Glossary sources in part: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/training/hrstrain/htmain/glossal.htm and http://www.epa.gov/superfund/training/hrstrain/htmain/glossmz.htm
Administrative Order on Consent (AOC): A voluntary and enforceable agreement pursuant to CERCLA, signed by EPA and potentially responsible parties (PRPs), whereby the PRPs agree to perform and/or pay for some or all of the response costs involved in site cleanup.
Administrative Records: The Superfund Amendment and Reauthorization Act (SARA) requires that administrative records be compiled at Superfund sites where remedial or removal responses are planned, or are occurring, or where EPA is issuing a unilateral order or initiating litigation to track enforcement case budget funds used for any activity being led by a Responsible Party.
Atomic Energy Commission (AEC): AEC means the Atomic Energy Commission. The AEC was replaced by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in 1975, and in 1977, Congress gave responsibility for the nation's nuclear weapons complex to the Department of Energy (DOE).
Cleanup Activities: Cleanup activities at a site include removals, studies, remedy selection, remedy design, remedy implementation, and post-construction activities. The completion of each activity enables the site to move further along in the cleanup process.
- Study: A number of studies are undertaken at a site to determine site conditions, the nature and extent of contamination, the criteria that will be required to clean up the site, preliminary alternatives for cleanup actions, and technical and cost analyses of the alternatives. The two most common studies are called the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study.
- Removal: A removal is a short-term cleanup intended to stabilize or clean up a site that poses an imminent and substantial threat to human health or the environment. Removals can occur at any stage of the Superfund cleanup process, but are often the first response upon discovery of a hazardous substance at a site.
- Remedy Selected: The remedy selected at a site is the method that EPA has determined will best address, correct, or remediate the contamination concerns at the site. The remedy selected at a site is documented in a Record of Decision (ROD) document. The ROD provides the justification for the remedial action (treatment) chosen in the Record of Decision. It also contains site history, site description, site characteristics, community participation, enforcement activities, past and present activities, contaminated media, the contaminants present, scope and role of response action, and the remedy selected for cleanup.
- Remedy Design: Remedy Design (RD) is the phase in Superfund site cleanup where the technical specifications for cleanup remedies and technologies are designed.
- Remedy Construction: Remedy Construction is the phase in Superfund site cleanup where the actual remedy (e.g. landfill cap or water treatment system) chosen from the Record of Decision (ROD), is built and put into place.
- Post-Construction: Superfund Post-Construction is a cleanup phase where several activities are generally undertaken at sites following the construction of response actions. These activities include operation and maintenance and long-term response actions; five-year reviews, close-out reports, and deletion from the NPL. The goal of Superfund Post-Construction is to ensure that response actions provide for the long-term protection of human health and the environment.
Community Involvement: The community relations activities, (i.e., plan, implementation and responsiveness summary) that must be completed at a site to address community concerns.
CERCLA or the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act: The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, was enacted by Congress on December 11, 1980. This law provided broad Federal authority to respond directly to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health or the environment. CERCLA:
- established prohibitions and requirements concerning closed and abandoned hazardous waste sites;
- provided for liability of persons responsible for releases of hazardous waste at these sites; and
- established a trust fund to provide for cleanup when no responsible party could be identified.
CERCLA authorizes two kinds of response actions:
- Short-term removals, where actions may be taken to address releases or threatened releases requiring prompt response.
- Long-term remedial response actions, that permanently and significantly reduce the dangers associated with releases or threats of releases of hazardous substances that are serious, but not immediately life threatening. These actions can be conducted only at sites listed on EPA's National Priorities List (NPL).
CERCLA also enabled the revision of the National Contingency Plan (NCP). The NCP provided the guidelines and procedures needed to respond to releases and threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. The NCP also established the NPL.
Consent Decree: Judicial agreement between the Federal Government and the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) fully or partially settling a claim under CERCLA. This agreement may settle litigation or may be presented concurrently with the complaint (achieved through negotiations). The agreement may be for response work, cost recovery, or both.
Contaminants of Concern (COC): Chemicals identified during in-depth site studies (Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study) that need to be addressed by a cleanup action because they pose a potential threat to human health or the environment.
Corps of Engineers (ACE): The United States Army Corps of Engineers. The Corps of Engineers is the federal agency which supervises and contracts for the performance of cleanup work at FUSRAP sites.
DOE: The United States Department of Energy.
EPA: The United States Environmental Protection Agency. EPA is the federal agency charged with responsibility for overseeing the investigation, study, and cleanup of NPL (Superfund) sites.
Exposure: Contact with a substance by swallowing, breathing, or touching the skin or eyes. Exposure may be short-term (acute exposure), of intermediate duration, or long-term (chronic exposure).
Exposure Pathways: The way in which a person, species, or environment comes into contact with contamination. Types of Exposure Pathways include soil, air, ground water, and surface water.
Feasibility Study (FS): A study of a hazardous waste site intended to: (1) evaluate alternative remedial actions from technical, environmental, and cost effectiveness perspectives; (2) recommend the cost-effective remedial action; and (3) prepare a conceptual design, a cost estimate for budgetary purposes, and a preliminary construction schedule.
Five-Year Review: Five-Year Reviews generally are required by CERCLA or program policy when hazardous substances remain on site above levels which permit unrestricted use and unlimited exposure. Five-year reviews provide an opportunity to evaluate the implementation and performance of a remedy to determine whether it remains protective of human health and the environment. Generally, reviews are performed five years following the initiation of a CERCLA response action, and are repeated every succeeding five years so long as future uses remain restricted. Five-year reviews can be performed by EPA or the lead agency for a site, but EPA retains responsibility for determining the protectiveness of the remedy.
FUSRAP: The Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program is an environmental remediation program. It addresses radiological contamination generated by activities of the Manhattan Engineer District and the Atomic Energy Commission (MED/AEC) during development of the atomic weapons in the 1940s and 50s. AEC established the FUSRAP for the cleanup of sites not owned by the U.S. Department of Energy but contaminated from past activities involving radioactive materials.
Institutional Controls: Institutional Controls are non-engineered instruments, such as administrative and/or legal controls, that help minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination and/or protect the integrity of a remedy by limiting land or resource use. Examples include fishing restrictions, deed restrictions, and the posting of warning signs outside of a contaminated site.
Listed on the NPL: A site that has been proposed to the National Priorities List is "final" when it has been formally added to the National Priorities List.
Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL): The highest level of a contaminant that EPA allows in drinking water. MCLs ensure that drinking water does not pose either a short-term or long-term health risk. EPA sets MCLs at levels that are economically and technologically feasible. Some states set MCLs which are more strict than EPA's.
MDNR: The Missouri Department of Natural Resources. MDNR is the state agency charged with oversight of the cleanup of contaminated properties, including Superfund sites.
MED: MED means the Manhattan Engineering District of the US Army Corps of Engineers. Because the Manhattan District had responsibility for development for the first atom bomb, the project to develop the bomb became known as the Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Engineering District was dissolved in December, 1946, after the end of WWII.
NCP: The National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP) is a federal regulation found at 40 CFR Part 300, and serves as the blueprint for all federal agencies involved in responding to hazardous substance releases and cleaning up contaminated properties.
National Priorities List (NPL): The National Priorities List (NPL) is the list of national priorities among the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States and its territories. Please also see the definition for Archive.
Operable Unit (OU): During cleanup, a site can be divided into a number of distinct areas depending on the complexity of the problems associated with the site. These areas called operable units may address geographic areas of a site, specific site problems, or areas where a specific action is required. An example of a typical operable unit could include removal of drums and tanks from the surface of a site.
Operations and Maintenance (O&M): Site activities associated with a remedy that must be performed after the completion of a remedial action.
Pitchblende: A brown to black mineral that has a distinctive luster. It consists mainly of urananite (UO2), but also contains radium. It is the main source of uranium ore.
Additional supplement re: Belgian Congo pitchblende
Under contracts with the Manhattan Engineering District (MED) and the Atom Energy Commission (AEC), Mallinckrodt Chemical Works processed uranium feed materials for production of uranium metal from 1942 to 1957. The processing occurred at the location of the Mallinckrodt plant in downtown St. Louis. Feed materials included uranium black oxide, uranium ores, and concentrates. In 1944, pitchblende ore from the Shinkolobwe Mine in the Belgian Congo was processed. The Shinkolobwe ore is noted for its extremely high concentrations of uranium (30 to 65 percent by weight). The plant also processed some domestic ores which were much less concentrated (< 1 percent uranium).
The first two steps of the process performed by Mallinckrodt involved digestion of the feed materials in acid and adjustment of the resulting solution. The uranium remained in solution as uranyl nitrate while the other constituents of the feed material were precipitated out as solids and removed. A condition placed on the Belgian Congo ore by the supplier required that radium, radium daughters, lead, and other valuable metals be extracted, stored, and returned to the supplier. Therefore, the Mallinckrodt process included steps to extract these materials as a separate residue apart from the bulk of the ore residue. The separated radium- and lead-bearing residue was known as K-65 residue.
In 1946, AEC acquired a 21.7-acre tract of land in a then undeveloped area of north St. Louis County to store byproducts and scrap from the uranium processing at the downtown plant. This tract of land is now known as the St. Louis Airport Site (SLAPS), which is part of the St. Louis Formerly Utilized Sites Remedial Action Program (FUSRAP) managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District. The radium-bearing K-65 residues were stored in drums at the airport site from 1946 to 1948. All the K-65 residues were eventually transferred to federal facilities in Lake Ontario, New York, and Fernald, Ohio, in 1948 and 1949. There are no K-65 residues at the West Lake Site.
Potentially Responsible Party (PRP): Any individual or company--including owners, operators, transporters or generators--potentially responsible for, or contributing to a spill or other contamination at a Superfund site. Whenever possible, through administrative and legal actions, EPA requires PRPs to clean up hazardous sites they have contaminated.
Proposed to the NPL: Sites are proposed to the NPL through the issuance of a proposed rule in the Federal Register. EPA accepts and responds to comments on a site, and if a site continues to meet criteria for Final listing, will be listed as Final on the NPL.
Record of Decision (ROD): A public document that explains which cleanup alternative(s) will be used at National Priorities List sites.
Remedial Action (RA): The actual construction or implementation phase of a Superfund site cleanup that follows remedial design.
Remedial Design (RD): Remedial design (RD) is the phase in Superfund site cleanup where the technical specifications for cleanup remedies and technologies are designed.
Remedial Design/Remedial Action Negotiations: Discussions and information exchange between potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and EPA (or state) over the PRPs liability and willingness and ability to conduct the remedial design and/or the remedial action as identified in the Record of Decision (ROD).
Remedial Investigation (RI): An investigation intended to gather the data necessary to: (1) determine the nature and extent of problems at the site; ( 2) establish cleanup criteria for the site; (3) identify preliminary alternative remedial actions; and (4) support the technical and cost analyses of the alternatives.
Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study Negotiations: Discussions between EPA and the potentially responsible parties (PRPs) on liability for and conduct of a remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS).
Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study Workplan Approval: Approval of the remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) workplan, which is a description of the tasks and resources planned for the RI/FS.
Remedy Construction: Remedy Construction is the phase in Superfund site cleanup where the actual remedy (e.g. landfill cap or water treatment system) chosen from the Record of Decision (ROD), is built and put into place.
Remedy Design (RD): Remedy Design (RD) is the phase in Superfund site cleanup where the technical specifications for cleanup remedies and technologies are designed.
SLAPS: SLAPS is the St. Louis Airport Sites located in North St. Louis County, and includes the airport and Latty Avenue.
Special Notice Issued: Issuance under CERCLA Section 122 of a Special Notice Letter to potentially responsible parties (PRPs). The issuance of a Special Notice Letter by EPA triggers a suspension in negotiations. Special Notice Letters can be issued for removal, remedial investigation/feasibility study, and remedial design/remedial action negotiations.
Study and Remedy Selection: A number of studies are undertaken at a site to determine site conditions, the nature and extent of contamination, the criteria that will be required to clean up the site, preliminary alternatives for cleanup actions, and technical and cost analyses of the alternatives. The two most common studies are called the Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study.
The remedy selected at a site is the method that EPA has determined will best address, correct, or remediate the contamination concerns at the site. The remedy selected at a site is documented in a Record of Decision (ROD) document. The ROD provides the justification for the remedial action (treatment) chosen in the Record of Decision. It also contains site history, site description, site characteristics, community participation, enforcement activities, past and present activities, contaminated media, the contaminants present, scope and role of response action, and the remedy selected for cleanup.
Superfund: Superfund is the name given to the environmental program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites. It is also the name of the fund established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended. It allows the EPA to clean up such sites and to compel responsible parties to perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-lead cleanups.
The Superfund cleanup process is complex. It involves the steps taken to assess sites, place them on the NPL, and establish and implement appropriate cleanup plans. This is the long-term cleanup process. In addition, EPA has the authority to: 1) conduct removal actions where immediate action needs to be taken; 2) enforce against potentially responsible parties (PRPs); 3) ensure community involvement; 4) involve states; and 5) ensure long-term protectiveness.
The blueprint for these activities is the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), a regulation applicable to all federal agencies involved in responding to hazardous substance releases.