Hazardous Waste:

Compliance With Groundwater Monitoring Requirements at Land Disposal Facilities

RCED-95-75BR: Published: Feb 7, 1995. Publicly Released: Mar 9, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) groundwater monitoring requirements for hazardous waste land disposal facilities, focusing on the number of facilities that: (1) are subject to groundwater monitoring requirements; (2) have monitoring systems in place; (3) have released pollutants into the underlying groundwater; (4) have initiated corrective actions; and (5) have been issued citations for groundwater monitoring violations.

GAO found that: (1) of the 1,209 facilities reviewed, about 976 had monitoring systems capable of immediately detecting groundwater releases, 169 had some monitoring wells that were not capable of detecting a release, and 54 had no monitoring wells in place; (2) of the 890 facilities where releases occurred, about 608 had groundwater monitoring systems capable of determining the rate and extent of migration and the concentrations of hazardous waste in groundwater, 260 facilities had some monitoring wells that were not capable of fully assessing groundwater releases, and 15 facilities had no wells; (3) there was incomplete data on the capability of groundwater monitoring systems at 7 facilities; (4) all facilities were not required to assess releases into the groundwater; (5) 606 facilities have initiated corrective actions to prevent further groundwater contamination and 261 facilities have not initiated any corrective actions; (6) since October 1989, 650 of the 1,209 facilities have been cited for groundwater monitoring violations; (7) the most frequent types of monitoring violations cited were sampling and analysis violations; and (8) as of September 1993, 211 of the 650 facilities were not in compliance with EPA regulations.

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