Allocating Cleanup Costs at Hazardous Waste Sites

“Allocating Cleanup Costs at Hazardous Waste Sites”,
N. Ram, M. Wiest and C. Davis, Environmental Science and Technology, March 2005

Most people agree that Superfund sites and other complex, multiparty,hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment should be remediated. However, the process of apportioning cleanup costs is often disputed among the potentially responsible parties (PRPs). As the available state and federal funding for site cleanup has diminished, pressure has increased for PRP-funded cleanups. Allocating uncertain cleanup costs in a timely, equitable, and mutually acceptable manner among numerous PRPs with different connections to the site, especially given varying legal interpretations and limited data, creates a difficult dilemma. Costly and protracted litigation to determine cost shares is an increasingly unattractive option and provides a strong incentive for devising a fair, understandable, and efficient privately administered approach to allocating costs among PRPs. This article outlines such an approach.

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