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Round 3

EPA's Administrator introduced the third and final round of Superfund Reforms in October 1995. Through a group of 20 initiatives, this round took a "common sense" approach to reform and targeted the concerns of diverse stakeholders.

Reform 3-1a: Establish National Remedy Review Board

EPA established a national review board composed of senior Agency experts to review and analyze proposed site-specific cleanup strategies.

Reforms 3-1b: Establish New Remedy Selection Management Flags

EPA developed remedy selection rules to promote cost-effectiveness and consistency, and to flag potentially "controversial" cleanup decisions for senior management review.

Reform 3-2: Update Remedy Decisions at Select Sites

EPA encourages the Regions to revisit remedy decisions at certain sites where significant new scientific information, technological advancements, or other considerations will allow the current level of protectiveness of human health and the environment to be achieved in a more cost-effective manner.

Reform 3-3a: Clarify the Role of Cost in the Remedy Selection Process

This reform clarifies the role of cost in developing cleanup options and selecting remedies as established in existing law, regulation, and policy.

Reform 3-3b: Directive on National Consistency in Remedy Selection

This directive emphasizes the critical importance of national consistency in the Superfund remedy selection process, and encourages program managers to make full use of existing tools and consultation opportunities to promote such consistency.

Reform 3-4: Clarify Information Regarding Remedy Selection Decisions

The goal of this reform is to design a tool for clearly presenting, in a standardized format, the context, basis, and rationale for site-specific Superfund remedy selection decisions. Originally conceived of as a summary sheet, the final product of this reform will be a comprehensive guidance document on preparing Superfund decision documents.

Reform 3-5a: Community Participation in Designing Risk Assessments

At Superfund sites, EPA solicits early stakeholder input to identify and make consistent use of current information about the site and site contaminants. As part of this reform initiative, EPA is creating a reference document to support public participation in the risk assessment process, which should result in better risk management decisions.

Reform 3-5b: PRP Performance of Risk Assessments

By revising policy and creating new guidance, this initiative expands and enhances the ability of potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to perform risk assessments at approved sites.

Reform 3-6a: Establish National Criteria on Superfund Risk Assessments

EPA developed new guidance that establishes national criteria for the Regions to plan, report, and review risk assessments to ensure that risk assessments are well scoped and well designed, use a standard presentation format, and are easier to review by decision makers at Superfund sites.

Reform 3-6b: Standardize Risk Assessments

This initiative improves current risk assessment guidance to ensure quality, consistency, and reliability, and to promote greater community involvement in designing risk assessments.

Reform 3-6c: Utilize Expert Workgroup on Lead

EPA has established an expert workgroup to standardize risk assessment approaches for lead-contaminated Superfund sites, and provide advice to Regional risk assessors and site managers.

Reform 3-7: Establish Lead Regulator for Federal Facilities

To eliminate overlap and duplication of effort, EPA developed guidance to establish a lead regulator at each site undergoing cleanup activities under competing Federal and State authorities.

Reform 3-8: Consider Response Actions Prior to NPL Listing

This initiative ensures that response actions taken up to the time of listing are considered in the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) score, which is used to determine whether a site qualifies for the National Priorities List (NPL).

Reform 3-9: Delete Clean Parcels from the NPL

EPA will delete portions of sites from the NPL that have been cleaned up and are available for productive use.

Reform 3-10a: Promote Risk-Based Priority Setting at Federal Facility Sites

EPA is developing guidance to address the role of risk and other factors in setting priorities at Federal facility sites.

Reform 3-10b: Promote Risk-Based Priority for NPL Sites

EPA has established a National Risk-Based Priority Panel to evaluate the priority order of NPL sites.

Reform 3-11: Orphan Share Compensation

To reward cooperative parties and reduce litigation, EPA compensates parties for a limited portion of the costs attributable to insolvent parties (i.e., the orphan share) at sites where parties agree to perform the cleanup.

Reform 3-12: Site-Specific Special Accounts

EPA directs settlement funds designated for future site costs to be placed in site-specific accounts and ensures that interest earned on those funds is credited to the accounts.

Reform 3-13: Equitable Issuance of Unilateral Administrative Orders (UAOs)

This reform is designed to ensure that UAOs are issued equitably to appropriate parties following consideration of the party's liability, their financial viability, and their contribution to the site. EPA anticipates that this will increase the likelihood of settlements and reduce private party litigation.

Reform 3-14: Revised De Micromis Guidance

This reform is intended to improve EPA's ability to resolve very small volume waste contributors' (i.e., de micromis) liability concerns quickly and fairly.

Reform 3-15: Adopting Private Party Allocations

In order to reduce transaction costs, EPA has committed to adopt private party allocations (including those that identify an orphan share) as the basis for settlement, where such allocations are approved by EPA.

Reform 3-16: Reduced Oversight for Capable and Cooperative PRPs

This initiative encourages Regions to acknowledge PRPs that consistently perform high quality work by significantly reducing or tiering oversight, thereby reducing transaction costs.

Reform 3-17: Pilot Remedy Selection by Selected States and Tribes

This initiative implements a process whereby qualified States and Tribes are empowered to select remedies at certain Superfund sites, consistent with applicable law and regulations governing cleanups.

Reform 3-18: Pilot Community-Based Remedy Selection Process

EPA is exploring the use of more "consensus-based" approaches that involve community stakeholders in the Superfund remedy selection process.

Reform 3-19: Establish Superfund Ombudsman in Every Region

This initiative established an Ombudsman in each Region to serve as a point of contact for the public and to help resolve stakeholder concerns.

Reform 3-20: Improve Communication with Superfund Stakeholders

This initiative utilizes electronic tools (such as the Internet, multimedia computers, and other electronic means) to both increase communication among all Superfund stakeholders and improve access to Superfund information.

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