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Highlights

When the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was enacted, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was directed to develop regulations governing hazardous waste facilities. After much delay, EPA finally issued interim status requirements outlining minimum national requirements. GAO was requested to determine: (1) the extent to which facilities with interim status meet the EPA requirements; (2) whether the requirements developed by EPA are sufficient to protect the public health and welfare; and (3) how effectively and thoroughly EPA is monitoring and enforcing these requirements. The review focused on activities performed by EPA and six selected states.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Environmental Protection Agency 1. The Administrator of EPA should direct that additional follow-up be made to identify that all facilities subject to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and that treat, store, or dispose of hazardous waste are included in the interim status control program.
Closed - Not Implemented
EPA does not intend to take action; it believes that adequate followup had been performed prior to the recommendation.
Environmental Protection Agency 2. The Administrator of EPA should direct that additional review be made of the interim status application data provided by the facilities and, where necessary, clarifying information be obtained to identify facilities warranting additional investigative effort.
Closed - Not Implemented
EPA stated that application data were never intended to identify facilities warranting additional investigative effort.
Environmental Protection Agency 3. The Administrator of EPA should direct that a determination be made as to the additional staffing needs, if any, for the interim status program and that options be developed as to how such staff can be obtained.
Closed - Not Implemented
EPA does not plan to take action; it believes that adequate staffing and priority have been provided to the program.
Environmental Protection Agency 4. The Administrator of EPA should direct that increased emphasis be placed on enforcement efforts including emphasis on technical violations at interim status facilities so that assurances can be provided that hazardous waste facilities meet at least minimum national requirements for hazardous waste management.
Closed - Not Implemented
EPA does not plan to take action; it believes that high priority attention has been given to enforcement efforts under the interim status program.
Environmental Protection Agency 5. The Administrator of EPA should direct that the level of inspections needed for full implementation of the EPA enforcement role and the necessary staff assistance to carry out the enforcement role be determined.
Closed - Not Implemented
EPA does not intend to take action; it believes that adequate staffing and priority have been provided to the inspection program.

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