Environmental Remediation Program fact sheet
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Kyra Moore

What is the Missouri Registry of Hazardous Waste Sites?

In 1980, the United States Congress established the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), better known as “Superfund.” The federal statute provided both response and funding mechanisms for the cleanup of hazardous substance disposal sites. After CERCLA became federal law, Missouri passed legislation directing the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to establish a Registry of Confirmed Abandoned or Uncontrolled Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites in Missouri (Registry).

The Registry is maintained by the department pursuant to the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Law, Section 260.440, RSMo. The Registry is a list of sites containing hazardous waste. More than that, however, by law and regulation, it provides a variety of institutional controls allowing for residual contamination to be left on-site after cleanup is completed while still protecting human health and the environment. These institutional controls include: deed notification of contamination, annual inspection, notice to buyer, change of use review, notice to the state if property is sold, cleanup and removal actions of the Registry sites and public information about site location, classification of threat, contaminants, health concerns, public and private drinking water wells and geology.

In addition, the information in the Registry notifies the public about the property on the Registry and its associated hazards. It informs potential buyers about hazards and the legal obligations they may have to undertake if such property is purchased.

How are Registry sites maintained?

The department conducts annual inspections at each Registry site. The photos and information compiled in the inspections are valuable for reassessing the sites and updating the Registry. This information also relays the current physical condition of the sites to the Site Assessment Committee.

Within the department and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS), a Site Assessment Committee evaluates the sites on the Registry and assesses classification changes. The Site Assessment Committee is composed of representatives from the department's Hazardous Waste Program, Water Protection Program, Environmental Services Program and Missouri Geology Survey. A fifth member represents the DHSS.

If conditions at a site have changed over the past year, the committee may recommend a change in classification to better define the threat to human health and the environment.

According to state Registry law, the sites are placed in one of the following categories:

  • Class 1: Sites causing or presenting an imminent danger of causing irreversible or irreparable damage to the public health or environment -- immediate action required.
  • Class 2: Sites with a significant threat to the environment -- action required.
  • Class 3: Sites not presenting a significant threat to the public health or the environment -- action may be deferred.
  • Class 4: Sites properly closed -- require continued management.
  • Class 5: Sites properly closed with no evidence of present or potential adverse impact -- no further action required. According to the state law, any site classified as a Class 5 is removed from the Registry.

The relative need for action at each site is based solely upon the potential impact on public health and the environment. The type of action required, the feasibility of such an action and its cost or benefits are not the primary factors in deciding whether action is needed.

What restrictions are placed on the registered properties?

Once a site is placed on the Registry, it is subject to certain restrictions. The use of the site may not change substantially without the written approval of the director of the department. A change of use is considered substantial if it may result in the spread of contamination, increases human exposure to hazardous materials, increases adverse environmental impacts or makes potential remedial actions to correct problems at the site more difficult. The seller must notify the buyer of the condition of the site prior to sale. Changes of ownership must be reported to the department within 30 days after the change.

If the owner does not want the entire property placed on the Registry, the listing may be limited to the contaminated portion of the property if the owner or operator submits a land survey performed by a licensed surveyor including the contaminated area plus a buffer zone in all directions. This allows the owner or operator unrestricted use of the portion of the property that is not contaminated.

Is there a way to avoid Registry listing?

In order to keep the site off the Registry once it has been proposed for listing, property owners may elect to conduct a cleanup. This is achieved by the owner signing a consent agreement and implementing a cleanup plan, with department oversight. After cleanup of the property is completed, the department will withdraw the proposal to place the property on the Registry.

How can I get a copy of the specific laws and regulations governing the Registry?

The public may request a copy of the Missouri Hazardous Waste Management Law, Chapter 260.350, et seq. of the Revised Statutes of Missouri and Title 10, Division 25, Chapter 10 of the Code of State Regulations from the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office.

What Registry Publications Are Available?

The department publishes the Missouri Registry Annual Report: Registry of Confirmed Abandoned or Uncontrolled Hazardous Waste Disposal Sites, Fact Sheet--PUB0337 in Missouri each January. This report is 256 pages long and contains detailed descriptions of the sites that are listed on the Registry. For each site, the Missouri Registry Annual Report provides site location map, address, waste type, site description, present property owner, environmental problems related to site, remedial actions at site, geological and hydrogeological description, public drinking water advisory and health assessment. In addition to site specific information on sites listed on the Registry, the report provides a list of the National Priority List (NPL) Sites in Missouri and a web link to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) site summary about each NPL site and Registry cleanup lists and Consent Agreement Site lists. Appendices include health chemical tables and a glossary of health terms. This report is provided by law each year to the governor, the General Assembly, the Hazardous Waste Management Commission and the governing body containing a registered site. The department charges a $12 fee for a hard copy of this publication in order to cover the cost of printing. It is also available on cd for $3.

Does the Registry provide a complete listing of all the hazardous sites in Missouri?

No. The department makes every effort to provide the most complete Registry possible; however, many eligible sites are not yet listed due to pending or ongoing investigations, cleanup negotiations or appeals.

Also, the Registry lists only those sites known to be contaminated with substances that meet the definition of hazardous waste. Hazardous waste is defined as any waste that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive, toxic or is listed as a hazardous waste in state or federal regulations. Many substances that are hazardous are not classified as hazardous waste. Such substances are known simply as hazardous substances. Sites contaminated with hazardous substances may not be listed on the Registry. It is possible for these sites to be addressed through other state and federal laws.

Finally, unreported facilities or contaminated sites may exist, which the department is either not aware of or is not actively involved with currently.

Where can I find information about the locations of hazardous substance sites in Missouri?

The department has a new, interactive website designed as a resource allowing users to conduct a map-based search for hazardous substance investigations and cleanups called the Missouri Environmental Site Tracking and Research Tool (E-START). The website includes the ability to view or download site summaries and documents related to institutional and engineering controls and also includes downloadable data layers that local governments, utilities and others may add to their internal Geographic Information Systems in order to incorporate review of environmental activity and use limitations into permitting, planning and development activities. The website will be continually updated as more information is available electronically.

The EPA Superfund Program maintains a tracking record formerly known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Information System (CERCLIS). CERCLIS listed all of the sites suspected of having had a release of a hazardous substance on the property. The database contained information on site investigations and remediation activities at hazardous substance sites. A new information system, the Superfund Enterprise Management System (SEMS) has replaced CERCLIS. SEMS includes the same data and content as CERCLIS. The webpage will be updated to reflect the status of data updates. You may also request written information regarding SEMS under the auspices of the Freedom of Information Act by writing the EPA Region 7 office, 11201 Renner Blvd., Lenexa, KS 66219.

For More Information:

Missouri Department of Natural Resources
Environmental Remediation Program
Superfund Section
PO Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0176
800-361-4827 or 573-751-8629

Additional Information

Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.