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Return to Use Demonstration Projects

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EPA is working with stakeholders at Superfund sites across the country that have been cleaned up yet remain vacant due to real or perceived barriers to their reuse. At many of these sites, these stakeholders are joining with the Agency to move forward with reuse in a manner that does not interfere with the cleanup remedy and maintains protection of human health and the environment at the site. These site-specific partnerships are key elements of "demonstration projects" for the Agency's Return to Use (RTU) Initiative.

There are a variety of barriers that may arise at the demonstration projects. At some sites, the remedy may make it possible to use the land as a park, but may require a fence excluding motorized vehicles, which could damage the remedy. A local government or potential user group might want to spend its funds to build a hiking or biking trail once the remedy has been completed, if EPA determines that the completed remedy will protect pedestrians and cyclists. Local governments or user groups might also volunteer to install gates for the trails which would admit users while still excluding motorized vehicles. While EPA may not build the trail or install the gates, it may work with a city contractor or a volunteer group to make sure that construction does not compromise the remedy.

Examples of EPA's activities to support demonstration projects include:

  • making information about the sites more available, using tools such as Ready for Reuse Determinations where appropriate;
  • pointing communities to tools and resources, such as comfort letters and involuntary acquisition fact sheets, that relate to liability issues;
  • connecting communities with national organizations that have worked with EPA on reuse issues, such as the U.S. Soccer Foundation and the Academy of Model Aeronautics; and
  • working with communities that are creating site reuse plans to explain which activities would not affect the integrity of the remedy.

These demonstration projects continue to provide valuable lessons about the barriers to reuse that might arise at Superfund sites, and the tools and resources available to address them. In addition to evaluating potential barriers to reuse at these projects, EPA intends to use the lessons learned from these demonstration projects to evaluate partnership strategies, develop policy and guidance, and continue appropriate consideration of anticipated future land use during the Superfund cleanup process.

RTU Demonstration Projects by Region

Below are the fact sheets for the RTU demonstration projects undertaken to date. They have been categorized in alphabetical order by region.

Region 1 (CT MA ME NH RI VT)

Region 2 (NJ NY PR VI)

Region 3 (DC DE MD PA VA WV)

Region 4 (AL FL GA KY MS NC SC TN)

Region 5 (IL IN MI MN OH WI)

Region 6 (AR LA NM OK TX)

Region 7 (IA KS MO NE)

Region 8 (CO MT ND SD UT WY)

Region 9 (AZ CA HI NE)

Region 10 (AK ID OR WA)