Half the Sites Have All Cleanup Remedies in Place or Completed Gao ID: RCED-99-245 July 30, 1999

About half of the sites in the Superfund hazardous waste program either are cleaned up or have the remedies in place to achieve cleanup. Congress is now debating how much longer and how many more resources it will take to select remedies and complete cleanups at the remaining sites. This report determines (1) the status in the Superfund cleanup process of the sites on the Environmental Protection Agency's list of the nation's most hazardous sites and (2) for the sites GAO included in its review, what work had been accomplished, what work remains, and when the remaining work will be completed.

GAO noted that: (1) as of June 30, 1999, a majority of the 1,231 NPL sites had progressed to the later steps in the Superfund cleanup process; (2) at some 595 sites, the cleanup had been completed, all remedies were in place to achieve cleanup, or there was no further need for the site to be included on the NPL; (3) at another 424 sites, at least one of the remedies had been selected, was under way, or had been completed, according to EPA site managers; (4) at an additional 179 sites, no remedies had yet been selected; (5) however, managers reported that short-term cleanup actions had addressed some of the contamination at a majority of these sites; (6) at sites where cleanups were not complete, a significant amount of work had already been accomplished, and the remainder of the work was scheduled to be completed in the near future; (7) two-thirds of the remedies selected for the 609 sites in GAO's survey were under way or completed, the managers reported; (8) these remedies had already addressed large portions of the contaminated soil, solid material, and liquid wastes found at the sites; and (9) EPA expected to complete work for a majority of the planned or ongoing remedies for the 609 sites by 2002.

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