HAZARDOUS WASTE Funding of Postclosure Liabilities Remains Uncertain I&sources, (hmummity, and Economic Development Division B-237663 June 1,lQQO To the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 directed that we study options for a program to manage liabilities associated with hazardous waste disposal facilities after closure which complements the policies set forth in the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 and assures the protection of human health and the environment. This report presents the results of our review by discussing . the likelihood that permitted hazardous waste disposal facilities will leak after closure, l the magnitude of liabilities that may be incurred, l the adequacy of current postclosure funding assurance requirements, and l the feasibility of other mechanisms that could provide greater postclosure funding assurances. Copies are being sent to appropriate House and Senate Committees; the Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency; and other interested parties. Copies will also be made available to others upon request. This report was prepared under the direction of Richard L. Hembra, Director of Environmental Protection Issues, who may be contacted at (202) 276-6111. Other major contributors are listed in appendix II. J. Dexter Peach / Assistant Comptroller General Executive Summary Although past land disposal of hazardous waste has resulted in major Purpose environmental contamination and serious health effects, land disposal of these wastes continues. About 13 million metric tons of hazardous waste is land disposed each year. Better disposal practices-including treat- ment of wastes to reduce toxicity-and containment methods are now required at operating hazardous waste disposal facilities; nevertheless, the possibility exists that hazardous substances will eventually leak from these facilities and costly cleanup actions would be required to protect the public health and environment. Concerned about the funding of longterm liabilities-co&, damages, or other expenses -that may be associated with permitted hazardous waste facilities once they have closed, the Congress required GAOto con- duct a study of options for managing postclosure liabilities. GAOfocused its study on the extent and magnitude to which postclosure liabilities are expected to occur at permitted facilities when closed and the need for, and viability of, options for funding these liabilities. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)regulates the man- Background agement and disposal of hazardous waste. As implemented by the Envi- ronmental Protection Agency (EPA), the act requires owners/operators of disposal facilities to obtain an operating permit in order to continue waste disposal operations. To obtain a permit, facilities must meet cer- tain standards intended to prevent and/or detect leakage to the environ- ment. About 200 land disposal facilities have, or are expected to obtain, operating permits. After a disposal facility ceases operation, EPArequires that closure activities be performed, including the installation of covers over the dis- posed waste. EPAfurther requires the owner/operator to perform main- tenance and monitoring activities at the facility for a 30-year postclosure period. Owners/operators must provide financial assurance that funds will be available to conduct mandatory postclosure activities. Certain liabilities, such as costs for cleanup and third-party damages, may result during postclosure if facilities leak and contaminate the groundwater. A postclosure liability trust fund to manage these costs was established under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).However, concerned that, as structured, the postclosure fund may not provide sufficient resources, the Congress suspended the transfer of any liability to the fund. Page2 GAO/RCED-90-64 HazardousWaste ExecutiveSummary The long-term effectiveness of current land disposal practices in control- Results in Brief ling the migration of hazardous waste is not known, but EPAand others believe it is likely that some of the permitted hazardous waste disposal facilities will release hazardous substances into the environment at some period after they close. However, the timing and magnitude of any resulting postclosure liabilities- such as the costs of corrective action and off-site damages-are uncertain. Although EPAis aware of the potential for releases, it has not developed a strategy for addressing long-term postciosure concerns. EPAhas given this issue a low priority in the RCRAprogram because of limited resources and the lack of historical data on the magnitude and extent of the potential problem. EPAdoes require funding assurances for mandatory postclosure care and known corrective action costs, but it does not require funding assur- ances for potential but unknown postclosure liabilities. Although there are several options for funding postclosure liabilities, few of these are currently viable in large part because the risk associated with closed hazardous waste facilities is difficult to quantify. As data on long-term risks become available, the Congress will be in a better position to decide on the need for additional postclosure funding mechanisms. Principal Findings Extent of Liabilities EPArequires facilities obtaining operating permits to design and con- Uncertain struct disposal units with waste migration prevention measures, such as liners and covers, intended to mitigate releases into the environmeht. Little experience-based data exist, however, on the long-term perform- ance of these technology requirements in preventing waste migration. Although at least one company producing liner and cover material esti- mates that the material will last hundreds of years, EPAand others believe that permanent containment of wastes is not possible and that leakage will occur at some time after the 30-year postclosure period. (See ch. 2.) When leakage occurs, liabilities could be incurred for extended mainte- nance and monitoring, compliance monitoring, corrective action, and third-party damages. However, the extent of any liabilities will be con- tingent on factors that cannot currently be assessed, such as the rate Page3 GAO/RCED-90-64 HazardousW&e ExecutiveSummary and timing of leakages, the magnitude of contamination by hazardous substances, and the exposure to such contamination. EPAofficials have identified activities, such as extended postclosure care and long-term research, that may be required to identify and reduce the potential for leakage after facilities close. However, EPAhas not devel- oped a strategy to comprehensively obtain data on the effectiveness of current disposal requirements and examine long-term postclosure issues because (1) experience with current disposal requirements is limited and (2) available resources have been needed in other RCRAprogram efforts that address more immediate environmental concerns. Such a strategy needs to be developed and implemented in a timely manner in order to assure that actions needed to reduce postclosure concerns are promptly taken. Funding Mechanisms Owners/operators are liable for any postclosure costs that may occur. Questionable However, few funding assurances exist for postclosure liabilities. EPA only requires funding assurances for maintenance and monitoring costs for 30 years after closure and corrective action costs once a problem is identified. No financial assurances exist for potential but unknown cor- rective actions, off-site damages, or other liabilities that may occur after the established postclosure period. EPAcould require funding assurances for certain potential liabilities, but it does not believe it would be appro- priate to require a facility to provide funding assurances for liabilities that may not occur. (See ch. 3.) Options such as insurance and risk pooling could be pursued to better assure funding of postclosure liabilities; however, their availability is limited because the risks involved with postclosure are viewed as high and very difficult to assess and quantify. Federally administered pro- grams-such as a modified postclosure trust fund or federal insurance -could also be established; however, the appropriate structure for any such program cannot be assessed because of the lack of data on the extent and magnitude of postclosure liabilities. Such information can only be obtained when EPAimplements a strategic plan for developing data and measures to assess postclosure risks. As EPAcollects and ana- lyzes the data, the need for and structure of a postclosure funding mech- anism can be better determined. It is important that EPAdeal with the issue of long-term postclosure lia- bility in an orderly, reasonable, and timely manner. GAOanticipates that EPAcan develop a strategic plan to address the postclosure liability issue Page4 ExecutiveSummary in time for the debate on the reauthorization of CERCLAwhich is expected in 1991. Moreover, EPAshould be prepared to take interim mea- sures-such as extending the postclosure care period-to provide greater protection to the public health and the environment until more definitive data are developed. GAOrecommends that the Administrator, EPA,develop and implement a Recommendation strategy to address the long-term effectiveness of current hazardous waste disposal requirements so that decisions can be made about post- closure liability funding mechanisms. Such a strategy should outline the activities EPAneeds to undertake and/or complete to assess postclosure risks, evaluate actions such as extended postclosure care to reduce risks, and assess available alternatives for funding postclosure liabilities. The strategy should also identify required EPAresources and establish time frames for completing such activities. Further, GAOrecommends that the Administrator periodically report to the Congress the agency’s progress in obtaining the necessary data on the effectiveness of current disposal requirements and as information becomes available, be prepared to take interim measures to provide greater public protection until more defini- tive data are developed. In its comments on a draft of this report (see app. I), EPAstated that Agency Comments sufficient information to implement a strategic plan will probably not be obtained in time for the CERCLAreauthorization. GAO,however, does not anticipate EPAimplementing the strategic plan before CERCLA reauthorization and only intends that the strategy be developed in time for anticipated 1991 hearings. EPAshould implement the plan after dis- cussing the strategy with the Congress. GAOclarified statements in the final report to address other EPA concerns. Page5 GAO/RCED-9084 HazardousWaste Contents Executive Summary 2 Chapter 1 8 Introduction Current Hazardous Waste Disposal Program Requirements for Postclosure 8 10 Objectives, Scope, and Methodology 11 Chapter 2 16 Extent Of Postclosure Current Requirements May Not Prevent Leakage After 15 Postclosure Liabilities Unknown Magnitude of Postclosure Liabilities Not Determinable 20 EPA Does Not Have a Strategy for Addressing Long-Term 24 Postclosure Concerns Chapter 3 27 Options for Funding Little Assurance That Funds Will Be Available for 27 Postclosure Liabilities Postclosure Liabilities Options for Funding Postclosure Liabilities 30 Chapter 4 38 ConElusionsand Recommendation 40 EPA Comments and Our Response 41 Recommendation Appendixes Appendix I: Comments From the Environmental 42 Protection Agency Appendix II: Major Contributors to This Report 45 Figure Figure 2.1: Cross-Sectional View of a Typical Permitted 17 RCRA Hazardous Waste Disposal Unit After Closure Page6 GAO/RCED-90-M HazardousWaste II Contenta Abbreviations CERCLA Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 EDF Environmental Defense Fund EPA Environmental Protection Agency F’J3MA Federal Emergency Management Agency F-IA Federal Insurance Administration GAO General Accounting Office HSWA Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 NRC Nuclear Regulatory Commission NSWMA National Solid Wastes Management Association OSW Office of Solid Waste PCLTF Postclosure Liability Trust Fund RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act SARA Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 Page7 GAO/RCED-9064 HazardousWaste Chapter 1 Introduction C As evidenced by the events at Love Canal, Times Beach, and thousands of other sites contaminated by hazardous wastes, land disposal of these wastes presents a significant threat to human health and the environ- ment. Hazardous waste disposal can contaminate the land as well as ground and surface waters. Once contaminated, cleanup of a hazardous waste site can cost millions, take many years to complete, and in some cases it may not be possible to remove all contamination. Moreover, many contaminants are toxic, may lead to cancer, or have other adverse human health effects. Despite the acknowledged problems of hazardous waste, land disposal of some of these wastes continues. About 275 million metric tons of haz- ardous waste are managed annually. Although a national hazardous waste management program has been established to minimize the dispo- sal and environmental impacts of hazardous waste, about 13 million metric tons are still land-disposed each year. Through the enactment of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Current Hazardous (RCRA),the Congress imposed strict controls over hazardous waste to Waste Disposal protect human health and the environment. Subtitle C of RCRAestab- Program lishes a “cradle-to-grave” system for managing hazardous waste from the time it is generated until its ultimate disposal. This system regulates the generation, transportation, treatment, storage, and disposal of haz- ardous wastes. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),which is responsible for implementing RCRA,has defined as hazardous any solid waste that is either ignitable, reactive, corrosive, or contains certain toxic constituents such as arsenic or lead. A solid waste is also consid- ered hazardous if it is a “listed” waste; that is, if it is named on one of three lists of EPA-tested wastes and chemical products. Listed wastes include pesticides, acids, and other specifically identified wastes. The hazardous waste facilities of greatest concern are land disposal facilities-facilities that place the wastes in the ground for permanent burial. RCRAestablished strong controls over hazardous waste disposal facilities to prevent the recurrence of past leakage problems. The act requires any owner/operator of a hazardous waste disposal facility to obtain a permit to operate. Further, land disposal facilities must meet certain standards for construction, operation, and closing of the facility in order to obtain the permit and remain in compliance with the permit conditions. The following standards are among those required for haz- ardous waste land disposal facilities: Page8 GAO/RCED-9084 HaznrdousWaste Chapter1 Introduction . Waste migration protection measures, most notably the installation of a liner and leachate collection system,’ to prevent the contamination of groundwater. l Groundwater monitoring around the facility to detect leakage of hazard- ous constituents. l Proper closure of facilities, including the placement of caps or covers over landfills to prevent the inflow of liquids that could generate leachate and result in environmental contamination. Further, owners/operators obtaining a permit for a new facility must comply with location standards that prohibit the siting of new facilities in areas that could be affected by floods or earthquakes. RCRA allowed hazardous waste disposal facilities in operation on or before November 19, 1980, to continue operating under interim status until a final permit had been issued or denied. Of the 1,467 RCRA hazard- ous waste land disposal facilities known to EPA,~relatively few sought and obtained permits to continue operations. As of January 1990, a total of 277 disposal facilities were on EPA’S“permit track,” of which 172 facilities had obtained the required operating permit, 24 facilities were under permit application and review, and 81 facilities had their operat- ing permits denied. The remaining 1,190 facilities did not seek an oper- ating permit. Recent changes to RCRA have further strengthened the controls over the disposal of hazardous wastes. The Hazardous and Solid Waste Amend- ments of 1984 (HSWA)imposed several additional requirements over the construction of facilities and the disposal of hazardous wastes. HSWA required that any new or replacement facilities be constructed with two or more liners and leachate collection systems. Further, the amendments prohibited the disposal of bulk or noncontainerized liquid hazardous waste in any landfill. The amendments also established the objective to minimize the disposal of hazardous wastes in the land. In this regard, HSWArequires the treatment of wastes before they are disposed of to make them less hazardous or less likely to migrate. ‘Leachate is any liquid that has percolated through or drained from hazardous wastes. “The total number of RCRA disposal facilities is continually changing because some facilities are “clean closed” and are therefore no longer considered subject to RCRA regulations, while additional facilities become subject to RCRA as they are made known to EPA. Page9 GAO/RCED-90-64 HazardousWaste Chapter1 Introduction As part of the regulation of hazardous waste under RCRA,EPAestablished Requirements for closure and postclosure requirements for owners/operators of disposal Postclosure facilities, Closure is the period when wastes are no longer accepted at a facility, and during which the owner/operator must properly apply final covers to or cap the landfill, decontaminate or remove all contaminated equipment and structures, and certify that the facility has been prop- erly closed. These activities are required to ensure that facilities are closed in a manner that (1) minimizes the need for additional care and (2) controls, minimizes, or eliminates the potential escape of hazardous substances to the environment. To assure that hazardous waste land disposal facilities do not pose envi- ronmental or public health hazards after closure, such facilities must enter into a postclosure care period. During this period, owners/opera- tors conduct maintenance and monitoring activities to ensure the integ- rity of the facility. As required by EPA,postclosure care consists of at least . groundwater monitoring and reporting, l maintenance and monitoring of the waste containment systems, and l security around the facility when access may pose a hazard to human health. EPArequires that these postclosure activities be conducted for a 30-year period following the closure certification. All disposal facilities must develop a plan outlining the postclosure activities and have the plan approved by EPA.Further, owners/operators must prepare postclosure cost estimates and demonstrate the financial ability to pay these costs before they can obtain a permit. Despite the protective measures now required at facilities and the requirements for postclosure care and monitoring, longstanding con- cerns exist over the liabilities that could occur after closure and the abil- ity of owners/operators to pay for such liabilities. The Congress addressed this issue with the enactment of the Comprehensive Environ- mental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA).The act, which established the Superfund program, also established a Post- closure Liability Trust Fund (PCLTF)to assume the liabilities at permitted hazardous waste disposal facilities after closure. Liability would be transferred to the fund within 6 years after closure and after demon- stration of no likelihood of migration or release. After transfer of liabil- ity, the fund, generated from a tax on disposed hazardous waste, would pay for damages, such as groundwater contamination and necessary Page10 GAO/RCED-9084 Hazardous~ Waste chapter 1 Introduction cleanup actions, resulting from a release. The fund would also pay for monitoring and maintenance beyond the 30-year postclosure period. The balance in the fund was limited to $200 million, although additional taxes could be collected if the balance dropped below that amount. However, concerns about PCLTFand the unlimited liability that could be transferred to the government were raised in the deliberations on reauthorizing CERCLAin 1986. In particular, the Congress and EPAwere concerned that the fund would not have sufficient resources to pay the liabilities. Subsequently, under Section 201 of the Superfund Amend- ments and Reauthorization Act (SARA),the Congress suspended the transfer of liability to the PCLTF.Further, the Congress repealed the tax and the trust fund and authorized the refund of the amounts collected to the owners/operators who had paid into the fund. CERCLAwill be up for reauthorization in 1991. With the repeal of the Postclosure Liability Trust Fund, the Congress Objectives, Scope,and required us to study options for a program to manage postclosure liabili- Methodology ties. SARASection 201 established the general requirements that a post- closure program should assure (1) incentives are created and maintained for the safe management and disposal of hazardous wastes, (2) the pub- lic will have reasonable confidence that hazardous wastes will be man- aged and disposed of safely and resources will be available to address any problems that may arise and will cover the costs of long-term care, and (3) owners/operators of hazardous waste disposal facilities will be able to manage their potential future liabilities and attract investment capital necessary to build, operate, and close such facilities in a manner that assures protection of human health and the environment. Another provision of section 201 was that separate assessments be made for dif- ferent classes of treatment, storage, and disposal facilities that have been or probably will be issued a permit. Such assessments were to address the current and future financial capabilities of owners/opera- tors, the current and future costs associated with facilities, and the availability of mechanisms to assure these costs can be financed. In conducting our study, we found that several of these requirements could not be fully addressed. As discussed later in this report, data nec- essary to assess future costs and financial capabilities are not available. Consequently, to best address the overall issue of postclosure liability and provide the Congress now with a meaningful perspective on liability questions, we focused our work on addressing the following questions. Page11 GAO/RCED-90-64 HazardousWaste Chapter 1 I Introduction . What is the likelihood that permitted hazardous waste disposal facilities will leak in the postclosure period and/or beyond? . What is the magnitude of liabilities that may be incurred after these facilities close? l Do current mechanisms provide adequate funding assurances for these liabilities? 9 How feasible are other mechanisms that could be used to provide greater assurance that funds will be available to address postclosure liabilities? Further, in conducting our work, we found it necessary to limit our study to one class of facilities; specifically, facilities that have been granted a permit for land disposal of hazardous wastes. Other permitted facilities, such as treatment or storage facilities, are generally expected to “clean close” and remove all hazardous waste from the site. In clean closure situations, there are presumed to be no postclosure concerns. However, for various reasons these facilities may not be able to clean close, and in such situations these facilities become disposal facilities and must meet the postclosure requirements of all disposal facilities. For our study, we did not try to determine the extent to which such facilities will be required to become disposal facilities. Because we limited the objectives of our review, we contacted the staff of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce to discuss our objectives and to ensure that our review would satisfy the SARArequirements as well as the needs of the Congress. In addressing these issues, we relied primarily on information from EPA'S Office of Solid Waste (OSW),which is responsible for managing the RCRA program, and contacted other government agencies such as the Depart- ments of Commerce, Treasury, and the Interior and the Federal Emer- gency Management Agency (FEMA)and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) concerning various aspects of our review. In addition, we gathered opinions and data on the postclosure liability issue from two environmental groups and the commercial hazardous waste man- agement and treatment industries’ associations. We also spoke with owners/operators of hazardous waste facilities, including one who both generates and disposes of hazardous waste and others who only treat and/or dispose of hazardous waste. To determine the likelihood of leakage at permitted hazardous waste facilities, we focused on the status of data collection and research in this Page 12 GAO/RCED90-64 Hazardous Waste Chapter 1 Introduction area by EPA'SLand Disposal Technology Section in the Office of Solid Waste, Science Advisory Board, Office of Research and Development, and Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory in Cincinnati, Ohio. We obtained information on the current technology requirements for haz- ardous waste disposal facilities and the long-term effectiveness of these requirements. We also obtained information from these offices on the data still needed to address concerns with the performance of the cur- rent technology requirements and the plans for obtaining these data. In addition, we gathered data and opinions about the durability of land- disposal technology requirements from researchers at the Geosynthetic Research Institute at Drexel University and Texas A & M University. We also spoke with representatives of the Office of Technology Assessment, the National Solid Wastes Management Association, the Hazardous Waste Treatment Council, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s Division of Low-Level Waste Management and Decommissioning con- cerning the likelihood of leakage from facilities constructed in accor- dance with current EPArequirements. To determine the liabilities that may be incurred after permitted facili- ties close, we focused on obtaining available cost data on five areas- routine maintenance and monitoring, compliance monitoring, corrective action, third-party damages, and natural resource damages. Centralized data on these cost areas are not available from EPA.However, to provide a perspective on postclosure costs, we obtained data from the Permits Branch in the Office of Solid Waste, EPARegions IV and VI, and from owners/operators on estimated routine postclosure maintenance and monitoring costs at 12 facilities. Data on other postclosure liabilities, however, were generally unavailable from EPAor other sources. Never- theless, we obtained summary data on estimated corrective action costs from EPAand discussed natural resource damages with officials in the Department of the Interior’s Office of Environmental Project Review involved in the development of regulations for assessing natural resource damages. To address the third question, we discussed financial assurance mecha- nisms with OSW'SClosure and Financial Responsibility Section in the Per- mits and State Programs Division. We also obtained opinions on long- term financial assurance concerns from seven owners/operators, three financial analysts from investment-related firms, three environmental Page 13 GAO/RCED-90-04 Hazardous Waste Chapter 1 I) Introduction groups, and three trade associations. We also reviewed data we had col- lected during previous reviews that addressed financial assurance mechanisms.3 To address the final question on options that could be pursued to pro- vide reasonable confidence of postclosure liability funding, we talked with officials from EPA'SPermits and State Programs Division as well as ICF, Inc., the EPAcontractor for its 1986 postclosure liability trust fund model. We obtained their views and perspectives on the trust fund option, as well m EPA’S policy regarding the liabilities of owners/opera- tors. We also obtained and reviewed two studies related to options for funding postclosure liabilities, EPA’S 1985 Report to the Congress on the Post-Closure Liability Trust Fund and the Treasury Department’s 1982 report, Hazardous Substance Liability Insurance. To determine the availability of private insurance to cover postclosure liabilities, we spoke with representatives of the American Insurance Association and with the senior economist at the Treasury Department responsible for developing the 1982 report on the availability of insurance for post- closure liabilities. We also attended a February 1989 hazardous sub- stances insurance conference and reviewed conference papers on environmental pollution insurance availability. Further, we discussed the possibility of federal insurance to cover these liabilities with NRCand FEMA. Our review was conducted between October 1988 and June 1989, with selected updates through January 1990, in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. We provided a draft of this report to EPA for formal review and comment. EPA’S comments and our responses are in appendix I. “Hazardous Waste: Environmental Safeguards Jeopardized When Facilities Cease Operating (GAO/ - . 77 Feb. 11,1986) and Hazardous Waste: Issues Surrounding Insurance Availability (GAO/ RCED-88-2, bet. 16,1987). Page 14 GAO/RCED-90-64 Hazardous Waste Chapter 2 ‘Extent Of Postclosure Liabilities Unknown EPArequires permitted facilities to meet certain requirements intended to prevent the leakage of hazardous substances into the environment. The requirements for liners, leachate collection systems, covers, and postclosure maintenance are believed capable of preventing leakage in the short term. However, for the long term-beyond 30 years-there are questions about the effectiveness of EPA'Scurrent requirements and concerns that leakage may occur. Leakage that does occur after closure could result in significant liabili- ties such as corrective action costs and off-site damage claims. However, because of a lack of experience-based information, insufficient data exist on the extent and timing of potential leakage as well as the actions required to correct such leakage. Consequently, the magnitude of post- closure liabilities that could be incurred simply cannot be measured at this time. EPAis concerned about the effectiveness of its standards for the long- term prevention of waste migration and the potential for postclosure lia- bilities. Both GAOand EPA'SScience Advisory Board have recommended the development of a strategy-describing activities and time frames for their completion- to address such concerns. However, because post- closure at currently operating hazardous waste disposal facilities is not viewed as a current environmental problem, EPAhas made this issue a lower priority in the RCRAprogram and has not developed the necessary strategy. The land disposal of hazardous waste presents the possibility that haz- Current Requirements ardous substances may migrate from the disposal facility and pose a May Not Prevent risk to human health and the environment. To reduce this risk before Leakage After the wastes are placed in the ground, hazardous waste must meet speci- fied treatment standards to make it less toxic and mobile. HSWAprohibits Postclosure the disposal of untreated hazardous wastes beyond specified dates and requires EPAto establish treatment standards after which waste treated in accordance with the standards could be land disposed. Treatment standards have been established for most hazardous wastes and stan- dards for all remaining wastes are scheduled for issuance in May 1990. Nevertheless, although some wastes degrade or can be made less hazard- ous through treatment, some substances remain hazardous forever. Con- sequently, in order to reduce the potential for leakage of these substances from permitted disposal facilities after they close, all such facilities must meet a number of construction standards to prevent Page 16 GAO/RCED-9084 Hazardous Waste chapter 2 Extent Of PoatclosureLiabilities Unknown and/or reduce the migration of hazardous wastes. These standards require, according to EPAguidance, that all owners/operators must do the following: . Place double liners under any new landfill unit or any replacement or expansion of an existing unit.’ Draft EPAguidance for double liners directs that the top liner be constructed of a flexible synthetic material, such as high-density polyethylene, and the bottom liner be constructed of either compacted low-permeability soil or a combination of a syn- thetic material and compacted low-permeability soil. . Install leachate collection systems over the top liner and between the two liners. Leachate collection systems consist of a drainage layer to col- lect liquids generated in the disposal unit and a mechanism such as a pump to remove them. l Cover the disposal units at closure. EPA’Sminimum technology guidance recommends that covers be of a multilayer design that includes a syn- thetic material and compacted soil. A cross-sectional view of a typical closed hazardous waste disposal unit built to current EPArequirements is shown in figure 2.1. ‘The double liner requirements may be waived by EPA for certain monofill facilities and for facilities that can demonstrate that alternative design and operating practices will prevent waste migration as effectively as liners. Page 16 GAO/RCED-9084 Hazardous Waste clulptm 2 EXteAt Of R08tcloaure Liabjlitier, Unknown Figure 2.1: Crobr-Sectlonsl View of a Typical Permitted RCRA Hazardous Waste Disposal Unit After Closure Leachate CollectIon Synthetic Ground Level Native Soil Foundation Source: GAO illustration based on EPA data These waste containment measures are intended to minimize the migra- tion of hazardous substances through the end of the postclosure period and beyond. The liners and leachate collection systems are intended to prevent waste migration by collecting and removing leachate before it Page17 GAO/RCED-M-64 HazardousWaste . Chapter 2 Extent Of Postdosure Liabilities Unknown can migrate during the unit’s active life and postclosure period. The cover is expected to prevent the inflow of liquids, primarily rain water, into the waste unit after closure and thereby reduce the amount of leachate generated. In addition to the design requirements, EPArequires that owners and operators perform maintenance and monitoring activities during a 30- year postclosure period. During this period, the owners/operators collect and dispose of any leachate generated in the unit, monitor the ground- water surrounding the unit to determine if the facility is leaking, and maintain the facility to ensure that the migration protection measures remain intact. Long-Term Effectiveness Under the current requirements, hazardous waste disposal units are of Waste Containment expected to be effective in preventing leakage of hazardous constituents into the environment through the 30-year postclosure period. EPA’S Measures Unknown design and operating requirements for land disposal units specify that liners be constructed of materials to prevent the migration of any haz- ardous constituent through the liner during a unit’s active life and post- closure period. The chief of OSW'SDisposal Technology Section said that although little data are available on the actual use of liners in hazardous waste applications, EPA is confident that the current technology will be effective in preventing waste migration through the 30-year postclosure period. He said that properly closed units, with the required mainte- nance and leachate removal, will gradually “dewater” and dry out dur- ing the early years of postclosure and substantially reduce the likelihood of leakage during the 30-year postclosure period. However, for the longer term- beyond the 30-year postclosure period- the effectiveness of the current technology requirements in preventing leakage is questionable. As stated in EPA’S March 1986 proposed rule to assist in implementing the statutory provisions of HSWA “EPA’s position was, and still is, that absolute prevention of migration forever, or for the long term, is beyond the current technical state of the art. Thus, at some time, some migration through the liner will probably occur.” Officials in osw’s Disposal Technology Section and EPA’S Risk Reduction Engineering Laboratory in Ohio told us that several concerns exist over the long-term viability of liners for preventing waste migration. They said that concerns include the cracking and tearing of the liners result- ing from the stresses on the materials from landfill environments and Page 18 GAO/RCED4lO84 Hazardous Waste chapter2 Extent Of Poetcloeure Liabilities Unknown the durability of seams in the liner, both of which would allow the release of hazardous constituents. Further, as stated in a May 1988 EPA- contractor report on the service life of synthetic construction materials in landfill environments, other potential problems include the softening and perforation of liners and the inability to remove leachate from dis- posal units because of clogging of leachate collection systems. Because of the potential for leakage through the liner in the long term, EPAviews the covers as the mechanism to prevent leakage during the established postclosure period. Officials from osw and the Risk Reduc- tion Engineering Laboratory said that the cover will prevent the inflow of liquids that could leach hazardous constituents to the environment. They said that if liquids are prevented from entering the disposal unit, there is little chance of any significant leakage even if the liner fails. However, osw officials said that they do not know the long-term effec- tiveness of covers. EPAofficials could not provide an estimate of how long properly designed and constructed disposal units will be able to contain wastes before leaking. They said that because of the lack of information on the long-term use of this technology, the effectiveness of current waste con- tainment measures is unknown. However, the Chief of the Disposal Technology Section added that the materials used in disposal facilities is constantly improving and that at least one manufacturer has estimated that its liner material will last for 400 years. EPAofficials said that although such estimates are hard to support, they are now optimistic that facilities will be able to contain wastes 100 years or more. Industry officials believe that any risk of leakage from current facilities after the postclosure care period is minimal. According to representa- tives of the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA)and members of its Institute of Chemical Waste Management, the technology now being used will control the release of hazardous constituents for 100 years or more. They said that some applications of this technology have been in use for over 60 years with no leakage or degradation problems and that although these are not hazardous waste applications, they anticipate that no problems will occur using liners in hazardous waste facilities. Others believe that the current disposal technology will be less effective over the long term. Officials in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission responsible for the disposal of low-level nuclear waste told us that their agency has concerns about the long-term integrity of waste containment Page 19 GAO/RCED-9984 Hazardous Waste Chapter 2 Extent Of Poetclomre Liabilities Unknown , measures, particularly with regard to cover materials. According to the Chief of the Regulatory Branch in NRC'SDivision of Low-Level Waste Management and Decommissioning, the NRCis concerned that the covers will leak before the liners and result in a “bathtub” effect where the facility fills up with liquid and overflows. Because of this, NRCgenerally does not advocate the use of liners in low-level nuclear waste disposal facilities but instead requires that the waste be made structurally stable, including encapsulation, before it is placed in the ground. The NRCoffi- cial said that EPA'Sapproach of using liners to contain wastes will neces- sitate permanent maintenance and monitoring of facilities to prevent leakage of leachate as long as the waste stays hazardous. University researchers we talked with also said that problems may exist with the long-term effectiveness of current waste containment technol- ogy. One researcher said that there is little doubt that current hazardous waste facilities will leak. He said that present research shows that these systems will fail at some point, particularly after postclosure care ends, and that he views today’s disposal of hazardous waste as merely a stor- age mechanism for hazardous waste that may have to be removed even- tually. Another university researcher told us that the technology used today is the best available but that it is simply unknown if it will keep wastes in place. Postclosure liabilities are for the most part directly related to the leak- Magnitude of ages that may occur before and after a facility closes. Only one post- Postclosure Liabilities closure liability-maintenance and monitoring-is required in all Not Determinable situations and can be estimated. Other postclosure liabilities that may be incurred-compliance monitoring, corrective action, third-party dam- ages, and natural resource damages- cannot be determined because of the unknown extent and timing of potential leakages and, in some cases, a lack of available data. Maintenance and Maintenance and monitoring costs during the postclosure phase include Monitoring Costs the costs of groundwater monitoring and maintenance activities to ensure the integrity of the site. Owners/operators are required to main- tain and monitor their facilities for 30 years after closure, although the cognizant EPARegional Administrator can extend this period if neces- sary to protect human health and the environment or shorten it if pro- ” tection is no longer necessary. As a part of the permitting process, owners/operators are required to estimate the costs of maintenance and monitoring during the postclosure phase. Page 20 GAO/RCED-!MM4 Hazardous Waste Chapter 2 Extant Of Postclomre Jdabilltiee Unknown EPA,however, does not maintain centralized data on the postclosure cost estimates prepared by permitted facilities. According to officials in OSW’SFinancial Responsibility Section, these estimates are updated anmmlly and EPAdoes not want to place an additional reporting burden on industry by requiring that these data be sent to headquarters. They said that these data are consequently available only at each facility or at the appropriate state or EPAregional office. We did obtain postclosure cost estimates on 12 facilities to provide some perspective on the magnitude of these costs. These estimates show that postclosure maintenance and monitoring costs are very site-specific and depend on factors such as facility size and the extent of groundwater monitoring required. For example, the cost estimates ranged from $116,000 for 30 years at one facility to $22.6 million for the same time period at another. Compliance Monitoring Compliance monitoring is required at RCRAfacilities if groundwater con- costs tamination is detected through routine maintenance and monitoring. Under a compliance monitoring program, an owner/operator is to evalu- ate the concentration of certain hazardous substances to determine if the facility complies with the groundwater protection standard estab- lished for that facility. According to osw officials, compliance monitoring costs cannot be esti- mated with any certainty. They pointed out that compliance monitoring will be required only when contamination is detected and can involve the installation of additional monitoring wells, more frequent testing, and analysis of samples for a wider range of hazardous constituents. Moreover, the compliance monitoring costs that will occur during post- closure will be specific to the facility and the hazardous constituents involved and cannot be predicted for permitted facilities currently oper- ating. They added that costs may range from very small if no new wells are needed to very large if a significant compliance program is required. For example, data obtained from one EPAregion show a facility cur- rently in postclosure is conducting a compliance and postclosure care program estimated to cost $4.9 million-$129,000 per year-over a 62- year period. Corrective ANion Costs A major cost of a leaking facility is associated with corrective action; that is, the activities taken to halt and repair the problem and to bring groundwater back into compliance with the groundwater protection Page 21 GAO/RCED-90-64 Hazardous Waste Chapter 2 Extent Of Postdoeure Liabilities Unknown standard contained in the facility’s permit. Corrective action remedies at hazardous waste disposal facilities can range from actions such as repairing liners to prevent leakage, pumping of groundwater to remove contamination, or removing the hazardous substances. Corrective action costs can be substantial. Costs to cleanup Superfund sites average over $10 million per hazardous waste site and are increas- ing. Further, EPAestimates that 30 percent of the closing RCRA facilities probably will require clean-up action at an average cost of $6.3 million per facility. However, these costs may not be comparable to those that may be incurred in the future at currently operating disposal units. osw officials point out that past unpermitted hazardous waste disposal facil- ities were (1) poorly located, (2) contained untreated and liquid wastes, and (3) not built to prevent the migration of wastes. As a consequence, the officials believe that the corrective action at these older facilities will be more substantial than that which may be required at state-of- the-art disposal units. EPAofficials could not estimate what range of corrective action costs would be required. They said that this can only be done once experience is gained on the effectiveness of current measures for preventing waste migration. Further, the RCRA corrective action program is being imple- mented in the absence of regulations because the draft regulations are currently under review at the Office of Management and Budget. There- fore, according to EPAofficials, future corrective action costs cannot be estimated. Third-Party Damages Third-party damages include personal injury, economic loss, and prop- erty damage claims where disposal facilities can be sued by third parties for damages resulting from leakages that migrate off-site. As discussed in our recent reports on insurance availability, data on pol- lution liability claims by third parties are not available.2 The insurance industry does not maintain centralized pollution claims data. In our reports we suggested, among other things, that to determine the cost and extent of third-party liabilities, the Congress consider requiring insurers or responsible parties, as appropriate, to report to EPAthe amounts of indemnity payments made to cover pollution cleanup and related third- ‘Hazardous Waste: Issues Surrounding Insurance Availability (GAO/RCED-88-2, Oct. 16,1987) and Hazardous Waste: The Cost and Availability of Pollution Insurance (GAO/PEMD-89-6, Oct. 28, 1gw Page 22 GAO/RCED-90-64 Hazardous Waste chapter 2 Extent OP Poetclomre IJabilities Unknown party bodily injury and property damage, Until such information becomes more available, there remains no basis for projecting the poten- tial for such claims. Natural ResourceDamages Leakage from hazardous waste facilities could also result in damages to natural resources. As defined by CERCLA, natural resources are land, fish, wildlife, biota, air, water, groundwater, and other such resources belonging to or otherwise controlled by the United States, any state or local government, or any foreign government. The Department of the Interior is responsible for assessing natural resource damages resulting from the release of hazardous substances. Assessments for natural resource damages are meant to supplement cor- rective action responses, and in this regard represent those damages and costs above and beyond cleanup costs undertaken to protect public health. According to Interior’s August 1, 1986, final rule implementing its natural resource damage assessments, these assessments provide a process for determining proper compensation to the public for injury to natural resources. However, at this time, no assessments of natural resource damages resulting from the release of hazardous wastes have been made by the Department. According to officials from Interior’s Office of Environmen- tal Project Review, the Department’s policy is to settle natural resource cases before they reach the assessment stage, and to date no cases of natural resource damages resulting from hazardous waste have been brought before them for settlement or assessment. The Interior officials could not provide an estimate of a “typical” natural resource damage claim resulting from leakage at a hazardous waste facility because each assessment of natural resource damages is site-specific. Additionally, portions of Interior’s regulations for assessing natural resource damages have recently been declared invalid by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.3 As a result of the court’s July 14, 1989, rulings, Interior must revise its regulations and, according to Interior officials, such a revision could increase the amounts assessed in natural resource damage claims. “Ohio v. United States Dep’tof the Interior, 880 F.2d 432 (DC. Cir. 1989) and Colorado v. United States Dep’t of the Interior, 880 F.2d 481 (DC. Cir. 1989). Page 23 GAO/RCED-9064 Hazardous Waste Chapter 2 Extent Of Poetclomre Liabilities Unknown EPAis aware of the potential liability problems that may occur after EPA Does Not Have a operating facilities close. osw officials said that they want to prevent a Strategy for recurrence of the problems that led to the creation of the Superfund, Addressing Long-Term and they believe the current measures for controlling the migration of hazardous constituents is the best technology available to do this. Nev- Postclosure Concerns ertheless, they are unsure of the long-term effectiveness of liners and covers and are concerned that leakage of hazardous constituents could occur. The osw officials said that because of these concerns, they intend to examine this issue over the next few years. However, EPA has not developed a strategic plan for addressing this issue. As stated in our report Hazardous Waste: New Approach Needed to Manage the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (G~O/~c~~-88-116, July 19, 19SS), the RCRAprogram needs strategic planning that identifies measurable goals, tasks necessary to accomplish the goals, milestones, resources, organizational responsibilities, and a system for measuring performance. With regard to the long-term prevention of hazardous waste migration, such a strategy would include identifying and resolving technological concerns, gathering data on the effectiveness of current applications, and considering revisions to postclosure care requirements to better ensure that the integrity of facilities is maintained. The need for strategic planning in the area of hazardous waste disposal has also been raised by EPA'SScience Advisory Board, a public advisory group that provides advice to EPA.In an October 1987 report on EPA'S land disposal research program, the Board determined that it is difficult to predict that improved land disposal will be protective of human health and the environment for the long-term future. The report con- cluded that there is a need to evaluate and understand the long-term performance of what are now considered environmentally sound land disposal practices to ensure that these practices are environmentally sound for many decades. The report further concluded that there is an absence of a waste management strategy-detailing projects, timetables, and funding-necessary to develop the scientific and technical knowl- edge for developing land disposal guidance and regulations. According to EPAofficials, a comprehensive strategy for addressing long- term postclosure concerns at permitted hazardous waste facilities has not been developed. The officials stated that no strategy exists in large part because postclosure concerns at operating facilities currently have a low priority relative to other aspects of the RCRAprogram. They pointed out that EPA is conducting several activities that have statutorily Page 24 GAO/RCED90-64 Hazardous Waste chapter 2 Extent Of Postclosure Liabiltth Unknown mandated deadlines, such as the permitting of incinerators and the issu- ance of hazardous waste treatment standards and that these activities have been given high priority by EPA.One official added that the remain- ing EPAresources are directed at issues that provide the most environ- mental benefit and that postclosure concerns at operating facilities is not a current environmental problem. Moreover, if resources were available, EPAbelieves that it would be inap- propriate at this time to develop such a strategy. The Director, Permits and State Programs Division, said that it is simply too early to develop and/or obtain the data necessary to assess how long liner and cover materials will last. He said that EPAshould be in a better position to make such judgments in a few years when data on actual uses of liners in hazardous waste applications are available. Consequently, EPAwill take a “wait and see” attitude on the performance of the systems, Nevertheless, the osw officials pointed out that several efforts have been initiated, or will be initiated, that will address postclosure liability concerns, including the following. . Development of the leak detection rule that would require all disposal facilities to report leakage through the first liner to EPA.This informa- tion should enable EPAto obtain a better perspective on the performance of double liner systems in actual applications. 9 Research on the long-term performance of liners and covers. Such research will provide better data on the potential problems that may occur with these systems and identify measures to prevent such problems. l Extension of the postclosure maintenance and monitoring period. EPA has already issued a proposed rule that would extend the 30-year post- closure period at solid waste facilities-which dispose of household gar- bage, commercial refuse, and other generally nonhazardous wastes- because of the potential for leakage from these facilities after the post- closure care period ends. Under this proposal, owners/operators must conduct a second, less intensive phase of postclosure care for a period to be determined by the appropriate state. EPAhas stated that it is consid- ering a similar extension for certain hazardous waste facilities. However, EPAofficials were unable to provide information on when these activities will be undertaken and/or completed. For example, they said that the leak detection rule is currently on hold and little effort is being put towards completion and issuance of the rule because of other priorities within EPA.Consequently, they do not know when they will be Page 25 GAO/RCED-9984 Hazardous Waste Chapter2 Extent Of PostclomreLiabilities Unknown collecting complete data on the performance of liner systems in actual applications. Similarly, osw officials were unable to estimate when the agency will be considering an extension to the postclosure period for hazardous waste facilities. It is generally assumed that the postclosure maintenance and monitoring period will be longer than 30 years, but EPA currently does not have firm plans for extending the postclosure care period at hazardous waste facilities. Page26 GAO/RCED-90434 HazardousWaste Chapter 3 Options for F’unding Postclosure Liabilities Although it is likely that some permitted hazardous waste disposal facil- ities will leak, what is not known is when and if such leakage will release hazardous constituents and threaten human health and the envi- ronment. However, should leakage resulting in significant postclosure liabilities occur, there is little assurance that funds will be available to pay for these liabilities. Current EPAfinancial assurance requirements do not provide secure funding for known postclosure liabilities-required, identified, and quantifiable costs such as maintenance and monitoring- nor do they cover unknown liabilities such as potential on-site cleanups or off-site damages. There are private and public sector funding options that could be pur- sued to better ensure that any needed postclosure liability funds would be available. Many of these options, however, have limited applicability. Currently, public sector options- in particular a modified postclosure liability trust fund-appear to be the most viable approach to providing postclosure funding assurance. However, structuring such a fund at this time is hampered because the liabilities are still very difficult to estimate. As directed by RCRA,EPAhas established financial requirements to Little Assurance That assure funds are available to pay for certain postclosure liabilities. As IFundsWill Be provided by its regulations, EPAallows owners/operators to use any of Available for five mechanisms to provide financial assurance based on the estimated cost of maintenance and monitoring activities during the postclosure Postclosure Liabilities period. These five mechanisms are as follows. . Trust fund: ar agreement with an authorized bank or other institution to act as a trustee of payments made by the facility owner/operator. EPA requires that annual payments be made into this account for either ‘20 years or the remaining operating life of the facility, whichever is shorter. The trust fund should contain a sum equal to the postclosure cost estimate after the end of the pay-in period, . Surety bond: a contract with a qualified surety company that guaran- tees payment for, or performance of, postclosure activities if the owner/ operator is unable to do so. . Letter of credit: a letter issued by an authorized bank or other institu- tion in which payment of postclosure costs is guaranteed by the issuer if the owner/operator is unable to do so. . Postclosure insurance: Insurance issued by a licensed company to pay postclosure costs for the owner/operator, with payment limited to the face value of the policy. Page 27 GAO/RCED-90-64 Hazardous Waste Chapter 3 Options for Funding Poatcloeure Linbilitles l Financial test/corporate guarantee: A method of demonstrating ade- quate resources to cover postclosure costs, through a combination of assets, net worth and net worth multipliers, financial ratios, and/or bond ratings. A parent company of an owner/operator may instead pro- vide a written guarantee that sufficient postclosure funds are available if it meets the financial test. In addition, EPAallows owners/operators to use state-authorized mecha- nisms that provide assurance equivalent to the mechanisms specified above. In this regard, states allow modifications of the above assurance mechanisms and/or disallow the use of others such as the financial test. Financial Assurances for EPAallows the use of any of these five mechanisms to assure funding for known postclosure maintenance and monitoring activities and has pro- Known Postclosure posed allowing all mechanisms but insurance and surety bonds to assure Liabilities Not Secure postclosure corrective actions once they are identified. However, most of these mechanisms are not currently viable for postclosure liabilities. On the basis of our past reports and information provided by representa- tives of the American Insurance Association and owners/operators, postclosure insurance, surety bonds, and letters of credit are currently limited in their use as financial mechanisms because providers of these mechanisms are concerned that they may be held liable for large cleanup costs should leakage occur. As a result, owners/operators either use the financial test or the trust fund, which may not provide secure funding assurance. As discussed in a February 1986 report,’ the financial test was most often used to meet Rcn.4financial assurance requirements for closure/postclosure costs. EPA has no centralized data that identify the financial assurance mecha- nisms used by owners/operators for postclosure care costs; however, officials from osw’s Closure and Financial Responsibility Section told us that the financial test is the primary mechanism used for postclosure liabilities. Representatives of one owner/operator we talked with during our review said that the financial test is the preferred mechanism because it is the most readily available and does not require a dedicated fund that ties up resources that could be used for other business purposes. ‘Hazardous Waste: Environmental Safeguards Jeopardized When Facilities Cease Operating (GAO/ -86 -77, Feb. 11,lSSS). Page 28 GAO/RCED-90434 Hazardous Waste Options for Funa Postdosure Liabilities However, the financial test may not be an adequate mechanism for establishing financial responsibility. As discussed in our February 1986 report, if the financial strength of facilities changes rapidly, the test may not be a good predictor that adequate funds will be available. We recommended that EPAmonitor and periodically reevaluate the use of the financial test. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) also believes that the financial test is not a secure postclosure funding mechanism. EDFrepresentatives stated that unsecured “self-insurance” provides financial assurance only if it can be assumed that the self-insuring firms will remain solvent and that even extremely large and well established corporations are not immune to significant financial shocks. EPAconsiders the financial test to be a viable approach to financial responsibility. The Chief of osw’s Financial Responsibility Section pointed out that because an owner/operator’s financial status is reviewed by EPAregions or authorized state programs every year, a facility that has received a permit and does not meet its annual financial test review will be required to provide alternative assurance of its abil- ity to fund postclosure costs. If it cannot provide other funding assur- ances, the facility will be closed. Nevertheless, osw officials said that six states have disallowed the use of the financial test because the states want a firmer set-aside of moneys than the test provides. Further, although EPAdoes not plan to disallow use of the financial test, it is cur- rently reviewing this mechanism and will modify it in a proposed rule that is expected to be issued in the spring of 1990. An osw official said that the test will be revised to make it both more viable for use by more owners/operators and render it a better predictor of bankruptcy. The other most widely used mechanism, the trust fund, is allowed by EPAto provide a financial assurance mechanism affordable to owners/ operators with limited resources who generally cannot qualify for other mechanisms, such as the financial test. As stated in our 1986 report, the trust fund mechanism may not provide funding assurance. Because the trust fund can be paid into over a 20-year period, sufficient funds may not be available if a facility should close during the early years of the pay-in period. No Financial Assurance Postclosure financial assurance is currently required by EPAonly for 30- year maintenance and monitoring as well as identified corrective action Requirements for costs. Financial assurances are not required, however, for potential but Unknown Lidbilities unknown postclosure liabilities such as on-site cleanup or off-site dam- ages. According to the Director, Permits and State Programs Division, Page 29 GAO/RCED-9044 Hazardous Waste . Chapter3 Options for Funding Po&clom.re Liabilities , EPAonly requires owners/operators to set aside funds for known contin- gencies; EPAdoes not believe it would be appropriate to require funds be set aside for unknown contingencies. Consequently, although EPAdoes not want situations to occur in the future where funds are not available to cover liabilities, it does not require large amounts of funds be set aside for liabilities that may not occur. The director added that such additional financial responsibility requirements could cause facilities to close, which would have serious negative effects such as reducing haz- ardous waste disposal capacity and increasing illegal dumping. Nevertheless, osw officials stated that there is no assurance that funds would be available for unknown liabilities that may occur after permit- ted facilities close. They said that no one can predict what the future financial situation of any owner/operator will be in the long-term with any certainty, and if an owner/operator were to become bankrupt or otherwise go out of business, there is little likelihood that funding would be available for unanticipated postclosure costs. The osw officials added that these facilities can qualify for coverage under the Superfund in situations where the owner/operator is unable or unwilling to pay for cleanup actions. However, Superfund moneys are limited, and leaking RCRAsites would have to be on the National Priori- ties List-a listing of the worst hazardous waste sites needing priority cleanup actions-to receive funding. Further, Superfund pays only for cleanup actions and natural resource damages and does not provide compensation for personal injury and economic losses that may result from releases of hazardous wastes. EPAhas the authority to require additional financial assurances for cer- tain unknown liabilities. Section 3004(a) of RCRAauthorizes EPAto pro- mulgate financial requirements for corrective action as it deems necessary or desirable. According to EPA,this authority is not limited to known releases. However, although EPAhas issued a proposed corrective action rule in October 1986 that would require facilities with known releases to provide corrective action funding assurances, at that time EPAstated that it will not pursue such financial assurances for unknown releases until more analysis on the issue is completed. There are various options for funding postclosure liability costs that Options for Funding have been, or could be, pursued. These options are as follows. Postclosure Liabilities Page 30 GAO/RCED-9084 Hazardous Waste Chapter 3 Optionefor FundingPomlosure Liabilitiee l Private sector funding options, such as insurance, coinsurance, reinsur- ante, and risk pooling. . Public sector options, such as federal insurance and modifications to the terminated postclosure liability trust fund, Private Sector Options Private sector options for funding postclosure liabilities include private insurance, coinsurance, reinsurance, and voluntary risk pooling. Because of the unknown liabilities and perceived risk associated with hazardous waste disposal facilities after they close, these postclosure funding mechanisms are currently not viable options. Private insurance, coinsurance, and reinsurance are currently unavailable for postclosure liability coverage. Voluntary risk pools to cover postclosure liabilities have proved to be unsuccessful and are generally believed inappropriate for the hazardous waste disposal industry. Private Insurance Private insurance has been unavailable for closed hazardous waste facil- ities for many years. The Treasury Department reported in 1982 that a system of private insurance for postclosure financial responsibility was not feasible.2 The Treasury report, mandated by Section 107(k)(4)(A) of CERCLA, found that insurers would not (1) accept uncertain and poten- tially unlimited liability, (2) provide financial assurance for liability in perpetuity, and (3) assume all managerial liabilities for insured sites. For these reasons, the report concluded that this type of comprehensive private insurance was not feasible for the foreseeable future. More recently, we issued two reports that addressed the availability of pollution insurance.” Although these reports did not directly address the availability of postclosure insurance, they concluded that the insurance industry generally regarded pollution risks as uninsurable at that time and therefore insurance for hazardous waste facilities was extremely limited. A representative of the American Insurance Association stated that the postclosure insurance market does not exist, and they did not foresee that this market would open up anytime in the near future. According to the representative, the unavailability of private hazardous waste insur- ance is primarily due to the following factors. ‘Hazardous Substance Liability Insurance, U.S. Department of the Treasury, March 1982. :‘Hazardous Waste: Issues Surrounding Insurance Availability (GAO/RCED-88-2, Oct. 16,1987) and Hazardous Waste: The Cost and Availability of Pollution Insurance (GAO/PEMD-89-6, Oct. 28, 1988). Page 31 GAO/RCED-90-64 Hazardous Waste Chapter 3 Options for Funding Poetclosure Liabilities l The inability to measure or quantify the liability exposure at hazardous waste facilities along with a perception by the insurance industry that liabilities are certain to occur after these facilities close. . An unwillingness by the industry to guarantee coverage on a perpetual, noncancellable basis to cover the entire 30-year postclosure period. . The financial liability of the insurance industry in the pollution arena, where the conduct of the policyholder is no longer relevant and insurers would be ultimately liable for cleanup costs. EPAhas also determined that private insurance for postclosure is not available. In its October 1986 proposed rule for corrective action, EPA indicated that it was aware of only one company that had offered post- closure insurance and that this company stopped offering such insur- ance as of 1986. Private Coinsurance and Both coinsurance and reinsurance are types of insurance that spread the Reinsurance risks associated with any potential insurance losses. In a coinsurance scheme, an owner/operator would share the losses sustained under an insurance policy with the insurance company. Reinsurers share in the risks of insuring potential losses with insurance companies in exchange for a portion of the premium. Neither coinsurance nor reinsurance is a viable option for assuring post- closure liability funding. As stated in the 1982 Treasury study, other private sector insurance arrangements such as coinsurance and reinsur- ante encounter many of the same shortcomings as private insurance, and consequently these options are not feasible in the foreseeable future. The senior economist responsible for the study told us that the feasibility of both coinsurance and reinsurance is dependent upon the existence of a robust private insurance market to cover these liabilities. As previously discussed, this market does not exist. As discussed in our October 1987 report, the availability of reinsurance for hazardous waste facilities has been limited since 1984, when foreign reinsurers began to leave the reinsurance market. A representative of the American Insurance Association stated that the association does not expect a resurgence in the reinsurance market for pollution liabilities. Voluntary Risk Pooling A risk pool is a group of riskbearers who spread and finance losses among themselves when private insurance is not available or prohibi- tively expensive. Risk retention groups, which are a form of risk pool- ing, can be established as insurance companies licensed by states. The Risk Retention Amendments of 1986 allow a broad range of firms with Page 32 GAO/RCED-90-64 Hazardous Waste chnpm 8 Optionsfor FundingPostclo8ureLi&illtie44 similar liability risks to form self-insurance pools. In addition, Section 210 of SARAstates that risk retention groups may operate to provide pol- lution liability insurance. As discussed in the 1982 Treasury report, risk pooling is not a viable option for postclosure liability funding. Because postclosure liability is uncertain and potentially unlimited, Treasury determined that under- writing the risk of postclosure is no more acceptable to mutual associa- tions than to individual insurance companies. Representatives of hazardous waste disposal firms and NSWMAalso pointed out that risk pooling was not a practical option for postclosure liabilities. In 1986 an attempt was made by NSWMAto establish a risk pool for operating hazardous waste facilities. The risk pool, Waste Insur- ance Liability Limited, failed to attract sufficient participation and was terminated because the association was unable to set initial capital con- tributions and annual premiums the prospective participants considered equitable. The hazardous waste disposal industry is composed of a very few large companies and many small companies, and some potential par- ticipants view the insurance coverage provided by the risk pool to be disproportionate with the financial commitment they would be required to make. Public Sector Options Public sector funding options- federal insurance or a federally adminis- tered trust fund-could be used to assure that moneys are available for any unfunded postclosure liabilities that may occur. These options pro- vide the greatest degree of funding assurance since they provide federal funding guarantees. However, public sector options place more financial risk on the federal government. Federal Insurance Programs The federal government can, and does, serve as an insurer if private insurance is not available. Federal insurance has been established in several instances where liabilities may be incurred, private insurance for these liabilities could not be obtained, and the federal government believed it was in the national interest to assure funds would be availa- ble to cover any losses. The government can provide funding through a federal insurance program, by mandating risk pooling, and/or as a rein- surer or coinsurer. Such insurance programs have been established in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for flood and crime insurance and in the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for nuclear power plant accidents. Page33 GAO/RCRD-9064 HazardousWaste Chapter 3 Options for Funding Poatcloeure Llabllities However, although postclosure liabilities at hazardous waste facilities are difficult to estimate and private insurance is generally not available, federal insurance officials do not believe that it is an area for federal insurance coverage. Officials from FEMA’S Federal Insurance Administra- tion (FIA) said that federal insurance may not be appropriate for post- closure liabilities at hazardous waste disposal facilities. The FIA officials cited a number of concerns with establishing a viable postclosure liabil- ity insurance program, including the following. . The lack of actuarial experience with postclosure liability costs. The officials said that with flood insurance, for example, risks can be quanti- fied based on historical data. However, the lack of experience-based data on postclosure liabilities makes it difficult to quantify the risks, costs, and coverage. . Coverage of bodily injury claims. The federal insurance programs FIA administers have been limited to property damage only, and it is more difficult to quantify the risks associated with bodily injury and poten- tially more expensive. l Certainty of risk. The possibility exists that even if facilities are built to current standards leakage will occur. l The need for perpetual insurance coverage. In other areas insurance has a time limit, but postclosure coverage would be forever. FIA’S Deputy Administrator added that federal insurance is usually pro- vided as a mechanism to influence behaviors and to achieve certain objectives while at the same time providing insurance coverage. For example, to obtain flood insurance, buildings must be built to certain standards which reduce the likelihood of flood damage. However, haz- ardous waste facilities already have to meet high standards for con- struction and maintenance, and therefore it appears that insurance is not needed to change the behaviors of facility owners/operators. The deputy administrator told us that before any insurance program can be contemplated for postclosure liabilities at hazardous waste facilities, public policy objectives must first be established. He said that such a policy must determine if it is in the economic interest of the United States to establish such insurance and/or whether changes to current behavior are needed and would be obtained through the insurance. A program based on the nuclear insurance program may also not be appropriate. The Price-Anderson Act created an insurance program for the nuclear industry to remove the deterrent to private sector participa- tion in nuclear energy presented by potentially enormous liability claims Page 34 GAO/RCED-90-64 Hazardous Waste Chapter 3 Options for Funding Poatclomre Liabilities of a catastrophic accident. The act establishes a source of funds to com- pensate personal injury and property damage from a nuclear accident and limits the liability of any entity from such accidents, Price-Ander- son is a combination of private insurance, mandatory risk pooling, and federal coinsurance. Each operating nuclear plant must carry $200 mil- lion in private insurance as “primary” insurance. In cases where dam- ages exceed that amount, each plant may be required to contribute a retrospective premium of up to $63 million per reactor into an industry insurance pool. Because there are currently 114 operating reactors, this “secondary” insurance is equivalent to $7.2 billion. The law contem- plates that the Congress will review public liability exceeding this limit to determine whether additional compensation will be made by the fed- eral government. A Senior Insurance Indemnity Analyst in NRC’S Office of Nuclear Reactor Regulation pointed out that although some aspects of Price-Anderson insurance could be applied to a postclosure liability program, such as coinsurance, this insurance concept is applicable to nuclear facilities only during their operating life. Once a facility gives up its operating license, it is no longer covered by the Price-Anderson provisions. Modified Postclosure The Postclosure Liability Trust Fund was established in 1980 to provide Liability Trust Fund a mechanism to assume the liabilities of owners/operators at RCRA per- mitted facilities after closure. The PCLTFwas designed to accept the lia- bilities of owners/operators and to assume the costs of long-term monitoring and care at qualified hazardous waste disposal facilities. Moneys in the fund were to be generated through a tax on hazardous waste disposal, but if the fund balance exceeded $200 million in any year, the tax would not be imposed the following year. The ability of the PCLTFto pay for all postclosure liabilities, however, was questionable. EPAconducted a study in 1986 on the viability of the fund4 and determined that there was a 60-percent likelihood that the fund would be unable to maintain a positive balance after 60 years. EPA concluded that it would be difficult to guarantee the adequacy of the fund in perpetuity. Further, EPArecommended, in a letter to the Con- gress in June 1986, eliminating the PCLTFfor the following reasons, 4Report to the Congress of the United States on the Post-Closure Liability Trust Fund Under Section 301(a)(2Xii) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (Office of Solid Waste, U.S. EPA, May 1986). Page 36 GAO/RCED-9044HamrdousWaste Chapter 3 . 0ptIo1’1~ for Funding Postclosure LiabilitSes . The major provision of the PCLTF-the assumption by the fund of owner/operator liability within 5 years after a facility closed-was inconsistent with EPA’Sbelief that liability should remain with the owner/operator. . The S-year period to qualify for PCLTFfunds was inconsistent with the 30-year postclosure maintenance and monitoring phase. Modifications to the PCLTFto make it more viable have been suggested by the NSWMA.Included among these modifications are the following. . Remove the fund’s $200-million ceiling. This would provide a larger source of funds to pay for any liabilities that occur. . Restructure the fund similar to coinsurance in which owners/operators would pay a deductible of $1 million, the fund would pay out claims ranging from $2 million to $30 million, and owners/operators would pay claims above $30 million. 9 Require that any facility would have to be in operation for 10 years in order to qualify for coverage by the fund. . Delay implementation of PCLTFcoverage until after the 30-year post- closure period. However, whether these modifications would make the fund viable are subject to question. According to a representative of EPA’Scontractor for the 1986 study, it is difficult to determine if the fund would be finan- cially viable if such changes were made. He said that the fund would have a much greater likelihood of being solvent if the postclosure tax was increased or the fund ceiling of $200 million removed. The contractor representative said that until data are available on the extent and magnitude of the liabilities that could be incurred, it is impossible to determine an appropriate structure for the trust fund. The representative said that consequently the structure of the fund becomes a policy decision. EPA,however, does not believe that a modified postclosure trust fund would be appropriate federal policy. According to the Director, Permits and State Programs Division, a federal trust fund runs counter to the objectives of HSWA,which establishes the federal policy of discouraging the land disposal of hazardous waste. He said that a trust fund would serve as an incentive to land disposal of these wastes and could result in increase disposal capacity, which is currently not needed nor is it desired by EPA, Page 36 GAO/RCED-99-94 Hazardous Waste . Chapter 3 Option.9 for FundSng Polptclomre LiaMlltiem Moreover, the establishment of a federal trust fund would serve as a disincentive for owners/operators to take all measures possible to pre- vent leakage from their facilities. The director said that EPAbelieves that the best mechanism for ensuring that facilities are properly con- structed and maintained is the liability that could result from leakage of hazardous constituents. Consequently, EPA’Spolicy is that owners/oper- ators should retain liability for their facilities and that the federal gov- ernment should not be involved with establishing a trust fund that would remove such liability. Page 37 GAO/RCED99-64 Hazardous Waste Chapter 4 Conclusions and Recommendation The Congress, through the passage of RCRAand its amendments, and EPA, through its regulations implementing RCRA,have sought to minimize the environmental impacts of continued land disposal of hazardous wastes. The permitting of facilities, the development and implementation of waste migration prevention measures, and the maintenance and moni- toring of facilities after they close are current standards that address past hazardous waste management practices that did not seek to mini- mize the leakage or release of pollutants to the environment. Although these requirements represent a significant improvement in hazardous waste disposal practices, it remains likely that some permit- ted hazardous waste disposal facilities will leak sometime after they close. The current technology used to prevent the migration of waste- liners and covers-are not believed capable of preventing waste migra- tion forever. In fact, these technologies may fail at some point after facilities close and the mandated 30-year maintenance and monitoring period has ended. Although treatment of wastes is now being required, some currently disposed wastes will remain hazardous for long periods and consequently leakage from permitted facilities could pose a risk to the public health and the environment. If and when leakage does occur from permitted facilities, current post- closure funding mechanisms are not adequate for ensuring that suffi- cient resources will be available to pay for liabilities resulting from such leakages. The only postclosure funding mechanisms in place cover rou- tine postclosure care for the established 30-year postclosure period and corrective action for known discharges. Should other problems arise during postclosure, there is no assurance that funds will be immediately available to take necessary actions. Although currently permitted haz- ardous waste facilities can pass financial tests, present financial condi- tions provide little guarantee that a facility owner/operator will be financially able to pay for liabilities 30,50, or more years in the future, EPAhas acknowledged for several years that concerns exist over the long-term effectiveness of current waste disposal practices in controlling the migration of hazardous substances. EPAhas stated that its current requirements-particularly liners-are not permanent leak prevention measures and that releases into the environment could occur after the established postclosure period ends. However, EPAdoes not have current plans to address this issue and better ensure longer term protection to the public. EPAofficials generally agree this issue has low priority in the RCRAprogram but will be addressed at some future date. Page 38 GAO/RCED-90-M Hazardous Waste Chapter4 ConclusionsandRecommendation We understand EPA’Sposition on placing a low priority on long-term postclosure concerns at permitted hazardous waste land disposal facili- ties. EPAhas limited resources to deal with the many environmental problems facing the nation, and focusing its actions to protect the public from current environmental dangers is a prudent use of resources. Potential environmental problems that may occur a half century or more from now may not warrant the most immediate attention. However, on the basis of past history, we remain concerned that future EPAefforts directed towards long-term postclosure issues will be insuffi- cient. It has been over 10 years since the Congress first established a mechanism-PCLTF-to ensure funding for postclosure liabilities and almost 6 years since EPAdetermined that the PCLTFwould not be viable, yet little has been done to address and resolve long-term liability ques- tions. In our view, the potential exists that efforts to address this issue will continue to be deferred as other environmental concerns arise, and actions needed to ensure that postclosure liability problems do not occur may be too little, too late. EPA’SScience Advisory Board has expressed similar concerns about the current knowledge of the long-term effective- ness of land disposal practices and EPA’Sactions to address this concern. To best assure that EPAobtains and develops adequate information to resolve postclosure liability concerns, the agency needs to develop a strategic plan outlining the activities it intends to take to address long- term postclosure issues and the time frame for completing these activi- ties. At a minimum, such a plan should include (1) activities to deter- mine the current effectiveness of waste migration prevention measures already in place and (2) research on the long-term performance of liners, covers, and other technology required to prevent waste migration. In addition, the plan should also address the issue of extending the post- closure care period. Extending this period would provide longer term care and monitoring at these facilities, better ensuring that waste con- tainment measures are working and that any leakage would be detected. We recognize that EPAhas already identified some activities to conduct in these areas and has proposed a rule to collect data on leakage through liner systems. However, we believe a strategic plan is needed to provide direction to these efforts while giving assurance to the Congress and others that the concerns over long-term postclosure liabilities will be undertaken in an orderly, reasonable, and timely manner. Without such planning, the completion of all necessary actions to thoroughly assess the effectiveness of current disposal technology, and the identification Page39 GAO/RCED&MM HazardousWaste Chapter 4 Conclusiona and Recommendation and availability of resources needed to conduct such actions, is far from certain. As EPAcollects and analyzes data on long-term postclosure risks and costs, the need for and structure of a mechanism to fund postclosure liabilities can be better determined. On the basis of environmental problems that have occurred from waste disposal in both the public and private sectors, we believe that it is a prudent course of action-from both public policy and financial management perspectives-to establish a program that better assures funds will be available to pay for future liabilities. However, not enough information is now available to deter- mine the extent of these liabilities; ascertain the most appropriate struc- ture for a postclosure liability funding mechanism; and ensure that, if warranted, funds collected to pay for these liabilities will be sufficient. We anticipate that EPAcan develop a strategic plan to address this issue in time for debates on the reauthorization of CERCLA-the legislation under which the postclosure liability issue has historically been dis- cussed-which is expected in 1991. As the plan is then implemented and data collected, EPAcan periodically provide data to the Congress to allow for deliberations on the establishment of additional postclosure funding mechanisms. If EPAcannot provide the data in a timely manner, possible interim measures-such as extending the postclosure care period- could be considered to provide greater protection to the public health and the environment until more definitive data are available. The Administrator, EPA,should develop and implement a strategy to Recommendation address the long-term effectiveness of current hazardous waste disposal requirements so that decisions can be made about postclosure liability funding mechanisms. Such a strategy should outline the activities EPA needs to undertake and/or complete to assess postclosure risks, require evaluations of actions to reduce risks such as extended postclosure care, and assess available alternatives for funding postclosure liabilities. The strategy should also identify required EPAresources and establish time frames for completing such activities. Further, the Administrator should periodically report to the Congress the agency’s progress in obtaining the necessary data on the effectiveness of current disposal requirements and as information becomes available, be prepared to take interim mea- sures to provide greater public protection until more definitive data are developed. Page 40 GAO/RCED-90-04 Hazardous Waste Chapter 4 Conclusions and Recommendation In EPA'Scomments (see app. I), EPAsaid that if it is our intent that EPA EPA Comments and develop and implement a strategic plan to assess the need for a post- Our Response closure liability trust fund, sufficient information probably will not be obtained in time for CERCLAreauthorization hearings. According to EPA, substantive information would be unavailable for anticipated hearings since detecting groundwater contamination, necessary to determine the effectiveness of hazardous waste requirements, often takes 20 or more years. It was not our intent that EPAcollect all the data necessary to assess the long-term effectiveness of current disposal practices and the need for additional postclosure funding mechanisms in time for anticipated CER- CIA reauthorization hearings. We recognize the inherent difficulties in accomplishing such actions in that time frame; consequently, our report recommends that EPAdevelop its strategy for obtaining the needed infor- mation in time for the hearings. We believe the timing for implementing and completing the actions contained in the strategy should be discussed by EPAwith the Congress during the hearings, and need to be considered in light of other environmental concerns that place competing demands on EPAresources. However, it should be noted that EPA'Sstatement that the detection of groundwater contamination often takes 20 years or more underscores our position that actions to address long-term effectiveness of current disposal actions should be initiated in a timely manner. Such long delays in determining whether current waste disposal requirements are effec- tive can result in a false sense of confidence in current hazardous waste management and has the potential to result in another Superfund situa- tion in future years, a situation that the Congress has stated that it wants prevented through the RCRAhazardous waste management system. Page 41 GAO/RCED-SO-64 Hazardous Waste Appendix I Canrnents F’rom the Environmental Protection Agency supplementing those in the report text appear at the end of this appendix. UNITED STATES ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY WASHINGTON, D.C. 20460 c8Bi6regl POLICY, OFFICE OF PLANNING AND EVALUATION Mr. Richard L. Hembra Director, Environmental Protection Issues Re~OurCeB, community and Economic Development Division U.S. General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Hembrat Thank you for the opportunity to review the General Accounting Office (GAO) draft report entitled "Hazardous Waste: Funding of Postclosure Liabilities Remains Uncertain" (GAO/NED-90-64). Pursuant to Public Law 96-226, the Environmental Protection Agency is hereby providing the official Agency response to the draft report. Our response concerns specific sections of the report as indicated. The opening paragraph of the report , noting the environmental contamination caused by past land disposal, states that while better disposal and containment requirements now apply to land- disposed waste, the possibility remains for leaks requiring costly cleanup actions. However, the paragraph does not reflect the requirement6 of the land-disposal restrictions program. Since these treatment8 reduce the toxicity and mobility of wastes, they should decrease the future liabilities associated with land disposal at least as much as the technical requirements for liners See comment 1. and covers. GAOehould note these requirements in conjunction with disposal and containment requirements. subsequent sections of the report do mention the restrictions program, but not including it in the Executive Summary neglects a key component of the HSWA requirements. Now on pp. 27-37. This chapter of the draft report argues that the current financial aeaurance requirements do not provide eecure funding for known postclosure liabilities because the Agency allows the use of See comment 2. a financial test. GAO feels that such a test is inadequate for predicting the financial health of a firm in the distant future when such liabilities will come due. Page42 GAO/RCED-90-64 IiazardouaWaste Appendix I Comments From the Environmental Protection Agency 2 The Agency concurs that financial tests may not be good long- term predictors. For that reason, EPA requires yearly updates of the financial test to assure that a firm's financial health has not substantially deteriorated. Firms failing the financial test must provide an alternative assurance of its ability to comply with our requiremente. GAO's characterization doea not take into account that failing the financial test triggers the provision of other financial aeeurance mechanisms deecribed in the report. Now on pp. 38-41. Regarding the first part of the recommendation, I have a concern. If it is GAG's intent that the Agency develop and implement a strategic plan to assess the need for a postclosure liability trust fund, it is unlikely that sufficient information could be obtained for CERCLAreauthorization hearings, as the GAO Now on p. 40. report suggests on' page 53. Substantive information would be unavailable for anticipated hearinga since detection of groundwater contamination, necessary to determine the effectiveness of hazardous waste requirements, often takes 20 or more years. See comment 3. Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the draft report. Si?cerely, %D&kS@~ Assistant Administrator Y Page43 c Appendix I Comments From the Environmental Protection Agency The following are GAO'Scomments on the Assistant Administrator’s let- ter dated February 16,199O. 1. We revised the report to reflect that required disposal practices GAO Comments include the treatment of waste to reduce its toxicity. 2. We clarified our discussion of financial tests in chapter 3 to note that firms failing the financial test must provide an alternative assurance of their ability to fund postclosure care costs. However, although such fail- ures trigger the imposition of other funding assurance requirements, firms may be unable to provide such assurance, particularly in bank- ruptcy situations. 3. Response provided in chapter 4. Page 44 Ppe ’ bzi Contributors to This Report Peter F. Guerrero, Associate Director Resources, Patricia D. Moore, Assistant Director Community , and John R. Schulze, Evaluator-in-Charge Sarah E. Veale, Evaluator Economic Development Division, Scott Smith, Economist Washington, DC. Y (oasrro) Page 45 GAO/RCED-fJO-64 Hazardous Waste 4 : Bulk Mail ()I’fic*icil Husimss I Permit No. GlOO I
Hazardous Waste: Funding of Postclosure Liabilities Remains Uncertain
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-06-01.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)