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Reforms By Type

The drive toward a faster, fairer, more efficient Superfund

EPA's Superfund Reforms impact nearly every aspect of the Superfund program, addressing the areas of enforcement, cleanup, risk assessment, public involvement, environmental justice, economic redevelopment, innovative technology, and State and Tribal empowerment.

NOTE: For additional information on unfamiliar terms referenced on this Web site, please consult the Superfund Reforms glossary.


All three rounds of reforms have focused on improving the critical but challenging process of enforcement at Superfund sites. Through the reforms, EPA has worked to increase fairness, reduce transaction costs, and expedite settlements. The benefits of a reformed enforcement process have extended to prospective purchasers of Superfund properties as well as to parties currently involved with a site.


These reforms aim to expedite site cleanups, primarily by addressing remedy selection issues and setting risk-based cleanup priorities. Ultimately these initiatives help reduce cleanup costs, promote consistency at sites nationwide, and lead to better protection of human health and the environment.

Risk Assessment

Five separate reforms in Round 3 focus on the risk assessment process, aiming to encourage stakeholder involvement and make Superfund risk assessments more consistent nationwide.

Innovative Technology

These Round 2 reforms promote the use of innovative technology to achieve faster and less costly cleanups that maintain the same level of protection of human health and the environment.

Public Involvement/Environmental Justice

Several reforms aim to enhance public participation, and to prevent minority and low-income populations from bearing the brunt of pollution. EPA has used these initiatives to improve communication with stakeholders and encourage greater involvement of all communities in the Superfund process.

State and Tribal Empowerment

Recognizing that there are more hazardous waste sites nationwide than EPA alone can address, and acknowledging the ability of States and Tribes to clean up sites effectively, EPA has implemented a variety of reforms to empower States and Tribes in the cleanup process.

Economic Redevelopment

EPA firmly believes that environmental cleanup and economic redevelopment are not mutually exclusive, and has vigorously promoted the redevelopment of previously contaminated properties. By facilitating the transfer of property, removing liability barriers, and providing financial assistance to States and Tribes, EPA has helped restore formerly contaminated sites to beneficial reuse.

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