59 FR 47452, Sept. 15, 1994, unless otherwise noted.
(a) General. Except as provided (e.g., in CWA section 311(c)), any person may undertake a response action to reduce or eliminate a release of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant.
(b) Summary of CERCLA authorities. The mechanisms available to recover the costs of response actions under CERCLA are, in summary:
(1) Section 107(a), wherein any person may receive a court award of his or her response costs, plus interest, from the party or parties found to be liable;
(2) Section 111(a)(2), wherein a private party, a PRP pursuant to a settlement agreement, or certain foreign entities may file a claim against the Fund for reimbursement of response costs;
(3) Section 106(b), wherein any person who has complied with a section 106(a) order may petition the Fund for reimbursement of reasonable costs, plus interest; and
(4) Section 123, wherein a general purpose unit of local government may apply to the Fund under 40 CFR part 310 for reimbursement of the costs of temporary emergency measures that are necessary to prevent or mitigate injury to human health or the environment associated with a release.
(c) Section 107(a) cost recovery actions.
(1) Responsible parties shall be liable for all response costs incurred by the United States government or a state or an Indian tribe not inconsistent with the NCP.
(2) Responsible parties shall be liable for necessary costs of response actions to releases of hazardous substances incurred by any other person consistent with the NCP.
(3) For the purpose of cost recovery under section 107(a)(4)(B) of CERCLA:
(i) A private party response action will be considered “consistent with the NCP” if the action, when evaluated as a whole, is in substantial compliance with the applicable requirements in paragraphs (5) and (6) of this section, and results in a CERCLA-quality cleanup; and
(ii) Any response action carried out in compliance with the terms of an order issued by EPA pursuant to section 106 of CERCLA, or a consent decree entered into pursuant to section 122 of CERCLA, will be considered “consistent with the NCP.”
(4) Actions under § 300.700(c)(1) will not be considered “inconsistent with the NCP,” and actions under § 300.700(c)(2) will not be considered not “consistent with the NCP,” based on immaterial or insubstantial deviations from the provisions of 40 CFR part 300.
(5) The following provisions of this part are potentially applicable to private party response actions:
(i) Section 300.150 (on worker health and safety);
(ii) Section 300.160 (on documentation and cost recovery);
(iii) Section 300.400(c)(1), (4), (5), and (7) (on determining the need for a Fund-financed action); (e) (on permit requirements) except that the permit waiver does not apply to private party response actions; and (g) (on identification of ARARs) except that applicable requirements of federal or state law may not be waived by a private party;
(v) Section 300.410 (on removal site evaluation) except paragraphs (f)(5) and (6);
(vi) Section 300.415 (on removal actions) except paragraphs (a)(2), (b)(2)(vii), (b)(5), and (g); and including § 300.415(j) with regard to meeting ARARs where practicable except that private party removal actions must always comply with the requirements of applicable law;
(vii) Section 300.420 (on remedial site evaluation);
(viii) Section 300.430 (on RI/FS and selection of remedy) except paragraph (f)(1)(ii)(C)(6) and that applicable requirements of federal or state law may not be waived by a private party; and
(ix) Section 300.435 (on RD/RA and operation and maintenance).
(6) Private parties undertaking response actions should provide an opportunity for public comment concerning the selection of the response action based on the provisions set out below, or based on substantially equivalent state and local requirements. The following provisions of this part regarding public participation are potentially applicable to private party response actions, with the exception of administrative record and information repository requirements stated therein:
(i) Section 300.155 (on public information and community relations);
(ii) Section 300.415(n) (on community relations during removal actions);
(iii) Section 300.430(c) (on community relations during RI/FS) except paragraph (c)(5);
(v) Section 300.435(c) (on community relations during RD/RA and operation and maintenance).
(7) When selecting the appropriate remedial action, the methods of remedying releases listed in appendix D of this part may also be appropriate to a private party response action.
(8) Except for actions taken pursuant to CERCLA sections 104 or 106 or response actions for which reimbursement from the Fund will be sought, any action to be taken by the lead agency listed in paragraphs (c)(5) through (c)(7) may be taken by the person carrying out the response action.
(d) Section 111(a)(2) claims.
(1) Persons, other than those listed in paragraphs (d)(1)(i) through (iii) of this section, may be able to receive reimbursement of response costs by means of a claim against the Fund. The categories of persons excluded from pursuing this claims authority are:
(i) Federal government;
(ii) State governments, and their political subdivisions, unless they are potentially responsible parties covered by an order or consent decree pursuant to section 122 of CERCLA; and
(iii) Persons operating under a procurement contract or an assistance agreement with the United States with respect to matters covered by that contract or assistance agreement, unless specifically provided therein.
(2) In order to be reimbursed by the Fund, an eligible person must notify the Administrator of EPA or designee prior to taking a response action and receive prior approval, i.e., “preauthorization,” for such action.
(3) Preauthorization is EPA's prior approval to submit a claim against the Fund for necessary response costs incurred as a result of carrying out the NCP. All applications for preauthorization will be reviewed to determine whether the request should receive priority for funding. EPA, in its discretion, may grant preauthorization of a claim. Preauthorization will be considered only for:
(i) Removal actions pursuant to § 300.415;
(ii) CERCLA section 104(b) activities; and
(iii) Remedial actions at National Priorities List sites pursuant to § 300.435.
(4) To receive EPA's prior approval, the eligible person must:
(i) Demonstrate technical and other capabilities to respond safely and effectively to releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants; and
(5) EPA will grant preauthorization to a claim by a party it determines to be potentially liable under section 107 of CERCLA only in accordance with an order issued pursuant to section 106 of CERCLA, or a settlement with the federal government in accordance with section 122 of CERCLA.
(6) Preauthorization does not establish an enforceable contractual relationship between EPA and the claimant.
(7) Preauthorization represents EPA's commitment that if funds are appropriated for response actions, the response action is conducted in accordance with the preauthorization decision document, and costs are reasonable and necessary, reimbursement will be made from the Superfund, up to the maximum amount provided in the preauthorization decision document.
(8) For a claim to be awarded under section 111 of CERCLA, EPA must certify that the costs were necessary and consistent with the preauthorization decision document.
(e) Section 106(b) petition. Subject to conditions specified in CERCLA section 106(b), any person who has complied with an order issued after October 16, 1986 pursuant to section 106(a) of CERCLA, may seek reimbursement for response costs incurred in complying with that order unless the person has waived that right.
(f) Section 123 reimbursement to local governments. Any general purpose unit of local government for a political subdivision that is affected by a release may receive reimbursement for the costs of temporary emergency measures necessary to prevent or mitigate injury to human health or the environment subject to the conditions set forth in 40 CFR part 310. Such reimbursement may not exceed $25,000 for a single response.
(g) Release From Liability. Implementation of response measures by potentially responsible parties or by any other person does not release those parties from liability under section 107(a) of CERCLA, except as provided in a settlement under section 122 of CERCLA or a federal court judgment.
(h) Oil Pollution Act Claims. Claims are authorized to be presented to the OSLTF under section 1013 of the OPA, for certain uncompensated removal costs or uncompensated damages resulting from the discharge, or substantial threat of discharge, of oil from a vessel or facility into or upon the navigable waters, adjoining shorelines, or exclusive economic zone of the United States. Anyone desiring to file a claim against the OSLTF may obtain general information on the procedure for filing a claim from the Director, National Pollution Funds Center, Suite 1000, 4200 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22203-1804, (703) 235-4756.