Hazardous Waste:

Future Availability of and Need for Treatment Capacity Are Uncertain

RCED-88-95: Published: Apr 11, 1988. Publicly Released: May 12, 1988.


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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the barriers facing the development of treatment facilities as alternatives to land disposal of hazardous wastes.

GAO found that: (1) companies were reluctant to build treatment facilities because the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has not established treatment standards; (2) perceived local community opposition to hazardous waste treatment facilities was a significant barrier to the development of new facilities; and (3) the cost and the length of time to apply for a permit deterred new development. GAO also found that: (1) in order to remove some of these barriers, EPA has proposed regulatory changes to allow permit holders to increase their treatment capacity levels by about 25 percent without undergoing any rigorous review; and (2) it would be premature to consider extending congressional deadlines before EPA sets its treatment standards.

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