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Emergency Environmental Cleanup Guide

Does your community have commercial properties with:

EPA can help

The Agency's Emergency Response and Removal Program conducts cleanup operations at hazardous waste sites, responds to chemical and oil spills, and removes abandoned chemicals from communities before the materials cause direct harm to the public or contaminate soil or drinking water.


EPA responds promptly to investigate reports of chemicals (drums, pails, bottles, or other containers) in abandoned commercial or industrial buildings. If EPA determines that a site containing abandoned chemicals presents an immediate and substantial threat to public health and safety, EPA can take corrective action by directing the responsible party to clean up and remove the materials or by initiating a Removal Action under Superfund authorization. These cleanups, which are generally completed within one year, are conducted when hazardous substances pose an imminent threat to the public or the environment.

Because Superfund holds that owners of property are generally responsible for cleanup costs, some municipalities have expressed concern about being liable on the properties that they own. However, Superfund contains an exemption from liability specifically for Governmental entities, such as municipalities, if they are the owner of a contaminated property acquired in connection with a bankruptcy, tax delinquency, abandonment, or similar circumstance, as long as they did not cause or contribute to the contamination. More information on this exemption is available through the Superfund Ombudsman.

Oil or Abandoned Chemicals

EPA Superfund - Emergency Response
(732) 548-8730

National Response Center

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) - Division of Environmental Remediation

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) - Site Remediation and Waste Management Emergency Response

To report environmental incident in NJ, call: 1-877-WARNDEP / 1-877-927-6337


The EPA Superfund Ombudsman serves as a point of contact for the public, industry and government representatives to resolve concerns and provide information and guidance on Superfund issues. EPA Community Involvement Coordinators are also available to answer questions and provide information to the public.

Superfund Ombudsman

EPA Region 2 - Superfund Ombudsman

Questions or complaints concerning EPA's Superfund program:


EPA provides technical assistance (including air monitoring) and logistical support to local emergency response organizations responsible for responding to chemical spills and air releases. EPA can fund a spill cleanup in the absence of appropriate actions by the responsible party. In addition, improper storage or segregation of chemicals in a warehouse may pose the threat of an accidental release, which EPA can take action to correct. EPA also responds to investigate reports of illegal dumping of chemicals and/or hazardous waste.

Release from Underground Petroleum Storage Tanks

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) - Site Remediation Program Underground Staorage Tanks Information
(609) 292-8761

To report environmental incident in NJ, call: 1-877-WARNDEP / 1-877-927-6337

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) - Spill Response and Remediation
(518) 402-9549 


EPA responds to oil spills to ensure proper cleanup, and investigates reports of discharges of oil from facilities and reports of improperly stored oil. EPA inspects commercial, industrial and government facilities for compliance with federal oil storage and emergency response regulations. Underground petroleum storage tank programs are administered by each state (NY or NJ) environmental agency.

Public Outreach

EPA Region 2 Superfund - Brownfields Resource Directory


Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

EPA=s RCRA program inspects operating facilities and investigates reports of improper storage or disposal of hazardous waste. EPA can take necessary corrective actions, including inspections or enforcement actions, against the facilities, to ensure compliance with hazardous waste storage and disposal regulations.

Hazardous Waste

EPA Region 2 - RCRA Hazardous Waste Compliance
(212) 637-4145

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) - Hazardous Waste Regulation
(609) 292-7081

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) - Hazardous Waste Program
(518) 402-8612



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