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Cleanup Process

EPA Cleanup

For more information please visit EPA's Cleanup page.

The Superfund cleanup process begins with site discovery or notification to EPA of possible releases of hazardous substances. Sites are discovered by various parties, including citizens, State agencies, and EPA Regional offices. Once discovered, sites are entered into the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (CERCLIS), EPA's computerized inventory of potential hazardous substance release sites (search CERCLIS for hazardous waste sites). Some sites may be cleaned up under other authorities. EPA then evaluates the potential for a release of hazardous substances from the site through these steps in the Superfund cleanup process. Community involvement, enforcement, and emergency response can occur at any time in the process. A wide variety of characterization, monitoring, and remediation technologies are used through the cleanup process.

PA/SI Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection
Investigations of site conditions. If the release of hazardous substances requires immediate or short-term response actions, these are addressed under the Emergency Response program of Superfund.
NPL Listing National Priorities List (NPL) Site Listing Process
A list of the most serious sites identified for possible long-term cleanup.
RI/FS Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study
Determines the nature and extent of contamination. Assesses the treatability of site contamination and evaluates the potential performance and cost of treatment technologies.
ROD Records of Decision
Explains which cleanup alternatives will be used at NPL sites. When remedies exceed 25 million, they are reviewed by the National Remedy Review Board.
RD/RA Remedial Design/Remedial Action
Preparation and implementation of plans and specifications for applying site remedies. The bulk of the cleanup usually occurs during this phase. All new fund-financed remedies are reviewed by the National Priorities Panel.
Construction Completion Construction Completion
Identifies completion of physical cleanup construction, although this does not necessarily indicate whether final cleanup levels have been achieved.
Post Construction Completion Post Construction Completion
Ensures that Superfund response actions provide for the long-term protection of human health and the environment. Included here are Long-Term Response Actions (LTRA), Operation and Maintenance, Institutional Controls, Five-Year Reviews, Remedy Optimization.
NPL Delete National Priorities List Deletion
Removes a site from the NPL once all response actions are complete and all cleanup goals have been achieved.
Reuse Site Reuse/Redevelopment
Information on how the Superfund program is working with communities and other partners to return hazardous waste sites to safe and productive use without adversely affecting the remedy.


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