SARA Capacity Assurance:

Data Problems Underlying the 1989 State Assessments

T-PEMD-91-4: Published: May 2, 1991. Publicly Released: May 2, 1991.

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GAO discussed aspects of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) hazardous waste reporting system that were likely to affect the effectiveness of Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) capacity assurance assessments, focusing on the: (1) definitions of information requirements; (2) quality of measurement; and (3) data collection methods used. GAO noted that: (1) EPA systems and data were severely flawed and had major data gaps; (2) many of the system flaws were avoidable; (3) data collection methods made such problems as inaccurate population identification, inconsistent information, and quality control failures likely; (4) appropriate methodological revisions in the underlying system design could greatly improve the reliability of data produced by SARA capacity assessments; and (5) state capacity assurance plans revealed serious problems with data definition, measurement and data reliability, and validity and consistency, to the extent that they were practically unusable.

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