Operable Unit

Operable Unit in the United States

Operable Unit in Environmental Law

A part of a hazardous waste site that is treated separately from the rest of the site to facilitate a remedy. The job of removing, neutralizing, and containing waste can be lengthy and overwhelming at a contaminated site. Operable units make the process more manageable for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the public, and the parties who have to clean up the property.

For example, assume that an abandoned hazardous waste facility, HazChem, is targeted for cleanup. During the operation of HazChem, drums of hazardous wastes were dumped into a hole and buried; others were dumped into lagoons. As a result, HazChem has contaminated the groundwater. HazChem also had a storage area, and when the facility closed, containers of hazardous wastes were left stacked inside it.

So that it could phase the work in a logical manner, the EPA could view the facility as consisting of several operable units: the groundwater, the buried waste, the lagoon, and the storage area. Another possibility is that the potentially responsible parties can divide the work among them, distributing the cleanup resources to the operable units involved. See Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.
Based on “Environment and the Law. A Dictionary”.

Operable Unit: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Operable Unit. This part provides references, in relation to Operable Unit, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Operable Unit by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Operable Unit and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Operable Unit or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Operable Unit and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Operable Unit. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Operable Unit should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Operable Unit when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

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