WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460

                                MAY  I  2  !'39:
            OFFICE Oi:

       OSWER 9360.1-05
SUBJECT:   Concurrence Policy for
             MerquW Reiytc&'atr-}    \  ]

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FROM:    V^Sjephen D^ffigfefTJirecto |
             Office of tn/'ironmental auti Emergency Response

TO:          Superfund National Managers, Regions 1-10

       The purpose of this memorandum is to modify the Headquarters concurrence
requirements for removal actions addressing certain residential mercury contamination. It is
anticipated that most future mercury-related removals will continue to consist of individualized.
small scale actions (such as those related to mercury theft and transport to the home from school
buildings). Today's policy should be used in these instances.

       Larger-scale or unique mercury removal actions or mercury removal actions with the
potential to substantially impact Regional or national budgets for removal should continue to
follow the previous, formal concurrence processes.   This modification will improve
administrative efficiency and decrease cleanup time while continuing to follow statutory limits
identified under CERCLA  104(a)(l) (response authority based on hazardous substance release
or threat of release into the environment) and CERCLA  104(a)(3)(B) (limitations on response
actions involving products which are part of the structure of and result in exposure within
buildings). This modification does not apply to sites which may include mercury contamination
that is part of the building structure (see OSWER Directive 9360.3-12 "Response Actions at
Sites with Contamination Inside Buildings, August 1993).


       During the past year, several emergency removal actions for residential mercury
contamination have received headquarters concurrence, consistent with OSWER Directive
9360.3-12, "Response Actions at Sites with Contamination Inside Buildings", August 12, 1993.
This directive states that "written concurrence must be received from Headquarters prior to
formal approval of the Action Memorandum by the Regional Administrator" (citing OSWER
Directive 9360.0-19, "Guidance on Non-NPL Removal Actions Involving Nationally Significant

or Precedent-Setting Issues". March 1989). In general, mercury removal actions were considered
nationally significant due to "within building'7 exposures and the need to determine whether
such actions were within the Agency's response authority.  The regularity of headquarters
concurrence on mercury removals suggests that this review process is no longer necessary.

       During and immediately following issuance of OSWER Directive 9360,3-12, the Agency-
did not have extensive experience with residential mercury contamination and the threats it
posed. At that time, implementing removal actions for residential mercury was unique and
precedent-setting (e.g., documenting a release/threat of release to the environment, methods of
decontamination, disposing of contaminated personal property).  However, due to numerous
successful mercury removals across the Regions, we no longer consider such actions nationally
significant or  precedent-setting.


       The formal headquarters concurrence requirement should be replaced by Regional
notification to Headquarters Regional Coordinator personnel. The notification process will allow
the Regional Coordinator to assist the Region with any questions they may have and facilitate
discussions among the Regions to ensure such actions are carried out consistently across the

       The purpose of achieving national consistency in the implemenation of the Superfund
removal program should not be diminished by the withdrawal of this formal concurrence
requirement. Mercury cleanups should continue to be approved only when a release or threatened
release to the  outdoor environment is documented.

       Comments and questions should be directed to Jeffrey Phillips in the Region 5/7
Accelerated Emergency Response Center, Office of Emergency and Remedial Response,
(703)603-9917, or other members of the Emergency Response and Removal Team.
(Emergency Response and Removal Team Contacts)
cc: Regional Removal Managers

Headquarter Emergency Response and Removal Team
             Region 1	Art Johnson	(703)603-8705

             Region 2	Terri Johnson	(703)603-8718

             Region 3	Roxana Mero	(703)603-9150

             Region 4	Dan Thornton	(703)603-8811

             Region 5	Kevin Mould	(703)603-8726

             Region 6	Schatzi Fitz-James...(703)603-8887

             Region 7	Jeffrey Phillips	(703)603-9917

             Region 8	Anne Spencer	(703)603-8716

             Region 9....,	Richard Jeng	(703)603-8749

             Region 10	Terry Eby	(703)603-8741