Hazardous substances (11 - 20 of 218 items)
Hurricane Katrina: Continuing Debris Removal and Disposal Issues
GAO-08-985R: Published: Aug 25, 2008. Publicly Released: Aug 25, 2008.
In 2005, as a result of Hurricane Katrina, more than 1,600 people lost their lives and more than a million were driven from their homes on the Gulf Coast. Tens of thousands of homes in New Orleans were flooded, many requiring either demolition or gutting before reconstruction. Nearly 3 years later, the New Orleans area still faces significant debris management issues and challenges. For example, t...
Nuclear Waste: DOE Lacks Critical Information Needed to Assess Its Tank Management Strategy at Hanford
GAO-08-793: Published: Jun 30, 2008. Publicly Released: Jun 30, 2008.
The Department of Energy (DOE) manages more than 56 million gallons of radioactive and hazardous waste stored in 149 single-shell and 28 double-shell underground tanks at its Hanford Site in Washington State. Many of these aging tanks have already leaked waste into the soil. Meanwhile, DOE's planned process for emptying the tanks and treating the waste--mixing it with molten glass and solidifying...
Hazardous Waste: Information on How DOD and Federal and State Regulators Oversee the Off-Site Disposal of Waste from DOD Installations
GAO-08-74: Published: Nov 13, 2007. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 2007.
Military installations operated by the Department of Defense (DOD) can generate hazardous waste during routine operations, such as the repair and maintenance of weapon systems and equipment, or during an environmental cleanup related to past operations. The proper disposal of hazardous waste, especially when it is taken to an off-site location, is essential to ensuring the health and safety of com...
Hurricane Katrina: EPA's Current and Future Environmental Protection Efforts Could Be Enhanced by Addressing Issues and Challenges Faced on the Gulf Coast
GAO-07-651: Published: Jun 25, 2007. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 2007.
In 2005, Hurricane Katrina's impact on the Gulf Coast included damage to the environment from chemical and hazardous materials releases. Also, the widespread demolition and renovation activities still under way in New Orleans may release asbestos fibers into the air, posing a potential additional health risk. This report, conducted at the Comptroller General's initiative, addresses (1) the Environ...
Superfund: Better Financial Assurances and More Effective Implementation of Institutional Controls Are Needed to Protect the Public
GAO-06-900T: Published: Jun 15, 2006. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2006.
Under the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Superfund program, parties responsible for pollution bear the cost of cleaning it up. However, these parties sometimes no longer exist, leaving the problem for others, typically the federal government, to address. Furthermore, many sites' cleanup remedies leave some waste in place, relying on institutional controls--legal or administrative restrict...
Hazardous Waste: EPA Needs to Clarify the Types of Mercury Waste That Can Be Treated and Disposed of Using the Debris Regulations
GAO-06-99: Published: Dec 16, 2005. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 2006.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible for regulating hazardous wastes (such as mercury) under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Under RCRA, mercury-containing hazardous waste must meet specific treatment standards before land disposal. But, certain difficult to manage waste due, in part, to its large particle size, can follow alternate "debris" standards that pr...
Electronic Waste: Strengthening the Role of the Federal Government in Encouraging Recycling and Reuse
GAO-06-47: Published: Nov 10, 2005. Publicly Released: Nov 10, 2005.
Advances in technology have led to rapidly increasing sales of new electronic devices. With this increase comes the dilemma of managing these products at the end of their useful lives. Some research suggests that the disposal of used electronics could cause a number of environmental problems. Research also suggests that such problems are often exacerbated by the export of used electronics to count...
Environmental Liabilities: EPA Should Do More to Ensure That Liable Parties Meet Their Cleanup Obligations
GAO-05-658: Published: Aug 17, 2005. Publicly Released: Aug 17, 2005.
The burden of cleaning up Superfund and other hazardous waste sites is increasingly shifting to taxpayers, particularly since businesses handling hazardous substances are no longer taxed under Superfund and the backlog of sites needing cleanup is growing. While key environmental laws rely on the "polluter pays" principle, the extent to which liable parties cease operations or restructure--such as...
Superfund Program: Current Status and Future Fiscal Challenges
GAO-03-850: Published: Jul 31, 2003. Publicly Released: Sep 2, 2003.
Congress established the Superfund program in 1980 to clean up highly contaminated hazardous waste sites. Among other things, the law established a trust fund to help the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pay for cleanups and related program activities. The trust fund was financed primarily by three dedicated taxes until 1995, when the taxing authority expired. EPA continues to discover sites...
Environmental Liabilities: Cleanup Costs From Certain DOD Operations Are Not Being Reported
GAO-02-117: Published: Dec 14, 2001. Publicly Released: Dec 14, 2001.
GAO examined the environmental cleanup costs of ongoing operations of the Department of Defense (DOD). These include general property, plant, and equipment facilities or other assets that are being operated or are in use at DOD installations. GAO found that DOD has not developed policies, procedures, and methodologies to ensure that cleanup costs required for all of its ongoing and inactive or clo...