Hazardous substances (1 - 10 of 110 items)
Nuclear Waste: Disposal Challenges and Lessons Learned from Yucca Mountain
GAO-11-731T: Published: Jun 1, 2011. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 2011.
The United States has generated over 75,000 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel and high-level nuclear waste--extremely hazardous substances--at 80 sites in 35 states and is expected to more than double that amount by 2055. The Nuclear Waste Policy Act of 1982 (NWPA) required the Department of Energy (DOE) to investigate a geologic repository for nuclear waste. In 1987, Congress amended NWPA to dire...
Superfund: Information on Cost and Other Issues Related to the Cleanup of the Federal Creosote Site
GAO-10-277: Published: Feb 25, 2010. Publicly Released: Mar 29, 2010.
In the 1990s, creosote was discovered under a residential neighborhood in Manville, New Jersey. Creosote, a mixture of chemicals, is used to preserve wood products, such as railroad ties. Some of the chemicals in creosote may cause cancer, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). EPA found that creosote from a former wood-treatment facility (known as the Federal Creosote site) had c...
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...
Hazardous Materials: EPA May Need to Reassess Sites Receiving Asbestos-Contaminated Ore from Libby, Montana, and Should Improve Its Public Notification Process
GAO-08-71: Published: Oct 12, 2007. Publicly Released: Oct 12, 2007.
Between 1923 and the early 1990s, a mine near Libby, Montana, shipped millions of tons of asbestos-contaminated vermiculite ore to sites throughout the United States. In 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began to clean up asbestos contamination at the Libby mine and evaluate those sites that received the ore to determine if they were contaminated. Under Superfund program regulations...
Environmental Protection: EPA-State Enforcement Partnership Has Improved, but EPA's Oversight Needs Further Enhancement
GAO-07-883: Published: Jul 31, 2007. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 2007.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enforces the nation's environmental laws through its Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance (OECA). OECA sets overall enforcement policies and through its 10 regions oversees state agencies authorized to implement environmental programs consistent with federal requirements. GAO was asked to (1) identify trends in federal resources to regions and st...
Perchlorate: EPA Does Not Systematically Track Incidents of Contamination
GAO-07-797T: Published: Apr 25, 2007. Publicly Released: Apr 25, 2007.
Perchlorate has been used for decades by the Department of Defense, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the defense industry in manufacturing, testing, and firing missiles and rockets. Other uses include fireworks, fertilizers, and explosives. Perchlorate is readily dissolved and transported in water and has been found in groundwater, surface water, and soil across the country....
Leaking Underground Storage Tanks: EPA Should Take Steps to Better Ensure the Effective Use of Public Funding for Cleanups
GAO-07-152: Published: Feb 8, 2007. Publicly Released: Feb 22, 2007.
Underground storage tanks that leak hazardous substances can contaminate nearby groundwater and soil. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), tank owners and operators are primarily responsible for paying to clean up releases from their tanks. They can demonstrate their financial responsibility by using, among other options, publicly funded state financial assurance funds. Such fu...
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...
Environmental Protection: More Complete Data and Continued Emphasis on Leak Prevention Could Improve EPA's Underground Storage Tank Program
GAO-06-45: Published: Nov 30, 2005. Publicly Released: Nov 30, 2005.
Leaking underground storage tanks that contain hazardous products, primarily gasoline, can contaminate soil and groundwater. To address this problem, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), under its Underground Storage Tank (UST) Program, required tank owners to install leak detection equipment and take measures to prevent leaks. In 1986, the Congress created a federal trust fund to assist sta...
Environmental Contamination: DOD Has Taken Steps to Improve Cleanup Coordination at Former Defense Sites but Clearer Guidance Is Needed to Ensure Consistency
GAO-03-146: Published: Mar 28, 2003. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 2003.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) is in charge of addressing cleanup at the more than 9,000 U.S. properties that were formerly owned or controlled by the Department of Defense (DOD) and have been identified as potentially eligible for environmental cleanup. The Corps has determined that more than 4,000 of these properties have no hazards that require further Corps study or cleanup action. H...