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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) completed Superfund hazardous waste cleanup actions, focusing on the: (1) type and extent of actions taken at those sites; and (2) challenges EPA will face in managing and monitoring these sites.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Environmental Protection Agency 1. To more accurately reflect the extent to which cleanup levels have been achieved at Superfund sites, the Administrator, EPA, should modify the classification of construction-complete and deleted sites to identify sites according to whether they have achieved their objectives of protecting human health and the environment and have been deleted or are awaiting deletion from the National Priorities List, required no removal or remedial action, or will require long-term efforts to achieve their cleanup objectives.
Closed - Implemented
EPA has begun to identify "long-term remedial actions" in its Federal Register announcements of construction-complete sites. Although this action was not the one GAO specifically recommended, it will identify those sites that EPA has labelled as construction complete even though significant work may remain to be done.
Environmental Protection Agency 2. To address the challenges of increasing resource demands to clean up Superfund sites and plan for potential resource requirements at the federal and state level, the Administrator, EPA, should conduct additional studies to estimate the long-term cost to EPA of monitoring and inspecting construction-complete and deleted sites and the cost to states of operating and maintaining these sites.
Closed - Implemented
EPA prepared a study forecasting future operations and maintenance costs. EPA released the final version of this report in June 1995.

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