Hazardous Waste

Improvements Needed in DOD's Contracting System for Disposal of Waste Gao ID: NSIAD-91-131 August 6, 1991

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO determined whether the Department of Defense (DOD) adequately ensured: (1) the capability of transportation and disposal contractors; and (2) that hazardous waste generated by DOD installations reached the proper disposal site.

GAO found that: (1) DOD installations arrange for the disposal of certain types of waste, and the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMS) competitively procures contracts on behalf of installations for the disposal of remaining waste; (2) while DRMS has not experienced significant problems with most contracts, some of the small business contractors encountered performance or financial difficulties that resulted in contract defaults; (3) to avoid such defaults, DRMS planned to make experience a technical factor in solicitations, reduce the scope of work awarded to small businesses, and form a review team to assess and resolve issues before determining bidder responsibility; (4) environmental legislation and courts have held DOD liable for contractors' mishandling of hazardous waste; (5) neither DRMS nor the DOD installations verified contractors' documentation regarding the arrival of waste at disposal facilities; (6) some contractors stored waste at interim facilities until they had a sufficient quantity for transportation and disposal, and some installations did not know where their hazardous waste was or what was being done with it; (7) neither DRMS nor the installations routinely performed on-site audits to ensure proper waste handling and disposal, and DRMS typically audited contractors only when it identified discrepancies; and (8) the Environmental Protection Agency and states varied in their monitoring of hazardous waste transportation and disposal contractors.


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