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INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF CERCLA FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP PROJECTS USDA FOREST SERVICE Grants and Agreements Workshop February 28, 2002 Great Falls,

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Presentation on theme: "INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF CERCLA FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP PROJECTS USDA FOREST SERVICE Grants and Agreements Workshop February 28, 2002 Great Falls,"— Presentation transcript:

1 INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF CERCLA FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CLEANUP PROJECTS USDA FOREST SERVICE Grants and Agreements Workshop February 28, 2002 Great Falls, Montana

2 To present a general overview of the use of the CERCLA process by the USDA Forest Service to conduct environmental site assessments and response actions for the cleanup of contamination caused by hazardous substances and pollutants. PURPOSE OF THE PRESENTATION

3 ORGANIZATION OF THE PRESENTATION Section 1 – Introduction: History and USDA Forest Service Use of CERCLA Section 2 – USDA Forest Service CERCLA Process Section 3 – Types of Sites and Field Activities Section 4 – Coordination Between USDA Forest Service and Partners

4 SECTION 1 INTRODUCTION: HISTORY AND USDA FOREST SERVICE USE OF CERCLA

5 PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION To describe the CERCLA process. To explain why the USDA Forest Service uses CERCLA for site assessment and response actions for environmental cleanup activities. Section 1 - Introduction

6 WHAT IS CERCLA? CERCLA is the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, passed by Congress in Purpose is to identify and clean up releases of hazardous substances. Requirements defined in the National Contingency Plan (NCP). The terms “CERCLA” and “Superfund” are commonly interchanged. Introduction

7 WHAT IS THE GOAL OF THE FOREST SERVICE IN USING CERCLA? Introduction A goal defined in the USDA Forest Service Strategic Plan is to “Improve and protect watershed conditions to provide the water quality... necessary to support ecological functions and intended beneficial water uses”. To achieve this, the Forest Service CERCLA program cleans up hazardous substances from abandoned mine lands and other sites to protect human health and the environment (such as watershed soil, water, and vegetation)

8 WHAT IS THE FOREST SERVICE AUTHORITY FOR USING CERCLA? Authority delegated to Secretary of Agriculture through Executive Orders (E.O.) and This E.O authority has been delegated to the Regional Foresters. The Secretary has delegated the authorities under E.O to the Director of USDA’s Hazardous Materials Management Group, to be exercised with the Chief of the Forest Service, and with the concurrence of the USDA Office of the General Counsel. The Forest Service is the Lead Agency for CERCLA actions on lands that it administers (except for emergency cleanups, and for NPL sites). For NPL sites involving Forest Service lands, the Forest Service works with EPA to define each agency’s responsibilities and authorities. Introduction

9 WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS FOR THE FOREST SERVICE IN USING CERCLA? Clearly defined and widely known administrative process. Legally defensible and EPA-accepted standards for sampling and analysis. Documenting all costs and activities. Documenting the decision-making process. Involving the community, state, and other partners in the decision- making process. CERCLA provides a legal and widely accepted framework within which to identify and involve Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs). Introduction

10 SECTION 2 USDA FOREST SERVICE CERCLA PROCESS

11 PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION To present the administrative CERCLA process used by the USDA Forest Service. Section 2 - USDA Forest Service CERCLA Process

12 USDA Forest Service CERCLA Process Report to National Response Center RI/FS and Risk Assessment conducted, Community Relations Plan implemented Response Action Inventory of sites completed 12/31/98 Qualifies for National Priorities List (NPL)? Release of Reportable Quantity (RQ)? FS determines type of action required 2- Forest Service policy is for viable PRPs, if they exist, to conduct field activities under FS oversight. Characterization of site (may include PA) Release below RQ, or threat of release? FS initiates CERCLA Preliminary Assessment (PA) Site Inspection (SI) and Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) Search conducted 2 HRS score calculated Removal Design Action Memo EE/CA conducted Community Relations Plan implemented Action Memo Response Action Record of Decision(ROD) Remedial Design No further action or action under FS authority Forest Service is Lead Agency EPA is Lead Agency EPA is Lead Agency for NPL sites. For non-NPL, FS and EPA may develop IAG or MOU to designate responsibilities Color Code 1- Mine sites are not eligible for listing on Docket. EPA places site on Docket 1 ? No Yes No Yes No FS determines no action necessary No Action Alternative chosen in EE/CA Non-Time Critical Removal Action Time Critical Removal Action Remedial Action Response Action chosen in EE/CA

13 SECTION 3 TYPES OF SITES AND FIELD ACTIVITIES

14 PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION To explain what work will occur in the field, what its impact will be, and who may be doing it and paying for it. Section 3 – Types of Sites and Field Activities

15 WHAT TYPES OF SITES ARE EVALUATED IN THE FOREST SERVICE CERCLA PROGRAM? The vast majority of sites evaluated under the program are abandoned mines. Other types of sites include: Landfills, open dumps, and other waste disposal areas lumber treatment sites leaking underground storage tanks other miscellaneous sites Types of Sites and Field Activities

16 WHAT TYPES OF SITES ARE EVALUATED IN THE FOREST SERVICE CERCLA PROGRAM? The types of environmental issues typically associated with these sites are: Acid mine drainage Groundwater and surface water contamination Surface exposure of contaminated waste rock and tailings Erosion of waste rock and tailings into the watershed Habitat degradation Impacts to plants, animals, and fish Threats to human health and safety Types of Sites and Field Activities

17 WHAT TYPE OF WORK TYPICALLY HAPPENS ON THE GROUND? Sampling Removal of chemicals Construction of fences and signs Regrading soil Removal of contaminated mine tailings, soil and/or sediment Consolidation of mine tailings, contaminated soil, and waste rock in a repository Construction of water treatment systems Revegetation and habitat reconstruction Long-term monitoring and maintenance, if hazardous substances have been left on the site. Types of Sites and Field Activities

18 WHAT TYPE OF RESPONSE ACTIONS ARE AVAILABLE TO DEAL WITH THE CONTAMINATION? The typical range of possible response actions includes: No Action Institutional controls Site access restrictions Sampling and monitoring Hazardous waste and chemical removal Contaminated soil and mine tailings removal Source control Onsite soil, water, or waste treatment Offsite waste disposal at a permitted facility Types of Sites and Field Activities

19 WHO WILL BE DOING THE WORK? Cleanup work will be conducted by a viable PRP, if available. The PRP will likely hire environmental consulting and remediation contractors. If no viable PRP is identified, the Forest Service may hire its own environmental consultants and contractors. Field activities will be overseen for technical quality, schedule, and cost control by Forest Service On-Scene Coordinators (OSCs) and state and federal regulators. Types of Sites and Field Activities

20 WHO WILL BE PAYING FOR THE WORK? The cleanup will be either conducted by the PRP, or the PRP will provide the funding through a negotiated settlement. If no viable PRP is identified, work will be conducted using federal government funds. In some cases, funding arrangements may be made with EPA, states, local governments, or private entities. Types of Sites and Field Activities

21 SECTION 4 COORDINATION BETWEEN USDA FOREST SERVICE AND PARTNERS

22 PURPOSE OF THIS SECTION To describe how the Forest Service will work with other government agencies, the public, PRPs, and environmental groups during the CERCLA process. Section 4 - Coordination Between USDA Forest Service and Partners

23 COORDINATION WITH PRPs A PRP Search will be conducted for all sites. PRP Search will typically consist of a review of all available records and mailing of 104(e) letters. The Forest Service will work cooperatively with PRPs to arrange for site cleanup under Forest Service oversight. If a viable PRP chooses not to conduct or fund the cleanup, the Forest Service will evaluate options to compel participation, including a possible enforcement order under CERCLA Section 106. Coordination Between USDA Forest Service and Partners

24 COORDINATION WITH REGULATORS Throughout the CERCLA process, the regulations and guidance which will be followed by the Forest Service include: Following the NCP Using national and regional EPA guidance documents Using EPA and state standards to define cleanup levels Following EPA and state regulations for waste characterization and disposal. Complying with OSHA’s 29 CFR and other requirements for site worker protection. Coordination Between USDA Forest Service and Partners

25 COORDINATION WITH REGULATORS Some regulations are not required to be followed by a federal agency conducting a CERCLA project, including: Permits are generally not required for CERCLA actions National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analysis is not required for CERCLA projects. These exceptions do not mean that the Forest Service can ignore the substantive requirements of the permits or NEPA. It has been determined that, when the CERCLA process is followed, it accomplishes the same goals as permits and NEPA documentation, so these would be redundant. Coordination Between USDA Forest Service and Partners

26 COORDINATION WITH REGULATORS Ways in which the Forest Service will seek to work with regulators and co-trustees include: Negotiating Memorandums of Agreement (MOAs) or other agreements with regulators and other natural resource trustees to establish sampling and analysis requirements, the review process, cleanup standards, and work schedules. Provide workplans and reports to regulators for review and comment. Coordination Between USDA Forest Service and Partners

27 COORDINATION WITH LOCAL COMMUNITY AND OTHER PARTNERS The community which with the Forest Service will seek to work includes: State governments Local governments and residents Tribal governments Environmental organizations Anyone else with a vested interest in the conduct and outcome of a CERCLA site investigation. Coordination Between USDA Forest Service and Partners

28 The Forest Service will follow the NCP requirements for Community Relations activities, which include: Conducting community interviews Developing a Community Relations Plan Developing fact sheets, newsletters, and/or holding public meetings. Providing a public review period for decision documents Establishing and maintaining an Administrative Record File (ARF) Additional activities can be tailored depending on the level of public interest and sensitivity of the site. Coordination Between USDA Forest Service and Partners COORDINATION WITH LOCAL COMMUNITY AND OTHER PARTNERS


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