2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: 5 Jul 2002 16:19:08 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Energy Department Five-Year Review Guide
In March, 2002, the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental
Management issued a 14-page guide clarifying its programmatic objectives
for the conduct of Five-Year Reviews under the Comprehensive
Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). 

The Guide  states: 

"In addition to ensuring the long-term effectiveness of engineered or
institutional measures put in place to protect human health and the
environment, the DOE has three programmatic objectives with respect to
five-year reviews:

"1)   Optimizing the effectiveness and implementation of remedy requirements.
Although the CERCLA five-year review provision was instituted as a
validation of protectiveness, the DOE believes these reviews should also
be used to evaluate opportunities to optimize the effectiveness of
remedy controls or to reduce long-term maintenance and monitoring costs.
 This focus on optimization will be particularly important for long-term
remedial actions (e.g., where groundwater restoration is anticipated to
take one or more decades).

"2)   Reducing repetitive documentation and paperwork.
As part of the CERCLA remedy selection and implementation process, a
wealth of information on remedial action requirements is compiled and
documented (e.g., RODs, Remedial Designs, Close-out Reports).  The DOE?s
intent is to build upon this existing documentation to develop an
?audible? baseline on remedy performance, while minimizing duplication
of previous paperwork.

"3)   Integrating the five-year reviews with other LTS [Long-Term
Stewardship] requirements.  
In recognition of the long-term management challenges that will be posed
by much of the wastes and residual contamination remaining at its sites,
the DOE is requiring that its facilities develop LTS plans to ensure
protectiveness is continually maintained.  The five-year review process
will constitute an important component of LTS plans whenever such a
review is required." 

The first objective is particularly interesting. DOE recognizes that it
can benefit from such a review, even if a remedy is still protective.

DOE further defines the scope of the five-year review:

"1)   Evaluate whether the remedy is operational and functional;

"2)   Evaluate those assumptions critical to the effectiveness of
remedial measures or the protection of human health and the environment
(e.g., land use, site conditions, applicable standards) made at the time
of the remedial decision to determine, given current information,
whether these assumptions are still valid;

"3)   Determine what corrective measures are required to address any
identified deficiencies; and

4")   Evaluate whether there are opportunities to optimize the long-term
performance of the remedy or reduce life-cycle costs."

The document also stresses the importance of notifying the public and
seeking public input if remedies are likely to be significantly modified
or replaced:

"Should a five-year review identify the potential need to implement a
previously identified contingency to correct a remedy failure, and that
contingency was discussed in the original decision, it may be adequate
to simply notify the public through an Explanation of Significant
Difference (ESD) that the contingency plan is being implemented. 
However, if a review finds the original remedy is failing, and a new,
not previously identified remedy is necessary, then those community
participation requirements under which the original remedy was selected
would be applicable to the selection of the new remedy."

"Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
(CERCLA) Five-Year Review Guide," Office of Environmental Management,
Department of Energy , March, 2002.


Lenny Siegel
Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight
c/o PSC, 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041
Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545
Fax: 650/961-8918

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