Superfund Liability Compliance

In This Section:

Policy & Regulations

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Shelley Backstrom
Administrative Assistant to General Counsel & V.P. Government Affairs
(202) 662-8508

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Meeting Reasonable Care Requirements

ISRI-SREA-FLOW-CHARTFederal (Superfund) and many state laws (Mini-Superfund laws) can hold companies, including scrap processors and brokers, who have shipped materials to consumers’ facilities liable for cleanup costs where the initial polluter is bankrupt or otherwise unable to pay for cleanup costs. Superfund sites, under federal law, are areas declared by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as being contaminated by hazardous waste. The cost to clean up these sites can easily reach into the millions of dollars.

Fortunately, under the Superfund Recycling Equity Act (SREA), by showing “reasonable care,” recyclers can employ a valid defense to a claim for Superfund liability. To comply with SREA and obtain such a defense, recyclers must demonstrate three (3) basic conditions:

  1. The materials shipped to the designated Superfund site meets the definition of a “recyclable material;”
  2. The transaction must meet the conditions for “Arranging for Recycling;” and
  3. For transactions taking place after February 27, 2000, “reasonable care” must have been taken to determine the environmental compliance status, as it applies to the recyclable material, of the facility to which the recyclable material was sent or delivered.

These conditions may vary depending as to when the transaction took place, the recyclable materials involved, and the Mini-Superfund laws that apply to your transactions (i.e., the state where the consuming facility resides as well as the home state of the recycler).

Superfund Liability Compliance

SREA requires every processor and broker to conduct due diligence before recyclable materials are shipped to consuming operations. This involves, among other things, making sure all of your consumers’ facilities are in environmental compliance.

Members of ISRI have the benefit of participating in the SREA Reasonable Care Compliance Program to assist them with the defense of a Superfund liability claim. ISRI’s SREA program offers its members the opportunity to order reports, at a deep discount, on consuming facilities including publicly available, comprehensive environmental compliance information compiled from more than 1,200 federal, state, and local databases; FOIA requests; and facility questionnaires. The reports also include supporting back-up data for the information contained in each report.

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Legal Disclaimer

“Copyright © 2017 Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Intended solely for use by and benefit of ISRI member facilities. The information contained herein is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as a substitute for specific legal or technical advice or opinions. ISRI provides no warranty, expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability or completeness of furnished data.