The Georgia Hazardous Site Response Act – O.C.G.A. 12-8-90 et seq.

 

The Georgia Hazardous Site Response Act is Georgia’s version of Superfund. The Act provides for graduated fees on the disposal of hazardous waste, a trust fund to enable the EPD to clean up or plan sites and administer the program, a strict joint and several liability scheme similar to that of CERCLA, an EPD inventory of “known or suspected” Georgia hazardous sites, a system requiring deed notices and affidavit recording on county real property records for sites having substance releases in excess of “reportable quantities” (as defined by regulation), EPD authority to issue non-appealable correction action orders with mandatory punitive damages for non-compliance and new reporting requirements for contaminated property.

Issues generally faced include:

  • contaminated sediments (containing hazardous substances such as PCBs, PAHs, mercury, other heavy metals, or dioxins and furans)
  • contaminated groundwater (containing chlorinated solvents such as TCE or PCE)
  • contaminated soil (containing volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), metals, asbestos, and other substances)

 

Tools used in negotiating include: administrative orders, judicial consent decrees with EPA and other government agencies, SEP’s (Supplemental Environmental Projects), managing potential liabilities for removal or remedial action and natural resource damages (NRD), allocation with other potentially responsible parties (PRPs), and pursuing contribution litigation as needed against other PRPs.

There are 537 state Superfund sites in Georgia.  The state collects about $1.6 million a year in hazardous waste management fees; about $6 million a year in solid waste management fees; $7.5 million annually in hazardous substance reporting fees; and about $4 million from the civil penalties assessed for violations of environmental laws.

 

Transportation of Hazardous Materials

 

Hazardous materials transportation rules and regulations are enforced by the Department of Public Safety in Georgia.  In addition to any other penalty imposed by law, violations can constitute a misdemeanor, pursuant to O.C.G.A. §46-7-39 and can be subject to the provisions of O.C.G.A. §46-7-26(c) and §46-2-91 for civil penalties.

 

Immediate notification of a hazardous materials incident by a carrier is required at the earliest practical moment for incidents that occur during the course of transportation (including loading, unloading, and temporary storage) in which as a direct result of the hazardous materials a threat or actual serious injury to person, property, or the environment results.

 

Christopher R. Reeves, EPD, EPA, Georgia, Environmental, attorney, litigator, litigation, water, pollution, lawyer, finley, law, firm, regulations, administrative, climate change, esq, toxic, land

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