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How Sites are Placed on the NPL

Sites are first proposed to the National Priorities List (NPL) in the Federal Register. EPA then accepts public comments on the sites, responds to the comments, and places on the NPL those sites that continue to meet the requirements for listing.

Section 300.425(c) of the NCP, the Federal regulation by which CERCLA is implemented (55 FR 8845, March 8, 1990), provides three mechanisms for placing sites on the NPL:

  • The first mechanism is EPA's Hazard Ranking System (HRS).
  • The second mechanism for placing sites on the NPL allows States or Territories to designate one top-priority site regardless of score.
  • The third mechanism allows listing a site if it meets all three of these requirements:
    1. the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) of the U.S. Public Health Service has issued a health advisory that recommends removing people from the site;
    2. EPA determines the site poses a significant threat to public health; and
    3. EPA anticipates it will be more cost-effective to use its remedial authority (available only at NPL sites) than to use its emergency removal authority to respond to the site.


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