Since 1988, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has maintained a Federal Agency Hazardous Waste Compliance Docket under section 120(c) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).
Section 120(c) requires EPA to establish a docket that contains certain information reported to EPA by federal facilities that manage hazardous waste or from which a reportable quantity of hazardous substances has been released. The docket is used to identify federal facilities that should be evaluated to determine if they pose a threat to public health or welfare and the environment and to provide a mechanism to make this information available to the public.
EPA posted a public notice on the Federal Register that identifies the federal facilities not previously listed on the docket and also identifies federal facilities reported to EPA since the last update on April 29. In addition to the list of additions to the docket, the notice includes a section with revisions of the previous docket list and a section of federal facilities that are to be deleted from the docket. At the time of publication of the notice, the new total number of federal facilities listed on the docket is 2,372.
Electronic versions of the docket and more information on its implementation can be obtained here or by contacting Benjamin Simes.
The docket contains information on federal facilities that manage hazardous waste and information is submitted to EPA. Additionally, the docket contains information on federal facilities with a reportable quantity of hazardous substances that has been released. Specifically, EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) establishes a permitting system for certain hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal (TSD) facilities; RCRA section 3010 requires waste generators, transporters and TSD facilities to notify EPA of their hazardous waste activities; and RCRA section 3016 requires federal agencies to submit biennially to EPA an inventory of their federal hazardous waste facilities.
CERCLA requires the owner or operator of a vessel or onshore or offshore facility to notify the National Response Center of any spill or other release of a hazardous substance that equals or exceeds a reportable quantity. Additionally, CERCLA requires facilities that have “stored, treated, or disposed of” hazardous wastes and where there is “known, suspected, or likely releases” of hazardous substances to report their activities to EPA.
CERCLA section 120(d) requires EPA to take steps to assure that a preliminary assessment (PA) be completed for those sites identified in the docket and that the evaluation and listing of sites with a PA be completed "within a reasonable timeframe." The PA is designed to provide information for EPA to consider when evaluating the site for potential response action or inclusion on the National Priorities List (NPL).
The docket serves three major purposes:
- To identify all federal facilities that must be evaluated to determine whether they pose a threat to human health and the environment sufficient to warrant inclusion on the NPL.
- To compile and maintain the information submitted to EPA on such facilities under the provisions listed in section 120(c) of CERCLA.
- To provide a mechanism to make the information available to the public.
Certain categories of facilities may not be included on the docket, such as:
- Federal facilities formerly owned by a federal agency that at the time of consideration was not federally owned or operated.
- Federal facilities that are small quantity generators that have not, more than once per calendar year, generated more than 1,000 kilograms (kg) of hazardous waste in any single month.
- Federal facilities that are very small quantity generators that have never generated more than 100 kg of hazardous waste in any month.
- Federal facilities that are solely hazardous waste transportation facilities, as reported under RCRA section 3010.
- Federal facilities that have mixed mine or mill site ownership.