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SARA: Overview
  • SARA amended CERCLA and stressed the importance of permanent remedies and innovative treatment technologies in cleaning up hazardous waste sites.

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) amended the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) on October 17, 1986. SARA reflected the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA's) experience in administering the complex Superfund program during its first six years and made several important changes and additions to the program. Specifically, SARA:

  • Stressed the importance of permanent remedies and innovative treatment technologies in cleaning up hazardous waste sites;
  • Required Superfund actions to consider the standards and requirements found in other state and federal environmental laws and regulations;
  • Provided new enforcement authorities and settlement tools;
  • Increased state involvement in every phase of the Superfund program;
  • Increased the focus on human health problems posed by hazardous waste sites;
  • Encouraged greater citizen participation in making decisions on how sites should be cleaned up; and
  • Increased the size of the trust fund to $8.5 billion.

SARA also required EPA to revise the Hazard Ranking System to ensure that it accurately assessed the relative degree of risk to human health and the environment posed by uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that may be placed on the National Priorities List (NPL).

It should be noted that SARA consists of five titles:

  • Title I (101 to 127) — Provisions related primarily to response and liability;
  • Title II (201 to 213) — Miscellaneous provisions;
  • Title III (301 to 330) — Emergency planning and community right-to-know;
  • Title IV (401 to 405) — Radon gas and indoor air quality research; and
  • Title V (501 to 531) — Amendments of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.