Community Involvement and Partnerships
EPA's primary responsibility at Superfund sites is to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. However, with forethought and effective planning, communities can coordinate with EPA and return sites to productive use without jeopardizing the effectiveness of the remedy. EPA provides four key support areas that can help the site reuse process.
- Community Advisory Groups
- Regional Public Liaison
- Technical Assistance Grants
- Technical Assistance Services for Communities
Community Advisory Groups
Community Advisory Groups (CAGs) are committees, task forces, or boards made up of citizens with diverse community interests. They provide a public forum for discussing community concerns about the decision-making process at Superfund sites. CAGs bring community voices to EPA's attention. A CAG can be formed at any point in the cleanup process, but may be most effective if started early. The impetus for a CAG comes from the community. EPA can help determine the need for a CAG by helping the community evaluate the level of interest in and concern about site activities, and by identifying existing groups that might function as the CAG. CAGs give the community a voice in the site recycling process. They also help EPA make better decisions on how to clean up a site and learn more about community preferences for site cleanup and remediation.
Regional Public Liaison
The Regional Public Liaison (RPL) is responsible for resolving concerns and for providing guidance to both regional personnel and to stakeholders, including the community. EPA has established an RPL who will serve as a direct point of contact for the public on Superfund concerns in each of its ten Regions. The RPL can identify sites requiring cleanups, assist in Brownfields area and environmental justice issues, and identify criminal cases. The RPL also serves as a source of information about common Superfund concerns.
Technical Assistance Grants
Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs) are grants of up to $50,000 (or more for large or complex sites) that are available to qualified community groups. The grants are used to hire technical advisors who help the community understand technical site-related information. The community group must contribute 20% of the total project costs to be supported by TAG funds. This requirement may be met with cash, but is usually met with donated supplies and volunteered services, which are often referred to as "in-kind" services. The community group must prepare a plan describing how it will use the TAG funds once awarded. Only one TAG per NPL site is allowed at a given time. For more information, see the Technical Assistance Grants (TAGs) page.
Technical Assistance Services for Communities
Technical Assistance Services for Communities (TASC) is a program that offers technical assistance to help communities better understand and become involved in the cleanup process for hazardous waste sites. TASC provides independent educational and technical assistance to communities affected by hazardous waste regulated by the Superfund and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act programs. This includes hazardous wastes sites on federal facilities dealing with air or water environmental problems as well as tribal lands. For more information about TASC go to the TASC home page.
Superfund Redevelopment is committed to identifying partnership opportunities to assist in the Superfund redevelopment process. EPA currently has two formal partnerships that are helping promote and encourage the redevelopment of Superfund sites.