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Superfund Listening Session: Improving Implementation of Cleanup Agreements for Response Actions by Potentially Responsible Parties

SFTF Recommendation No. 16.2: Expedite cleanup settlement negotiations with potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and prevent performance delays under existing cleanup agreements. (Goal 2/Strategy 1).

Date of Event: June 18, 2018.

The goal of this recommendation is to explore strategies to speed up negotiations with potentially responsible parties as well as cleanup under finalized settlements. This session will focus solely on reducing performance delays under existing cleanup agreements. Information on the listening session series.

On this page:

Overview of Session Topic and Issues

EPA’s Office of Site Remediation Enforcement and EPA regional enforcement staff are reviewing existing guidance documents, current and prior practices, and available data regarding delays during implementation of response actions.

An important outcome of Recommendation 16 will be to develop a list of best practices to reduce delays in implementation of response actions. EPA continues to discuss the reasons for delays in implementing response actions with regional and DOJ staff and management. EPA is also asking about their experience when overseeing implementation of cleanup settlements to identify successful strategies to mitigate and prevent delays in implementation of response actions. These discussions, review of current guidance documents, and input from this listening session will help inform EPA to identify best practices to address cleanup delays.

Following up on the prior Recommendation 16.2 listening session held on May 21, 2018, which addressed strategies to speed up negotiations, this session will focus on identifying factors that delay implementation of response actions, and finding ways to mitigate or avoid them. Some identified subject areas include:

  • Strategies for timely obtaining access to properties needed for implementation of response actions;
  • Opportunities to shorten delays caused by dispute resolution;
  • Promoting strict adherence to project deadlines, with more consistent assessment of stipulated penalties where appropriate;
  • Increased use of work takeover and financial assurance provisions when major deadlines are repeatedly missed without good cause;
  • Exploring ways to publicize and improve EPA review deadlines; and
  • Considering use of alternative enforcement authorities in the face of noncompliance with settlements.

Who Should Attend

  • Anyone from the public interested in this topic
  • Private party representatives who are or have been involved with implementation of Superfund response actions under CERCLA settlement agreements
  • Environmental and community-based organizations and groups, including environmental justice and other non-profit organizations
  • Federal, state, and tribal agency staff who work on CERCLA settlement negotiations and implementation of response actions

Questions to Session Participants for Verbal and Written Remarks

The Agency would like participants of this listening session to focus their remarks on the following questions and topics:

  1. In your experience, what have been the major causes of delays in implementation of PRP-lead response actions?
  2. What suggestions do you have on how EPA can prevent unnecessary delays in the implementation of PRP-lead cleanup response actions?


  • Douglas Dixon (Office of Site Remediation Enforcement/Regional Support Division)
  • Charlie Howland (EPA Region 3, Office of Regional Counsel, on detail with Office of Site Remediation Enforcement)
  • Allyn Stern (Regional Counsel, EPA Region 10, Moderator/Presenter)

Information Relevant to the Listening Session

Visit Listening Sessions - Superfund Task Force Recommendations for more information on the series of eight listening sessions.

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