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EPA announces FY 2019 Superfund Accomplishments Report

Highlights key Trump Administration accomplishments, focuses on future

06/12/2020
Contact Information: 
Richard Mylott (mylott.richard@epa.gov)
303-312-6654

DENVER — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released annual Superfund Accomplishments Report documenting national achievements in the Superfund program during FY 2019. The Superfund program addresses the nation’s most contaminated sites and is a key priority for the Trump Administration. The report also documents improvements to the program as a result of the Superfund Task Force work under EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

“As we celebrate 50 years of EPA’s commitment to protecting human health and the environment, we can take pride in the last 40 years that the Superfund program has contributed to that success,” said EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler. “The Trump Administration is proud to showcase all we have achieved to clean up contaminated sites, protect our communities, and turn these spaces into economic and recreational assets for generations to come.”

“For the past three years, the Superfund program has been a top priority of the Agency and the Administrator’s Emphasis List continues to be an important tool to elevate tough issues and get site cleanups unstuck and moving again” said EPA Assistant Administrator Peter Wright. “The cleanup agreement for the Silver Bow Creek site is a testament to the success of the Administrator’s Emphasis List and I’m happy that after years of delay we could deliver a win for the people and environment of Montana.”

“This report highlights a variety of Superfund successes throughout Region 8, which includes three Superfund sites in Montana, East Helena, Silver Bow Creek Butte Area and Libby. Through this report, we get to showcase the tremendous work that all parties have contributed to the successful clean-ups and community engagement at these sites,” said EPA Region 8 Administrator Gregory Sopkin. “Over its nearly 40-year existence, the Superfund program has made significant improvements in communities across the nation, by cleaning up and deleting sites from the NPL; however, this important work continues until every site on the NPL is cleaned up and deleted.”

The FY 2019 report highlights achievements to improve site cleanups, protect health, revitalize our communities, innovate through science and technology, and engage communities. Across America, communities continue to experience the benefits of EPA’s Superfund program. Several key community highlights from FY 2019 include:

Launching progress and securing a final cleanup decision at the legacy Silver Bow Creek mine site in Butte, Montana.  The Administrator’s engagement helped move the parties, who had been stuck for over a decade, towards an agreement to conduct significant additional work at the site to address various stormwater and water-quality related issues that resulted from decades of mine waste being dumped into nearby streams and wetlands.

Breathing New Life into East Helena with Schools, Residences, and a Migratory Bird Habitat East Helena, Montana. This cleaned-up site, a former lead smelter, is now home to a new elementary school and future high school, a 300-home subdivision, and a state-of-the-art County Search and Rescue facility. In addition, over 180 acres of the Prickly Pear Creek floodplain and 80 acres of migratory bird habitat have been restored. Overall, 700 acres have been redeveloped or are being prepared for redevelopment. Since 2011, EPA has worked with the local community through workshops and meetings to develop long-term goals and priorities.

Deleting 45-acre area of the Libby Asbestos Site Shows Progress in Libby, Montana. In April 2019, EPA deleted a 45-acre area of the site from the NPL, a significant milestone at a site that ranks among the agency's most challenging. The partial deletion of the site reflects the progress EPA and its partners continue to make in cleaning up and restoring these properties. EPA and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality determined that all required cleanup activities were completed, and human health and the environment are protected. EPA will continue to maintain regular reviews and continue work on the other portions of the site.

Other key achievements in the report include:

  • Finishing the job by deleting all or part of 27 sites from the Superfund’s National Priorities List (NPL), the largest number of deletions in a single year since 2001.
  • Targeting sites for the Administrator’s immediate and intense attention, using the Administrator’s Emphasis List to resolve issues delaying cleanups and spur action at sites, that in many cases have been waiting idle amid uncertainty for years.
  • Completing 233 removal actions to address imminent and substantial threats to human health and the environment
  • Securing more than $570 million from Potentially Responsible Parties to clean up Superfund sites and reimburse the Agency more than $280 million
  • Celebrating 20 years of redeveloping more than 1,000 Superfund sites that now support 9,180 businesses generating $58.3 billion in sales and employing more than 208,400 people earning a combined income of more than $14.4 billion
  • Expanding the charge for the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council to identify additional opportunities for EPA to engage with communities, expedite cleanups and return sites to productive use.

Read the full report here:  https://semspub.epa.gov/src/document/HQ/100002479

Additional information about EPA’s Superfund program can be read here: https://www.epa.gov/superfund