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Section 1: Regulatory Context of the HRS

Section 105(a)(8)(B) of CERCLA, as amended, requires that the statutory criteria provided by the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) be used to prepare a list of national priorities among the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States. The list, which is Appendix B of the NCP, is the National Priorities List (NPL).

The HRS is the primary tool that EPA uses to place sites on the NPL. As a part of the Superfund cleanup process, the NPL is primarily to serve as an information and management tool. The identification of a site for the NPL is intended primarily to guide EPA in:

  • determining which sites warrant further investigation to assess the nature and extent of the human health and environmental risks associated with a site;
  • identifying what CERCLA-financed remedial actions may be appropriate;
  • notifying the public of sites EPA believes warrant further investigation; and
  • serving notice to potentially responsible parties that the EPA may initiate CERCLA-financed remedial action.

Inclusion of a site on the NPL does not in itself reflect a judgment of the activities of its owner or operator, it does not require those persons to undertake any action, nor does it assign liability to any person. The NPL serves primarily informational purposes, identifying for the States and the public those sites or other releases that appear to warrant remedial actions.

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