Significant limitations with currently available remedial
technologies persist that make achievement of MCLs throughout the
aquifer unlikely at most complex groundwater sites in a time frame
of 50-100 years. Furthermore, future improvements in these
technologies are likely to be incremental, such that long-term
monitoring and stewardship at sites with groundwater contamination
should be expected.
This is, to put it bluntly, not a surprise. How many
practitioners have worked on sites where the remedy is expected to
take more than 100 years? Sadly, I know I have.
According to the Daily Environment Report, Michael Kavanaugh,
chair of the committee that wrote the report, believes that
"this finding needs to inform decision making at these complex
sites." We'll see about that. I'm skeptical that
EPA or Congress will be listening.
Arguably, the most important recommendation made in the report
If the effectiveness of site remediation reaches a point of
diminishing returns prior to reaching cleanup goals and
optimization has been exhausted, the transition to monitored
natural attenuation or some other active or passive management
should be considered using a formal evaluation. This transition
assessment would determine whether a new remedy is warranted at the
site or whether long-term management is appropriate.
PRPs have been making this argument for years, and it has
largely fallen on deaf ears at EPA. Given that the report
notes that the cost to complete cleanup at these sites exceeds $100
billion, isn't it time we started asking ourselves whether this
is money well-spent?
(FYI, the link above is to a free pre-publication copy. You
can purchase the final report here.)
To view Foley Hoag's Law and the Environment Blog
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Ten years after adopting the nation's first program to reduce statewide GHG emissions, California is doubling its GHG emission reduction goals while adopting new measures to reduce short-lived climate pollutants.
On August 1, 2016, maximum civil penalties imposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) increased significantly pursuant to interim final rules these agencies published to implement a little-observed statute called the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustments Act Improvements Act of 2015.
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).