Hazardous Waste Sites Pose Investigation, Evaluation, Scientific, and Legal Problems

Gao ID: CED-81-57 April 24, 1981

Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a mandate to: (1) discover, investigate, evaluate, and respond to uncontrolled hazardous waste sites; (2) perform hazardous waste research; and (3) seek solutions to hazardous waste problems and, if necessary, file suit in federal courts.

EPA has had difficulty in fulfilling its mandate because: (1) site investigation and evaluation activities lag behind an ever-increasing number of potential sites requiring investigation and evaluation; (2) the capabilities to identify and analyze hazardous waste and understand the real or potential risk are limited by both cost and scientific knowledge; and (3) federal enforcement efforts have been limited by both the resources available to demonstrate potential harm in a case and by the need to identify potentially viable defendents to pay for remedial measures or cleanup costs.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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