Civilian Federal Agencies Slow To Clean Up Hazardous Waste

RCED-87-153: Published: Jul 24, 1987. Publicly Released: Aug 28, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the status of 11 civilian federal agencies' efforts to identify, assess, evaluate, and clean up hazardous waste sites.

GAO found that: (1) about 70 percent of the 1,882 potential hazardous waste sites identified as of September 1986 were at the Department of Energy's nuclear materials and weapons facilities and research laboratories; (2) the Department of the Interior identified the second largest number, consisting of landfills, dumps, and old mining sites; (3) the other agencies' sites included maintenance and repair facilities and research laboratories; (4) only four of the agencies completed site identification efforts; and (5) although none of the agencies had completed their assessments, all but two believed that they would meet the 1988 congressional deadline. GAO also found that: (1) the number of sites requiring cleanup will increase; (2) agencies cleaned up 78 of the 511 identified hazardous waste sites; and (3) agencies could not predict when they would complete their cleanup efforts or how much those efforts would cost.

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