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Compliance and Enforcement Annual Results:
FY2008 Superfund Enforcement

FY2008 Annual Results Topics

EPA's Superfund enforcement program achieves prompt site cleanup and maximum liable party participation in performing and paying for cleanup in ways that promote environmental justice and fairness. The response and cost recovery commitments from private parties for fiscal year (FY) 2008 continue to exemplify a robust enforcement program. Fiscal year 2008 activities and results include:

Banner Year for Response Commitments for Site Study and Cleanup

Fiscal year 2008 was an exceptional year for the Superfund enforcement program. The response commitments for site study and cleanup work from private parties are the fifth highest since the inception of the program in 1980. In FY 2008 EPA obtained commitments from responsible parties to invest $1.575 billion for investigation and cleanup of Superfund sites. In FY 2008 EPA entered into 277 settlements with responsible parties, 124 settlements for site study and cleanup work and 153 settlements for cost recovery.

Several of the settlements reached with private parties in FY 2008 involve record setting amounts of money. In fact, three of these settlements are in the "top ten settlements" for the history of the Superfund enforcement program in terms of dollars committed by private parties for future site work. These three settlements are:

Other notable settlements in FY 2008 where EPA entered into agreements for future response work include:

EPA's Superfund enforcement program continues an "enforcement first approach" (PDF) (3pp, 121K, about PDF), and also ensures a fair, more effective, and more efficient Superfund program by maximizing private party participation in performing and paying for site cleanup.

More information on Superfund and other land case highlights is available at Land Highlights

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Collection of Past and Future Cleanup Costs from Bankruptcy Cases

EPA vigorously pursues past and future costs in bankruptcy as part of its commitment to ensure that responsible parties, and not taxpayers, pay for cleanup of hazardous waste and has achieved potential multi-million recoveries this year. EPA collects to the fullest extent it can on its claims in bankruptcy, given the goals of bankruptcy and environmental law and challenges inherent in bankruptcy. Under bankruptcy law and practice, creditors, including EPA, face the risk that a bankrupt estate will not have enough assets to cover the full value of their claims.

In FY 2008, the Agency achieved major settlements in several multi-regional, multi-site bankruptcy cases. EPA's allowed claims total almost $500 million from the Dana Holding Corporation and W.R. Grace bankruptcies and from a settlement with an insurer in the Fruit of the Loom bankruptcy. These funds will enable the Agency to achieve cleanup of contamination such as asbestos, radioactive materials, heavy metals, and pesticides at 40 sites throughout the country.

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Management Improvements to Superfund Special Accounts

Through its enforcement efforts, EPA has collected over $2 billion in Superfund special accounts to support the cleanup of hazardous waste sites. The Superfund law permits EPA to establish Superfund special accounts with proceeds from settlements with potentially responsible parties to fund future response actions at sites. These site-specific, interest bearing accounts reside within Superfund's Hazardous Waste Trust Fund. EPA has used over a billion dollars in account funds to clean up sites and is also able to offer account funds as an incentive to encourage potentially responsible parties to undertake cleanup work.

The growth and importance of these accounts has necessitated improved management efforts. Accordingly, EPA has developed several tools to better manage special accounts, including:

As result of the Agency's efforts, EPA staff is better equipped to manage and use this important resource to maximize cleanup of contaminated sites. Preliminary information from the new data in CERCLIS on EPA's plans for using special accounts indicates that over 90 percent of the funds are already designated for use in cleanup.

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Enforcing Cleanup Requirements at Federal Facilities

In FY 2008, under enforcement agreements with EPA, federal facilities committed to address more than 110 million cubic yards of contaminated soil and groundwater at their facilities. There are over 150 final federal facility sites on Superfund's National Priorities List (NPL) which requires EPA and the federal agency that owns or operates the NPL site to enter into an enforceable agreement governing the cleanup and laying out each party's responsibilities. EPA has agreements in place at most of these sites and continues to enter into agreements at the remaining sites.

Enforceable agreements entered in FY 2008 include:

Under enforceable agreements reached previously, federal facilities continue to investigate and clean up environmental contamination at their facilities.

EPA takes action when it finds that a facility is not complying with its cleanup commitments. In FY 2008, EPA took two enforcement actions against DOE for failure to perform agreed upon cleanup work at its Hanford site adjacent to the Columbia River in Washington State.

Tyndall Air Force Base (FL) is an NPL site where EPA found that there may be an imminent and substantial endangerment at the site due to pesticides, heavy metals, volatile organics and residues from ordnance, jet fuel and oil have been found in groundwater, surface water, soil and sediments at the base. Groundwater is only two to three feet below the surface and is used for drinking. DDT has been found in the sediments in nearby Shoal Bayou which is used for recreational fishing and wading and which has sensitive ecological resources such as fish, shellfish and birds. Because of this endangerment, EPA issued a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) order requiring the Air Force to investigate contamination at the base and take action to clean it up. [More Information]

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