA  determined that the
most likely substitutes  were the
propylene glycol ethers, another
category of glycol  ethers structurally
similar but much less toxic than the
ethylene glycol ethers.
  In 1984, EPA announced that it was
considering proposed regulatory action
on the four ethylene glycol ethers,
representing over 300 million pounds
of production. Producers of these
ethers recommended voluntarily that
workplace exposure levels be reduced
well below the current legal  standards.
At the same time, producers of the
potential substitutes began to cite  ,
EPA's proposed action in their
advertising. Companies 'eventually
began to reduce use of ethylene glycol
ethers in coatings.
  Because most of the exposure to
these chemicals was in the workplace,
EPA later referred the four ethylene
glycol ethers to the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA) for further consideration. In
1988, OSHA proposed to lower the
levels to which workers may be
exposed to these four chemicals. By
that time,  their use had already
declined by about 50 percent. Many
suppliers of coatings to the automobile
and pigments industries had replaced
the ethylene glycol ethers with
propylene glycol ethers. In addition,
the number of manufacturers of
ethylene glycol ethers had dropped
from eight companies to two.
  In summary, the ethylene  glycol
story demonstrates a shift away from
use of a toxic chemical in response to
both industry's own concern and
potential regulatory action. In this
case, fortunately, there was a readily
available substitute. In other cases, it
may take years before there  is a safer
and cost effective substitute available.
However, wherever possible, EPA .will
continue to promote the substitution
of other existing but less hazardous
In the future, EPA plans to
require toxicity testing of
proposed new chemicals if
there is potential for
substantial exposure to the
chemicals. These are
chemicals which will be
produced in high volumes
and to which many may be
exposed. For such chemicals,
the Agency will also conduct
structure activity analyses
but will no longer rely solely
on this method to predict
toxicity. The results of the
toxicity tests can then be
compared to predictions
based on chemical structure
and provide a better basis for
determining whether
restrictions on production
and use are appropriate.
  EPA has proposed a generic
approach for the review of
new uses of chemicals that
have already been approved
for commercial production.
Under such an approach, we
would define "new uses" for
a category of chemicals. No
person would be allowed to
manufacture or process a
chemical in the category for
a given "new use" without
first submitting a notice
similar to a premanufacture
notice. A major advantage of
this approach is that all
chemicals in the same
category, whether they are
new or not, would be
reviewed before being
allowed for potentially risky

                           Human   Health Concerns!


The average consumer is
exposed to pesticides through
food, drinking water, and
personal use of pesticides,
Such as pet and lawncare
products (Figure T-9).  Farm
Workers, forestry and
greenhouse workers, and
 Srofessional pesticide
 pplicators may be exposed
tjo even greater levels of
pesticides on a routine basis.
Health care workers and
consumers are also exposed
to antimicrobial pesticides
that are used to control
  While EPA has a pesticide
registration process designed
to manage tne risks from
pesticides, some can cause
Serious health problems if
spilled on the skin,  inhaled,
0| r otherwise used improperly.
Health effects may include
cancer, birth defects,
rjeurological effects, and
  Pesticides may also  cause
problems following uses that
traditionally have been
approved. For example,
pesticides may enter ground
v^afer through rain, runoff,
and snowmelt after normal
lises. Storage and disposal of
pesticides that have been
taken off the market may
also pose risks unless
neutralized or safely
A number of chemicals have
been taken off the market
because of human health
concerns. In the 1970s,
virtually all uses of DDT,
aldrin, dieldrin, and
toxaphene and the
agricultural uses of chlordane
and heptachlor were
cancelled (i.e., permanently
banned). Since the
cancellation, levels of DDT
and related chemicals have
declined in humans (Figure
T-10). More recently, all uses
of aldrin, dieldrin, chlordane,
and heptachlor against
termites have been either
cancelled or suspended
pending the results of
cancellation hearings.
  All pesticides must be
registered or approved by
EPA. Through the
                                                    i I
      Pesticides are Widely Used

      The following are categories of pesticides from the list
      "EPA Site Categories for Preparing and Coding. Pesticide
      Labeling." The list illustrates that not all pesticides are
      used in agriculture, as is commonly thought.
      • Fiber crops — cotton and hemp, for example.
      • Specialized field crops, such as tobacco.
      • Crops grown for oil, such as castor bean and safflower.

      • Ornamental shrubs and vines, like mistletoe.
      • General soil treatments, such as manure and mulch,
      • Household and domestic dwellings.
      • Processed non-food products — textiles and paperi'tor
      • Fur and wool-bearing animals, such as mink and. fox;
      laboratory and zoo animals,- pet sprays, dips, collars,
      litter and bedding treatments.
      • Dairy farm milk-handling equipment.
      • Wood production treatments on railroad ties, lumber,
      boats and bridges,
      • Aquatic sites, including swimming pools, diving
      * boards, fountains, and hot tubs.
           I        '      	,«'.:.I	 ,»'";": ;,	,!;'» I U	IS- i '/	\l . i' 1'  f'l'J  Pi IJ  '
      • Preservatives in paints, vinyl shower curtains, and
      disposable diapers.
      • Articles used on the human body, such as human hair
      Wies, Contact lenses, dentures, and insect repellents
        p <            f   i   / i   t i   n s  <  ,i   i „
      • Refuse and solid waste sites, home trash compactors
      an,d garbage disposals.
      • Specialty uses, such as mothproofing and preserving
      specimens in museums
registration process,
manufacturers are required to
provide data on the potential
human health effects of
pesticides. Previously, the
primary health concern was
whether a chemical could
cause cancer. Now, both new
pesticides and those already
in use must be tested for a
variety of potential problems,
including reproductive,
immunological, and
neurological effects.
  All new and previously
registered pesticides also are
screened for their potential to
contaminate ground water.
Ground-water concerns were
one of the major reasons that
ethylene dibromide (EDB) and
(DBCP) were taken off the
market (see highlight on
"Ethylene Dibromide: The
Problem of Pesticide
Disposal"). In 1984, the
Agency issued a request for
ground-water data on another
140 registered pesticides. We
have conducted special
reviews of certain pesticides
such as aldicarb, alachlor,
and cyanazine. EPA has
required a national
ground-water survey for the
pesticide alachlor and issued
a ground-water advisory for
cyanazine. We have also
denied registrations of new
pesticides as a result of
ground-water problems.
  The Agency has established
a process for determining
tolerances, the allowable
levels of pesticides in food.
We have  developed a new
computer system, called the
Tolerance Assessment
System, which improves our
ability to determine
tolerances. Previously, EPA
was able  to determine
tolerances only for the
general population. The new
system takes into account
differences in susceptibilities
within the general
population, such as
differences in age and
geographic location.
  Finally, programs to protect
farm workers  and other
pesticide applicators have
continued. Farm worker

safety standards were issued
in 1974. The standards
prohibit spraying while
workers are in the fields and
include provisions for
protective clothing, warnings
about treated areas, and
waiting periods after
spraying. EPA also has
developed educational
materials that show farm
workers how to handle
pesticides safely and has
implemented programs for
the training and certification
of applicators who use
restricted pesticides (see
highlight on "Pesticide
Applicators Require Special
A great deal of progress has
been made in addressing the
health risks  of pesticides.
However, the Agency still
has much to do to make sure
that human  health is
protected. The following are
some of the  most significant
of these challenges.


Contamination of ground
water and drinking water by
agricultural  chemicals is a
concern in some areas of the
country (see section titled
"Drinking Water" in the
Water Chapter). For example,
EPA estimated from a 1986
survey that 30 states had
found wells  contaminated
with one or  more of 60
different pesticides. While
the Agency and many states
have already taken some
steps to address the problem,
a national approach, to
prevent future contamination
must be designed. This is
especially challenging
because ground water may be
more vulnerable to
    FIGURE T-10
    Levels  of Persistent Pesticides Have
    Declined In Humans
                                  -m t 2  J)
   Parts Per Million
                      I	I Dieldrin, Chlordane and associated chemicals
                              To protect consumers, EPA limits levels of pesticides in food.
                              contamination in some areas
                              than in other areas because of
                              geological or other factors.
                              The Agency must develop
                              pesticide management
                              approaches  that take such
                              variation into account and
                              can be tailored to local
                              ground-water protection

                              Pesticides in Food

                              Although there is  a process
                              for determining allowable
                              levels of pesticides in food,
                              certain pesticides in food
                              have been shown to cause
                              cancer in laboratory animals.
                              These are primarily
                              pesticides registered before
                              more stringent health data
                              were required. We are
                              evaluating these pesticides
                              through the reregistration
  Source: Office of Toxic Substances, USEPA
process, but the task is
complicated by a conflict
between the standards
governing pesticide levels in
different types of foods. Raw
foods are evaluated by
weighing the risks of
pesticide exposure against the
benefits of pesticide use.
Processed foods are subject to
a more stringent standard,
which states that food
additives must pose zero risk
of cancer regardless of their
benefit.  Because of these
competing standards, some
existing chemicals in raw
foods would be prohibited in
processed foods. The Agency
must resolve the conflict
between the standards while
continuing to ensure that
consumers are protected
against unreasonable risks.

Home and Garden
A .variety of pesticides used
on lawns and pets are
iySilable gff the shelf.  No
ipecial training is required to
fiSe them, and no one
monitors how closely the
consumer follows the
instructions on the label.
However, many products are
hazardous if improperly
stored, handled, or applied.
Pesticides may also increase
indoor air pollution and may
expose consumers to higher
levels of pesticides than
previously thought (see
section titled "Indoor Air
Pollution" in the Air
Chapter). Determining the
hazards of home-use
pesticides and informing
consumers about the
importance of proper use are
major challenges facing EPA
Certain inert ingredients must.iiow.be identified on pesticide labels.
      Ethylene  Dibromide: The  Problem of Pesticide Disposal
      Introduced to commercial use in
     *l948( ethylene dibromide (EDB) was
      used widely on soils to protect crops
      ftOrh root worm. It was also used on
      fruits and vegetables and on stored
      grain", In 1984, after EDB was shown
      to cause" cancer'TS	laboratory
      fmlpifll^and,	£o,	cojitarninate food	
      and grdtmH	water,	"EPA	"h'alted most
      Uses of EDB.	Under, the	Federal	'	
      Insecticide,	"Fungfci'de,	and
      Rodenticide Act (FIFRA), EPA must
      indemnify or reimburse pesticide
      folders (manufacturers	and	users}	
      far the CQSti2l!i"canc!!Zii!	or	
      suspended products, and then
      disjjgse of all stocks of the pesticide
      if requested.  In this case, EPA
     	became responsible for disposing of
      substantial stocks of EDB.
       Th& discovery of leaking drums of
      EDB in a Missouri warehouse in
      198$ alerted the public that the
      EDB disposal process was not going
      smoothly, EPA was faced with the
      challenge of  disposing of the EDB
      siock evenjhgughappropriate
      methods of disposal were not yet
      available! In an attempt to
      neutralize the EDB, EPA decided to
      use a chemical method that had
      been used only in a laboratory
      setting. Unfortunately, mechanical
      problems delayed the process. When
      the Agency attempted to remove the
      EDB front the drums, toxic vapor
      emissions were released to the air.
      The process was further complicated
      because the drums of EDB were
      corroding. After spending $1.5
            , the Agency realized that
            this chemical method would not
            work on certain EDB formulations.
            EPA currently is considering the use
            of a type of incineration that can
            withstand the corrosiveness of EDB.
            The total cost to dispose of the
            remaining EDB is expected to be
            between $6 million and $8 million.
              The EDB story illustrates the
            difficulties EPA faces in dealing
            with cancelled pesticides.  Although
            stocks of cancelled pesticides must
            be disposed of safely, the proper
            disposal method often is not known
            when the cancellation decision is
            made. In addition, EPA must
            identify all the stocks of a pesticide
            and ensure its safe storage while
            awaiting disposal. Storage often
            arouses opposition in a community.
              To compound matters, FIFRA
            does not provide a specific
            mechanism for financing disposal or
            storage of the cancelled pesticide, or
            for reimbursing anyone possessing
                   cancelled pesticides. However,
                   disposal costs are expected to dwarf
                   the costs of other pesticide
                   programs. For example, the disposal
                   cost for dinoseb, which is currently
                   in cancellation hearings,  is expected
                   to exceed $100 million. These
                   estimates do not include the costs
                   of other cancellations that may
                   occur in the future.
                     EPA. is examining ways to address
                   the problem of pesticide disposal,
                   particularly the high costs of
                   disposal and reimbursement.
                   Alternatives include amendments to
                   FIFRA and the implementation of
                   fees based on the sale of pesticide
                   products. EPA's responsibility for
                   reimbursing pesticide manufacturers
                   and users also is being reevaluated.
                   In the meantime, EPA is exploring
                   disposal methods for other
                   cancelled pesticides, such as 2,4,5-T
                   and silyex, and plans to complete
                   the incineration of EDB in 1988.

       Professional Pesticide  Applicators
       Require Special  Training
       The pesticides commonly used at
       home do not require any special
       training. More hazardous pesticides,
       however, generally are restricted to
       use by certified applicators, who
       must meet minimum federal
       requirements for certification. They
       also must be  trained to use these
       pesticides safely  and in accordance
       with the restrictions.  The states are
       responsible for running
       federally-approved certification and
       training programs.
         In general,  these programs have
       improved the competency of
       applicators  and have heightened
       awareness of safe pesticide use.
       Over two million private  and
       commercial pesticide applicators
       have been trained since 1976, and
       over one million applicators have
       been certified by the states. Many
       states have more stringent
       standards than the minimum
       standards established by EPA. Some
       states provide training for the
       "registered  technician," who is
       often the person  actually applying a
       pesticide under supervision of a
       certified applicator. A number of
              states also have implemented a
              process for ensuring that applicators
              are recertified periodically.
               Despite improvements in
              applicator competency, most state
              programs have not been updated
              since they were first approved by
              EPA. Since that  time, a number of
              new concerns about pesticides have
              arisen, including concerns about
              ground-water contamination,
              endangered species, wood
              preservatives, and pesticide
              disposal. There also are differences
              among state programs, some of
              which are needed to reflect
              differences in vuhierability of
              ground water and wildlife. Other
              differences should be addressed to
              ensure that all state programs meet
              basic standards.
               EPA is taking a number of steps
              to improve the training of pesticide
              applicators. All state plans are being
              reviewed to identify areas that need
              updating and to make them
              consistent across states where
              appropriate. Training materials are
              being revised, especially with
              respect to evaluating  the risks to
                    ground water and methods of
                    pesticide disposal. In addition, it is
                    our goal that anyone who deals
                    with pesticides will be trained. We
                    currently are considering three
                    levels of training: the "master,"  a
                    level above the present federal
                    certification; the "operator," the
                    present level of certification; and
                    the registered technician.  We are
                    taking the additional step of
                    training the trainers, and EPA
                    currently is compiling a national
                    repository of training materials.
                      Finally, EPA is working with
                    other federal agencies and industry
                    to improve  training programs. For
                    example, we are working with the
                    National Institute of Occupational
                    Safety and Health to obtain the
                    latest information on worker safety
                    equipment. We also have worked
                    with the Department of Agriculture
                    to develop training materials. Such
                    efforts to ensure that professional
                    applicators  and technicians use
                    pesticides safely is  an important
                    component of the pesticides
Inert Ingredients

Regulations traditionally
have focused on the active
ingredients in pesticide
products. In addition, there
are also about 1200 inert
ingredients added to pesticide
products for a variety of
purposes. While not "active"
in attacking a particular pest,
some inert ingredients are
chemically or biologically
active and may cause health
and environmental problems.
These inert ingredients have
received relatively little
scientific scrutiny and, in the
case of food-use products,
have been exempt from
tolerance requirements. EPA
must evaluate and regulate
the hazards of inert as well as
active ingredients to ensure
that pesticide products are

Antimicrobial Pesticides

Although antimicrobials have
been regulated since 1910, the
public health community has
stated that further safeguards
are necessary to ensure
proper labeling and product
effectiveness. Antimicrobials
include disinfectants,
sterilizing agents, and
fungicides, and are used both
by consumers and the health
care community. When an
antimicrobial fails to work, it
may be impossible for the
user to tell, and diseases can
be spread while thought to be
under control. Unsupported
advertising claims may also
create a false sense of
security among users, hi
addition, since our
evaluations have focused on
whether a product works
against microorganisms,
relatively little is known
about how such products
affect humans. The Agency
must ensure not only that
antimicrobial pesticides are
effective but also that they
pose no unreasonable dangers
to human  health.

Farm Workers and
Pesticide Applicators

In 1974, EPA issued worker
protection standards designed
to protect  farm workers
against the hazards of
pesticides sprayed in fields.
However, the standards did
not go far enough to protect
other pesticide handlers, such
as mixers and applicators, or
workers in greenhouses,
nurseries, and forests.
Requirements for protective
clothing are also thought to
be inadequate by today's
standards. EPA's challenge is
to ensure the protection of all
pesticide handlers, as well as
to promote the dissemination
of information regarding the
safe use of pesticides. In
addition, we must make sure
that EPA standards are
updated as new methods of
pesticide application are
developed or new 'hazards are
 Farm workers and other pesticide handlers may require protective
 clothing when contacting pesticides.

 Implement an
 Agricultural Chemicals
 arid Ground-Water

 •EPA has proposed a strategy
 designed to prevent
 contamination of ground
 Water. Since the location and
 Condition of ground water
 can vary widely, the strategy
 relies on the development of
 state plans as well as
 collaboration among the
 states, EPA, and other
 agencies. The strategy is
 Intended to help identify the
 #reas mosi vulnerable to
 contamination because of
 geological or other factors. It
 will also help identify areas
 Where contamination would
 pose the greatest risk to
 fuiman health and the
 environment. The Agency
 MSQ is developing a program
 to help states establish buffer
 zones around community
 •Water wells.
  Steps to deal with existing
 ground-water contamination
 kic being taken.  For example,
 EPA is conducting a
 nationwide survey of
 pesticides in drinking water
 fa determine the extent of
 contamination. We also are
 publishing health advisories
 regarding chemicals in
 ground water and setting
 Maximum allowable levels of
 pesticides in drinking water.
  Finally, although the
 Agency has already requested
 ground-water monitoring
 studies for, some pesticides, it
 is determining when and
 What kind of ground-water
 ftionitoring data  will be
 needed for pesticide
 registration. EPA is also
 determining how to classify
 pesticides for restricted use
 because of ground-water
Improve Methods for
Ensuring Food Safety

EPA commissioned the
National Academy of
Sciences to study the
methods for setting
tolerances of pesticide
residues in food. The study
found that food is still safe
for consumption but that the
process for setting tolerances
could be improved. For
example, the study
recommended dropping the
distinction between raw and
processed foods and setting a
uniform goal of "negligible
risk." Since many pesticides
pose little risk, this would
allow us to focus on the most
worrisome pesticides and
replace them with less
hazardous chemicals. The
study also identified the
pesticides requiring the most
regulatory attention. We are
developing a plan to
implement these and other
Determine Exposure to
Home and Garden

The Agency is examining the
extent of consumer exposure
to unsafe levels of pesticides
from home and  garden
products. For example, a
survey of pesticide levels in
homes is underway. Steps are
also being taken to eliminate •
indoor use of certain
termiticides and to
investigate the use of
Blockade-brand  flea and tick
repellents for pets. For
lawncare products, we are
identifying available health
and environmental data so
that their hazards can be
evaluated. At the same time,
state and local governmentis
are proposing that lawn care
services be required to post
notices on pesticide-treated
lawns. Finally, through
publications and improved
labeling of products, we plan
to educate consumers about
safe pesticide use.
Implement Special
Strategy on Inerts

EPA has developed a strategy
that groups or ranks inert
ingredients according to their
toxicity or need for additional
toxicity testing. For example,
we have identified about 50
substances that present the
greatest toxicological concern
and are encouraging
substitution of safer
chemicals. In the interim,
manufacturers must relabel
products to identify the
presence of these toxic inerts.
If manufacturers cannot or do
not eventually replace these
chemicals, the Agency plans
to request additional health
information and, if necessary,
to hold hearings to evaluate
the need for cancellation.

Improve the Testing and
Marketing of

EPA has developed a special
strategy for improving the
regulation of antimicrobial
pesticides. As part of this
strategy, we are examining
the design and performance
of laboratory testing
procedures to ensure that
they give consistent results
and indicate the effectiveness
of a product in both the real
world and the lab. To address
the concern over toxic
effects, the Agency is
reviewing additional
toxicological data  on
antimicrobials. We have
prohibited manufacturers from
making claims about the
effectiveness of products  that
have not been approved by
the Agency and sent warning
letters to registrants making
false claims. We are even
addressing the safety of home
use products such as pine oils
and sanitizers through
improved labeling
                             Ground water being sampled for pesticide contamination.

Ensure the Safety of All
Pesticide Handlers

We are in the process of
expanding the 1974 worker
protection standards so that
they apply to all pesticide
handlers; including
greenhouse, nursery, and
forestry workers as well as
farm workers. The revised
regulations will enhance the
enforceability of the
provisions and improve
requirements for training,
protective clothing, and
warnings about pesticide-
treated areas. In addition,
we have established
a Farm Safety Center to
advise EPA on the health and
training of farm workers.
Finally, through integrated
pest management, we will
continue to encourage more
efficient use of pesticides in
order to minimize overall
exposure (see the highlight
on "Cockroaches - A Case
Study in Integrated Pest
 Cockroaches —  A  Case  Study  in
 Integrated Pest Management
 Cockroaches carry viruses and bacteria
 that can cause hepatitis, polio, typhoid
 fever, plague, and salmonella.
 Attempts to control the cockroach
 consume one third of the pest control
 budget for urban sites and represent
 the largest expenditure for a single pest
 in U.S. homes and other
 establishments.  Because of its growing
 resistance to many pesticides,
 however, the cockroach is not likely to
 be eliminated from homes and other
 buildings in the near future.
   Both the professional pesticide
 applicator and the average consumer
- can control cockroaches by using the
 principles of Integrated Pest
 Management (IPM). A blend of
 old-fashioned practices and new
 technology, IPM is an ecological
 approach to pest management that
 takes into account the biology of the
 pest and its interaction with the
 environment. Although IPM may
 include the use of chemical pesticides,
 it considers all available options to
 achieve the greatest control with the
 least possible hazard.
   Controlling cockroaches with IPM
 involves estimating the extent of the
 cockroach population, and then using
 a range of techniques to achieve
 tolerable levels.  The basic control
 measure is to modify cockroach
 habitats by lowering the temperature,
 removing food, eliminating  moisture,
 reducing clutter, and filling hiding
 spaces such as cracks and crevices. If
 these actions do not provide enough
 control, the appropriate pesticides may
be used. Recent studies have shown
that the most effective, least toxic, and
least expensive method to control
cockroaches is to apply 99 percent
boric acid dust in. cracks and crevices.
The cockroaches ingest the powder
while grooming themselves and die
three to ten days later. (Because boric
acid may be harmful if ingested by
children, it should be used cautiously
if children may  be exposed.)
  The IPM approach is being
demonstrated for use in managing a
variety of other pests, such as termites,
grasshoppers, and aquatic weeds.
Much of this work is done
cooperatively with other federal and
state agencies, pesticide user groups,
universities, and the agricultural
chemical industry. IPM is also viewed
as a primary tool for managing pest
populations that have become resistant
to pesticides. Toward this end, we are
working with the states to promote the
use of innovative methods for dealing
with pest resistance.

                             Pesticides:   Fish  and
                             Wildlife  Concerns
 Wildlife come into contact
 with pesticides by feeding on
 Contaminated fields and
 Water, or by preying on other
   gntammated organisms. In
   c 1966s, 3rastic declines in
 §orne species of birds due to
 widespread use of DDT
 demonstrated the problems
 that pesticides can pose to
 fish and wildlife. DDT and
doses of these chemicals
against rodents can reduce
the risks to wildlife and still
be effective.
  Finally, the Agency has'
been evaluating some
chemicals because of
concerns about effects on fish
and wildlife. Previously, our
primary concern was whether
a chemical could cause harm
to humans. For example,
while the organochlorines
caused  significant effects on
wildlife, they were  ultimately
banned when found to
accumulate in human tissue.
Special reviews  of the
pesticides strychnine, 1080,
diazinon, tributyltins, and
carbofuran are being
conducted because  of concern
for their effects  on  fish and
wildlife (see the highlight on
"Status of Some Chemicals
in Special Review").
Levels of Persistent Pesticides Have Declined
In Fish and Wildlife
                                   Mallards by Flyway
                              •45    Total DDT
                                   Parts per million
                                                                                  , Nondetectable. (More than 50% of pools had
                                                                                   levels less than analytical detection limits (.01])
                                                       Source: U.S. Eish-and Wildlife Service, National Contaminant Biomonitoring Program,
                                                       unpublished data for 1984

 Status  of  Some
 Chemicals  in Special.
 // there is evidence that a pesticide may be
 presenting unreasonable risks, EPA may conduct a
 special review of a pesticide. The Agency first
 identifies and quantifies the human health and
 environmental problems as well as the benefits to
 agriculture and other users. EPA may then decide
 to continue current uses, restrict some or all uses,
 or permanently cancel uses of the pesticide.
  Following are some pesticides that have .
 undergone special review because of concern over
 their effects on fish and wildlife.
 • Diazinon: Diazinon is among the first
 chemicals to have undergone special review solely
 on the basis of potential hazards to fish and
 wildlife. EPA  issued the final notice of intent to
 cancel diazinon for use on golf courses and sod
 farms because it was found to kill birds. After .
 hearings on the cancellation, EPA halted these
 uses of diazinon after March 31,1988.
 • Tributyltin: TBT (tributyltin)-based paint is
 used to prevent the growth of barnacles and other
 marine organisms on boat hulls. In the 1970s,
 scientists in England and France noticed that
 TBT, which leaches from the paint into
 surrounding water, caused effects in oysters,
 including physical deformities, reduced size and
 fewer offspring.  TBT also affected the reproduction
 of snails. EPA began a special review of TBT when
 levels of TBT known to produce these effects were
 discovered in  U.S. waters. EPA is considering
 several options, including the prohibition of TBT
 use on recreational boats and limitations on the
 rate TBT may be released into the water. Several
 states already have restricted the use of TBT.
 • Carbofuran: Carbofuran is a pesticide usually
 applied when  seeds are planted to control pest
problems that may occur later in the growing
 season. Based on carbofuran's toxicity  to birds,
 EPA began a special review of the granular form
 of the pesticide. This review was followed by a
 complete evaluation of the hazards.of Carbofuran,
including an evaluation of its acute toxicity, the
 degree of exposure to the pesticide, direct and
indirect poisoning of birds, and the toxicity of
substitute pest control products. EPA estimated
that, in nine states studied, about two  million
birds would be killed per year from direct
exposure to carbofuran. A decision regarding
whether to limit, or ban the use of granular
carbofuran is s&H pending.
 Manufacturers are required to
 submit information regarding
 the real- world effects of
 pesticides on wildlife. In
 addition to laboratory studies
 of toxicity, EPA requires field
 studies that demonstrate the
 actual impacts of a pesticide
 in the environment.
 However,  obtaining this kind
 of information is not
 straightforward. Since we rely
 on data from manufacturers,
 EPA must be able to ensure
 that field studies are
 scientifically and statistically
 valid. The Agency must also
 be able to compare studies
 done by different
 manufacturers, so each
 applicant must follow similar
  Determining that a
 chemical does not harm
 organisms is especially
 difficult. Non-lethal effects
 are difficult to observe, and
 even wildlife mortality may
 not be observed in the wild
 unless there is consistent
 monitoring. Furthermore, a
 chemical may be toxic to
 some organisms and not to
 others. For example, the
 pyrethroid pesticides that
 have replaced DDT
 apparently are not toxic to
 birds but very toxic to fish
 and aquatic invertebrates.
 Thus the Agency needs to
make sure that tests of a
pesticide provide
 comprehensive information
on its potential to harm fish
and wildlife.
 The Agency is striving to
 make sure that
 environmental data represent
 the effects of a pesticide on
 fish and wildlife in their
 natural habitat. In particular,
 we are preparing guidance for
 applicants to improve the
 way in which field studies
 are conducted. This guidance
 describes the use of aquatic
 mesocosms for examining the
 effects of pesticides on
 aquatic organisms.
 Mesocosms are a series of
 ponds designed for studying
 the effects of a pesticide
 without harming the entire
 environment. This guidance
 is also intended to ensure
 that field data are valid and
 consistent from applicant to
 applicant.  EPA expects to
 release such guidance in 1988.
  EPA likewise is developing
 better methods for
 determining the effects of
 pesticides  on entire
 ecosystems as well as on
 individual organisms. For
 example, we have developed
 a stream mesocosm that
 mimics  stream conditions
 and can test the effects of
 pesticides on a large suite of
 organisms. We also  are
 beginning a major five-year
 research program to improve
 computer models of
 ecosystems in different
 environments across the
country. With such models,
the Agency hopes to be able
to predict the future effects
of pesticides as well as to
deal with existing problems.

   in	 ,"	in

 Endangered  Species


 By tji§_ early /97<3s, the bald eagle had
 all but vanished, from many areas of
 its natural range.  At that time, only
 about1,000 nesting pairs of eagle were
            entire United States, too
            ,,,were hatching
  uocessjuy, and  evidence pointed to
 the uqe of DDT and other persistent
 pesticides as the likely factor
	responsible for this condition. These
	p33e?c&Js and their by-products had
 affected calcium metabolism, making
 eggshells so thin that they broke under
 the..weight .of 'the nesting birds. Our
': national	symbol,  the bald eagle,
 became an endangered species.
   Although still endangered, the bald
 eagle has shown remarkable signs of
 recovery since the ban on DDT in 1972.
 Today, there are almost 2,000 nesting
 pafr$ Qf bald eagles in the United
 States. The majority of_ birds seem to
 be producing normal eggs, even though
 problems with eggshells have been
 reported for some nests. The California
 brown pelican and peregrine falcon,
 also threatened with extinction by  the
 persistent pesticides, have been
 recovering slowly as well.
   Mthohgh the bald.eagle and other
 birds have been recovering since the
 ban on DDT,  there are still many
 thousands of sxcies_^istedjis	
 mdangez&d. Tnese~species	^^fly have
 become endangered for a variety of
 reasons other  than pesticides
 contaminations they nonetheless are
 particularly vulnerable to added
 stresses, such dT'pesticides. Pesticides
 may I^Lmldlijv directly, or may
 •contaminate	UJreVooof, water, and
thabitat "of the wildlife.
                                     Return  but Still
                                    from  Pesticides
   Underjhe Endangered Species Act,
               ' ..... to ...... GQn.§ah ....... with ....... the
                 Service to ensure
 ~ihat pesticides do hot jeopardize
 endangered species and their habitat.
 If the Fish and Wildlife Service
 d^ermines that a pesticide is likely to
J»3jajmfS? to endangered species, it
   Tllllll I  I «L u,    J4  ik   r*TY"ir" e	
 suggests alternatives to EPA for
 preventing damage to the species. It
  usually recommends not using the
  pesticide where endangered species
  would be exposed.
    EPA is developing an approach to
  implementing these restrictions
  through the pesticide label. As
  proposed in the Federal Register,
  pesticide labels would list the counties
  that have limitations on use in
  endangered species habitats. Labels
  would refer users to county bulletins
  that contain-maps indicating the
  portions of the county where pesticide
  use is limited. At first these
  limitations would apply to the four
  groups of pesticides that already have
	jbeen	evalmuated:__ceTtain	crop pesticides,
  pasture and. rangelanH pesticides,
  forestry pesticides,  and mosquito
  larvicides. Information currently is
  being gathered for maps that would
  identify the location of potentially
  affected endangered species.
    Because the presence of endangered
	species may vary within a state and
  even within a single county, states will
  have a particularly important role in
  determining where limitations are
  needeS. Several states already have
  proceeded to develop
  recommendations for implementing
  the program. By working with
  agriculture and wildlife experts and
  government officials, we hope to
  ensure that pesticides pose minimal
  threats to endangered species.

Bacteria in petti dishes. Using gene splicing techniques, scientists can
genetically alter bacteria.
With the advent of "gene
splicing" techniques, it has
now become possible to
develop microorganisms  with
new combinations of
characteristics. Pieces of the
genetic material carrying the
blueprint for desired traits
from one microorganism now
can be inserted into another
microorganism. In one step,
the results of generations of
breeding can be achieved and
the range of characteristics
possible in a given
microorganism expanded.
  These new techniques are
already being used with great
effect to develop
microorganisms that
metabolize (i.e., "eat")
certain pollutants, such as oil
(see the highlight on "Some
Developments in
Biotechnology"; also see the
highlight on "Using
Biological Organisms to
Clean Up Hazardous Waste"
in the Land Chapter). They
have also been used to
produce needed biological
materials like enzymes more
efficiently and at a much
lower cost. For example, the
insulin-producing human
gene has been inserted into a
common bacterium which
then produces insulin in large
  Despite the benefits of
biotechnological advances,
the development of "new
microorganisms" has raised
questions about the possible
risks to human health and
the environment. One
                                                                                    concern is that the
                                                                                    microorganism, though not
                                                                                    disease-causing, may be so
                                                                                    successful that it could
                                                                                    seriously disrupt the balance
                                                                                    among existing species and
                                                                                    even eliminate some species.
                                                                                    For example, the vine called
                                                                                    "kudzu" was intentionally
                                                                                    introduced in the
                                                                                    southeastern U.S. to control
                                                                                    erosion but then spread to
                                                                                    cover many areas of the
                                                                                    countryside. Although kudzu
                                                                                    is not the result of
                                                                                    biotechnology, the kudzu
                                                                                    story demonstrates what can
                                                                                    occur when a plant or animal
                                                                                    is introduced either
                                                                                    intentionally or inadvertently
                                                                                    into a new habitat.

                                                                ,                n
In winter, citrus trees must be sprayed with water to form a protective ice coating. Geneticists are now
developing naturally frost-resistant plants.
                                                                                      To DATE
In response to public
concerns about
biotechnology, various federal
agencies met to ensure that
approaches throughout the
federal government were
consistent. Their respective
responsibilities were
described in policy
statements issued by the
White House science office in
1984 and 1986. The Food and
Drug Administration
oversees the production of
new pharmaceutical
products, and the
Department of Agriculture
regulates the development of
new strains of food crops
and livestock. EPA is
responsible under the Federal
Insecticide, Fungicide, and
Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for
overseeing the development
of microbial pesticides, and
under the authority of the
Toxic Substances  Control
Act (TSCA), all  other
microbial products not
regulated by other federal
agencies or programs. These
include microorganisms used
for  waste degradation,
chemical production,
conversion of biomass to
energy, and other
environmental and industrial
uses.   ,             '	;.
  Using the authority of
TSCA, we defined
microorganisms containing
genetic material from
dissimilar microorganisms as
"new microorganisms.'*
Producers of these

microorganisms must provide
premanufacture notification
under the new chemicals
program. In addition, since
living organisms can
multiply, the Agency
announced that small
quantities of "new"
microorganisms used for
research and development
field trials would not be
exempt from premanufacture
notification requirements as
are other chemicals used for
  FIFRA gives EPA authority
over the distribution and use
of all pesticide products,
including microbial
pesticides. Some of the data
needed for registration must
be developed through actual
field trials. Because  of the
special concern over
genetically engineered
microbial pesticides, the
Agency has required prior
notification regarding the
field testing of genetically
altered or non-native
microbial pesticides.
  Under both TSCA and
FIFRA, a process has been
instituted for carefully
evaluating proposals for field
tests of genetically altered
 Eroducts. Before permission
 >r such an experiment is
granted, EPA evaluates the
information about the
experiment and shares this
information with other
agencies. If the experiment is
approved, we specify
conditions for conducting the
experiment and require that
the results be submitted to
EPA so that we can  monitor
the effects of the organism
and reevaluate our decision
on the experiment. The
Agency also has established a
Biotechnology Science
Advisory Committee to
provide advice on these and
other biotechnology issues.
  To date, several tests of
genetically engineered
microorganisms outside the
laboratory have been
approved. Under  the
authority of FIFRA,  EPA
approved tests on
strawberries and  potatoes
using a microorganism
modified to retard frost
formation on plants. Under
TSCA, the Agency approved
field tests of a microorganism
designed to enhance nitrogen
fixation in alfalfa, as well as
a microorganism that when
grown on a special substance
produces a blue color;  this
ability permits it to be
followed into the
environment. Some
large-scale enclosed
fermentations  of genetically
engineered microorganisms
have also been approved. For
example, EPA  has approved
the manufacture of a
microorganism which
contains a synthetic gene
similar to a human liver-cell
gene and which will be used
to produce a growth factor for
culturing cells. In addition,
one company has been fined
for conducting a test
outdoors without our
One of the challenges we face
is ensuring public confidence
in the safe development of
biotechnology products.
When recombinant DNA
research began about ten
years ago, some people  who
lived in towns where such
research was conducted
voiced their concern that
potentially harmful
organisms might accidentally
escape from the laboratory.
Scientists worked to inform
people fully about these
experiments and now
research proceeds as usual in
these communities. Today, as
such research moves from
the laboratory to the field,
there continues to be public
concern over the intentional
release of genetically
engineered organisms into
the environment.
  Enforcing EPA policies on
biotechnology is also a
challenge. Already, two
incidents have occurred in
which  genetically engineered
products were tested
outdoors without our
approval. While EPA has
issued  policy statements,
such "policies" are not
legally enforceable until
given the force of regulation.
The Agency must develop
and issue the necessary
regulations as rapidly as
  Finally, EPA must keep
pace with advances in
biotechnology and modify
regulations accordingly. So
far, the Agency has been
asked to approve only a few
applications for the testing of
genetically engineered
microorganisms in the
environment. However, in
the same way that fifteen
years ago we may not have
foreseen the development of
bacteria to  "eat" pollutants
or produce  insulin, advances
in biotechnology may
someday require  us to
rethink our regulatory

                                                                                                     ••'IT. i!H'!,,: ill'H1' IP-
(Through public education,
EPA is working to ensure
that the public understands
the benefits of biotechnology
and the system of checks and
balances in place to prevent
undesirable  effects. Our
regional offices will play a
particularly important role in
providing clear information
to the press and public on
specific biotechnology
  The Agency is also
working to clarify
information for industries
affected by EPA policies. In
one case of an unapproved
release of a genetically
altered product,  EPA
determined  that the company
made an error in judgment
rather than a conscious
" disregard for our procedures.
Nonetheless, we are making
it clear that EPA will impose
strict penalties when people
fail to comply with
] regulations and are currently
developing the regulations
needed to implement our
  EPA will propose
regulations hi 1988 that will
take into account comments
on the 1986 policy statement
j as well as the deliberations of
pur Biotechnology Science
Advisory Committee. In
addition, to prepare for future
developments in
biotechnology, we are
attempting to determine up
front the problems that
might occur before the
! technology is widely applied.
Thus, EPA will continually
evaluate biotechnology
regulations  and modify their
scope when necessary.
 Some Developments in
 There are many potential uses of
 genetically altered microorganisms.
^Somepf, thejngst^ exciting
 developments in biotechnology are
 described below.
 • Tracking the release of genetically
 altered bacteria
 A microorganism has been developed
 that can be tracked in the
 environment to provide information on
 its behavior.'The microbe is formed by
 inserting two genes from a  common
 bacterium into ano,theKmicZQorganism.
 When these genes are present, the
 bacteria form blue colonies when
 exposed to a certain sugar,  thereby
 allowing scientists to follow the
 survival of the genetically changed
 microbes both inside and outside the
 test area. The marking system can be
 used to mark other microorganisms
 and should help allay public concerns
 about potential consequences of
 releasing such microorganisms in the
 environment. EPA approved field tests
 of the bacteria on wheat and soybeans.

 • Developing bacteria to protect
 plants against frost
 EPA approved field tests  of a bacteria
 designed to protect strawberry and
 potato plants from mild frosts. The
 new bacteria are the same  as those
 that normally colonize these plants,
 except that they lack a protein that
 promotes the formation of ice crystals.
 Scientists expect that these new
 bacteria can help plants resist frost if
 the bacteria are applied before the
 normal bacteria can establish
• Using bacteria to enhance alfalfa
EPA also is examining the design of an
experiment to test the effectiveness of
genetically engineered bacteria to
enhance the yield of alfalfa. This
experiment will be conducted in Pepin
County, Wisconsin and will use  an
altered form of the bacteria that occur
naturally in the soil. These altered
bacteria work together with the roots
of legumes (such as alfalfa, soybeans,
and peas) to convert nitrogen gas into
a form that can be used by the plants.
• Using dead bacteria as a pesticide
An  innovative approach to pesticide
development involves the insertion
into another microbe of the genes that
contain the code for a protein toxin.
These altered microbes subsequently
are  grown in cultures to produce large
quantities of the toxic protein. When
these bacteria are killed, they can  be
administered as a pesticide.
Small-scale field trials currently are
underway to determine the
effectiveness of these dead bacteria as
• Using bacteria for toxic  waste
Researchers currently are working  on
the development of bacteria that can
metabolize specific compounds in
toxic wastes, such as PCBs, dioxin,
and oil spills. For example, an EPA
scientist has developed a strain of
bacteria that can metabolize several
components of crude oil. This
development may enable us to control
oil  spills  using only one bacteria rather
than several different types. Bacteria
also are being developed to extract
toxic metals from landfills, mines, and
                    U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1988—5 22  -  3 7 "t /  0