Agency also proposes to add an additional five sites
Recently the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is adding seven hazardous waste sites that pose risks to people's health and the environment to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. EPA is also proposing to add another five sites to the list. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country to protect people’s health and the environment.
“Cleaning up contaminated land is critical to the protection of human health and the environment,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “Superfund cleanups also play an important role in advancing the economic well-being of communities by turning formerly idle properties into productive community assets that can broaden tax bases, create jobs, enhance property values and support improved overall well-being.”
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, requires EPA to update the NPL at least annually and clean up hazardous waste sites to protect human health with the goal of returning them to communities for productive use. A site’s listing neither imposes a financial obligation on EPA nor assigns liability to any party. Updates to the NPL do, however, provide policymakers with a list of high priority sites, serving to identify the size and nature of the nation’s cleanup challenges.
The Superfund program has provided important benefits for people and the environment since Congress established the program in 1980.Those benefits are both direct and indirect, and include reduction of threats to human health and ecological systems in the vicinity of Superfund sites, improvement of the economic conditions and quality of life in communities affected by hazardous waste sites, prevention of future releases of hazardous substances, and advances in science and technology.
Superfund actions frequently convert contaminated land into productive local resources and increase local property values by eliminating or reducing real and perceived health risks and environmental contamination associated with hazardous waste sites. A study conducted by researchers at Duke and Pittsburgh Universities concluded that, while a site’s proposal to the NPL reduces property values slightly, making a site final on the NPL begins to increase property values surrounding Superfund sites. Furthermore, the study found that, once a site has all cleanup remedies in place, surrounding properties have a significant increase in property values as compared to pre-NPL proposal values.
Since 1983, EPA has listed 1,701 sites on the NPL. At 1,158 or 68 percent of NPL sites, all cleanup remedies are in place. Approximately 662 or 39 percent of NPL sites have all necessary long-term protections in place, which means EPA considers the sites protective for redevelopment or reuse.
With all NPL sites, EPA first works to identify companies or people responsible for the contamination at a site, and requires them to conduct or pay for the cleanup. For the newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site. Therefore, it may be several years before significant EPA clean up funding is required for these sites.
The Following Seven Sites Have Been Added To The NPL:
The Following Five Sites Have Been Proposed For Addition To The NPL:
Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm
Information about how a site is listed on the NPL:
Superfund sites in local communities:
More information about the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program: http://epa.gov/superfund/policy/cercla.htm
SOURCE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency