An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »


Off-Site Rule Fact Sheet

What is the Off-Site Rule?

Section 121(d)(3) of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) applies to any CERCLA response action involving the off-site transfer of any hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant (CERCLA wastes). That section requires that CERCLA wastes may only be placed in a facility operating in compliance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) or other applicable Federal or State requirements. That section further prohibits the transfer of CERCLA wastes to a land disposal facility that is releasing contaminants into the environment, and requires that any releases from other waste management units must be controlled. These principles are interpreted in the Off-Site Rule (OSR), set forth in the National Contingency Plan (NCP), at 40 CFR 300.440. The purpose of the OSR is to avoid having CERCLA wastes from response actions authorized or funded under CERCLA contribute to present or future environmental problems by directing these wastes to management units determined to be environmentally sound (preamble to final OSR, 58 FR 49200, 49201, Sept. 22, 1993).

The OSR establishes the criteria and procedures for determining whether facilities are acceptable for the receipt of CERCLA wastes from response actions authorized or funded under CERCLA. The OSR establishes compliance criteria and release criteria, and establishes a process for determining whether facilities are acceptable based on those criteria. The OSR also establishes procedures for notification of unacceptability, reconsideration of unacceptability determinations, and re-evaluation of unacceptability determinations.

What Actions are Affected?

The OSR applies to any remedial or removal action involving the off-site transfer of any hazardous substance, or pollutant or contaminant (CERCLA wastes) that is conducted by EPA, States, private parties, or other Federal agencies, if the action is Fund-financed or is taken pursuant to any CERCLA legal authority. Included are cleanups at Federal facilities under section 120 of CERCLA, and cleanups under section 311 of the Clean Water Act (CWA), except for cleanup of certain petroleum materials that are exempt under CERCLA. Applicability extends to those actions taken jointly under CERCLA and another authority. The OSR applies only to those actions being taken under a CERCLA authority or using CERCLA funds (e.g., actions taken under a CERCLA order or agreement or funded by CERCLA). Thus, if no CERCLA funds or authorities are involved, or if the waste is not a CERCLA waste, the OSR does not apply.

What Wastes are Affected?

The term "CERCLA wastes" includes any CERCLA "hazardous substance" or "pollutant or contaminant" (40 CFR 300.440(a)(1)). If the wastes fall outside this definition, the OSR does not apply. However, other statutes, regulations, consent agreements, or other legally binding requirements may require other wastes to use facilities determined to be acceptable under the OSR.

Who is Affected?

Persons who must comply with the OSR include anyone who, through a CERCLA-authorized or CERCLA-funded removal or remedial action, wants to transfer CERCLA wastes from the cleanup site to any U.S. off-site facility. These facilities include, but are not limited to, treatment, storage, or disposal (TSD) facilities that are regulated under RCRA, TSCA, or any other applicable Federal or State environmental law.

Who Should I Contact for More Information?

For more information about the Off-Site Rule, or to inquire about the status of a particular facility under the Off-Site Rule, view the listing, by EPA Region, of the Regional Off-Site Contacts (ROCs).

Top of Page