Superfund:

How States Establish and Apply Environmental Standards When Cleaning Up Sites

RCED-96-70FS: Published: Mar 20, 1996. Publicly Released: Apr 9, 1996.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on how states establish and apply environmental standards when cleaning up Superfund sites, focusing on whether states: (1) base their standards on human health risks; and (2) provide flexibility so that the level of cleanup can be adjusted according to the extent of contamination.

GAO found that: (1) 20 of the 21 states reviewed base their hazardous waste site standards on the danger posed to human health, and the cost and technical feasibility of achieving them; (2) states base their groundwater standards on existing federal drinking water standards; (3) when states set their environmental standards at levels other than the federal limit, they tend to be more stringent; (4) states provide more flexibility in adjusting the cleanup level when the cleanup involves soil pollution rather than groundwater pollution, in order to reflect a particular site's condition and health risk; (5) more than half of the states with soil standards regularly allow their cleanup levels to be adjusted for site-specific conditions; (6) less than one-fourth of the states with groundwater standards allow their cleanup levels to be adjusted; and (7) those states not allowing cleanup level adjustments view their groundwater as a potential source of drinking water and implement different standards, depending on the projected use of land or groundwater.

Mar 12, 2018

Feb 22, 2018

Jan 26, 2018

Jan 19, 2018

Jan 4, 2018

Dec 22, 2017

Dec 13, 2017

Nov 15, 2017

Nov 2, 2017

Oct 30, 2017

Looking for more? Browse all our products here