The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Program investigates regulated hazardous waste management facilities for releases of contaminants (hazardous wastes or hazardous constituents) into the environment and determines whether any releases found require cleanup or further action. This process is called the RCRA Facility Assessment (RFA). RFA reports document the findings and conclusions based on this assessment, and they are stored in the Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s (IDEM) Virtual File Cabinet.
If the RFA process discovers evidence of any release of contaminants, the facility is required to conduct a RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI). An RFI determines the levels and locations of the hazardous constituents released to the environment and whether they are posing any threat to human health or the environment. If the RFI report reveals unacceptable risks, a RCRA Corrective Measures Study (CMS) may be used to evaluate the different potential remedies that will best remove or manage the risks caused by any discovered releases. The CMS is generally more appropriate for large and complex sites with numerous releases, and is unnecessary if the best remedy is obvious (presumptive remedy).
Regardless of the approach used, the program staff reviews and approves the remedy (or combination of remedies) and requires the facility to submit a Corrective Measures Implementation Plan (CMIP). The CMIP could be as simple as recording an Environmental Restrictive Covenant on the deed to the property, or it could involve years of soil, sediment, and ground water cleanup. Once approved, the CMIP is implemented and completed. OLQ may require corrective action as a condition of a RCRA permit, or by an enforcement action using Indiana Code 13-22-13.
If no releases to the environment are found, or if all unacceptable risks have been adequately removed and/or managed, the corrective action completion determination process begins. The program staff issues a public notice for this process to close out facilities at the end of the RFA (if no releases are suspected or found), at the end of the RFI (if no releases are found or all contamination at the facility is below harmful levels), or at the end of the CMIP (if all threats to human health and the environment are successfully removed or managed by the approved remedy).
To start the public participation process, a public notice regarding the proposed determination is placed in the nearest newspaper. At larger or more complex facilities, the public participation process may also occur after the results of the investigation are completed and a remedy is proposed. During the public comment period, interested parties may comment on any aspects of the investigation or the proposed remedy. If IDEM receives no comments or resolves all comments submitted, the program staff issues a Notice of RCRA Corrective Action Complete (CAC) determination to the facility and updates the list of Corrective Action Facilities [PDF].
When unacceptable risks are removed or did not exist, the CAC determination is issued without controls. When elevated contamination remains in the environment, but exposure is controlled through the use of institutional controls and/or engineering controls to ensure adequate protection of human health and the environment, the CAC determination is issued with controls. The controls are recorded on the property deed as an Environmental Restrictive Covenant (ERC). In some instances, an ERC is recorded before the CAC determination. Facilities that have a CAC determination that have controls are found in the Institutional Controls Registry Remediation Site Report.