How Does EPA Evaluate Options?

There are nine EPA evaluation criteria used to determine a cleanup option. The first two of these criteria have absolute weight, meaning that the others are considered only after these first two have been met.

Threshold Criteria (must be met):

  • Overall protection of human health and the environment; the cleanup option must attain a certain level of protectiveness.
  • Compliance with state and federal standards and regulations. Where impossible to meet, a waiver may be considered.

Balancing Criteria (must be considered):

  • Long-term effectiveness and permanence of the remedy
  • Reduction of toxicity, mobility and volume
  • Short-term effectiveness
  • Implementability (Is the remedy doable?)
  • Capital, operating and maintenance costs

Modifying criteria (must also be considered):

  • State acceptance: Acceptance of the plan by state officials and government leaders.
  • Community acceptance: What do residents in the immediate area want done with the site?

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