Superfund: An Assessment of Superfund Site Remedy Selectioin and Implementation
Author(s)Jakobovits, Lisa M.; Karplus, Valerie Jean; Love, Robert E.; Ringo, J. Decker; Sutherland, Timothy A.
Since its inception in 1980, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund Program has served as the primary mechanism for coordinating the remediation of sites contaminated with hazardous substances. Although the program has successfully overseen cleanup at hundreds of sites, experts have identified a number of weaknesses in the remedy selection and implementation processes. Our study focuses on two weaknesses that have been identified at individual Superfund sites in the previous literature: Remedy Selection: • Selection of non-permanent remedies over permanent remedies Remedy Implementation: • Inconsistency and non-transparency shown in the documentation of cleanup objectives, site cleanup progress, and problems during remedy implementation Although these weaknesses were well documented in previous literature, our group found little evidence that the underlying cause of these weaknesses had been addressed. Our study adds to the current understanding of these weaknesses by investigating their origins using established policy and engineering systems analysis techniques. We have based our analysis on three Superfund site case studies. We offer several recommendations that address the observed weaknesses in site remedy selection and implementation. Lastly, we include suggestions for areas in which further inquiry may be useful.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Engineering Systems Division
ESD Working Papers;ESD-WP-2007-08