Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

Navigation

Questions or Comments:
superfnd@tceq.texas.gov
You are here: Home / Remediation / Superfund / Terms and Definitions

Terms and Definitions

Definitions of terms used by Superfund.

administrative order (AO)
an enforceable order issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to the parties potentially responsible for site contamination. Under the terms of the administrative order, the potentially responsible parties must perform or pay for site studies or cleanup. The order also describes the responsibilities and enforcement options that the TCEQ may exercise in the event of non-compliance by the parties. (See final administrative order, agreed administrative order, unilateral administrative order.)


agreed administrative order (AAO)
an administrative order agreed to by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and the parties subject to the order. (See administrative order, final administrative order, unilateral administrative order.)


backfill
to refill an excavated area with removed earth; or the material itself that is used to refill an excavated area.

baseline risk assessment
a process to characterize the current and potential threats to human health and the environment that may be posed by contaminants migrating to groundwater or surface water; releasing to air; leaching through soil; remaining in the soil and bio-accumulating in the food chain. The primary purpose of the baseline risk assessment is to provide risk managers with an understanding of the actual and potential risks to human health and the environment posed by the site and any uncertainties associated with the assessment. This information may be useful in determining whether a current or potential threat to human health or the environment exists that warrants remedial action. (See health assessment.)


biodegradation
the technology that uses micro-organisms to degrade contaminants. (See in-situ biodegradation.)


bioremediation
use of living organisms to clean up oil spills or remove other pollutants from soil, water, or wastewater; use of organisms, such as non-harmful insects, to remove agricultural pests or counteract diseases of trees, plants and garden soil. (See biodegradation.)


borrow pit
an excavated area where soil, sand or gravel has been dug up for use elsewhere.


cap
a layer of material, such as clay or a synthetic material, used to prevent rainwater from penetrating and spreading contaminated materials. The surface of the cap is generally mounded or sloped so that water will drain off.


carbon adsorption
a treatment system in which contaminants are removed from groundwater and surface water by forcing water through tanks containing activated carbon, a specially-treated material that attracts and holds or retains contaminants.
category
On October 12, 2001, the TCEQ web page layout was updated to comform to legislative terminology. The former heading "category", which included HRS Complete, Evaluation Underway, Cleanup Underway and Cleanup Complete" was changed to "status", with all of the same terms as the former "category". In addition, Referred to VCP and Referred to EPA were added to more closely provide tracking information. Also, the duplicated date of a site's proposal to the Superfund registry, was removed from the web page heading. The date continues to be included in the Superfund Actions to Date list. The term "category" has been re-cycled as a collective heading for Proposed to Registry, Listed on Registry, and Deleted from Registry.


cell
in solid waste disposal, one of a series of holes in a landfill where waste is dumped, compacted and covered with layers of dirt.


chlorinated hydrocarbons
these compounds consist of chlorine substituted hydrocarbon molecules. They may be saturated, unsaturated, or aromatic compounds. These include industrial solvents, pesticides, PCBs, which, if allowed to contaminate sediments, soils or surface water or are not properly disposed of, can pose a substantial or potential threat to public health. One example would be trichloroethylene (TCE), used as industrial solvent.


closure
the process by which a site, most often a landfill, stops accepting wastes and is shut down under state and federal guidelines that ensure the public and the environment are protected.


comment period
time provided for the public to review and comment on a proposed Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) state Superfund action or rulemaking after it is published in the Texas Register and a local newspaper.


community relations plan (CRP)
the plan of action used by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to inform and educate the public affected by a state Superfund site. This plan addresses all of the avenues of communication to be used in a community, such as public open houses, fact sheets, workshops and notices. A copy of the plan is part of the file in the local library or repository, as well as at TCEQ Records Management Center in Austin. See repository.)


Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) (EXIT to US Code, 42 USC 9602 et seq)Exit TCEQ
the 1980 federal law that authorized states to seek remedies for uncontrolled releases of hazardous substances to the environment from abandoned hazardous waste sites. CERCLA is commonly known as Superfund. The 1980 law was modified in 1986 by the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA.)


Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Information System (CERCLIS)(EXIT to EPA)Exit TCEQ
a comprehensive database and management system maintained by EPA that inventories and tracks sites addressed, or needing to be addressed by the Superfund program.


cone penetrometer technology (CPT)
a method of pushing a steel cone into the ground at up to 40,000 pounds of pressure. The technology provides immediate data for use in characterizing the subsurface. Sensors on the tip of the cone collect data. Standard cone penetrometers collect information to classsify soil by using sensors that measure cone tip pressure and friction. The technology is often used in conjunction with hydropunch tests, which use the cone penetrometer technology holes to extract groundwater for laboratory analysis.


contract laboratory program (CLP)
a nationwide network of laboratories under contract to EPA that analyze soil, water and waste samples taken from areas on or near Superfund sites. The laboratories in the program provide analytical data of known and documented quality for Superfund actions. TCEQ uses CLP for federal Superfund assessments.


creosotes
chemicals used in wood preserving operations and produced by distillation of tar, including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons. When creosotes have contaminated sediments, soils or surface water, prolonged exposure may result in skin ulcerations and cancer.


data usability summary
a report that documents the results of an independent review and validation of data gathered from a site relative to the project objectives. The data review evaluates the usability of the environmental data, and ensures that the data is usable for regulatory compliance decisions.


deleted facility
a facility removed from the state Superfund registry because: 1) it no longer poses an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and safety or the environment; or 2) it is being addressed through another program or agency. (The term "site" is frequently interchanged with the term "facility".) 3) A site may also be deleted from the Superfund registry when it has been transferred to the Voluntary Cleanup Program.


DNAPL
dense nonaqueous phase liquids (DNAPL), such as some chlorinated solvents, creosote-based wood treating oils, coal tar wastes, and pesticides are immiscible fluids with a density greater than water. DNAPL chemicals, especially chlorinated sovents, are among the most prevalent groundwater contaminants identified in groundwater supplies and at waste disposal sites.


dewater
to remove water from wastes, soils or chemicals.


ecological services
the physical, chemical or biological functions that one natural resource provides for another or to the public. Examples would include: provision of food, protection from predation, nesting habitat and others.


enforcement screening committee (ESC)
TCEQ specialists responsible for screening enforcement cases for possible Superfund action.


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
the federal agency that shares environmental protection responsibilities with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) in the state of Texas.


epidemological
relating to the science of addressing the incidence, distribution, and control of disease in a population.


estuary
a coastal waterbody, with tidal mixing, where fresh water from rivers mixes with salt water from the ocean.


evaluation under way
site status when an order has been issued to a responsible party or a work order has been issued to a contractor to determine the nature and extent of contamination, establish criteria for cleanup, and identify cleanup alternatives for a site.


evaporation pond
a containment area where liquids are allowed to evaporate. In some cases, a spraying mechanism is used to speed evaporation.


expanded site investigation (ESI)
the third phase of site assessment under Superfund; intended to demonstrate a site release based on HRS documentation requirements.


feasibility study
the development and analysis of the potential cleanup alternatives for a site on the state registry. The feasibility study usually recommends selection of a cost-effective alternative. The feasibility study usually starts as soon as the remedial investigation is underway; together, they are commonly referred to as the "RI/FS." (See remedial investigation.)


final administrative order (FAO)
an administrative order that identifies responsible parties. Under the terms of the FAO, the responsible parties are ordered to perform or pay for site studies or cleanups. It also describes the responsibilities and enforcement options that the TCEQ may exercise in the event of non-compliance by the responsible parties. The final administrative order is signed by the TCEQ; it does not require the approval of a judge. It is "final" in the sense that it names responsible parties. By issuing the order, the TCEQ has determined that the facility poses an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and safety or the environment, and lists the site on the state registry. (See Superfund and Hazardous & Solid Waste Remediation Fee Account.)


geographic information system (GIS)
the technical term used to describe a computer software program for visualization of spatial databases relating to geography. GIS can be used to create, edit, query and track data that have spatial or locational elements. The TCEQ Superfund Site Discovery and Assessment Program (SSDAP) uses GIS to present site assessment data.


global positioning system (GPS)
a satellite navigational system controlled by the U.S. Department of Defense. Hand-held GPS receivers process signals from a minimum of four satellites to compute accurate measurements of latitude, longitude, velocity and time. The TCEQ Superfund Site Discovery and Assessment Program (SSDAP) uses GPS units to identify site locations and to mark map coordinates of sample collection points.


good faith offer
a written proposal by one or more PRPs, which is not contingent on participation of other PRPs, and which, in the judgement of the executive director, will fully fund or perform a portion of the remedial investigation and/or remedial action.


groundwater
the supply of fresh water found beneath the earth's surface (usually in aquifers) that is often used for supplying wells and springs. Because groundwater is a major source of drinking water, there is growing concern over areas where leaching agricultural or industrial pollutants or substances from leaking underground storage tanks are contaminating groundwater. See vadose zone.


hazard ranking system (HRS)
the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) is the principal mechanism the TCEQ and EPA use to place uncontrolled waste sites on the state Superfund registry or the National Priorities List (NPL). It is a numerically based screening system that uses information from initial, limited to assess the relative potential of sites to pose a threat to human health or the environment. The HRS uses a structured analysis approach to scoring sites. This approach assigns numerical values to factors that relate to risk based on conditions at the site, but the information collected to develop HRS scores is not sufficient to determine either the extent of contamination or the appropriate response for a particular site.

Hazardous & Solid Waste Remediation Fee Account
this acount funds the state Superfund program. It consists of fees assessed on the on-site management of hazardous and industrial solid waste and on the sale of lead acid batteries. It also receives funds collected from parties liable for cleanup of releases of hazardous substances and monies transferred from other agencies or grants or other payments from any person, made for the purpose of the investigation, cleanup or removal of a spill or release of a hazardous substance. (See Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA), potentially responsible party.)


hazardous waste
by-products of society that can pose a substantial or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly managed. To be declared hazardous, waste must (a) possess at least one of four characteristics: 1. ignitability, 2. corrosivity, 3. reactivity, 4. toxicity, or (b) appear on special environmental caution lists.


health assessment
an evaluation of data and information gathered on the release of hazardous substances into the environment to assess any current or future impact on public health. (See baseline risk assessment.)


heavy metals
metallic elements with high atomic weights, e.g., mercury, chromium, cadmium, arsenic or lead. Heavy metals can damage living things at low concentrations and tend to accumulate in the food chain. (See inorganic chemicals/compounds, organic chemicals/compounds.)


hot line
the TCEQ Community Relations telephone number (800/633-9363) available to report an abandoned site that may pose a pollution hazard, or to inquire about activity at, or concerns about, an identified hazardous substance site. For Internet email inquiries please click on Comments here, or at the end of this glossary, and use the pre-addressed form.


House Bill 3030
effective September 1, 2003, requires TCEQ to identify and notify nearby private drinking water well owners whenever groundwater contamination is confirmed. Each well owner must be advised that their water may also be affected by the contamination. The letter must also provide information on any adverse health effects of the contamination, list precautions and actions that may be taken by the well owner, and list the name of a contact person for more information.


hydrocarbons
chemical compounds that consist primarily of carbon and hydrogen, such as petroleum, natural gas and coal.


immediate removal (IR)
state Superfund action to contain ongoing releases or address conditions that present imminent and substantial endangerment to public health or the environment. Immediate removals are conducted as "time critical actions" that cannot wait to be addressed under the full Superfund process.


impoundment
a body of water or sludge confined by a dam, dike, floodgate or other barrier. (See lagoon.)


information repository
(See repository.)


injury to natural resource
an observable or measurable adverse change in a natural resource, or an impairment of a natural resource (or ecological) service. Injury may occur directly or indirectly to a natural resource or service. Injury incorporates the terms "destruction," "loss," and "loss of use" as provided in the Oil Pollution Act of 1990.


inorganic chemicals/compounds
chemical substances of mineral origin, not basically carbon structure. These include metals such as lead and cadmium. (See heavy metals and organic chemicals/compounds.)


in-situ biodegradation
microbial treatment of soil in place to encourage contaminant to break down. It involves aerating the soil and adding nutrients to promote growth of micro-organisms. (See biodegradation.)


integrated assessment (IA)
a streamlined approach to site assessment that integrates elements of remedial site assessment with removal evaluations. Use of IA reduces sampling, duplication of effort and inactive periods in the Superfund process.


invitation for bids
publicly advertised specifications that define the items and services the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) is procuring in order for potential bidders to properly respond. (See request for proposals.)


lagoon
a shallow pond where sunlight, bacterial action and oxygen work to purify wastewater. Lagoons are typically used for the temporary storage of wastewaters, sludges, liquid wastes, or spent nuclear fuel. (See impoundment.)


landfarm
to apply waste to land and/or incorporate waste into the surface soil, such as fertilizer or soil conditioner. This practice is commonly used for disposal of composted wastes.


landfill
a disposal facility where waste is placed in or on land.


library
(See repository.)


listed facility
a facility which, after evaluation by TCEQ, has been determined to pose an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and safety or the environment and has been listed on the state Superfund registry. (The term "site" is frequently interchanged with the term "facility".)


migration
the movement of oil, gas, contaminants, water or other liquids through porous and permeable rock and soil.


national contingency plan (NCP)
the National Oil & Hazardous Substances Contingency Plan and revisions promulgated by EPA pursuant to Section105 of CERCLA and codified in 40 CFR part 300. The purpose of the NCP is to provide the organizational structure and procedures for -- preparing for and responding to -- discharges of oil or releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. (See (Federal Water Pollution and Control Act)Exit TCEQ


national priorities list (NPL)
the EPA's list of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous substance sites identified for possible long-term remedial action under Superfund. A site must be on the NPL to receive allocation of money from the Superfund trust fund for remedial action. The list is based primarily on the score a site received from the hazard ranking system. EPA is required to update the NPL at least once a year.


Natural Resource Trustee Program (NRTP)
works cooperatively with other participating state and federal agencies and responsible persons to restore lost natural resources and their services on behalf of the public. In addition to the TCEQ, Texas representatives on the trust include the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the General Land Office. (See (NRTP.)


no further action
state Superfund term used when no further action is planned under state Superfund.


no further remedial action planned (NFRAP)
when analysis of conditions shows that treatment has reduced the hazard to about the same level as naturally occurs in the area, or that there is no further threat to health or the environment.


non-residential property
any real property not currently being used for human habitation; includes all vacant land and any external tank, surface impoundment, septic system, or any other structure, vessel, or unit that may be utilized for the management of contaminants, used in conjunction with a facility that is the subject of a Superfund remedial investigation/feasibility study. (See Superfund site land use.)


Oil Pollution Act of 1990 (OPA)
A federal law EXIT to Code of Federal RegulationsExit TCEQ, which concerns the prevention of, liability for, removal of, and compensation for, the discharge of oil into navigable waters or adjoining shorelines of the United States. The OPA provides for the designation of federal, state, Indian and foreign officials to act on behalf of the public as trustees for the nation's natural resources.


Oil Spill Prevention & Response Act of 1991 (OSPRA)
( EXIT to Texas Natural Resource Code, 30 TNRC 40)Exit TCEQ
ATexas statute relating to the prevention of, and the damage, cleanup, costs and liability for, oil spills in coastal waters of the state.


operable unit
distinct, often incremental, steps or activities that are undertaken to solve Superfund site pollution problems and cleanup. A typical operable unit would be the removal of drums and tanks from the surface of a site. Depending on the complexity, site cleanup activities can be separated into a number of operable units.


operation and maintenance (O&M)
activities conducted at a site after a state Superfund site action is completed, to ensure than the action is effective and operating properly.


organic chemicals/compounds
animal or plant-produced substances containing mainly carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, such as benzene and toluene. (See also inorganic chemicals/ compounds.)


overpack drums
to encase an unstable or leaking drum of hazardous waste into a larger, chemical resistant container. Frequently, containers found at sites are unstable or leaking. Before the material can be transported offsite for disposal, it must be placed in an environmentally safe or chemically resistant container with proper labeling that has information on the encased contents.


oversight costs
all administrative costs, and costs for technical and legal services incurred by TCEQ or agents or contractors for the agency, in the determination of Superfund eligibility; identification of PRPs; oversight of the remedial investigation and remedial action; all such costs incurred in verifying compliance by PRPs with the terms of any agreed order which may be issued; costs incurred by the agency for delisting a site from the state Superfund registry, and cost recovery expenses.


petrochemicals
chemical substances produced from coal carbonization and petroleum refinery operations and as fuel oil residues. These include fluoranthene, chrysene, mineral spirits, and refined oils. Petrochemicals are the bases from which volatile organic compounds (VOCs), plastics, and many pesticides are made. These chemical substances are often toxic to humans and the environment.


plume
a visible or measurable discharge of a contaminant from a given point of origin. It can be visible or thermal in water or visible in the air, such as a plume of smoke.


pollution report (POLREP)
EPA term to describe removal project status reports.


polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
a group of toxic chemicals used for a variety of purposes including electrical applications, carbonless copy paper, adhesives, hydraulic fluids, microscopic immersion oils, and caulking compounds. PCBs are also produced in certain combustion processes. PCBs exist for long periods of time in the environment because they are very stable, non-reactive and highly heat resistant. Chronic exposure to PCBs is believed to cause liver damage. PCBs are also known to bio-accumulate in fatty tissues. PCB use and sale was banned in 1979 with the passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act.


polycyclic (or polynuclear) aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
a group, which includes naphthalene and biphenyls, of highly reactive organic compounds that are common components of creosotes, which can be carcinogenic.


potentially responsible party (PRP)
parties, including owners, haulers or users, who may have contributed to the contamination at a site and may be liable under state laws for the costs of investigation and remediation.


preliminary assessment (PA)
EPA term to describe the initial stage of site assessment under Superfund. No samples are collected in this stage.


pre-CERCLIS inspection
a screening tool used by EPA to determine if a site is eligible to be placed in CERCLIS.


preliminary assessment/site investigation (PA/SI)
EPA term term to describe federal Superfund site assessment program.


presumptive remedy
preferred proven technologies for common categories of sites, based on the TCEQ's experience and its scientific and engineering evaluation of alternative technologies. The objective of the presumptive remedies initiative is to use the Superfund program's experience to streamline site characterization and speed up the selection of cleanup actions.


probable point of entry (PPE)
the point at which the overland segment of a hazardous substance migration path intersects with surface water. A site may have multiple PPEs. The PPE is assigned as the point at which entry of the hazardous substances to surface water is most likely.


proposed facility
a facility that may pose an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health and safety or the environment and has been proposed for listing on the state Superfund registry pending further evaluation. (The term "site" is frequently interchanged with the term "facility".)


proposed remedial action document (PRAD)
a public document that explains which cleanup alternative is being recommended for a state Superfund site.


quality assurance project plan (QAPP)
a document used as a control mechanism to ensure that all data collected within a program are of satisfactory quality. The TCEQ Superfund Site Discovery &Assessment Program operates under a program-specific QAPP.


quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC)
a system of procedures, checks, audits, and corrective actions to ensure that all technical, operational, monitoring and reporting activities meet the highest applicable standards.

records repositories
(See repository.)


registry
a list of abandoned or uncontrolled Superfund sites within Texas that have serious contamination, but do not qualify for any other state or federal remediation program. Since October 1991, sites are considered proposed to the registry until completion of a remedial investigation and feasibility study. The list is updated annually.


remedial action (RA)
the actual construction or implementation phase of a state Superfund site cleanup that follows remedial design. (See remedial design (RD).)


remedial design (RD)
an engineering phase that follows remedial investigation/feasibility study and includes development of engineering drawings and specifications for site cleanup. (See remedial investigation (RI), and remedial action (RA).)


remedial investigation (RI)
an in-depth study designed to: gather the data necessary to determine the nature and extent of contamination at a state Superfund site, establish criteria for cleaning up the site, identify preliminary alternatives for remedial actions, and support the technical and cost analysis of the alternatives. The remedial investigation is usually done with the feasibility study. Together they are usually referred to as the "RI/FS." (See feasibility study.)


Remediation Division
one of five major divisions that make up the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Office of Compliance and Enforcement. The sections within the division work on cleaning up abandoned hazardous substance sites that may pose a serious threat to public health. The division may be contacted toll free from anywhere in the U.S. by calling 1-800-633-9363. For Internet email inquiries please click on Comments here, or at the end of this glossary.


removal action
short-term immediate actions taken to address releases of hazardous substances that require expedited response.


repository
a facility where official state Superfund documents are kept for public reference. The files are available at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) Central File Room at the Austin headquarters, 12100 Park 35 Circle, Bldg. E, during normal business hours. In addition, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) maintains duplicates of pertinent records near each site, for the convenience of the public in cooperation with a library or other facility (resource center, college library, city hall, or county courthouse) that has agreed to act as a repository .


request for proposals (RFP)
a notice issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) requesting that potentially interested engineering firms describe their capabilities to conduct the work required by the contract being considered. (See invitation for bids Also, Bid on Superfund Work in Texas)


residential property
any property that does not exclusively meet the definition of non-residential property. (See Superfund site land use, and non-residential property.)


Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA)
a federal law that established a regulatory system to track hazardous substances from generation to disposal. The law requires safe and secure procedures to be used in treating, transporting, storing and disposing of hazardous substances. The Act is intended to prevent the creation of new, uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.


responsiveness summary
a summary of oral and written comments received by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) during a period of public comment on key documents or actions proposed to be taken and the TCEQ's response to those comments.


restoration
any action (or alternative) or combination of actions to restore, rehabilitate, replace or acquire the equivalent of, injured natural resources or services.


risk assessment
the qualitative and quantitative evaluation performed in an effort to define the risk posed to human health and/or the environment by the presence or potential presence and/or use of pollutants. (See baseline risk assessment.)


risk factor
a characteristic (e.g., race, sex, age) or variable (e.g., smoking exposure) associated with increased chance of toxic effect.


runoff
the discharge of water over land into surface water or groundwater. It can carry pollutants from the air and land into receiving waters.

scope of work (SOW)
the description of activities to be conducted under the contract pursuant to completing the investigation, design or remedial action oversight of a project. (See remedial investigation (RI), remedial design (RD), or remedial action (RA).)


screening site inspection (SSI)
the second phase of site assessment under Superfund. This is the first phase in which samples are collected.


sediment
the layer of soil, sand and minerals at the bottom of surface water that absorbs contaminants.


site inspection prioritization (SIP)
EPA term to describe the process of evaluating sites previously given a NFRAP determination under the previous HRS, (prior to December 14, 1990) The SIP determines if a site will be re-evaluated under the current HRS.


site investigation (SI)
the general term used to describe any site assessment investigation.


sludge
semi-solid residues from industrial or water treatment processes that may be contaminated with hazardous materials.


slurry wall
a barrier used to contain the flow of contaminated groundwater or subsurface liquid. Slurry walls are constructed by digging a trench around a contaminated area and filling the trench with an impermeable material that prevents water from passing through it. The groundwater or contaminated liquids trapped within the area surrounded by the slurry wall can be extracted and treated.


Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA)
the 71st Legislature in 1990 codified Chapter 361 of the Texas Health and Safety Code, and took control of hazardous waste storage, processing and disposal, requiring that only permitted hazardous industrial solid waste facilities be allowed to accept and process hazardous waste. The state assesses a registration fee of $25-500 per disposal site, plus an average of 50-cents a ton for hazardous waste hauled to the permitted facilities. These collected fees are added to the Hazardous & Solid Waste Remediation Fee Account for use by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and other state agencies that deal with hazardous waste.


stabilization
the process of changing an active substance into inert, harmless material. Also, physical activities at a site that act to limit the further spread of contamination without actual reduction of toxicity.

status
On October 12, 2001, the TCEQ web page layout was updated to comform to legislative terminology. The former heading "category", which included HRS Complete, Evaluation Under Way, Cleanup Under Way and Cleanup Complete" was changed to "status", with all of the same terms as the former "category". In addition, Referred to VCP and Referred to EPA were added to more closely provide tracking information. Also, the duplicated date of a site's proposal to the Superfund registry, was removed from the web page heading. The date continues to be included in the Superfund Actions to Date list. The term "category" has been re-cycled as a collective heading for Proposed to Registry, Listed on Registry, and Deleted from Registry.


stakeholder
one who is interested in, or impacted by, a project.


Superfund
the common name used for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. (See CERCLA, Hazardous & Solid Waste Remediation Fee Account, Superfund Sites In Texas by Alphabetical Order, Texas Counties with Superfund Sites.)


Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) of 1986
modifications to Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 CERCLA.


Superfund chemical data matrix (SCDM)
EPA term to describe a database of hazardous substances and their chemical characteristics (such as toxicity, mobility, persistence) and media-specific health benchmark concentrations. SCDM was developed for use with HRS packages.


Superfund Site Discovery & Assessment Program (SSDAP)
is responsible for identifying and ranking abandoned or inactive hazardous substance sites for possible cleanup action under state or federal Superfund programs. The list order is based on the hazard ranking system (HRS) developed by EPA to evaluate relative risks to public health and/or the environment from releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances.


Superfund site land use
effective September 1, 1997, appropriate use of Superfund site land is considered when cleanup target levels are set. Factors considered include historical and current land use; and effectiveness of institutional or legal controls placed on use of the land. (See non-residential property, residential property, and Section 361.1855: Proposal of Land Use Other Than Residential.)Exit TCEQ


surface water
all water naturally open to the atmosphere (rivers, lakes, reservoirs, ponds, streams, seas, estuaries), and all springs, wells, and other collectors directly influenced by surface water.

target distance limit (TDL)
state and federal term to describe the distance from the source over which the HRS evaluates targets.


technical assistance team (TAT)
EPA emergency response term that describes the team that provides initial site response support, determination of size and nature of sites, and support during cleanups.


Texas Air Control Board (TACB)
predecessor agency of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission, which is now the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.(TCEQ).
Texas Building and Procurement Commission (TBPC)
all state Superfund biddable services (remediation projects) procured by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) are advertised by direct notice to vendors that are registered with the Texas Building and Procurement Commission (formerly known as Texas General Services Commission). Registered bidders (Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB), Non-HUB and Qualified Information Service Vendor (QISV) vendors) who have paid a $70 annual subscription fee will receive email notification of bid opportunities. TBPC contracting/bid opportunities information is also available on the Texas Building and Procurement Commission (Texas General Services Commission)Exit TCEQ web site.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ)
effective September 1, 2002, the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission name was changed to give the public a better sense of the agency's purpose and to be more consistent with what other states are calling their environmental agencies.


Texas Department of Health (TDH)
one of the contributing State of Texas agencies that transferred personnel and expertise to the centralized Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) with changes to the Texas Health and Safety Code that became effective March 1, 1992. From that date, regulation of the treatment, handling, storage, and disposal of solid waste, drinking water, and on-site wastewater treatment research, was transferred to the Texas Water Commission (TWC). On September 1, 1993, the TWC became a part of the TNRCC. (See Texas Water Commission (TWC),Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC), and Texas Air Control Board (TACB).)


Texas Department of Water Resources (TDWR)
predecessor agency of the Texas Water Commission (TWC).


Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC)
on September 1, 1993, the Texas Air Control Board, Texas Water Commission, and parts of the Texas Department of Health merged and became the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission. (See Texas Department of Health (TDH), Texas Water Commission (TWC), and Texas Air Control Board (TACB).)


toll-free telephone number
the TCEQ Community Relations national telephone number 1-800/633-9363 that may be used to report an abandoned site that may pose a pollution hazard, or to inquire about activity at, or concerns about, an identified hazardous substance site. For Internet email inquiries please click on Comment here, and use the pre-addressed form.


treatability study
A study in which a waste is subjected to a treatment process to determine : (1) Whether the waste is amenable to the treatment process, (2) what pretreatment if any is required, (3) the optimal process conditions needed to achieve the desired treatment, (4) the efficiency of a treatment process for a specific waste or wastes, or (5) the characteristics and volumes of residuals from a particular treatment process.

Texas Water Commission (TWC)
predecessor agency of the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC).


Texas Water Quality Board (TWQB)
predecessor agency of the Texas Department of Water Resources (TDWR).

unilateral administrative order (UAO)
an administrative order issued by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) without the agreement of the parties subject to the order. (See administrative order.)

vadose zone
sub-surface area above the permanent groundwater level that may contain water or solutions that would not ordinarily be detected by either surface or water-level examination. (See groundwater.)


volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
secondary petrochemicals. They include light alcohols, acetone, trichloroethylene, perchloroethylene, dichloroethylene, benzene, vinyl chloride, toluene, and methylene chloride. These potentially toxic chemicals are used as solvents, degreasers, paint thinners, and fuels. Because of their volatile nature, they readily evaporate into the air, increasing the potential exposure to humans. Due to their low water solubility, environmental persistence and widespread industrial use, they are commonly found in soil and groundwater.


Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP)
created by an amendment to the Texas Solid Waste Disposal Act, it became effective September 1, 1995. The purpose of the VCP is to provide a streamlined, incentive-based process for persons to pursue cleanup of contaminated properties. Moreover, the Voluntary Cleanup Program removes liability from future landowners who are not responsible parties, and lenders, and provides a streamlined process by which many unused or underused properties may be restored to economically productive or community beneficial use. The voluntary cleanup rules are located in the Texas Administrative Code Title 30, Subchapter AExit TCEQ
wetland
an area that is regularly saturated by surface or groundwater and–under normal circumstances–capable of supporting vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands are critical to sustaining many species of fish and wildlife. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, and bogs. Wetlands may be either coastal or inland. Coastal wetlands have salt or brackish (a mixture of salt and fresh) water and most have tides. Inland wetlands are non-tidal and have fresh water. Coastal wetlands are an integral component of estuaries.
X-ray fluorescence
portable soil screening tool used for in-situ inorganic analyses during site assessment/investigation activities. The TCEQ Superfund Site Discovery & Assessment Program currently maintains and uses an XRF for site assessment activities.