High Risk Series

Superfund Program Management Gao ID: HR-95-12 February 1, 1995

In 1990, GAO began a special effort to identify federal programs at high risk of waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement. GAO issued a series of reports in December 1992 on the fundamental causes of the problems in the high-risk areas. This report on Superfund program management is part of the second series that updates the status of this high-risk area. Readers have the following three options in ordering the high-risk series: (1) request any of the individual reports in the series, including the Overview (HR-95-1), the Guide (HR-95-2), or any of the 10 issue area reports; (2) request the Overview and the Guide as a package (HR-95-21SET); or (3) request the entire series as a package (HR-95-20SET).

GAO found that: (1) EPA has directed more funds to its hazardous waste cleanup efforts; (2) the administration has established a senior level task force to develop a prioritizing method based on risk for federal facility cleanups across agency lines; (3) EPA has initiated a process to recover past cleanup costs from responsible parties and plans to devote more resources to its cost recovery efforts among cleanup sites; (4) EPA needs to finalize a regulation to broaden the scope of indirect costs it can recover from responsible parties, establish specific goals for its cost recovery efforts, and improve its information systems; (5) EPA has strengthened its contract management, particularly by implementing new contractor indemnification guidelines and using independent government cost estimates and invoice reviews to control contractors' costs; (6) EPA needs to improve the thoroughness and timeliness of its contractor audits; and (7) EPA needs to use risk as a cleanup criterion for nonfederal sites, complete its inventory of federal sites for cleanup prioritization and funds allocation, and seek legislation to increase its interest rate on amounts owed for cleanups.

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