Hazardous Waste:

Enforcement of Certification Requirements for Land Disposal Facilities

RCED-87-60BR: Published: Jan 27, 1987. Publicly Released: Feb 26, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO evaluated the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) enforcement of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's certification requirements for owners of hazardous waste land disposal facilities operating under interim status.

GAO found that EPA: (1) targeted facilities for priority inspection or review on the basis of indications that the facilities might have certified falsely; (2) did not close facilities considered to be out of compliance if technical complexities made it difficult to prove that a violation existed, the violation was minor, or if EPA or the state had erroneously informed the facility that it was in compliance prior to its certification; (3) targeted noncertifying facilities for priority inspection when it suspected that they were operating illegally; (4) generally performed site visits to determine whether noncertifying facilities had ceased operating; (5) regional office criteria for targeting facilities were reasonable; and (6) assessed penalties and took actions to close some of the noncertifying facilities that continued to operate, and planned action against the others. GAO also found that: (1) EPA closure activities include removing waste, capping disposal facilities, and decontaminating the equipment used to close the facility; (2) actual closure progress was far behind the EPA regulatory timetable; and (3) EPA estimated that closure work would continue into 1990.

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