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Success in Forging Partnerships

Superfund formed partnerships that are fostering the development of Brownfields and NPL sites, bringing innovation and efficiency to cleanups at Federal facilities, and helping to build state and tribal programs.

Superfund has shared its 17 years of technical expertise with other stakeholders involved in hazardous waste cleanup. EPA is exchanging information with its partners on how best to share the cleanup effort, protect the environment, comply with the law, get the most out of technology, and return sites to productive use. Highlights of EPA's successes include the Brownfields Initiative, Superfund Redevelopment Initiative, and supporting its Federal, state and tribal partnerships.

Superfund Promotes Economic Redevelopment Through the Brownfields Initiative

Across the country, an estimated 450,000 abandoned or under-used industrial and commercial sites are plagued by real or perceived contamination. The U.S. Conference of Mayors identifies these brownfields sites as the number one environmental issue in the nation today. Now, through Superfund authority, EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative has taken on this challenge, making these sites ripe for economic redevelopment. By the end of FY 97, 121 pilot sites became living laboratories for the initiative as EPA promotes the cleanup of contamination and revitalizes neighborhoods.

EPA Administrator Carol Browner announced the initiative in January 1995, and outlined the goals for the Brownfields Action Agenda. Four key areas of action for returning brownfields to productive use were identified in the Agenda:

  • Awarding Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilots;
  • Clarifying liability and cleanup issues;
  • Building partnerships with stakeholders; and
  • Fostering community involvement through job development and training programs.

What is a Brownfields Site?

Brownfields are abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial properties where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.

By the end of 1996, EPA had accomplished 100% of the commitments made under the initial Action Agenda. Yet, it is continually identifying methods to establish, strengthen, and improve commitments to brownfields while pushing toward a comprehensive, community-based approach to cleanup and redevelop contaminated property.

Brownfields stakeholders affirm environmental cleanup should promote, not deter, economic redevelopment. As the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) said, "[W]e wholeheartedly support the EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative. NCRC believes that [EPA's] multifaceted initiative represents a significant step forward by the Administration in working with distressed communities on the local level in their revitalization efforts."

"[W]e wholeheartedly support the EPA's Brownfields Economic Redevelopment Initiative. NCRC believes that [EPA's] multifaceted initiative represents a significant step forward by the Administration in working with distressed communities on the local level in their revitalization efforts."
–National Community Reinvestment Coalition


Partnering for Site Redevelopment
  • Removed over 30,000 sites from the Superfund site inventory and cleanup tracking system (CERCLIS), thus freeing them for redevelopment. These were sites where contamination was not serious enough to warrant Federal action.
  • Awarded 76 Brownfield Assessment Pilots of up to $200,000, by the end of FY 96, surpassing the original goal of 50 pilot awards. By the end of FY 97, there were 121 pilots revitalizing neighborhoods and creating jobs as sites are redeveloped.
  • Sponsored a Brownfields Pilot National Workshop in early 1996, bringing together key stakeholders to further brownfields efforts.
  • Developed several guidance documents aimed at addressing some of the uncertainties associated with the redevelopment of brownfields properties.
  • Partnered with a myriad of other players at local, state, and Federal levels to leverage redevelopment efforts at brownfields sites to promote and expand the new "Brownfields National Partnership Action Agenda."
  • Working with local organizations and community colleges to establish long-term plans that will provide training for residents of brownfields communities.
Forging Alliances with Federal Stakeholders
  • Created the innovative Federal Facilities Response Program that, in cooperation with DoD, DOE, DOI, and other Federal entities, helps develop creative, cost-effective environmental solutions to hazardous waste sites.
  • Convened a multi-agency workgroup in 1995 to explore how a single, lead regulator might take the reins of a cleanup effort that involves Federal players. Final guidance was published in November 1997.
  • Streamlined cleanup at 107 fast-track installations. The Base Cleanup Teams associated with DOD's Fast Track Cleanup Program have eliminated an estimated 209 years of cleanup activity and produce savings of over $210 million.
Partnering with States and Tribes
  • Exploring ways to give qualified states and tribes the authority to select cleanup remedies.
  • Helping states and tribes speed the cleanup and redevelopment of less seriously contaminated sites through its state voluntary cleanup program by encouraging private parties to tackle response actions early and voluntarily.
  • Paved the way for states and tribes to assume full responsibility for cleaning up certain types of hazardous waste sites.
  • Supporting the evolution of states' hazardous waste cleanup capacities by funding essential program activities via the Core Program.

Awarding Brownfields Pilots
The Brownfields Assessment Demonstration Pilots form a major component of the Brownfields Action Agenda. Chosen through a competitive process, these pilots help communities articulate a reuse strategy that demonstrates model opportunities to organize public and private sector support and leverage financing. The pilots actively demonstrate the economic and environmental benefits of reclaiming contaminated sites. The brownfields pilots are gathering information and developing strategies that promote a unified approach to site assessment, environmental cleanup, and redevelopment. In addition, these pilots are providing opportunities to stimulate job creation and economic activity. EPA exceeded its early commitment to fund at least 50 pilots by funding 76 pilots at up to $200,000 each by the end of FY 96. By the end of FY 97, 121 pilots were underway. These pilots are intended to generate further interest in brownfields redevelopment across the country. Many different type of communities are participating, ranging from small towns to large cities.

The success of brownfields pilots such as those in Emeryville, CA and Birmingham, AL are highlighted. These pilots and others are catalysts for change. They exemplify the enormous progress that can be made by empowering state and local governments, communities, and others to work together to assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse these sites.

A Brownfields Pilots National Workshop was held in Washington, D.C. to provide a forum for pilot states and cities to discuss issues related to their pilot projects. The workshop enabled pilot recipients to work with people who are actively involved in the brownfields initiative, particularly those from other Federal agencies. Attendees were able to share experiences, learn about resources available to them, and establish a network of people to help further their brownfields efforts.

Clarifying Liability and Cleanup Issues
EPA has removed over 30,000 sites from CERCLIS, the Superfund site inventory and cleanup tracking system. Until early 1995, EPA kept track of all potential hazardous waste sites in CERCLIS, even those with no contamination, contamination that was removed quickly, or contamination that was not serious enough to warrant Federal Superfund interest. This practice led to unintended barriers to redevelopment because sites listed in CERCLIS often were considered risky to lenders, making it difficult for potential purchasers to secure loans to develop them. Releasing these sites from CERCLIS clarifies that there is no further Federal Superfund interest, and allows stakeholders to focus on future land use, arrange for cleanup as necessary, and redevelop the site. The Agency is already seeing the results of this effort, for example, at the Republic Steel brownfields pilot in Buffalo, NY. After EPA removed the former site from CERCLIS, ATDM Corporation partnered with Village Farms of Buffalo to cleanup a portion of the site. It is now being developed into a 25-acre hydroponic tomato farm that will employ approximately 200 workers.

EPA has prepared many guidance documents on removing some of the uncertainties often associated with brownfields properties. For example, the Prospective Purchaser Guidance is stimulating the development of sites where parties otherwise may have been reluctant to take action. It clarifies that prospective purchasers will not be held responsible for cleaning up sites to which they did not contribute or worsen contamination. The May 1995 guidance also expanded the universe of sites eligible for such agreements to include cases where there is a substantial benefit to the community in terms of cleanup, creation of jobs, or development of property. Of the 78 agreements reached by the end of FY 97, more than 50% have been reached since the guidance was issued.

People owning property under which hazardous substances have moved through groundwater also feared liability under Superfund. EPA responded by announcing that it will not take enforcement actions against these property owners where the property is not also a source of contamination. In addition, EPA will consider providing protection to these property owners from third-party lawsuits through a settlement that affords contribution protection.

EPA also reassured lenders and government entities that acquire property involuntarily that they will not be considered liable for any hazardous substance that may be found. This policy was later validated by legislation passed by the 104th Congress. EPA is providing "Comfort Letters" in appropriate circumstances to new owners, lenders, or developers to inform them of EPA's intentions not to pursue them as liable parties. The policy is designed to assist parties who seek to clean up and reuse brownfields where there is a realistic perception or probability of Superfund liability.

Finally, Superfund developed a policy for partial deletions of sites. This allows cleaned portions of sites to be deleted from the NPL, making them eligible for redevelopment. Prior to this change, the entire site had to be cleaned up before it could be removed from the NPL. As of August 1997, EPA issued four notices of intent and five final notices to delete clean portions of sites.

Building Partnerships with Stakeholders
Brownfields partnerships within EPA, with other agencies, and with non-Federal stakeholders have created a far-reaching network that is key to the success of the Brownfields Initiative. Each of the 10 EPA regions has designated a Brownfields Coordinator to oversee the pilots and other brownfields activities. EPA also assigned staff members to cities around the country, such as Detroit, Chicago, Dallas, and East Palo Alto, CA, to support brownfields activities through Intergovernmental Personnel Assignments (IPAs). In addition, the brownfields program has partnered with EPA's Common Sense Initiative (CSI) to share information and successes. The CSI addresses environmental management by industrial sector, focusing on areas such as automobile manufacturing, computers and electronics, and metal finishing. The iron and steel CSI sector and the brownfields pilots in Birmingham, AL and Northwest Indiana cities are now coordinating redevelopment efforts.

Federal partnerships have been fostered, in particular, through Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs). EPA has signed MOUs with the Economic Development Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the Department of Commerce, and the Departments of Labor (DOL), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and Interior (DOI). EPA also is working with the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry and county health officials to address the health concerns of brownfields communities.

The Brownfields Initiative provides an opportunity for Federal agencies to work together in a more integrated fashion toward sustainable community redevelopment. Agencies have committed to coordinating and leveraging their resources and expertise. For example, brownfields projects can be linked to health and workforce development programs through the creation of temporary and permanent jobs. These projects can be coordinated with transportation planning, ensuring access to transportation for new workers in redevelopment areas. Agencies have committed to linking their programs with the Brownfields Initiative. For example, HUD, EPA, NOAA, and the Department of Transportation are integrating brownfields into their planning, ensuring brownfields cleanup and redevelopment are eligible expenses for their project funds.

Birmingham, Alabama: Hearth of North Birmingham's Industrial Area Receives Transplant

The economic transformation of Birmingham's long-distressed industrial area has been jump-started by a $200,000 grant from EPA. The project centers on a 900-acre industrial area in which nearly forty percent of formerly active property now lies vacant. By the project's completion, more than 2 million square feet of commercial and industrial space are expected to be created, along with more than 2,000 jobs. The first of these projected new jobs has become a reality as KMAC, a company that resells industrial byproducts, relocated onto a former brownfields site in the city. Today, an area that had not been in productive use for five years is providing much-needed jobs in Birmingham's poorest section and tax revenue for the city.

EPA also recognizes the important role state environmental agencies have in encouraging the economic redevelopment of brownfields. State voluntary cleanup programs have been very successful in encouraging private parties to voluntarily undertake early protective cleanups of less seriously contaminated sites. EPA established an interim approach for working with states having voluntary cleanup programs via Memoranda of Agreements (MOAs). At the end of the FY 97, EPA had already signed MOAs with 11 states that define ways EPA and states will work together to protect human health and the environment. The Agency also provided $10 million in 1997 to encourage states to develop or enhance their voluntary cleanup programs.

Nonfederal partnerships have been equally successful in brownfields efforts. EPA has forged working relationships with a vast spectrum of other stakeholders, including the Irvine Foundation's Center for Land Recycling, the National Association of State Development Agencies (NASDA), the Association of State and Territorial Solid Waste Management Officials (ASTSWMO), and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA). In one partnership, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America is working to inform and educate constituents engaged in commercial real estate finance and brownfields redevelopment about EPA policies and guidance in this area.

Emeryville, California: Attracting Big Business Leads To Positive Results

Prosperity and cutting-edge research and development facilities are gradually replacing blight in Emeryville, CA, a city that was once home to heavy industry. Situated between Oakland and San Francisco, Emeryville saw much of its industry abandon the area in the 1970s. Over 230 acres within the city now lie vacant or under-used. With the help of a $200,000 EPA grant, the city has attracted Chiron Corporation, the second largest biotechnology firm in the country, to redevelop the depressed area. The Chiron Corporation plans to construct 12 new buildings totaling 2.2 million square feet over 20 years to house its biotech firm. In addition, Catellus Development Corporation has constructed 200 units of mixed-income housing, considerably reducing a housing shortage in the community.

These partnerships, and those that EPA will develop, represent new ways of doing business with communities. Among other efforts is one to forge a linkage between brownfields redevelopment and environmental justice. The National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC) held public hearings in five cities, from which recommendations will be used to address not only past mistakes in urban planning, but also to benefit brownfields identification and redevelopment.

Fostering Community Involvement Through Job Development and Training Programs
Maintaining a skilled workforce is critical to the success of revitalization efforts. EPA has worked with local organizations and community colleges to establish workforce training programs in brownfields communities. Colleges like Rio Hondo Community College, CA and Cuyahoga Community College, OH are establishing environmental education and training programs to provide technician-level training with an emphasis on Superfund and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)-related subjects.

EPA is also working with the Hazard Materials Training and Research Institute (HMTRI) to expand environmental training and curriculum development at community colleges located near brownfields pilots. Since 1995, workshops have been held at 60 colleges in or near brownfields communities. Of the colleges participating in these workshops, many have established credit and noncredit environmental programs; targeted dates for program startup; and are collecting data and conducting labor market surveys to determine the need for, and feasibility of, starting a program.

Training members of brownfields communities to fill jobs created as a result of cleanup and redevelopment efforts is a critical component of the Brownfields Initiative, particularly for dislocated workers, welfare recipients, and the long-term unemployed. To fulfill this commitment, EPA is collaborating with DOL to leverage job training opportunities for brownfields pilot communities, and is working with the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to ensure that minority worker training grants are being used in brownfields communities.

Brownfields Timeline

1995 January: Carol Browner, EPA Administrator announces the Brownfields Action Agenda.
  February: Regional Brownfields Coordinators are designated in all EPA Regions.

Superfund archived 24,000 sites from CERCLIS.

  June: GAO estimates that 450,000 potential brownfields sites exist across the country affecting virtually every community in the nation.

The National Environmental Justice Advisory Council co-sponsors a series of public dialogues focused on urban revitalization and brownfields.

  July: 15 National Brownfields Pilots awarded.
  October: 10 Regional Brownfields Pilots awarded.
  November: HMTRI hosts a workshop to assist community colleges from 17 Brownfields pilot communities in developing job training programs.
1996 January: 10 National and 1 Regional Brownfields Pilots awarded.

Superfund archives 3,300 sites from CERCLIS.

  February: Brownfields Pilot National Workshop held in Washington, DC.
  June: 11 National and 9 Regional Brownfields Pilots awarded.
  July: Federal agencies establish the Interagency Working Group on Brownfields to draft a national plan to guide future work.
  September: Brownfields National Conference held in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

17 Regional Pilots selected, bringing the total to 76.

  November: Superfund archives more than 5,000 additional sites from CERCLIS.
1997 February: 2 Regional Pilots awarded.
  April: Superfund archives 3,000 additional sites from CERCLIS.

1 Regional Pilot awarded.

  May: Vice President Gore and EPA Administrator Browner announce the Brownfields National Partnership Action Agenda.
  July: 3 National Pilots awarded.
  August: EPA and its Federal partners announce the National Brownfields Showcase Community Project.
  September: Brownfields National Conference held in Kansas City.

First 24 Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Pilots awarded.

5 Regional Pilots awarded bringing the total to 121.

Building on Successes

The Brownfields Initiative has enabled EPA, states, communities, and others to work together to assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse sites in areas desperate for economic revitalization. EPA has announced a new Brownfields National Partnership Action Agenda to carry this successful program forward through 1998. The Agenda further identifies, strengthens, and improves the commitments EPA and its partners can make to brownfields. To demonstrate improved Federal agency coordination, the Action Agenda contains a proposal to select 10 Showcase Communities that will serve as models to focus these efforts. Further, in FY 97, EPA provided $10 million to capitalize Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Funds (BCRLFs). BCRLF pilots, funded up to $350,000 each, were awarded to 24 of the first 29 national brownfields pilots that were eligible to receive the funds.

An additional 45 assessment pilot awards were made during FY 97. Both assessment and BCRLF pilot awards, with support for state voluntary cleanup programs, will continue to provide incentives to communities with brownfields sites to begin cleanup and redevelopment. Additionally, due to the success of the first national conference in 1996, the second brownfields conference, Brownfields '97, was held in September 1997. By sponsoring such conferences and workshops and adding to the growing list of archived sites, EPA will perpetuate the success of the brownfields program.

Superfund Redevelopment Initiative: An Initiative to Evaluate Reuse and Redevelopment of Superfund Sites

The Office of Superfund Remediation Technology Innovation (OSRTI) undertook an initiative in the winter of 1996/97 to evaluate the social and environmental benefits and economic impacts associated with returning National Priorities List (NPL) sites to productive use. Under this initiative, known as Superfund Redevelopment Initiative, sites are classified as either redevelopment (e.g., construction of a new facility), reuse (e.g., a new business in preexisting buildings), or continued use (e.g., continued operations of preexisting businesses). By encouraging redevelopment, reuse, or continued use, EPA can help to convert unproductive properties into a valuable asset for the community, whether it is a commercial business, a recreational ball field, or a wetland. For these beneficial uses to occur, EPA is developing partnerships with communities, local and state governments, other Federal agencies, and developers.

EPA's Objective for the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative

  • Promote the beneficial uses of Superfund sites;
  • Enter into partnerships with communities, local governments, and other Federal and state agencies to foster beneficial use of Superfund sites;
  • Encourage environmentally-friendly use of Superfund sites;
  • Identify and remove possible Agency obstacles to the use of Superfund sites; and
  • Communicate the successful return of Superfund sites to productive use.

A Comparison: Brownfields and Superfund Redelopment Initiative

The Superfund Redevelopment Initiative may seem very similar to brownfields but is indeed very different. The brownfields program is a grant program aimed at non-NPL sites, which have real or perceived environmental contamination. Brownfields grants are aimed at spurring the assessment, cleanup and reuse of those sites.

The Superfund Redevelopment Initiative is focused on NPL sites, some of the worst contaminated sites in the Nation, and is not a grant program. EPA continues to be committed to cleaning up NPL sites; however, this new initiative is designed to better integrate reuse considerations into the cleanup process, so that the properties are returned to beneficial use as quickly and efficiently as possible.

  Region 1 Pilot Superfund Redevelopment Sites

Bangor Gas Works, Bangor Maine
A former coal gasification plant that operated for over 100 years was cleaned and redeveloped through a partnership between EPA, the state, local government, and developers. The site was redeveloped into a 60,000 square foot supermarket employing 130 full-time staff, generating over $130,000 in annual property taxes, enhancing residential property values, and providing a much needed grocery store for a nearby home for the elderly.

Raymark Industries, Stratford, Connecticut
From 1919 to 1989, this former automotive parts manufacturing plant disposed of its wastes in several on-site lagoons. EPA entered into a Prospective Purchaser Agreement with the developer to integrate redevelopment plans into the site's cleanup. The property is being redeveloped into a 300,000 square foot retail shopping complex that is expected to employ 800 full-time staff, with over $23 million in total annual income, and bring nationally-recognized stores to the area.

Fort Devens, Devens, Massachusetts
A former military base with several areas of contamination was closed in 1991 as part of the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC). The contamination is being addressed by a partnership between the Army, EPA, and the State. The closure of the base threatened the economies of four nearby towns, however, it is being redeveloped into several public and private facilities, including a warehouse/distribution center, prison hospital, job center, military training area, and wildlife refuge. The site is expected to eventually support 2,500 full-time jobs, generate over $4 million dollars in state income tax, and enhance property values around the site. It will also ensure the protection and enhancement of critical natural environmental resources.

The project began when Region 1 sought assistance from headquarters to evaluate the economic impact of reuse or redevelopment of some Superfund sites in their region. The purpose was to use positive economic impacts to potentially promote use of hundreds of other sites in the region. To estimate the positive economic impacts, a methodology was developed to calculate the short- and long-term jobs supported at sites, income associated with those jobs, expenditures on cleanup and redevelopment activities, income and property tax revenues, and property value changes. Several sites in Region 1 were identified as pilots to test the methodology and to develop site fact sheets, showing the economic impacts and the social and environmental benefits of cleanup and redevelopment, reuse, or continued use of sites. As the methodologies and formats became standardized, the overall objective expanded to preparing analyses and site fact sheets for other EPA Regions, and to analyze the key characteristics of successful redevelopment/reuse to learn how to better foster the initiative at other Superfund sites.

Partnering with Federal Agencies

EPA recognizes the pressing need to take a highly organized and focused approach to tackling environmental problems at the thousands of contaminated Federal facilities across the country. These facilities include abandoned mines, former weapons production plants, fuel distribution centers, and landfills. Current estimates indicate that cleanup at the more than 21,000 contaminated DOD sites will cost approximately $30 billion; cleanup at the more than 10,000 DOE sites will cost between $200 and $350 billion; and between $4 and $8 billion will be spent at the more than 26,000 DOI sites.

Federal Facilities and Superfund

Under CERCLA, Federal agencies are required to clean up sites contaminated by hazardous waste using their own budgets and personnel, rather than simply relying on the Superfund program. Still, EPA is empowered to list Federal facilities on the NPL, and only EPA can delete those sites from the NPL. Federal agencies must also get concurrence from EPA on the remedy selected for the site. The law further requires that Federal entities enter into Interagency Agreements with EPA in an effort to expedite cleanups and make them more effective. Often, Federal facilities listed on the NPL are still in operation and, therefore, are subject to other environmental laws. EPA has successfully dealt with these unique situations by stepping out of its traditional "enforcement" role and partnering with Federal agencies to effectively clean up the sites.

To develop creative, cost-effective environmental solutions for contaminated Federal sites, EPA created the innovative Federal Facilities Response Program. By partnering with DOD, DOE, DOI, and other Federal entities that are confronted by hazardous waste sites, EPA is helping to clean up sites and make them available for reuse as quickly as possible. EPA's focus on teamwork, innovation, and public involvement is not only improving the environmental cleanup process, but is also protecting and strengthening public health and the environment.

Promoting the Lead Regulator at Federal Facilities
Federal facilities pose a true challenge because cleanup may be governed by multiple authorities such as Superfund, RCRA, and/or state laws. In collaboration with DOD, DOE, DOI, and states, EPA has begun to address issues related to the multiple authorities that are players in the cleaning up of Federal facilities.

In 1995, EPA initiated interagency cleanup efforts that promote the single or lead regulator concept. EPA convened a workgroup that included representatives from the EPA regions, Federal agencies, and states to discuss the identification and implementation of the single regulator concept. This initiative establishes a single regulator to take the reins of the cleanup effort. To eliminate or minimize overlap and the inefficient use of resources, the lead regulator concept specifies roles and outlines the general principles and guidelines that state partners should assume in overseeing cleanup responses. EPA completed the final guidance in November 1997.


Some Regions began implementing the lead regulator concept well in advance of the guidance issuance:
  • Region 4 plans to continue to work with its states to establish lead regulator responsibility for all DOE and DOD sites.
  • Region 8 finalized its Rocky Flats Compliance Agreement, which adopted the lead regulator concept in the summer of 1996.
  • Region 10 has had an agreement in place since October 1994 with the State of Washington that divides the sizable Federal facility workload between EPA and the state.
  • Regions 5 and 6 have been working with Ohio and Texas, respectively, to implement similar agreements

Supporting the Cleanup of Military Bases
EPA plays an integral role in the cleanup of closing military bases under the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) Program. This Fast Track Cleanup Program was introduced in 1993 to accelerate cleanups and speed the economic recovery of communities affected by closing military bases. By identifying sites with property available for transfer to a community or by leasing contaminated parcels where cleanup has already begun, the program strives to make parcels of land available for reuse as quickly as possible. Under the 1992 Community Environmental Response Facilitation Act (CERFA), EPA is accelerating the identification of clean parcels of land so that they are immediately available for reuse. CERFA identifies real property on which no hazardous substances were stored, disposed of, or released.

For FY 97, DOD provided funding for 148 full-time employees to assist with the Fast Track Cleanup Program. While DOD pays for these positions, the individuals are employed by EPA to review site documentation and reports, and to participate in technical discussions on site activities.

Parcels of land are made available for reuse with the help of Base Cleanup Teams (BCTs). Composed of EPA, DOD, and state agency representatives, BCTs develop commonsense approaches to cleanups by identifying common goals and priorities up front. BCT members have the authority and responsibility to make decisions about environmental restoration at their specific sites. Following a "bottom-up review" of cleanup schedules, they prepare a BRAC cleanup plan to identify strategies for integrating the environmental cleanup plan with the community reuse plan. BCTs are operating at 107 military installations under the Fast Track Cleanup Program. EPA estimates that in the first three years of this initiative, BCTs have eliminated 209 years of potential cleanup activity and have saved more than $210 million through streamlining, cooperation, and applying innovative technologies.


Base Cleanup Teams (BCTs) worked with the Fort Devens, MA community to streamline the cleanup process by integrating a number of initial investigations. The assessment of environmental conditions at the base was expedited, which eliminated 4 years of study and saved an estimated $5 million.

At the Sacramento Army Deport in California, a BCT facilitated the implementation of an innovative technology that significantly increased the pace of cleanup. Although it was believed that the site would take years to clean, the cleanup was completed in only months, allowing the property to be transferred to the private sector. Packard-Bell relocated its world headquarters to the former installation and created more than 3,000 new jobs.

Forming Citizen Advisory Boards
In April 1996, EPA's publication of the final report of the Federal Facilities Environmental Restoration Dialogue Committee proved to be a watershed event for public involvement in Federal facility cleanups. As a result of this report, citizen advisory boards are beginning to form, including Restoration Advisory Boards (RABs) at DOD installations and Site Specific Advisory Boards (SSABs) at DOE sites. These advisory boards open lines of communication among the various stakeholders involved with a site, and provide independent policy and technical assistance to the regulated and regulating agencies. The establishment of these boards is yet another way EPA partners with Federal agencies to expedite the cleanup of contaminated Federal facilities. Beginning in FY 98, EPA will sponsor nationwide workshops that will help educate communities about their role in the cleanup of Federal facilities.

Partnering with States and Tribes

EPA recognizes states as full partners in hazardous waste cleanup. Superfund has been building its relationship with the states since the beginning of the program, helping to "grow" their programs through funding, guidance, and technical support. Congress expanded the minimum requirements for state and tribal involvement when it reauthorized the Superfund law in 1986. EPA responded by furthering the partnership, recognizing that those closest to a particular hazardous waste problem want the authority to further its solution. Superfund has looked for approaches to help states and tribes take on more cleanup capacity in three ways:

  1. by paving the way for states and tribes to take over for Superfund in certain cases;
  2. by involving states in remedy selection; and
  3. by strengthening state/tribal cleanup programs through cooperative agreements.

States Share in the Cost of Remedial Actions

  • 10% of remedial action costs and 100% of operation and maintenance of the site following cleanup; or
  • 50% of entire cost of cleanup if state was the site operator

Paving the Way for State Authority in Hazardous Waste Cleanup
EPA continues to expand upon its commitment to provide substantial and meaningful involvement for each state and tribe by exploring new ways to partner for site cleanup. Several initiatives are enabling states and tribes to take over for Superfund in certain cases.

NPL-Caliber Sites to the States
Superfund is piloting a program to defer NPL-caliber sites from being listed on the NPL by moving cleanup responsibility to willing states and tribes. The state/tribe may already be involved with, or interested in, initiating and overseeing site response actions. Each cleanup partner must ensure that cleanup standards will be as stringent as EPA's, and that the affected community will participate in making decisions. Since 1994, Superfund has signed deferral agreements with 12 states, covering 30 sites. Remedies have been selected at 12 of these sites.

State Voluntary Cleanup Programs
Superfund continues to promote the development and operation of state voluntary cleanup programs. Congress earmarked $10 million for this effort in 1997, and EPA worked with its state and tribal workgroups to distribute the funds. Forty (40) states have voluntary cleanup programs. (Approximately $15 million is budgeted for 1998.) These programs speed the cleanup and redevelopment of less seriously contaminated sites by encouraging private parties to tackle response actions early and voluntarily. Through MOAs, EPA and states/tribes are beginning to negotiate a division of labor that will further expand and promote these programs.

Reimbursements Bridge EPA and Local
Governments and Tribes

Local governments play an important role during a Superfund cleanup. Localities may lead a response action and often provide important public safety measures during emergencies, for which they may receive financial assistance under EPA's Local Governments Reimbursement (LGR) program. The LGR program eases the financial burden on local governments from conducting temporary emergency measures in response to a hazardous substance threat. The program offers assistance of up to $25,000 per response directly to local governments. Since its inception in 1986, EPA has reimbursed more than 70 local governments for a total of nearly $1 million.

Enhancing the State/Tribal Role Through Administrative Reforms
Four Superfund workgroups are identifying and analyzing major issues associated with the role of states and tribes in the program. They are focusing on the areas of state/EPA agreements, state readiness, assistance to states, and the tribal role in Superfund. Recommendations from these groups will result in a comprehensive and flexible strategy for long-term state and tribal involvement in the Superfund program.

Involving States/Tribes with Remedy Selection
States and tribes have always contributed financially to Superfund cleanups. While accepting responsibility for sharing in cleanup activities and/or costs, they have not — until recently — been given the flexibility to select the remedy at a given site. Now EPA is sharing its traditional function as remedy-selector with qualified states and tribes. States/tribes participating in this initiative are entering into "Participating States/Tribes" agreements with EPA. They are conducting the remedy selection process, within the bounds of applicable laws and regulations, with minimal Superfund oversight or involvement. These agreements give the states/tribes significantly more control over NPL site cleanups.

Building State and Tribal Capacity Through Cooperative Agreements
The Core Program Cooperative Agreements (CAs) have boosted state and tribal involvement in Superfund. Indeed, funding through Core Program CAs has helped build state and tribal hazardous waste programs, enabling many to take on significant cleanup roles.

Core Program funding defrays the cost of essential state/tribal activities that cannot be accounted for on a site-specific basis, but are essential to an active role in Superfund implementation. For example, states and tribes have used these funds to pay for training, program management, and guidance development. Today, all states and some tribes are active in the Core Program. This is the avenue through which each state and tribe can determine the long-term Superfund responsibilities it will undertake.

States are responding to this program by taking the lead for response actions at many sites. That number of sites has increased significantly as individual state/tribal hazardous waste programs have matured. Since Superfund's inception, states/tribes have led over 400 RI/FSs and more than 100 remedial actions.


Trend in EPA Core Program Funding to States (Cumulative Dollars)


Superfund Seeks to Improve the CA Process

A workgroup composed of EPA, state and tribal representatives is identifying CA funding options that are easy to manage and give states/tribes greater flexibility to allocate funds according to their priorities. The regions are piloting two variations of block funding, both of which are broader in scope and more flexible than the traditional funding mechanism: 1. The multi-program CA blends activities from all types of CAs (site-specific, non site-specific and Core Program) into one funding mechanism. 2. A new accounting process allows funds to be generically obligated but site-specifically dispersed, combining Core Program, site assessment, and support agency activities. While the pilots continue to test these approaches, the workgroup is exploring other options, including grant mechanisms such as the Performance Partnership Grant System used successfully in other programs.

This report is divided into 5 sections:


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