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Superfund

Questions and Answers for the Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action

On this page:

  1. Are these the most contaminated Superfund Sites?
  2. Will these sites be prioritized for additional federal funding?
  3. Are these sites presented in rank order?
  4. Why are certain sites not on the list? Why are there more than 10 sites on the list?
  5. The Task Force report says that as sites are completed, EPA will replenish the list. What does it mean for a site to be completed in the context of this list? How does a site get off the list?
  6. Will cleanups happen faster at these sites than sites not on the list?
  7. How will EPA keep the public informed of which sites are on this list and the progress being made at those sites?
  8. Are federal facility sites and EPA removal sites eligible?
  9. What is the difference between this list and the National Priorities List?
  10. Why are there sites on the list that are not even on the NPL?
  11. What criteria did EPA use to determine which sites are on the list?
  12. There are probably a lot of sites that would benefit from the Acting Administrator’s engagement. Why is he focusing on these sites?
  13. Will the Acting Administrator be involved in any Superfund sites not on this list? Is the Acting Administrator only engaging on sites on the list?
  14. Generally speaking, what types of actions might the Acting Administrator take at these sites? What actions might EPA and/or the Acting Administrator take at each of the sites on this list?

    1. Are these the most contaminated Superfund sites?

    No, this list does not reflect the largest or most contaminated Superfund sites. In developing this list, the EPA considered sites with critical upcoming milestones or site-specific actions that will benefit from the Acting Administrator’s engagement or directed attention to facilitate near-term progress.

    The Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) remains the list of national priority sites where contamination poses risks to public health and the environment.

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    1. Will these sites be prioritized for additional federal funding?

    No. Placement on the list does not reflect the sites most in need of federal funding, nor will it have any bearing on funding decisions. Prioritization for federal funding will continue to happen under a separate process. This process uses a panel of national program experts to evaluate the risk to human health and the environment posed by individual sites. The Agency uses this process to establish funding priorities for all new cleanup construction projects in the Superfund program.

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    1. Are these sites presented in rank order?

    Sites are sorted by EPA region.

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    1. Why are certain sites not on the list? Why are there more than 10 sites on the list?

    The Acting Administrator remains dedicated to addressing risk and accelerating progress towards cleanup at all Superfund sites, not just those on this list. This list is fluid. Sites will be taken off the list after completion of the relevant milestone and other sites may be added as appropriate. At times, there may be more or fewer sites based on where the Acting Administrator’s attention and focus is most needed.

    The Acting Administrator determined that there were more than 10 sites that would benefit from his direct engagement at this stage.

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    1. The Task Force report says that as sites are completed, EPA will replenish the list. What does it mean for a site to be completed in the context of this list? How does a site get off the list?

    Sites will come off the list as EPA resolves the issue or impasse and achieves the relevant milestone. Removal from the Administrator's Emphasis List does not change the site's status on the NPL.

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    1. Will cleanups happen faster at these sites than sites not on the list?

    Expeditious cleanup is the goal for ALL Superfund sites. These sites have site-specific issues that will benefit from the Acting Administrator’s direct engagement. The Acting Administrator’s goal will be to resolve impasses that have delayed progress.

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    1. How will EPA keep the public informed of which sites are on this list and the progress being made at those sites?

    The EPA website will be updated as needed to reflect changes to the composition of the list, progress on the sites, and other Task Force recommendations.

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    1. Are federal facility sites and EPA removal sites eligible?

    Federal facilities may be added in the future. The same is true for EPA removal sites.

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    1. What is the difference between this list and the National Priorities List?

    The Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) is the list of national priority sites where contamination poses risks to public health and the environment.

    The Administrator's Emphasis List is a list of sites that will benefit from the Acting Administrator’s extra attention or directed focus in order to facilitate near-term site progress. 

    EPA remains dedicated to addressing risk and accelerating progress at ALL of its sites, not just those on this list. The Task Force Recommendations are aimed at expediting cleanup at all Superfund sites.

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    1. Why are there sites on the list that are not even on the NPL?

    This list may contain pre-NPL, proposed, and final NPL sites. These sites have upcoming critical milestones and/or site-specific situations that will benefit from the Acting Administrator’s extra attention or directed focus to facilitate near-term progress.

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    1. What criteria did EPA use to determine which sites are on the list?

    EPA is committed to continuously looking at ways to improve the management of the Administrator’s Emphasis List. With the November 2018 update and going forward, EPA is now considering sites for the list based on one or more of the following criteria:

    • Sites where the Administrator’s attention may help to enhance human health and environmental protection, promote more timely resolution of issues, advance more effective cleanup, or promote redevelopment opportunities;
    • Sites in diverse geographical areas and in various environmental settings;
    • Sites that are addressing different contaminants;
    • Both Fund and potentially responsible party lead sites; and
    • Sites that are representative of other sites, which can provide lessons learned and best practices for similar sites.

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    ACTING ADMINISTRATOR’S INVOLVEMENT

    1. There are probably a lot of sites that would benefit from the Acting Administrator’s engagement. Why is he focusing on these sites?

    The Acting Administrator decided his engagement on these specific sites can facilitate substantial progress in the near-term and move the site closer to completion of cleanup. The Acting Administrator will receive regular updates on each of these sites.

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    1. Will the Acting Administrator be involved in any Superfund sites not on this list? Is the Administrator only engaging on sites on the list?

    The Acting Administrator is committed to accelerating the pace of cleanup and protecting public health for all communities near Superfund sites. He may directly engage on any Superfund site where he feels he can make a positive impact, including sites not on this list.

    The Acting Administrator has recused himself at this time from participating in any particular matters that involve any of his former clients or former employers in the preceding two years.

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    1. Generally speaking, what types of actions might the Acting Administrator take at these sites? What actions might EPA and/or the Acting Administrator take at each of the sites on this list?

    Examples of actions that the Acting Administrator may take at these sites include:

    • Encouraging and supporting timely negotiations with potentially responsible parties;
    • Working with all interested parties to determine whether a site will be listed on the NPL;
    • Facilitating finalization of remedy decisions; and
    • Facilitating dialogue with interested parties on redevelopment opportunities.

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