Remedial Response Program

Investigates the nature and extent of historical hazardous waste releases in Ohio.

This program determines whether or not these potentially contaminated sites represent a risk to human health or the environment and whether they are safe for their intended uses. In cases where cleanup is necessary, the remedial response program identifies the preferred remedial alternative and oversees the cleanup. Releases from existing, operational facilities may be regulated by other divisions within Ohio EPA.

 

 

 



Database Request

Public Notices and Public Comment Periods

Cleanup Process

Remedial Response Program Cleanup Process

Background
Prior to the early 1960's, when Rachel Carson published the book Silent Spring, people and businesses were unaware of how dumping chemical wastes would affect public health and the environment. On thousands of properties where careless disposal practices were intensive or continuous, the result was uncontrolled releases to the environment that may have become abandoned hazardous waste sites and landfills. Following the environmental emergency in the late 1970's at the Love Canal area, concerned citizens led Congress to establish the Superfund program in 1980 to identify, investigate, and clean up these sites. U.S. EPA administers the Superfund program in cooperation with individual states and tribal governments. In Ohio, the Division of Emergency and Remedial Response (DERR), Remedial Response Program was created in the late 1980's to address such sites.

Ohio’s process to clean up sites is consistent with the process outlined in the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (40 CFR, Part 300), more commonly called the National Contingency Plan (NCP). The NCP is the federal government’s blueprint for responding to both spills and hazardous substance releases.

Site Discovery and Assessment
Ohio’s remedial response cleanup process begins with site discovery or notification of possible releases of hazardous substances to the environment. Sites are discovered by citizens and government agencies, including Ohio EPA and U.S. EPA. Potential sites are assessed to determine if a contaminant release has occurred at or from a property. The preliminary assessment includes an evaluation of readily available information to quickly identify the level of risk posed to public health and safety and the environment. This assessment helps identify whether additional investigation and/or an immediate response is warranted. The second phase of site assessment involves physical investigation. This investigation includes collecting and analyzing environmental and waste samples to determine what hazardous substances are present and whether they are in the soil, ground water, surface water bodies or sediments, or in the air. This assessment serves as a cursory evaluation of contaminant migration and exposure pathways (e.g., air, ground water, surface water, soil).

The relative potential of each new site to pose a threat to public health and safety and the environment is evaluated in comparison with the threats posed by other existing sources of contamination and a decision is made as to whether further investigation and cleanup are necessary. A site may be addressed through DERR’s Voluntary Action Program (VAP) if a volunteer completes work at an eligible property in accordance with the pertinent rules before Ohio EPA’s Director sends an enforcement letter. Sites that have been prioritized for action and have not received a Covenant Not To Sue pursuant to VAP rules are typically addressed through the remedial response cleanup process. U.S. EPA also has the option of pursuing cleanup at sites.

Invitation to Negotiate Directors Final Findings and Orders
Negotiation of Director’s Final Findings and Orders (orders) is initiated when the Director sends a letter identifying the threat caused by contaminant releases and inviting potentially responsible parties to negotiate orders to investigate and clean up these sites. The goal of initiating negotiations is to ensure a site clean up. Typically, clean up orders will require 1) an investigation of the extent of contamination, the rate of migration of contaminants, the risks posed by the contamination, and an evaluation of remedial action alternatives; 2) design of the selected remedial alternative, construction and operation and maintenance of the system; 3) both (1) and (2); or 4) implementation of an interim action that will address immediate threats (e.g., sites requiring, source removal, source containment, or elimination of direct exposure pathways). It is possible that an investigation order may include an interim action to address known threats of an imminent nature.

VAP Sufficient Evidence Demonstration
Ohio’s Voluntary Action Program is privatized and does not require that a volunteer notify Ohio EPA of its participation until the No Further Action letter has been completed by a certified professional and a decision has been made by the volunteer about whether to pursue a covenant not to sue from the Director. Therefore, Ohio EPA may issue an enforcement letter for a site that is participating in the VAP. If a volunteer is already addressing a site pursuant to the VAP rules, a response to the Director’s invitation (i.e., enforcement letter) to negotiate an order may be a demonstration that they are already conducting investigation and cleanup activities under the VAP. The demonstration must meet sufficient evidence rule requirements that the volunteer is addressing the threat(s) identified in the Director’s invitation. The Director makes the final determination as to whether a party has satisfactorily demonstrated that they were already in the VAP or not. Failure to make satisfactory progress in the VAP may result in a revocation of VAP eligibility and re-initiation of enforcement negotiations.

Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study
The Director typically invites PRPs to negotiate orders for remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) first. The purpose of the remedial investigation is to characterize the nature and extent of any releases or potential releases of contaminants at or from a site, assess potential risks to public health and safety and the environment posed by such releases, and collect the information needed to support the development and evaluation of cleanup alternatives. The purpose of the feasibility study is to develop and evaluate the cleanup alternatives and to provide the information necessary to select a formal site remedy. Portions of the remedial investigation and feasibility study are conducted concurrently to allow the information gathered during the remedial investigation to influence the development of cleanup alternatives, which in turn affects data needs and the scope of the remedial investigation.

Interim Actions
The Director also invites negotiation of orders for interim actions, which may be completed instead of or in association with orders for investigation and/or cleanup. Interim actions are focused, accelerated response actions designed to prevent, minimize, or mitigate a release or threatened release which, if not addressed, would likely result in or continue to present a substantial threat to public health and safety and the environment. They are generally taken in response to conditions which warrant a rapid response (e.g., a contaminated ground water plume threatening a municipal wellfield). Therefore, interim actions may not address all potential threats which may exist at a site.

Preferred Plans and Decision Documents
The Remedial Response Program uses the information collected during the RI/FS to develop a Preferred Plan for public comment. The Preferred Plan presents an evaluation of the cleanup alternative preferred by Ohio EPA. The following criteria are used to evaluate possible remediation alternatives: overall protection of human health and the environment, compliance with applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements; long-term effectiveness and permanence; reduction of toxicity, mobility and volume through treatment; short-term effectiveness; implementability; cost; and, community acceptance. The Preferred Plan also establishes the preliminary final remedial action objectives, which are specific goals for reducing the risks posed by a site.

Upon the completion of a 30-day public comment period and a public meeting, a Decision Document is prepared by the Remedial Response Program. The cleanup alternative selected in the Decision Document considers public comment, presents the selected cleanup action for a site, and describes the factors that led to its selection. The Decision Document is issued as a final action of the Director and may be appealed to the Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC).

Remedial Design/Remedial Action
After issuance of the Decision Document, responsible parties are invited to negotiate orders for remedial design/remedial action. These orders require responsible parties to design and implement a remedy compliant with the Decision Document, and include any needed operation and maintenance of systems after construction completion. Ohio EPA monitors compliance with performance standards to ensure no further clean up is needed to ensure protection of human health and the environment.

Institutional Controls
Many cleanup plans include site controls that are implemented through legal documents. These documents implement controls that help minimize the potential for exposure to contamination by ensuring appropriate land or resource use. In December 2004, Ohio enacted an environmental covenants act (Ohio Revised Code 5301.80 - 5301.92) to ensure the ability to implement and enforce institutional (land use) controls.

Superfund Cleanup Process

Authority for Investigation and Cleanup

Authority for Investigation and Cleanup

The Remedial Response Program relies on the authority vested in the Director of Ohio EPA through the Ohio Revised Code (ORC) to investigate and clean up historical hazardous waste releases. This authority includes:

There is hereby created the environmental protection agency, headed by the director of environmental protection. The agency, under the supervision of the director, shall administer the laws….The director may...enter into...agreements...in furtherance of the purposes of Chapters...3734...and 6111 of the Revised Code.

ORC 3734.13 – The director of environmental protection may issue, modify, suspend, or revoke enforcement orders in accordance with chapter 3745 of the Revised Code…directing the…person to abate a violation, or to prevent any threatened violation of any section of this chapter…

ORC 3734.20(A) – If the director of environmental protection has reason to believe that hazardous waste was treated, stored, or disposed at any location within the state, he may conduct such investigations and make such inquiries…as are reasonable or necessary to determine if conditions at a hazardous waste facility, solid waste facility or other location…constitute a substantial threat to public health or safety or are causing or contributing to or threatening to cause or contribute to air or water pollution or soil contamination. The director…may apply for…an appropriate search warrant necessary to achieve the purposes of this section within the court’s territorial jurisdiction.

ORC 3737.20(B) – If the director determines that conditions…constitute a substantial threat to public health or safety or are causing or contributing to or threatening to cause or contribute to air or water pollution or soil contamination, the director shall initiate appropriate action under this Chapter or Chapter 3704 or 6111 of the Revised Code or seek any other appropriate legal or equitable remedies to abate the pollution or contamination or to protect public health or safety. If an order of the director to abate or prevent air or water pollution or soil contamination or to remedy a threat to public health or safety…is not wholly complied with within the time prescribed in the order, the director…may enter upon the facility and perform measures necessary…

ORC 6111.03 – The director of environmental protection may…(A) develop plans and programs for the prevention, control, and abatement of new or existing pollution of waters of the state…(I) issue, modify, or revoke orders to prevent, control, or abate water pollution…

To address historical hazardous waste releases, the Remedial Response Program cites the above-mentioned ORC provisions in various sections of its orders. The National Contingency Plan (NCP), promulgated under Section 105 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) as amended, is cited in both the Definition and General Provisions sections of its orders. The NCP is also cited in generic statements of work attached to Remedial Response Program orders. The Remedial Response Program requires that work under its orders be completed in a manner consistent with the NCP in order to recover response and oversight costs under Section 107 of CERCLA.

Authorizing/Enforcement Actions

Authorizing and Enforcement Actions - Philosophy and Process

Ohio’s Remedial Response Program strives to take actions to address releases of contaminants and/or violations of environmental law at locations where the treatment, storage, and/or disposal of hazardous waste, and/or the discharge to waters of the state of industrial waste or other wastes have occurred. The action would include any other area where such hazardous wastes, industrial wastes, and/or other wastes have migrated or threaten to migrate.

The mechanism used by the Remedial Response Program to address releases of contaminants to the environment will be proportional to the situation and/or violation(s), take into consideration the responsible party’s compliance history, and ensure the action will be protective of human health and the environment. While each case is fact-specific, consistency is a factor in determining the action to be taken. The regulated community can expect a similar response to a comparable situation and/or violation(s), regardless of where it is in Ohio. An appropriate action, which may include a civil penalty, sends a message of deterrence to the regulated community.

A site may be referred for consideration of a cleanup action if the following activities have occurred: sufficient investigation to identify viable responsible parties; documentation of a disposal or discharge (i.e., release); identification of an environmental and/or human health harm caused by the release; and identification of an available technology with which to remedy the harm. There are a variety of enforcement tools available to Ohio EPA.

One option is to invite a responsible party to negotiate Consensual Director’s Final Findings and Orders (Consensual DFFOs). The director may send a responsible party proposed DFFOs that require them to conduct remedial investigations, develop feasibility studies, conduct interim actions, develop remedial designs, conduct remedial actions, and that allow Ohio EPA to recover past and future response costs for overseeing investigation and cleanup efforts at a site. A second option is to issue a Unilateral Director’s Final Findings and Orders (Unilateral DFFOs). A third option is to ask the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) to bring a civil or criminal action. These options are described in more detail below.

Consensual DFFOs: These DFFOs are considered authorizing actions and involve negotiations between Ohio EPA and the responsible party to reach agreement on the content of the consensual DFFOs. The generic scope of work attached to the these DFFOs may include any of the following: a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS); a remedial design and remedial action (RD/RA); or an interim action (IA) to control or remediate a source of contamination or other imminent threat to human health. DERR seeks to recover past and future response costs as part of the Consensual DFFOs and the responsible party waives its right to appeal the Consensual DFFOs. Consensual DFFOs are the preferred method of resolution when the responsible party is interested in reaching a settlement agreeable to both the PRP(s) and Ohio EPA.

Unilateral DFFOs: These DFFOs are considered an enforcement action and are issued as a final action of the director. They are generally used in a situation that poses an immediate threat to human health and the environment. Unilateral DFFOs may be issued when a responsible party refuses to negotiate consensual DFFOs and issuing an administrative order is a better alternative than referring the matter to the AGO for action. The responsible party does not negotiate these DFFOs.

Referral to the AGO: All referrals to the AGO are enforcement actions. Ohio EPA refers civil cases to the AGO when the responsible party involved has exhibited a history of recalcitrance, fails to reach agreement on Consensual DFFOs or has violated DFFOs. Ohio EPA refers all criminal cases to the AGO.

Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration

Natural Resource Damage Assessment & Restoration Program

Background
Natural resource injuries may occur at sites as a result of releases of hazardous substances or oil. Trustees use Natural Resource Damage Assessments (NRDA) to assess injury to natural resources held in the public trust. This is the initial step toward estimating natural resource damages and restoring injured resources and services and toward compensating the public for their loss.

Natural Resources
Both the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the Oil Pollution Act (OPA) define "natural resources" broadly to include: "land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies, and other such resources..." Both statutes limit "natural resources" to those resources held in trust for the public, termed “term resources”. While there are slight variations in their definitions, both CERCLA and OPA state that a "natural resource" is a resource "belonging to, managed by, held in trust by, appertaining to, or otherwise controlled by" the United States, any State, an Indian Tribe, a local government, or a foreign government.

Authority
CERCLA provides a comprehensive group of authorities focused on one main goal: to address any release, or threatened release, of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants that could endanger human health and/or the environment. The response provisions in CERCLA focus on the protection of human health and the environment. The statute also provides authority for assessment and restoration of natural resources that have been injured by a hazardous substance release or response.

OPA was enacted in reaction to the Exxon Valdez oil spill and provides authority for oil pollution liability and compensation as well as for the Federal government to direct and manage oil spill cleanups. Similar to CERCLA, OPA contains authorities to allow the assessment and restoration of natural resources that have been contaminated by the discharge, or threatened discharge, of oil.

Natural Resource Trustees
Under both CERCLA and OPA, responsibility for protection of natural resources falls with Federal, State, and Tribal Trustees. This is because no one individual "owns" a natural resource; rather, they are held in trust for the public.

Both CERCLA and OPA provide authority for designated Trustees to act as Natural Resource Trustees on behalf of the public. In both CERCLA and OPA, certain Federal, State, and Indian Tribe officials can be designated as Trustees.

The Director of Ohio EPA has been designated by the Governor (27 July 2007) as the natural resource Trustee for the State of Ohio. The Director as the Trustee for Ohio is authorized under CERCLA and OPA to assess natural resource injuries and recover the resulting damages for discharges of oil and releases of hazardous substances.

To meet these responsibilities, both statutes provide several mechanisms. The Trustees can either:

  • Sue in court to obtain compensation from the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) for NRD and the costs of assessment and restoration planning; or
  • Conduct assessments or restorations in accordance with certain standards specified by the Federal government and file a claim for reimbursement from the Trust Fund established under OPA; or
  • Participate in negotiations with PRPs to obtain PRP-financed or PRP-conducted assessments and restorations of NRD.

Ohio EPA’s Division of Emergency and Remedial Response (DERR) secured approval in October 2005 from the Director Ohio EPA to begin pursuing NRD claims. The NRDA process employed by DERR involves:

  • Integrated NRD - The integration of the NRDA into the remedial process (i.e., remedial investigation/feasibility study and remedial design/remedial action); or
  • Separate NRD – A negotiated NRDA settlement (between the Trustee(s) and the PRP(s) that may use less formal methods, or a formal NRDA conducted by the trustees using Department of the Interior (DOI), 43 CFR Part 11, to assess NRD under CERCLA.

While DERR encourages both cooperative assessments (between trustees, PRPs and the public) and streamlined damage settlements, it should be noted that the responsibility of developing a damage assessment and an initial proposal for settlement is that of the Trustee(s).

Natural Resource Damage Assessment
One of the primary responsibilities of Trustees under both CERCLA and OPA is to assess the extent of injury to a natural resource(s) and determine appropriate ways of restoring and compensating for that injury. A NRDA is the process of collecting, compiling, and analyzing information to make these determinations. Trustees use the methodologies prescribed by the Department of the Interior (DOI), 43 CFR Part 11, to assess NRD under CERCLA.

The overall intent of the assessment regulations is to determine appropriate restoration and compensation for injuries to natural resources. If a Federal or State Trustee goes into Federal court and sues a potentially responsible party (PRP) for NRD under CERCLA, an assessment done in accordance with the DOI regulations is given the force and effect of a "rebuttable presumption" [CERCLA §107(f)(2)(C).]

Natural Resource Damage Restoration
Under CERCLA, monies recovered from an NRD claim are to be used only for restoration or replacement of the injured natural resource, or for acquisition of an equivalent resource. Restoration actions are principally designed to return injured resources to baseline conditions, but may also compensate the public for the interim loss of injured resources from the onset of injury until baseline conditions are re-established. Restoration activities have been successfully completed at several sites. Natural Resource Trustees, with input from the public, are required to develop and implement plans for the restoration of natural resources.

Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirements (ARARs)

APPLICABLE OR RELEVANT AND APPROPRIATE REQUIREMENTS (ARARs)

Background
The requirement for identifying ARARs is established in Section 121 (d)(2)(A) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA), which states the following: “With respect to any hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant that will remain on-site, if – (i) any standard, requirement, criteria, or limitation under any Federal environmental law...; or (ii) any promulgated standard, requirement, or limitation under a State environmental or siting law that is more stringent than any Federal standard, requirement, criteria, or limitation ... and that has been identified ... in a timely manner, is legally applicable to the hazardous substance or pollutant or contaminant concerned or is relevant and appropriate under the circumstances of the release or threatened of such hazardous substance or pollutant or contaminant, the remedial action selected ... shall require, at the completion of the remedial action, a level or standard of control for such hazardous substance or pollutant or contaminant which at least attains such legally applicable or relevant or appropriate standard, requirement, criteria, or limitation.”

This section of CERCLA describes the process and standards to be used for selecting remedial actions at sites subject to CERCLA. Substantive requirements are either directly applicable or pulled from other regulatory programs (including state statutes) where they may be relevant to the circumstances. Ohio law does not include a parallel ARAR process; however, the Division of Emergency and Remedial Response’s (DERR) administrative orders for site cleanup require that remedial actions be undertaken in a manner consistent or not inconsistent with the National Contingency Plan (NCP, 40 CFR, Part 300). Therefore, in order to maintain consistency with the NCP, Ohio EPA follows the federal ARARs process. To view a list that includes state statutes and regulations that may be ARARs depending upon the specific circumstances at a DERR site, click here.

Determining ARARs In the Remedial Response Program
Applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements are those substantive requirements that pertain directly to actions or conditions at the site. A requirement is applicable if the specific requirement directly addresses the circumstances at a site. A requirement may be relevant and appropriate if circumstances at the site are similar to the problems or situations intended to be addressed by the requirement.

Applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements do not include administrative requirements that facilitate the implementation of the substantive requirements of a statute or regulation. Administrative requirements include: approvals; consultations; consultations with other administrative bodies; definitions; methodologies or criteria applicable only to the Agency or Director; and Director’s exemption or variance processes. In spite of a permit exemption under CERCLA law, there is no exemption under state law and it has been DERR’s policy to require responsible parties to acquire and comply with all necessary permits, including all substantive and administrative requirements.

Applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements can be statutory or regulatory and are not limited to Ohio EPA statutes or rules. For example, Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) establishes requirements for reclamation of surface mined areas. The practices of soil conservation and drainage control used for surface mines are relevant and appropriate to the large soil borrow areas that provide the soil used to cover landfills in DERR remedial sites. ODNR also has regulations for the construction of dams and levees that may be relevant and appropriate for DERR sites that involve containment of waste along riverbanks.

The following definitions are found in Section 300.5 of the NCP.

Applicable Requirements are defined as: Those cleanup standards, standards of control, and other substantive requirements, criteria, or limitations promulgated under federal environmental or state environmental or facility siting laws that specifically address a hazardous substance, pollutant, contaminant, remedial action, location, or other circumstance at a CERCLA site.

Relevant and Appropriate Requirements are defined as: Those cleanup standards, standards of control, and other substantive requirements, criteria, or limitations promulgated under federal environmental or state environmental or facility siting laws that, while not “applicable” to the hazardous substance, pollutant, contaminant, remedial action, location, or other circumstance at a CERCLA site, address problems or situations sufficiently similar to those encountered at the CERCLA site that their use is well suited to the particular site.

As discussed in the NCP at 55 FR 8741 (3/8/90), ARARs fall into three categories.

Chemical-Specific: These rules define permissible concentrations of chemicals for various environmental media, such as soil or ground water. They are generally based on health or risk based criteria. Some apply state-wide while others are based on site-specific calculations. Such quantities as the maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) for drinking water would be chemical specific ARARs. Calculated surface water discharge limits would be another ARAR of the chemical-specific type.

Action-Specific: These rules specify how a remedial alternative must be achieved. They are generally technology-based and apply to specific remedial approaches rather than to a site. An example of an action-specific ARAR would be the design specifications for a landfill cap. Construction of a cap may be one of several possible actions that could be selected for a remedial site. However, if indeed a cap was selected as the remedy, it would have to be constructed according to the Agency’s rules for caps at solid waste landfills. If another technique, such as land treatment was the remedy, it would also have to be implemented according to the relevant rules.

Location-Specific: These rules may require or restrict particular actions because of the site location, even if the same actions were acceptable elsewhere. An example is the location of a new solid or hazardous waste disposal cell constructed as a part of a remedial action. Such a cell would not be allowed over a high yield aquifer or adjacent to a water way. Another location-specific set of ARARs are the rules pertaining to jurisdictional wetlands. Those rules might impose the requirement for development of supplemental wetlands to compensate for those destroyed either by the original contamination or through the remedial activities. These same actions outside a wetland would impose no such requirements.

Risk Assessment

Risk Assessment

In Ohio, the Remedial Response Program was created by Ohio EPA to address uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. The process that the Remedial Response Program uses to clean up sites is consistent with the process outlined in the National Contingency Plan (NCP). The process begins with site discovery or notification of possible releases of hazardous substances. Upon discovery or notification, sites are assessed to determine if a release has occurred.

This assessment includes a preliminary phase in which readily available information about a site and its surroundings are collected to quickly identify the level of potential risk posed to public health and safety and the environment. This preliminary assessment helps identify whether additional investigation and/or an interim or emergency response is warranted. The second phase of site assessment involves physical investigation of a site. This includes the collection and analyses of environmental and waste samples to determine what hazardous substances are present, at what concentrations and in which media. The site assessment serves as a cursory evaluation of contaminant migration and exposure pathways (e.g., air, ground water, surface water, soil).

The next step in the process is the base-line risk assessment. A risk assessment uses information about a site to estimate a theoretical level of risk for people who might be exposed to site-related contamination. The information used in a risk assessment comes from scientific studies and environmental site data. The risk assessment provides an estimate of the potential adverse affects (cancer and non-cancer affects) to persons who could be exposed to hazardous materials present at a site.

A risk assessment is used to determine what levels of toxic substances at hazardous waste sites pose an unacceptable risk as defined by regulatory standards and requirements. Risk assessments are key for the Remedial Response Program to determine hazardous site cleanup strategies that will ensure overall protection of human health and the environment. Risk assessment information is used to decide what actions need to be taken to protect human health. For additional information click here: risk assessment.

Compliance Inspections at Remedial Response Sites

COMPLIANCE INSPECTIONS AT REMEDIAL RESPONSE SITES

Background
Periodic compliance inspections are conducted to confirm that remedial action performance standards are being met and to ensure that the integrity of remedies at sites are maintained by implementing routine operation and maintenance (O&M) activities.

Operation and maintenance may be required under the authority of Director’s Final Findings and Orders (Orders) for Remedial Design/Remedial Action, Interim Action, and O&M. In rare situations, a decision document may be issued that requires no engineering controls. Operation and maintenance may, for example, consist merely of ensuring continuing property use restrictions.

Periodic compliance inspections are conducted on an annual basis beginning one year after construction completion. The annual inspection frequency will be evaluated during each inspection. If a remedy continues to consistently meet the performance standards, then the inspection frequency may be reduced. Any change in Ohio EPA’s inspection schedule does not alleviate the responsible parties of their responsibility to implement their O&M Plan and scheduled inspections.

Inspection Procedures
The inspection focuses on the O&M components of the remedy. Typical inspection activities include:

  • Review of on-site operational logs and/or sampling records for compliance with any discharge permits;
  • Observation of general site conditions such as landscape, drainage, erosion, integrity of structures and fences and site security;
  • Inspection of all visible components of the remedial system such as wells, piping, treatment facilities, mechanical and electrical systems, equipment and any other engineering controls;
  • Documentation of the current condition of the remediation system(s) with photographs, sketches, videos, or other visual media; and
  • A determination that compliance with institutional controls is in place, including the documentation of current land use.

The inspection results in a determination that the remedial action is or is not in compliance with the Final Design, Director’s Orders, the O&M Plan, and/or performance standards. Compliance issues are identified as either minor or major non-compliance. Minor non- compliance is when a responsible party is continuing to meet performance standards, but is not complying with other parts of the approved O&M Plan. Major non-compliance is when a PRP is failing to meet remedial performance standards due to either remedy failure or a change in protectiveness.

Remedy failure occurs when a new remedy is required because the remedy in place is not meeting the performance standards or the design of the system cannot achieve the performance standards. A change in protectiveness occurs when the implemented remedial action is no longer protective of human health and the environment.

If the inspection reveals that a remedy has failed or that a change in protectiveness has occurred, the decision document (cleanup plan) is reviewed to determine if there is a contingent remedy. If a contingent remedy is included in the Decision Document, a decision is made as to whether it should be triggered. If a contingent remedy is deemed to be unacceptable or a contingent remedy was not included in the decision document, Ohio EPA may develop a new remedy in an amended decision document. Implementation of a new remedy may be triggered via the Additional Work provision in an existing Order or under a new Order.

Response Cost Recovery

Cost Recovery

Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §§ 3734.20 - .23, 3745.12 and 6111.03 authorize the Director to perform measures necessary to abate or prevent air or water pollution or soil contamination, and to protect the public health or safety and the environment. Section 107 of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA) establishes liability for all costs of removal or remedial action incurred by Ohio EPA that are not inconsistent with the National Contingency Plan (NCP). To ensure cost accountability, the Director keeps an itemized record of the cost of the investigation and remedial actions performed for each site, including costs for labor, materials and any contract services required.

The Remedial Response Program identifies, assesses, investigates and oversees the investigation and cleanup of historical hazardous waste releases in Ohio. The Program maintains records of all costs incurred during the assessment, investigation and cleanup of hazardous waste sites. Once the Program identifies a site where there is potential for the release of hazardous wastes, staff time, contractor costs and any other costs directly associated with the assessment, investigation and cleanup of each individual site are recorded and tracked by the program.

Site assessments include evaluations of the environmental conditions at each site and an evaluation of past owners, operators and others who may have caused or contributed to the contamination. When a site is determined to be a priority for further investigation and cleanup, potentially responsible parties are offered the opportunity to conduct the work. The Remedial Response Program seeks to enter into administrative consent orders with potentially responsible parties to recover past and future costs for the assessment, investigation and cleanup of the site. Itemized invoices are sent to the potentially responsible parties for past costs for payment as specified in an order. Failure to pay costs as agreed to in an order is a violation of that order and may result in enforcement of the orders by the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.

Termination of a Remedial Response Order

Termination of a Remedial Response Order

Once all the work required by an order is complete, responsible parties may request that the order be terminated. The most common language included in an order for termination is below.

“These Orders shall terminate upon Ohio EPA's concurrence in writing of Respondents' written certification to the Ohio EPA that all Work required to be performed under these Orders, including the payment of Response Costs, has been completed. The termination of these Orders shall not affect the terms and conditions of the Reservation of Rights, Access to Information, Indemnity, Other Claims, and Land Use and Conveyance of Title provisions of these Orders.”

When all activities required under the orders are completed, the responsible party can formally request that the orders be terminated by sending a letter to the district site coordinator certifying that all of the requirements contained in the orders have been met and requesting that the order be terminated. The letter, signed by a responsible official of the responsible party, is to include the following attestation:

“I certify that the information contained in or accompanying this certification is true, accurate, and complete.”

The site coordinator will confirm that all requirements of the orders have been met and that all outstanding response costs have been paid. If all the requirements of the orders have been met, a concurrence letter will be sent to the responsible party by the district site coordinator. This letter will terminate the order in accordance with the provision in the order. The legal release provided by complying with the order is for the work performed under the order. This work is typically defined in a Statement of Work attached to the order and serves as the basis for a work plan that is reviewed and approved by Ohio EPA.

Acronyms and Definitions

Remedial Response Program

Acronyms and Definitions

In general, the following terms and acronyms, when used with respect to Ohio's Remedial Response Program, have the meaning noted on this page. However, the specific meaning of any term or acronym included on this page may be modified by specific definitions in any document.

  • Aquifer -
    An underground geological formation capable of holding and yielding water.
  • ARARs -
    Applicable or Relevant and Appropriate Requirements. Those rules which strictly apply to remedial activities at a Site, or those rules whose requirements would help achieve the remedial goals for a Site.
  • Background Levels -
    The conditions at and surrounding a Site that are unaffected by any current or past activities involving treatment, storage or disposal of hazardous substances or wastes.
  • Baseline Risk Assessment -
    An evaluation of the risks to humans and the environment posed by a Site.
  • Carcinogen -
    A chemical that causes cancer.
  • CERCLA -
    Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 9601 et seq. A federal law that regulates cleanup of hazardous substances sites under the U.S. EPA Superfund Program.
  • Contaminant or Contamination -
    Means (1) any "hazardous waste" under ORC § 3734.01(J); (2) any "industrial waste" under ORC § 6111.01(C); and (3) any "other wastes" under ORC § 6111.01(D), including any release of one or more of the same.
  • COCs -
    Contaminants of Concern. Chemicals identified at a Site which are present in concentrations that may be harmful to human health or the environment.
  • CFR -
    Code of Federal Regulations. A compilation of the general and permanent rules published in the Federal Register by the Executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States of America.
  • Decision Document -
    A statement issued by the Ohio EPA giving the Director’s selected remedy for a Site and the reasons for its selection.
  • Drinking Water Supply -
    Means any raw or finished water source that is or may be used by a public water system (as defined by the Safe Drinking Water Act) or as drinking water by one or more individuals.
  • Ecological Receptor -
    Animals or plant life exposed or potentially exposed to chemicals released from a Site.
  • Environmental Covenant -
    A servitude arising under an environmental response project that imposes activity and use limitations and that meets the requirements established in ORC section 5301.82.
  • Exposure Pathway -
    The route by which a chemical is transported from a Site to a human or ecological receptor.
  • Final Cleanup Levels -
    Final cleanup levels identified in a Decision Document, along with RAOs and performance standards.
  • FS -
    Feasibility Study. A study conducted to ensure that appropriate remedial alternatives are developed and evaluated such that relevant information concerning remedial action options can be presented to a decision- maker and an appropriate remedy selected.
  • Hazardous Substance -
    A chemical that may cause harm to humans or to the environment.
  • Hazardous Waste -
    A waste product listed or defined by RCRA which may cause harm to humans or the environment.
  • Human Receptor -
    A person or population exposed to chemicals released from a site.
  • MCL -
    Maximum Contaminant Level. The highest level of a contaminant that is allowed in a public drinking water supply, as established under the Safe Drinking Water Act and incorporated into OAC 3745-81-11 and 3745-81-12.
  • NCP -
    The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan, codified at 40 C.F.R. Part 300 (1990), as amended, and more commonly referred to as the National Contingency Plan. The federal government’s framework for remediation of hazardous substance release Sites, as specified in CERCLA.
  • NRD -
    Natural Resources Damages are defined as injury to, destruction of, or loss of natural resources, including land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, ground water, drinking water supplies that are managed by the government. The measure of damages is the cost of restoring injured resources to their baseline condition, and the reasonable costs of a damage assessment.
  • O&M -
    Operation and Maintenance. Long-term measures taken at a Site, after initial remedial actions, to assure that a remedy remains protective of human health and the environment.
  • OAC -
    Ohio Administrative Code. All administrative rules of the State's departments and agencies.
  • ORC -
    Ohio Revised Code. The laws of the State as enacted by the legislature.
  • Performance Standards -
    Measures by which Ohio EPA can determine if RAOs have been met.
  • Preferred Plan -
    The plan that evaluates the preferred remedial alternative chosen by Ohio EPA to remediate a Site in a manner that best satisfies the evaluation criteria.
  • PRGs -
    Preliminary Remediation Goals. Initial clean-up goals that are protective of human health and the environment, and that comply with ARARs.
  • RAOs -
    Remedial Action Objectives. Specific goals of a selected remedy for reducing risks posed by a Site.
  • RA -
    Remedial Action. Those activities to be undertaken to implement a Decision Document.
  • RCRA -
    Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 codified at 42 C.F.R. Part 6901 et seq. (1988), as amended. RCRA is a federal law that regulates the handling of hazardous waste.
  • RD -
    Remedial Design. Those activities to be undertaken to develop the final plans and specifications for a Remedial Action.
  • Response Costs -
    All costs including, but not limited to, payroll costs, contractor costs, travel costs, direct costs, overhead costs, legal and enforcement related costs, oversight costs, laboratory costs, and the costs of reviewing or developing plans, reports, and other items pursuant to an order, verifying work, or otherwise implementing or enforcing an order.
  • Responsiveness Summary -
    A summary of all comments received concerning a Preferred Plan and Ohio EPA’s response to those comments.
  • RI -
    Remedial Investigation. A study conducted to collect information necessary to adequately characterize a Site, including a determination of the nature and extent of contamination, for the purpose of developing and evaluating effective remedial alternatives.
  • ROD -
    Record of Decision. A public document that explains which cleanup alternative(s) will be used to clean up a Superfund Site.
  • Site -
    A facility/source area where the treatment, storage, and/or disposal of hazardous waste, and/or the discharge to waters of the state of industrial waste or other wastes have occurred, including any other area where such hazardous wastes, industrial wastes, and/or other wastes have migrated or threaten to migrate.
  • Water Quality Criteria -
    Chemical, physical and biological standards that define whether a body of surface water is unacceptably contaminated. These standards are intended to ensure that a body of water is safe for fishing, swimming and as a drinking water source. These standards can be found in section 3745-1 of the Ohio Revised Code.
  • WQS -
    Water Quality Standards. Surface water criteria defined in Ohio Administrative Code 3745-1, effective February 22, 2002.
  • Waters of the State -
    Means all streams, lakes, ponds, marshes, watercourses, waterways, wells, springs, irrigation systems, drainage systems, and other bodies or accumulations of water, surface and underground, natural or artificial, regardless of the depth of the strata in which underground water is located, that are situated wholly or partly within, or border upon, this state, or are within its jurisdiction, except those private waters that do not combine or effect a junction with natural surface or underground waters.

Common Chemicals Found at Remedial Response Program Sites

 
Rickrich, Mark Assessment, Remediation, and Corrective Action (ARCA) Section Manager (614) 644-2305
Herlocher, Kurtis Enforcement Coordination
(614) 728-1310
Martin, Jeff Remedial Response Technical Support
(614) 644-2294
Patchen, Emily
Compliance / Enforcement
(614) 728-5441
Tucker, Brian
Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) (614) 644-3120
Zedella, Leah
Enforcement Coordination (614) 902-4231