Frequent Questions

What other cleanup efforts exist in EPA?

Along with RCRA Corrective Action, EPA uses a variety of other efforts, approaches and programs to cleanup our nation's waste:
 
Brownfields: EPA's Brownfields Initiative will empower States, communities, and other stakeholders in economic development to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields. A "brownfield site" generally refers to real property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. See also RCRA Brownfields.
 
Superfund: EPA's Superfund Program was established to locate, investigate, and clean up the worst sites nationwide. Under the Superfund Law, EPA is able to make companies and individuals responsible for a contaminated site to perform and pay for investigation and cleanup activities. EPA may also use the Superfund Trust Fund to pay for investigation and cleanups, and then attempt to get the money back from responsible parties through legal actions. 

Underground Storage Tanks: EPA estimates that there are about 705,000 underground storage tank systems (USTs) nationwide that store petroleum or hazardous substances. The overall goal of the Underground Storage Tank Program is to protect human health and the environment through the prevention, detection, and clean up of releases from underground storage tanks (USTs). 

Oil Spills: Almost 14,000 oil spills are reported each year. Although many spills are contained and cleaned up by the party responsible for the spill, some spills require assistance from local and state agencies, and occasionally, the federal government. EPA is the lead federal response agency for oil spills occurring in inland waters, and the U.S. Coast Guard is the lead response agency for spills in coastal waters and deep water ports. 

Cleanup of Federal Facilities: Across the country, thousands of federal facilities are contaminated with hazardous waste, unexploded ordnance, radioactive waste, fuels, and a variety of other toxic contaminants. These facilities include many different types of sites, such as abandoned mines, nuclear weapons production plants, fuel distribution areas, and landfills. The Federal Governement is often subject to the same requirements as other members of the regulated community. RCRA, for example, was amended by the Federal Facilities Compliance Act in 1992 to clarify that the Federal government was fully responsible for compliance with RCRA. To overcome the difficulties posed by contamination at federal facilities, EPA's Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse Office (FFRRO) works with DOD, DOE and other federal entities to help them develop creative, cost-effective solutions to their environmental problems. FFRRO's overall mission is to facilitate faster, more effective, and less costly cleanup and reuse of federal facilities. 

Technology Innovation Office: The overall mission of the Technology Innovation Office (TIO) is to advocate more effective, less costly approaches (i.e., "smarter solutions") by government and industry to assess and clean up contaminated waste sites, soil, and groundwater. TIO's web site is designed as a forum for anyone interested in waste cleanup (remediation) and contains information on policies, programs, organizations, publications and databases useful to regulators, consulting engineers, technology developers, researchers, and remediation contractors. The site contains technology descriptions and reports as well as current news on business aspects of waste site remediation (clean up) and links to other sites important to managers interested in site characterization and soil and ground water remediation technologies.

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