Hazardous Waste:

DOD's Efforts To Improve Management of Generation, Storage, and Disposal

NSIAD-86-60: Published: May 19, 1986. Publicly Released: May 19, 1986.

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GAO reviewed the Department of Defense's (DOD) progress in managing hazardous waste generation, storage, and disposal at its U.S. installations, specifically: (1) the extent to which the facilities are meeting hazardous waste requirements under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976; (2) the Defense Logistics Agency's effectiveness in disposing of waste and constructing storage facilities; and (3) DOD progress in reducing the volume of hazardous waste that requires disposal.

GAO noted that DOD: (1) gave its services, commands, and installation commanders the authority to achieve compliance under the act; (2) requires audits of installations' compliance; and (3) will measure the services' success in implementing DOD policies and programs. GAO found that: (1) over half the facilities and 90 percent of the generators inspected were not in compliance with the act; (2) some installations stored hazardous waste for too long because contractors did not pick up the waste in a timely fashion or defaulted on their contracts, or DOD failed to issue delivery orders; (3) construction of storage facilities is behind schedule; and (4) DOD is not operating waste treatment plants at full capacity.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: New DOD policy was issued and the guidelines are being implemented.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should monitor the implementation of the new policy to ensure that, in practice, it succeeds in providing the services, commands, and installations with the authority and flexibility needed to accomplish DOD goals, and the requirements of the act with regard to the generation, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste.

    Agency Affected: Department of Defense


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