U.S. EPA Issues Guidance for Characterization and Remediation of Contaminated Sediment Sites

As reported in in the National Law Review, the U.S. EPA Office of Land and Emergency Management recently issued a Directive to Regional Administrators on the development, evaluation, selection, and implementation of response actions at contaminated sediment sites under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (“CERCLA”).

There are eleven recommendations in the Directive that supplement, but do not supersede, previous sediment site guidance documents issued by the U.S. EPA in 2002 and 2005.  The Directive draws upon the U.S. EPA’s experience at contaminated sediment sites to highlight the importance of risk reduction and adaptive management strategies in achieving remedial goals.  The U.S. EPA stresses its importance at sites with bioaccumulative contaminants where a response action is warranted in part because of risk to human health from consumption of fish or shellfish (i.e., PCBs, dioxins and furans, or methyl mercury).

Although the Directive is not legally binding, some of its recommendations may help achieve the dual goals of remedy effectiveness and cost-effectiveness, and consequently stakeholders at sediment sites should consider the Directive’s recommendations when preparing Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Studies or otherwise interacting with U.S. EPA.

 

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