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.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|
|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.|