United States
Protection Agency
Solid Waste and
Emergency Response
PB2000-101 899
  February 2000
     RCRA, Superfund & EPCRA
         Hotline Training Module
      Introduction to:
          RCRA Corrective Action
            Updated October 1999


This document was developed by Booz-Allen& Hamilton Inc. under contract 68-W0-0039 to EPA.  It is intended to
be used as a training tool for Hotline specialists and does not represent a statement of EPA policy.

The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation ofEPA's regulations or policies.
This document is used only in the capacity ofthe Hotline training and is not used as a reference toolon Hotlinecalls.
The Hotline revises and updates this document as regulatory pro gram areas change.

The information in this docume nt may not necessarily reflect the current position of the Agency. This document is
not intended and cannot bereliedupon tocreateany rights, substantive or procedural, enforceable by anypartyin
litigation with the United States.
                         RCRA, Superfund & EPCRA Hotline Phone Numbers

           National toll-free (outside of DC area)                            (800) 424-9346
           Loca I num ber (withi n DC a rea)                                  (703) 412-9810
           National toll-free for the hearing impaired (TDD)                    (800) 553-7672
                         The Hotline is open from 9 am to 6 pm Eastern Time,
                          Monday through Friday, except for federal holidays.

                     RCRA CORRECTIVE ACTION
1. Introduction 	  1

2. Statutory Summary	  3
   2.1 Authorities	  3
   2.2 Existing Regulations 	  5
   2.3 Implementing the Corrective Action Program Today	  6
   2.4 The Original Corrective Action Process	  7
   2.5 Financial Assurance 	 11
   2.6 Remediation Waste	 11

3. Special Issues	 13
   3.1 Corrective Action vs. Post-Closure Permits	 13
   3.2 Coordination of Cleanup Programs	 13

4. Program Developments	 16

                                                             RCRA Corrective Action - 1
                            1.   INTRODUCTION
This training module discusses the regulatory and statutory requirements and
authorities governing the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective
action process. The corrective action program is a cleanup program designed to ensure
the remediation of hazardous releases and contamination associated with RCRA-
regulated facilities. EPA enforces the program principally through the statutory
authorities established by the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984
(HSWA). There are, however, minimal regulatory requirements for the corrective
action program.

Rather than implementing a rigid regulatory framework for corrective action, the
Agency has developed guidance and policy documents to assist facilities conducting
cleanups. Initially EPA proposed to establish a comprehensive regulatory framework
for implementing the corrective action program (55 FR 30798; July 27,1990).  However,
fundamental disagreements among stakeholders has prevented EPA from finalizing the
entire rule. EPA will continue to implement the corrective action program by writing
policy documents and guidance, and developing a set of targeted administrative
reforms. The Agency recently announced the RCRA Cleanup Reforms, a
comprehensive effort to increase the number and efficiency of cleanups, maximize
program flexibility, and establish national cleanup goals.  Both the finalized portions of
the rule and the guidance developed pursuant to statutory authorities are used to
structure corrective action requirements in facility permits and orders. This module
describes the current statutory and regulatory structure and discusses the status of
rulemaking efforts and the RCRA Cleanup Reforms.

When you have completed this training module you will understand the purpose and
application of the corrective action program. Specifically, you will be able to:

      List the statutory authorities for corrective action and explain their application

      Identify the existing regulatory authorities for corrective action, and explain their

      Describe the primary triggers for corrective action

      Define terms that are specific to the corrective action process (e.g., solid waste
      management units and action levels)

      Describe how EPA is currently implementing the corrective action program and
      identify significant components of the RCRA Cleanup Reforms.
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

2- RCRA Corrective Action
       Describe how the corrective action program can apply to generators and other
       facilities that do not require a permit.

Use this list of objectives to check your knowledge of this topic after you complete the
training session.
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                  but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

                                                             RCRA Corrective Action - 3
                       2.   STATUTORY SUMMARY
Prior to HSWA's enactment, EPA had limited authority to require remediation or
corrective action measures at facilities regulated under RCRA. Statutory authority was
limited to 7003, which gives EPA authority to take action when contamination presents
an imminent hazard to human health or the environment. Regulatory authority was
limited to 40 CFR Part 264, Subpart F. Subpart F only addressed releases of hazardous
waste from regulated units into the uppermost aquifer (see the module entitled
Groundwater Monitoring for details).

HSWA added statutory provisions to RCRA that gave EPA substantial statutory
authority to develop a broader corrective action program. These provisions include:

       Section 3008(h) - provides authority to  require corrective action at interim status

       Section 3004(u) - requires corrective action be addressed as a condition of a
       facility's Part B permit

       Section 3004(v) - provides authority to  require corrective action for releases
       migrating beyond the facility boundary

       Section 3005(c)(3) - provides authority to include additional requirements in a
       facility's permit, including corrective action requirements.

These corrective action authorities are implemented on a case-by-case basis in facility
permits or orders issued by EPA (264.101,270.1(c), and 270.14(d)).  EPA has been
unable to promulgate a comprehensive regulatory program describing the corrective
action  process, and instead has promulgated  specific regulations regarding the
management of remediation wastes generated during corrective action (64 FR 54604;
October 7,1999).  Furthermore, the Agency will continue to define and implement the
corrective action process by issuing policy and guidance documents. EPA still uses the
following statutory authorities to implement corrective action, but the Agency has also
begun  to issue policies that encourage facility-initiated corrective action.



When a facility is seeking a permit, or when a permit is already in place, EPA can
incorporate corrective auction into the permit requirements. A brief description of each
authority's application is provided.

 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                 but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

4 - RCRA Corrective Action
Continuing Releases At Permitted Facilities (3004 (u))

RCRA 3004(u), added by HSWA, requires corrective action for all releases of
hazardous waste or constituents from any solid waste management unit (SWMU) at a
facility seeking a permit, regardless of when the waste was placed in the unit. A SWMU
is any discernible unit at which solid wastes have been  placed at any time, irrespective
of whether the unit was intended for the management of solid or hazardous waste.
This definition includes any area at a facility where solid wastes have been routinely
and systematically released. EPA interprets this authority to apply to any facility
seeking a permit, including operating permits, post-closure permits, and permits-by-
rule, after November 8,1984 (50 FR 28712,28715; July 15,1985).  The cleanup must
address releases to air, groundwater, surface water, and soil. Furthermore, facilities are
required to maintain the permit until corrective action is completed.  Section 3004(u)
also requires the Agency to include schedules of compliance and financial assurance for
completing corrective action in a facility's permit when issued.

Beyond the Facility Boundary (3004(v))

While the authority for cleanup under 3004(u) is broad, it only applies to
contamination on the contiguous property of a facility and does not address the
migration of hazardous constituents beyond the boundaries of the facility seeking the
permit. To address these concerns, Congress also amended RCRA with 3004(v). This
section gives EPA the authority to require a facility owner and operator to clean up
releases that have migrated beyond the facility boundary.  Specifically, the owner and
operator must institute corrective action wherever necessary to protect human health
and the environment unless the owner and operator demonstrate to the satisfaction of
the Regional Administrator that despite the owner and  operator's best efforts, they were
unable to obtain the necessary permission from adjacent property holders to undertake
such actions (264.101(c)). In addition, the Agency has asserted that financial
responsibility must be demonstrated for these cleanup actions.

Omnibus Permitting Authority (3005 (c) (3))

The omnibus provision enables EPA to include any requirements deemed necessary in a
permit, including the requirement to perform corrective action. This authority is
particularly useful  at permitted facilities when there is release that is not associated
with a solid waste management unit (SWMU).


EPA also possesses additional authorities to order corrective action at facilities that are
not contingent upon a facility's permit. The statutory provisions to issue these
corrective action orders are  as follows.
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

                                                             RCRA Corrective Action - 5
Interim Status Corrective Action (3008(h))

Under HSWA, Congress also gave EPA the authority to issue orders requiring cleanups
at interim status facilities. Interim status facilities are treatment, storage and disposal
facilities (TSDFs) that were already in operation when the applicable RCRA
standards were established, and that are operating under the standards
in 40 CFR Part 265 until they receive a permit. Under 3008(h), as added by HSWA,
EPA can issue an administrative order or file a civil action whenever it determines on
the basis of any information that there is or has been a release of hazardous waste into
the environment from an interim status facility. This applies to facilities that are
currently operating under interim status, that formerly operated under interim status,
or that should have obtained interim status. It also applies to any release of hazardous
waste or constituents from the facility. In addition to requiring cleanup, EPA has the
authority under 3008(h) to revoke or suspend interim status. Finally, as with 3004(v),
EPA may use 3008(h) to require corrective action beyond the facility boundary and to
require proof of financial assurance for cleanup.

Imminent and Substantial Endangerment (7003)

RCRA 7003 gives EPA broad enforcement authority to abate potential imminent and
substantial hazards caused by releases of solid or hazardous waste from any source.
Specifically, 7003 provides EPA with the authority to seek legal relief in the
appropriate United States District Court, or issue administrative corrective action
orders for releases from any site where the handling, storage, treatment, transportation,
or disposal of solid or hazardous waste may pose an imminent and substantial
endangerment to human health or the environment.

EPA has chosen not to finalize a comprehensive regulatory framework to implement
the corrective action program. Instead, the Agency implements the corrective action
program primarily through guidance documents and statutory authorities. Therefore,
the phrase "corrective action program" does not refer to one regulatory section, but
rather to the cleanup process under RCRA. There are, however, some codified

Part 264, Subpart F requires corrective action for releases to groundwater from
regulated units (e.g., landfills, surface impoundments). Under these regulations,
corrective action is the third step of a three-phase program for detecting, characterizing,
and responding to releases to the uppermost aquifer from regulated units. In the
corrective action phase, the owner and operator are required to remove or treat in place
all contaminants present in concentrations above previously determined protection
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

6 - RCRA Corrective Action
levels (264.100).  This type of corrective action applies only to regulated units
(264.100) as opposed to all SWMUs (264.101) and follows a slightly different
procedure. This procedure is covered in the module entitled Groundwater Monitoring.

Facilities are also required to institute corrective action for releases of hazardous waste
or constituents from SWMUs (264.101). This section essentially reiterates the statutory
language of 3004(u). Part 270 requires anyone seeking a RCRA permit to identify, in
their permit application, any SWMUs found at their facility (270.1 (c), 270.14(d)). EPA
also promulgated regulations mitigating the regulatory burden of handling remediation
wastes generated  during the corrective action process (264.552 through 264.554).

One of the keys to understanding the RCRA corrective action program is knowing
when a facility becomes subject to the corrective action. A facility can enter the
corrective action program in a variety of ways  a facility is not simply thrust into the
program every time a spill of hazardous waste occurs. There are primarily four ways a
facility becomes subject to corrective action.  Facilities can enter the corrective action
program by EPA instruction under statutory authorities and enforcement orders, by
volunteering to perform cleanups, or after detecting statistically significant increases of
contamination according to the groundwater monitoring requirements in 40 CFR Part
264, Subpart F.

It is also important to understand how facilities investigate and remediate
contamination.  Currently, EPA is shifting the program focus to encourage faster, more
focused cleanups. In the past, corrective action has emphasized a structured, linear
approach, known as the corrective action process. EPA intended the corrective action
process to provide for structured investigation and cleanup of contamination at RCRA
facilities. However, experience has revealed that the corrective action process often
does not provide the flexibility necessary to address variability at contaminated sites.
Sites requiring cleanup can vary significantly, depending on the type and extent of
contamination, potential risk for exposure, climate and soil conditions, and numerous
other factors. Experience has also demonstrated that cleanup waste, or remediation
waste, can be less dangerous than hazardous waste generated from on-going hazardous
waste operations. Regulatory provisions that provide adequate protection for on-going
hazardous waste operations, such as permitting, land disposal restrictions (LDR), and
minimum technical requirements (MTR), are not always suitable for remediation waste.

Therefore, EPA is shifting the focus of the corrective action program away from the
structured, linear corrective action process, and emphasizing results-based corrective
action. The Agency encourages facilities to focus on accomplishing the cleanup and not

 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

                                                             RCRA Corrective Action - 7
on specific paperwork milestones. In other words, the corrective action process should
be modified to accommodate the site-specific needs.
Facilities conducting corrective action are not excluded from RCRA requirements,
though, and still need to fulfill permitting, LDR, and MTR obligations. EPA has
promulgated  regulations that allow for flexibility in the cleanup process, such as
alternative LDR soil standards in 40 CFR 268.49. You will learn more about flexible
regulatory provisions for remediation waste in Section 2.6 of this module.

In the past, EPA has used the corrective action process to evaluate and document the
nature and extent of contamination, identify the physical and geographic characteristics
of the facility, and identify, develop, and implement appropriate corrective measures.
The conditions at contaminated sites vary significantly, making it difficult to adhere to
one rigid process. Consequently, the corrective action process is designed to be flexible;
and the Agency will use only those portions of the process that are appropriate at a
given site.  While EPA no longer emphasizes the original corrective action process, this
section of the module discusses the corrective action steps familiar to the regulated

The original corrective action process of investigation and remedy selection and
implementation generally comprises six activities (Figure 1). These activities are not
always undertaken as a linear progression towards final facility cleanup, but can be
implemented flexibly to most effectively meet site-specific corrective action needs.
These activities are not dictated by the regulations but are used by EPA in guidance
documents relevant to corrective action. These six activities are:

     RCRA Facility Assessment (RFA)  identifies potential or actual releases from

     National Corrective Action Prioritization System (NCAPS) Ranking  prioritizes
      the cleanup of the site relative to other sites

     Interim/Stabilization Measures  implements measures to achieve high-priority,
      short-term remediation needs

     RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI)  compiles information to fully characterize
      the release

     Corrective Measures Study (CMS)  identifies appropriate measures to address
      the release
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

8 - RCRA Corrective Action
      Corrective Measures Implementation (CMI)  designs and implements the

                                        Figure 1
                          CORRECTIVE ACTION PROCESS
           Facility Assessment
                                                        PERFORMED BY:
                       Interim/stabilization measures evaluation*
                              NCAPS Prioritization
          Facility Investigation
                               (EPA Performs
                       (EPA Performs Oversight and
                            Selects Alternative)
Statement of Basis
          Corrective Measure
                         (EPA Performs Oversight)
    k Stabilization evaluations may occur after an RFA or after an RFI, and interim/stabilization measures may be
     taken throughout the corrective action process.
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                 but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

                                                             RCRA Corrective Action - 9

Often the first activity in the original corrective action process is the RFA.  The objective
of the RFA is to identify potential and actual releases from SWMUs and make
preliminary determinations about releases, the need for corrective action, and interim
measures. The RFA is conducted by the regulatory agency and generally occurs prior
to permit issuance. If the facility is in interim status and is not seeking a permit, the
RFA may take place before the facility closes. The RFA begins with a file review of
information about the facility. The regulatory agency may then conduct a visual site
inspection to confirm available information on SWMUs and to note any visual evidence
of releases. Finally, a sampling visit may be performed to confirm or disprove
suspected releases before an RFI is conducted.


It is EPA's policy to address the  greatest corrective action needs first. Therefore, after
initially assessing a site, EPA usually ranks the site's relative environmental cleanup
priority and uses that ranking to allocate EPA resources. EPA uses NCAPS to rank and
compare sites in the corrective action process. NCAPS is a computer-based ranking
system that considers a variety of environmental factors in assessing the priority of sites.
Environmental factors considered in the prioritization include types and volumes of
wastes present, contaminant release pathways, and the potential for human and
ecosystem exposure to contaminants. NCAPS generates a high, medium, or low ranking
for each facility. The ranking is based on an evaluation of four pathways of actual or
potential contamination (groundwater, surface water, air, and soils) and nationally
established criteria for defining high, medium, and low. The information needed to
assess a site by applying this system is usually obtained from the RFA and other available
information, such as that from permit applications.


Contaminated sites often present serious and immediate hazards which EPA must
address quickly during the corrective action process.  This process is called stabilization.
The actions used to achieve the goal of stabilization are called interim measures or
interim/stabilization measures.  Interim/stabilization measures are short-term actions
taken to respond to immediate threats to human health or prevent damage or
contaminant migration to the environment. EPA evaluates the need and feasibility of
interim/stabilization measures by conducting a stabilization evaluation. EPA may
perform the stabilization evaluation after an RFA or after an RFI. Interim or stabilization
measures may be taken at any time in the corrective action process and should be
consistent with the final remedy.
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

10 - RCRA Corrective Action

Another activity in the corrective action process is the RFI. The RFI may take place
when a release has been identified and further investigation is necessary. The purpose
of the RFI is to gather enough data to fully characterize the nature, extent, and rate of
migration of contaminants to determine the appropriate response action.

The investigation typically focuses on the specific units, releases, and exposure
pathways identified as problematic earlier in the process to avoid unnecessary and
unproductive investigations. Permitees may be required to submit a plan for
conducting an RFI, which will be overseen by the implementing agency.


After the RFI is completed, and the regulatory agency determines based on available
information that cleanup is necessary, the regulatory agency may request the owner
and operator to conduct a CMS.  The purpose of the CMS is to identify and evaluate
cleanup alternatives for releases at the facility. The owner and operator identifies the
appropriate corrective measures  to address the threats posed by the releases, including
measures to control the source of contamination and actions to abate problems caused
by migration of contaminants from the source. The recommended measures are
reviewed by EPA or the state and EPA selects the best remedy given site-specific
considerations. EPA may request additional information or additional alternatives
throughout this process. When a remedy is selected, the facility's permit is modified to
include the remedy and a schedule of compliance. At that time the remedy is subject to
public review and comment. In certain cases, a formal CMS may not be necessary; for
example, when the remedy will clearly involve excavation or removal and other
alternatives need not be considered.


In addition to the permit modification EPA may also publish a statement of basis. This
document describes the basis for  EPA's remedy selection and an explanation for the
cleanup levels chosen, and provides  the public with an opportunity to comment on the


Once the implementing agency has selected a remedy, the facility enters the CMI phase
of corrective action.  During the CMI, the owner and operator of the facility implement
the chosen remedy. This phase includes design, construction, maintenance, and
monitoring of the chosen remedy, all of which are performed by the facility owner and
operator with Agency oversight.  A remedy may be implemented through a phased
approach. Phases could consist of any logically connected set of actions performed

 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

                                                            RCRA Corrective Action -11
sequentially over time or concurrently at different parts of a site. For example, if
groundwater contamination is currently extending beyond the facility boundary it may
be most important to address this problem first and address the larger remediation
areas after the plume is under control.

Under RCRA 3004(a)(6), EPA has broad authority to require that facilities subject to
corrective action demonstrate financial assurance. On October 24,1986, EPA proposed
to formally codify these requirements for financial assurance at permitted facilities
undergoing corrective action; however, these regulations were never finalized (54 FR
37854). As a result, financial assurance for corrective action at permitted and interim
status facilities is currently instituted through a permit or an order. Pursuant to
3004(u), 264.101(b), 264.101(c), and 264.92(a)(2), EPA can require permitted facilities to
demonstrate financial assurance for corrective action. Similarly, financial assurance for
corrective action at interim status facilities may be required through a 3008(h) order.
As stated in the May 1,1996, advance notice of proposed rulemaking, EPA is
considering other formal options regarding financial assurance for corrective action (61
FR 19432).  For more information on this advanced notice of proposed rulemaking, see
Section 4 of this module.

Cleaning up RCRA facilities under the corrective action program may involve the
management of large amounts of waste such as contaminated soils, water, debris, and
sludges which contain a listed waste or exhibit a characteristic of hazardous waste.
Such "remediation wastes" (260.10) that are managed for the purpose of implementing
corrective action requirements are generally subject to the same management standards
as newly generated RCRA hazardous waste, including treatment, storage, and disposal
facility standards and land disposal restrictions (LDR). These management standards
are sometimes counterproductive when applied to cleanups because they may
unnecessarily slow the corrective action process and increase the cost of corrective
action without providing a concomitant level of protection of human health and the
environment. In order to mitigate the impact of these management standards on the
corrective action program, EPA promulgated regulations that allow the use of
alternative permit and unit standards in management of remediation waste. These
alternative standards ensure cleanups are fully protective while eliminating some of
the regulatory hurdles associated with waste management. To provide some regulatory
relief from permit requirements, EPA has made a distinction between remediation
waste management sites and facilities managing as-generated waste process wastes as
part of ongoing facility operations.
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

 12 - RCRA Corrective Action
 Remediation waste management sites are those facilities that would require a permit
 only to treat, store, or dispose of remediation waste generated from facility cleanup.
 The process of obtaining a permit can be time consuming and expensive, and may not
 be the most efficient way to conduct the cleanup activity. Therefore, the Agency
 recently promulgated a modified version of a permit, the remedial action plan (RAP).
 Unlike the traditional RCRA permit, the RAP is tailored to the needs of the remediation
 waste management site.

 EPA also provided options for increased cleanup flexibility by establishing three
 remediation waste management units: temporary units (TUs), corrective action
 management units (CAMUs), and staging piles. Each of these units may be used at
 cleanup facilities to manage remediation waste on site, or within contiguous property
 under the control of the owner and operator.  Owners and operators may not, however,
 use the units to manage as-generated process waste, to manage waste generated off-site,
 nor can the units themselves be used at off-site facilities. It is important to  note that
 these units may be used at remediation waste management sites, regardless of whether
 the facilities are subject to 264.101,3004(u) or 3008(h). Although the units require
 some form of a permit, the owner and operator do not need to conduct facility-wide
 corrective action. The owner and operator may choose the unit that most appropriately
 fulfills the needs of the cleanup.

 TUs are tanks or container storage areas that EPA designated to be used solely for the
 treatment or storage of remediation wastes during cleanups.  By designating a tank or
 container storage area as a temporary unit, EPA may modify the design, operation, and
 closure technical standards normally applicable for such units for up to one year, unless
 EPA grants an extension.  The TU must comply fully with all specific alternative unit
 standards set out in the facility permit.

 CAMUs are physical, geographic areas within a facility designated for treatment,
 storage, or disposal of remediation wastes during cleanup activity (260.10).  By
 designating an area as a CAMU, EPA exempts that area from LDR and the  land
 disposal unit minimum technology requirements (MTR). The status of the  CAMU has
 recently been subject to litigation. Environmental groups petitioned EPA because they
 felt the CAMU provisions do not adequately protect human health and the
 environment. The CAMU regulations are currently effective, but the litigation
 discussions may require modifications to reflect the concerns of stakeholders.

 A staging pile is an accumulation of solid, non-flowing remediation waste unit
 designated by EPA as a temporary storage area for remediation waste during cleanups.
Once EPA has designated the staging pile, MTR and LDR do not apply to the
 remediation waste or the unit. Owners and operators may not place any liquids in the
staging pile, and cannot conduct any treatment.  Remediation waste may be stored in
the staging pile for a maximum of two years, with the possibility of one 180-day

  The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

                                                          RCRA Corrective Action -13
                           3.  SPECIAL ISSUES
The following two topics briefly address interface issues, first within the RCRA
regulatory scheme and secondly between statutory programs.

The corrective action process is often closely interrelated with the closure process.
Frequently, a closing unit has caused contamination of environmental media that
necessitates corrective action during the post-closure period. Usually this corrective
action is addressed through a post-closure permit pursuant to 3004(u).  EPA has
finalized provisions to remove the requirement to address post-closure care through a
post-closure permit when appropriate (63 FR 56711; October 22,1998). The final rule
grants the implementing agency the freedom to use the most appropriate authority
(e.g., 3008(h), groundwater monitoring corrective action pursuant to 264.100,
CERCLA, state cleanup programs) to remediate the site (see the module entitled
Closure and Post-Closure).

There are many instances where a contaminated hazardous waste site can be cleaned up
under different regulatory programs. For example, there may be RCRA, CERCLA, or
other state/tribal cleanup programs that EPA can use to address contamination. The
Agency prefers to address such contaminated sites under a single program, but often
individual program requirements prevent complete deferral. In instances where
complete deferral from one program to another is not appropriate, EPA emphasizes
coordination of cleanup programs in order to avoid duplication of efforts and second-
guessing of remedial decisions.

There are other instances where deferral from one regulatory cleanup program to
another is appropriate. Because the RCRA corrective action process and the CERCLA
remedial process are very similar programs and follow roughly parallel procedures in
responding to releases of contaminants (Figure 2), it may be more appropriate to
address a site under RCRA rather than CERCLA (or vice versa). For example, where a
contaminated site is an active RCRA-permitted facility, the Agency may decide that
deferral to RCRA (instead of using CERCLA authorities) is most appropriate to
accomplish cleanup of the site.
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

14 - RCRA Corrective Action
The Agency's position has been that a site that can be addressed by RCRA Subtitle C
corrective action should be deferred from placement on the National Priorities List
(NPL) unless it falls within certain exceptions, such as:

      The inability or unwillingness of the owner and operator to pay for addressing
      the contamination at the site

      Inadequate financial responsibility guarantees to pay for such costs

      EPA or state priorities for addressing RCRA sites would defer prompt action and
      delay could result in further significant contamination.

The NPL Deferral/Deletion policy also applies to federal facilities (62 FR 62523;
November 24,1997).
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

                                                                  RCRA Corrective Action -15
                                          Figure 2
                         AND CERCLA REMEDIAL PROCESSES*
 Identify releases needing
further investigation
 Characterize nature,
 extent, and rate of
 contaminant releases
 more than
Design and
implementation of
chosen remedy
  *Interim Measures may be performed at any point in the corrective action process
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                 but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

16 - RCRA Corrective Action
                     4.   PROGRAM DEVELOPMENTS

On July 27,1990, EPA proposed a comprehensive, systematic approach to corrective
action, which would be codified as Part 264, Subpart S (55 FR 30798). This rule
proposed regulations detailing the substantive and procedural requirements to
implement the corrective action program. One of the main goals of the proposal was to
promote national consistency. The 1990 proposal received significant public comment.
As a result, EPA did not finalize the bulk of the proposal, and instead finalized only a
few sections, such as the provisions promulgating regulations for CAMUs and TUs (see
Section 2.6 of this module for more information).

EPA then reevaluated this proposal based on the experience of implementing the
corrective action program since 1990, and published an advance notice of proposed
rulemaking (61 FR 19432; May 1,1996). The advance notice introduced EPA's  strategy
for promulgation of corrective action regulations, and expanded on the Agency's
philosophy and priorities.  The advance notice opened a dialogue with the regulated
community on ways to make the corrective action process shorter and cost-effective for
the regulated community and for the Agency; to create more consistent, less
compartmentalized cleanups; to establish protective but "common sense" cleanup
expectations; and to shift more responsibility for compliance to states and the regulated
community. EPA intended the advance notice to be used as guidance for implementing
the corrective action program.

Ultimately, fundamental disagreements among stakeholders prevented EPA from
finalizing the comprehensive, regulatory corrective action framework discussed in the
1990 proposal. On October 7,1999 (64 FR 54604), EPA formally withdrew all provisions
of the 1990 proposal, except for a few jurisdictional issues and the elements finalized in
the Corrective Action Management Unit (CAMU) Rule (58 FR 8658; February 16,1993).
The withdrawal notice was intended to eliminate uncertainty for states and
owner/operators created by the potential promulgation of detailed federal regulations,
thereby clearing the way for implementation of more flexible corrective action
approaches. Through the withdrawal action, EPA further clarified that it does not
intend to finalize a process-oriented corrective action approach, and to confirm that the
1996 Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking remains the primary corrective action
program guidance.

Instead of finalizing the 1990 proposal, the Agency has finalized a limited number of
provisions to facilitate faster, more efficient cleanups.  For example, EPA has
established alternative LDR soil treatment standards, harmonized the sometimes
duplicative closure and corrective action requirements, and used HWIR-Media to
increase flexibility for "cleanup only" facilities by  developing a streamlined RCRA
permit, removing the obligation for facility-wide corrective action, and introducing the
staging pile.

 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations  or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.

                                                            RCRA Corrective Action -17
In addition, EPA has decided to focus on writing policy documents and guidance on
corrective action, and to develop a set of targeted administrative reforms. These
reforms, also known as the RCRA Cleanup Reforms, are EPA's comprehensive effort to
remove obstacles to efficient cleanups, maximize program flexibility, and initiate
progress toward a set of ambitious national cleanup goals.

The national cleanup goals, established to fulfill the requirements of the Government
Performance and Results Act (GPRA), focus on 1,712 RCRA corrective action facilities
identified by EPA and states. The two near-term measures of progress in the RCRA
corrective action program are known as environmental indicators. The environmental
indicators for the RCRA corrective action program are "migration of contaminated
groundwater under control" and "current human exposures under control." These
environmental indicators are designed to aid facility decision makers by clearly
showing where risk reduction is necessary, thereby helping regulators and facility
owner/operators reach agreement earlier on stabilization measures or cleanup
remedies that must be implemented. The goals set by EPA under GPRA are that by
2005, the states and EPA will verify and document that 95 percent of these 1,712 RCRA
facilities will have "current human exposures under control," and 70 percent of these
facilities will have "migration of contaminated groundwater under control."

EPA will continue to publish information regarding the RCRA Cleanup Reforms as well
as guidance to assist facilities in implementing the corrective action program.
 The information in this document is not by any means a complete representation of EPA's regulations or policies,
                but is an introduction to the topic used for Hotline training purposes.