EPA issued guidance on CERCL A institutional controls to its project managers on September 13, 2011. The guidance supplements a 2001 Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response directive and provides recommendations for conducting five-year reviews for the institutional control component of remedies at CERCL A sites.

EPA defines institutional controls as “non-engineered instruments, such as administrative and/or legal controls, that help to minimize the potential for human exposure to contamination and/or protect the integrity of a remedy.” Types of institutional controls include (i) proprietary controls, such as easements and other land use controls; (ii) governmental controls, such as zoning, building codes, groundwater use restrictions, and fishing bans or limits; (iii) enforcement and permit tools, including administrative orders, permits, agreements, and consent decrees that limit certain site activities; and (iv) informational devices, such as notices recorded on property records, state registries of contaminated sites, tracking systems, and fish-consumption advisories.

The guidance contains recommendations on how and when to use the different types of institutional controls at CERCL A sites as well as how to monitor and inspect the use of such controls to maximize their effectiveness.