When a potential hazardous waste site is discovered, the Site Assessment Unit (SAU) studies and investigates the new site. New sites are discovered in many ways. Often, a neighbor or a neighboring business will call and report a suspected abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste situation. Citizens are welcome to report situations of which they are aware. The SAU will add the site to their working list and begin the investigation. The Environmental Specialist who is assigned to the site obtains more information, visits the site and decides if the site warrants further investigation. If the conditions at the site have the potential to pose a serious threat to human health or the environment, the Environmental Specialist proceeds with collecting waste and environmental samples for laboratory analysis, determines the risk to the surrounding area and recommends a course of action. Some sites contain hazards that need to be removed immediately in order to protect nearby residents and workers or the environment. Other sites contain hazards that require less immediate action, but might require a long time to clean up. Serious sites that score high on a federal ranking system, can be recommended for the National Priorities List (NPL), the NPL is the EPA’s list of the nation’s worst hazardous waste sites. Sites needing removals and cleanups are referred to the Remedial Project Management Unit in Superfund or to the EPA.

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