Superfund History - Printable Version
Since 1980, EPA's Superfund program has helped protect human health and the environment by managing the cleanup of the nation's worst hazardous waste sites and responding to local and nationally significant environmental emergencies. Below you will find a timeline highlighting some of the most notable milestones in the history of Superfund and other cleanup programs. Click on the links for more information about a particular topic or event.
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- Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Responding to public concern over 'midnight dumping' of toxic wastes, Congress establishes authority for controls over hazardous waste from generation to disposal under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).
- Toxic Substances Control Act
Congress enacts the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which provides EPA with authority to protect public health and the environment through controls on toxic chemicals that pose an unreasonable risk of injury.
- A series of chemical reactions that ignite a large chemical-waste treatment facility in Bridgeport, New Jersey
A spark from a welder's torch touches off a series of chemical reactions that ignite a large chemical-waste treatment facility in Bridgeport, New Jersey, leaving six dead and hospitalizing 35. It is reported that, 'the raging fire propels waste drums through the air and blankets the city in a funnel of black smoke that reaches hundreds of feet into the sky.
- State of Emergency at Niagara Falls, New York
President Carter declares a State of Emergency at Niagara Falls, New York, after a startling increase in skin rashes, miscarriages, and birth defects. Love Canal heightens public awareness of the grave and imminent perils of unregulated hazardous waste dumping in communities.
- House and Senate committees hold extensive hearings on the dangers posed by toxic waste dumps
House and Senate committees hold extensive hearings on the dangers posed by toxic waste dumps and major bills are introduced to create a 'superfund' for dealing with these dangers in both houses of Congress.
- Toxic waste bursts into flames at a waste storage facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey
Toxic waste bursts into flames at a waste storage facility in Elizabeth, New Jersey, sending a thick black plume of smoke and ash over a 15-mile area and raising fears of widespread chemical contamination. The fire burns for 10 hours as State officials issue an environmental advisory closing schools and urging residents to close all doors and windows and remain indoors.
- Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund)Congress passes the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) to address the dangers of abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste dumps by developing a nationwide program for: emergency response; information gathering and analysis; liability for responsible parties; and site cleanup. CERCLA also creates the Hazardous Substance Response Trust Fund (or 'Superfund') to collect taxes, cost recoveries, and fines and penalties that will be used to finance emergency responses and cleanups.
- CERCLA authorizes Superfund taxes
To finance the cleanup of abandoned hazardous waste sites CERCLA authorizes taxes on domestic and imported petroleum and on chemical feedstocks which were in effect from April 1, 1981, through September 30, 1985.
- Superfund successfully responds to the 'Valley of the Drums' site in Kentucky
Superfund successfully responds to the 'Valley of the Drums' site in Kentucky, drawing national attention as EPA acts on behalf of public safety by removing over 4,000 drums and installing protective measures.
- Hazard Ranking System (HRS) is established as the principal mechanism for evaluating environmental hazards of a site
EPA publishes the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) as the principal mechanism for evaluating environmental hazards of a site. HRS is a numerically-based screening system that uses information from preliminary investigations to assess the potential threats that sites pose to human health or the environment.
- First major CERCLA multi-generator settlement
EPA reaches the first major CERCLA multi-generator settlement, where the parties implemented the cleanup. The settlement involved the South Carolina Recycling and Disposal, Inc., site (a.k.a. 'Bluff Road').
- First national guidelines for implementing CERCLA in EPA's revised National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP)
EPA issues first national guidelines for implementing CERCLA in its revised National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). The NCP sets forth the procedures that must be followed by EPA and private parties in emergency responses and cleanups.
- Birth of the environmental justice movement
A landfill protest in Warren County, North Carolina, raises new concerns over the unequal distribution of environmental threats in disadvantaged and minority communities, fostering the birth of the environmental justice movement.
- EPA creates the first National Priorities List (NPL)
Using the HRS screening system, EPA creates the first National Priorities List (NPL), classifying 406 sites as the nation's priorities for cleanup under Superfund. Only sites on the NPL may qualify for long-term remedial actions financed by the Superfund. The NPL is updated on a regular basis.
- Relocation of more than 500 residents of Times Beach, Missouri
EPA permanently relocates more than 500 residents of the town of Times Beach, Missouri, because of widespread dioxin contamination.
- Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments
Concerns about gasoline and hazardous chemicals seeping from storage tanks and landfills into underground drinking water supplies prompt Congress to enact the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments to RCRA under which EPA makes efforts to prevent such contamination and requires the treatment of hazardous waste prior to land disposal.
- Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know Act
A toxic gas release in Bhopal, India, kills 3,800, raising public concern about explosions and leaks of toxic chemicals. This incident led to the passage of the first community right-to-know law under the 1986 Superfund Amendments.
- First site deleted from the NPL
The Friedman Property site in New Jersey becomes the first site deleted from the NPL.
- Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act
Congress passes the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA), which in part: strengthened CERCLA's enforcement provisions; encouraged voluntary settlements instead of litigation; stressed the importance of permanent remedies and innovative treatment technologies; increased state involvement in every phase of the Superfund program; increased the focus on human-health problems posed by hazardous waste sites; and encouraged greater citizen participation in how sites are cleaned up.
- CERCLA Section 120 addresses Federal Facilities
SARA added certain specific provisions to CERCLA that were applicable to the cleanup of contaminated sites at federal facilities. Under CERCLA Section 120, federal agencies are required to comply with CERCLA in the same manner and to the same extent as non-governmental entities. Section 120 also requires federal agencies to identify contamination affecting contiguous or adjacent property, compile information about contaminated sites at federal facilities and enter the information into the Federal Agency Hazardous Waste Compliance Docket, and promptly conduct preliminary assessments, remedial investigations, and feasibility studies at federal facilities.
- First emergency planning and community right-to-know law
SARA also contains the first emergency planning and community right-to-know law requiring public records of chemicals managed at a facility, and providing EPA with the authority to work with states and localities to prevent accidents and develop emergency plans in case of dangerous releases of chemicals.
- Superfund taxes reauthorized
SARA reauthorizes the original CERCLA taxing authority on domestic and imported petroleum and chemical feedstocks and adds new taxes on both imported chemical substances and on corporate environmental income. These taxes were in effect from January 1, 1987, through December 31, 1991.
- '90-Day Study' Management Review of the Superfund Program
EPA conducts a '90-Day Study' Management Review of the Superfund Program. Recommendations resulting from the study include the need to focus on enforcement first and to foster the use of innovative technologies. The Study is the first in a series of evaluations by EPA to examine ways to improve Superfund.
- Exxon Valdez spills 11-million gallons of crude oil
The Exxon Valdez spills 11-million gallons of crude oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, raising public consciousness for both Superfund and oil-spill planning and response.
- 'Enforcement First'
EPA initiates 'Enforcement First' policy where EPA gives first priority to finding the parties who are potentially responsible for a release and gets them to address the problem they created.
- Oil Pollution Act
Congress enacts the Oil Pollution Act, establishing a tax-based compensation trust fund and makes the costs of pollution cleanup the responsibility of the oil handling industry.
- Defense Base Closure and Realignment Act
On November 5, 1990, then President George Bush signed Public Law 101-5 10, which established the Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC) Commission 'to provide a fair process that will result in the timely closure and realignment of military installations inside the United States.' More than 350 installations have been closed in four BRAC rounds: 1989, 1991, 1993, and 1995. The most recent round of BRAC was completed in the fall of 2005 and became law in November 2005. EPA's Federal Facilities Restoration and Reuse Office (FFRRO) helps accelerate the transfer of federal property by coordinating environmental cleanup activities and crafting innovative property transfer arrangements at BRAC and other federally-owned sites.
- EPA revises the Hazard Ranking System
EPA revises the Hazard Ranking System in accordance with SARA to help ensure the HRS accurately assesses the relative degree of risk to human health and the environment posed by uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that may be placed on the NPL.
- EPA expands the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan
EPA expands the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan in accordance with SARA to provide for broader response actions, increased state and public involvement, and stronger enforcement procedures.
- Congress passes the Pollution Prevention Act
Congress passes the Pollution Prevention Act establishing pollution prevention as national policy and encouraging industries and academics to devise novel technologies and processes that avoid the formation and/or use of hazardous substances.
- Superfund taxes extended
The Superfund taxes authorized by SARA were set to expire December 31, 1991. On November 5, 1990, the Superfund taxes were extended by the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 (OBRA) through December 31, 1995.
- '30-Day Study' on Superfund improvements is complete
An EPA task force's '30-Day Study' proposes initiatives for accelerating the rate of cleanups and improving how the risks at hazardous waste sites are evaluated.
- Superfund Accelerated Cleanup Model (SACM) to streamline the traditional Superfund response process
EPA issues the Superfund Accelerated Cleanup Model (SACM) to streamline the traditional Superfund response process by providing prompt reduction in risk and an earlier initiation of enforcement and public participation activities.
- Construction Completions as a new way to more accurately reflect the work accomplished on Superfund sites
EPA establishes Construction Completions as a new way to more accurately reflect the work accomplished on Superfund sites. These are sites where all construction is complete and the site is awaiting official deletion from the NPL.
- Brownfields Initiative
The Brownfields Initiative is launched to redevelop abandoned, idle, or underused industrial and commercial sites when expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination.
- First Round of Administrative Reforms
EPA issues its First Round of Administrative Reforms designed to enhance enforcement fairness, reduce transaction costs, enhance cleanup effectiveness and consistency, and enhance public involvement and State participation.
- The OSWER Environmental Justice Task Force
The OSWER Environmental Justice Task Force is created to address concerns over the unequal distribution of environmental threats in disadvantaged and minority communities in EPA's waste programs.
- Brownfields Action Agenda
EPA launches the Brownfields Action Agenda, which outlines four activities to help States and communities implement and realize the benefits of the Brownfields Program: seed money through pilots; clarifying liability issues; encouraging partnerships and outreach; and supporting job development and training.
- Second and Third Round of Administrative Reforms
Building on the momentum of the First of Round of Administrative Reforms, EPA announces the Second Round of Administrative Reforms with an emphasis on enforcement, economic development, community involvement and outreach, environmental justice, consistent program implementation, and State empowerment. Later in 1995, EPA launches a Third Round of Administrative Reforms, in an effort to strengthen the Superfund Program based on three principles: selecting remedies that are cost effective and protective; reducing litigation by achieving common ground instead of conflict; and ensuring that States and communities stay more informed and involved in cleanup decisions.
- Superfund's emergency response program expands to address terrorist acts
Superfund's emergency response program expands to address terrorist acts following the bombing of a Federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168. Today, Superfund assists nationwide efforts to prevent and prepare for domestic chemical, biological, and nuclear terrorist acts.
- Superfund tax expires
On December 31, 1995, the Superfund taxes expired. Funding for Superfund shifted from mostly tax revenues appropriated by Congress each year to mostly general revenues appropriated by Congress to fund the program.
- Cumulative Superfund cost recovery settlements exceed $2 billion
Cumulative Superfund cost recovery settlements exceed $2 billion. Over 20 percent secured in 1996 alone. This landmark accomplishment demonstrates EPA's commitment under the Superfund Reforms to promote enforcement settlements so responsible parties pay for cleanups.
- Brownfields National Partnership launched
EPA launches the Brownfields National Partnership, linking the efforts of more than 25 organizations and federal agencies. Together, the partners make over 100 commitments, which total $300 million in federal government investment, to assist cleanup and redevelopment efforts for as many as 5,000 abandoned or underutilized properties.
- 5,000th emergency removal action
EPA completes its 5,000th emergency removal action at the Great Lakes Container site in Missouri, a milestone in Superfund program achievement.
- Superfund Redevelopment Initiative announced
EPA announces the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative, a coordinated national program providing communities with the tools and information needed to turn cleaned up Superfund sites into productive assets like office parks, playing fields, wetlands, and residential areas.
- Hudson River PCBs Cleanup Plan Announced
After a ten-year, exhaustive scientific study of the contamination of the Hudson River from polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), EPA proposed an extensive plan to clean up the river and protect public health. The cleanup would remove over 100,000 pounds of PCBs that would potentially contaminate people, fish, and wildlife through the food chain.
- First Citizen's Excellence in Community Involvement Award
In 2000, Tri-Valley CARES became the first recipient of EPA's Citizen's Excellence in Community Involvement Award. Through this annual award, EPA recognizes individuals or a community group for making a significant contribution to a Superfund cleanup. Tri-Valley CARES is a community group based in Livermore, California, that has been actively involved with the Department of Energy's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) since 1983. Tri-Valley CARES helped the public participate in decision-making by developing and circulating a set of 12 criteria for community acceptance of the site cleanup plan. In 1989, Tri-Valley CARES became the first community group in EPA Region 9 to win a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG), which provided financial resources to continue and expand its Superfund community involvement efforts.
- 700th Construction Completion
EPA achieves its 700th Construction Completion at the Ralph Grey Trucking Co. site in California.
- Brownfields Initiative receives Harvard University's Innovations in Government Award
Brownfields Initiative receives Harvard University's Innovations in Government Award, the highest honor to government programs that serve the public. Sponsored by the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the award celebrates EPA's effort to clean up abandoned, underutilized sites and restore them to productive community use.
- 1,000th Job Training Participant Completes Training
In June 2001, the number of participants having completed job training through EPA's Brownfields Job Training program reached 1,000. Through this program, EPA provides environmental cleanup and health and safety training to residents of brownfields-impacted communities who are seeking new skills and greater earning potential.
- September 11, 2001
In the days, weeks, and months following the September 11 terrorist attacks, the EPA took steps to ensure the safety of rescue workers and the public at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon disaster sites, and to protect the environment. The Agency worked closely with state, federal, and local agencies to monitor and respond to potential environmental hazards and minimize any environmental effects of the disasters and their aftermath.
- Anthrax Cleanup
On October 15, 2001, several office suites in the Hart Senate Office Building in Washington, DC, were maliciously contaminated with anthrax spores that were dispersed from a contaminated letter mailed to Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. The building was closed two days later and remained closed until January 23, 2002, so that EPA could effectively decontaminate the building. Chlorine dioxide gas, which regularly is used to decontaminate drinking water systems, fruits, and vegetables, was used by EPA for the first time to fumigate office space and kill anthrax spores.
- CERCLA Amended-Brownfields Law Passed
On January 11, 2002, President Bush signed into law the Small Business Liability Relief and Brownfields Revitalization Act (Public Law 107-118; H.R. 2869). It expanded EPA's Brownfields Program, boosted funding for assessment and cleanup of brownfields, enhanced roles for state and tribal response programs, and clarified Superfund liability. Historically, under Superfund, the owner or operator of a contaminated property could be held responsible for the property's cleanup, based solely on his or her current ownership of the property. The Brownfields Law changed the liability landscape by providing important protections from Superfund liability to landowners who meet certain statutory criteria. The liability protections are for landowners who qualify as bona fide prospective purchasers, contiguous property owners, or innocent landowners.
- Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Response
On February 1, 2003, the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry into the earth's atmosphere, killing all seven crew members and dispersing potentially hazardous debris across three states. During its response to the accident, EPA mobilized 1,900 responders to coordinate hazmat response, recover and transport debris, and document each shuttle item recovered. Early in the recovery effort, EPA provided airborne photometric collection technology and utilized a sophisticated Trace Atmospheric Gas Analyzer vehicle that traveled East Texas roads monitoring air for potentially hazardous chemicals.
- EPA Updates Human Health Toxicity Hierarchy
In December 2003, EPA updated the hierarchy of human health toxicity values and provided guidance for the sources of toxicity information that should generally be used in performing human health risk assessments at Superfund sites. Superfund risk assessments are performed for a number of reasons, including to evaluate whether action is warranted under CERCLA, to establish protective cleanup levels, and to determine the residual risk posed by response actions. Generally, toxicity assessment is an integral part of risk assessment. The revised hierarchy recognizes that EPA should use the best science available on which to base risk assessments.
- Love Canal Superfund Site Deleted from NPL
In September 2004, EPA finalized its decision to delete the Love Canal Superfund site from the NPL. Through a series of plans, EPA, together with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, contained and secured the wastes already disposed of in the canal so that they are no longer leaking into surrounding soils and groundwater. Today, the Love Canal area is once again a flourishing community. Forty acres are covered by a synthetic liner and clay cap and surrounded by a barrier drainage system. Contamination from the site also is controlled by a leachate collection and treatment facility. Neighborhoods to the west and north of the canal have been revitalized, with more than 200 formerly boarded-up homes renovated and sold to new owners, and 10 newly constructed apartment buildings. The area east of the canal has been sold for light industrial and commercial redevelopment.
- Hurricanes Katrina and Rita Response
EPA emergency response personnel worked with FEMA and state and local agencies to respond to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. In emergency situations, EPA serves as the lead agency for the cleanup of hazardous materials. In the five years following the hurricanes, EPA has conducted environmental monitoring and sampling of water, air, floodwater, and residual sediment resulting in more than 400,000 analyses. In addition, the Agency responded to approximately 70 emergency situations to address chemical spills, fires, and other emergencies causing an immediate public threat. For a full list of EPA activities, visit: http://archive.epa.gov/katrina/web/html/
- 1,000th Construction Completion Achieved
Construction work at the Macalloy Corporation Superfund site in North Charleston, South Carolina, was completed in the fall of 2006, making it the 1,000th site to reach the 'construction completion' milestone. At sites that are construction complete, a remedy has been designed and built that prevents contaminants from spreading through the soil, surface water or ground water.
- Cross Program Revitalization Measures
In October 2006, EPA released the Interim Guidance for OSWER Cross-Program Revitalization Measures (CPRM). The CPRM guidance presents a collection of indicators and performance measures that represent the Agency's latest effort to document progress toward land revitalization across all of the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response's various cleanup programs: Brownfields, Superfund, RCRA Corrective Action, Office of Underground Storage Tanks (OUST), Federal Facilities Response, and Emergency Response.
- First Environmentally Responsible and Redevelopment Reuse (ER3) Project
In April 2007, EPA announced the first ER3 agreement to clean up and sustainably redevelop the Daly West Mine Superfund Site in Empire Canyon, a historic ore mining and processing area located in Park City, Utah. EPA provided CERCLA liability relief, in the form of a Prospective Lessee Agreement (PLA) from certain future EPA enforcement actions in exchange for DV Luxury Resort, LLC's (DVLR) agreement to perform cleanup actions. DVLR also committed to sustainable redevelopment at the site by agreeing to build a 'green' hotel, spa and condominium project, known as the Montage Resort & Spa, by incorporating specific 'green' features into the design, construction, and operation.
- W.R. Grace Bankruptcy Settlement
On December 19, 2007, EPA and the U.S. Department of Justice announced a bankruptcy settlement with W.R. Grace & Co. (W.R. Grace) that provides EPA with a $34 million allowed general unsecured bankruptcy claim in connection with 32 W.R. Grace sites in 18 states. W.R. Grace is also obligated to continue to perform cleanup at sites it owns. In March 2003, EPA filed claims against the company to recover past and future cleanup costs at sites contaminated by vermiculate, asbestos, and a variety of hazardous substances.
- 40,000th Final Assessment Decision
In April 2008, EPA completed the 40,000th Final Assessment Decision (FAD) under the Superfund program. A FAD indicates the completion of all Superfund remedial assessment work at a site; it is one of the key measures tracked by EPA under the Government Performance and Results Act.
- EPA Helps Relocate Residents of Pitcher, Oklahoma
In May 2008, EPA provided $8 million in federal funding to the Oklahoma Department of Environment Quality to expedite the buyout and relocation of residents of Picher, Oklahoma. The mining town is in the center of the Tar Creek Superfund site and was heavily damaged by a May 10, 2008, tornado.
- Lowry Landfill Gas-to-Energy Facility Becomes Operational
In July 2008, a landfill gas-to-energy facility at the Lowry Landfill in Colorado became operational. The facility, which is part of the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative, collects landfill gases and burns them in generators to produce enough electricity to power 3,000 homes. The gas-to-energy facility provides myriad benefits to the local community, and also minimizes methane emissions that could contribute to climate change.
- First Environmental Justice Achievement Awards Announced
On October 21, 2008, EPA announced 12 winners of its first annual Environmental Justice Achievement Awards. EPA's National Achievements in Environmental Justice Awards Program recognizes partnerships that address local environmental justice concerns and result in positive environmental and human health benefits in communities. The awards are given annually to academic institutions, community-based organizations, non-governmental and environmental organizations, state and local governments, and tribal governments and indigenous organizations.
- ASARCO Bankruptcy Settlement
In December 2009, EPA, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Department of the Interior, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture jointly announced that, as a result of the largest environmental bankruptcy in U.S. history, $1.79 billion has been paid to fund environmental cleanup and restoration under a bankruptcy reorganization of American Smelting and Refining Company LLC (ASARCO). ASARCO is a leading producer of copper and one of the largest nonferrous metal producers in the United States. The money from environmental settlements in the bankruptcy will be used to pay for past and future costs incurred by federal and state agencies at more than 80 sites contaminated by mining operations in 19 states.
- ARRA Passed; Superfund Sites to Receive Funding
On February 17, 2009, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ARRA specifically includes $7.22 billion for projects and programs administered by EPA, including $100 million for the cleanup, revitalization, and sustainable reuse of brownfields; $600 million for the cleanup of hazardous waste sites; and $200 million for cleanup of petroleum leaks from underground storage tanks. These programs aim to protect and promote both 'green' jobs and a healthier environment.
- Superfund Redevelopment Initiative 10th Anniversary
In July of 2009, EPA celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative (SRI). SRI has helped communities across the country reclaim Superfund sites and bring down the barriers that have kept many of them vacant and underutilized for decades. In addition to cleaning up these Superfund sites and making them protective of human health and the environment, the Agency works with communities and other partners to consider future use opportunities and integrate appropriate reuse options into the cleanup process. The Agency also works with communities at sites that have already been cleaned up to ensure long-term stewardship of site remedies and to promote reuse.
- Libby Asbestos Public Health Emergency
On June 17, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson issued a Public Health Emergency at the Libby, Montana, asbestos site. This was the first time that EPA has exercised its authority to make such a declaration under the Superfund law. This history-making determination recognized that the contamination at the Libby site has had a serious public health impact, underscored the need for further action, and launched an interagency effort to deliver immediate medical assistance to area residents who have been or may be exposed to asbestos.
- Escambia Wood Treating Company Relocation Completed
In 2009, the last of the more than 400 households impacted by the Escambia Wood Treating Company Superfund site in Pensacola, Florida, were relocated. The Escambia County relocation marked the first time that an African-American community had been relocated under EPA's Superfund program. More than 500,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil was buried in a lined containment cell on site.
- BP Oil Spill
On April 20, 2010, BP's Deepwater Horizon oil drilling rig exploded off the coast of Louisiana, killing eleven workers and spilling millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. EPA provided full support to the U.S. Coast Guard and monitored and responded to potential public health and environmental concerns. EPA, in close coordination with other federal, state, and local agencies, collected samples along the shoreline and beyond for chemicals related to oil and dispersants in the air, water and sediment; supported and advised Coast Guard efforts to clean the reclaimed oil and waste from the shoreline; and closely monitored the effects of dispersants in the subsurface environment.
- Community Engagement Initiative
In May 2010, EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) released the Community Engagement Action Plan, which will enhance OSWER's and regional offices' engagement with local communities and other stakeholders (e.g., state and local governments, tribes, academia, private industry, other federal agencies, non-profit organizations) to help them meaningfully participate in government decisions on land cleanup, emergency preparedness and response, and the management of hazardous substances and waste.
- Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training Program
In 2010, the EPA's Office of Brownfields and Land Revitalization (OBLR) led an effort to more closely collaborate with other programs within the Agency to expand workforce development and job training. This initiative, the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT) program, was created to develop a job training cooperative agreement opportunity that includes training in other environmental media outside the traditional scope of brownfields hazardous waste assessment and cleanup. Program offices now participating in the broader EWDJT program include the Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery (ORCR), Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation (OSRTI), Office of Communications, Partnerships, and Analysis (OCPA), Office of Wastewater Management (OWM), the Urban Waters Program, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), and the Office of Emergency Management (OEM).
To date, EPA has funded 256 job training grants totaling over $54 million through the EWDJT program. As of August 2015, approximately 14,100 individuals have completed training, and approximately 10,100 of those graduates obtained full-time employment in the environmental field, and with an average starting hourly wage of $14.27. This equates to a cumulative 72% job placement rate since the program was created in 1998.
Learn more about the Environmental Workforce Development and Job Training (EWDJT)
- Superfund Releases Green Remediation Strategy and Principles for Greener Cleanup
In September 2010, EPA released the final Superfund Green Remediation Strategy. Green remediation is the practice of considering all environmental effects of remedy implementation and incorporating options to minimize the environmental footprints of cleanup actions. The Strategy outlines nine key actions (containing 40 specific actions) and describes related activities to promote green remediation.
- 40th Anniversary of EPA
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was founded on December 2, 1970. From that time to the present, America's environmental history has stood witness to both dramatic events and remarkable progress. For 40 years, EPA has worked to protect human health and safeguard our natural environment. Although there is still much left to accomplish, America has made significant strides in reducing the pollution that can threaten the air we breathe, the water we use and the communities we live in.
- Superfund Cleanups and Infant Health
The National Bureau of Economic Research study, Superfund Cleanups and Infant Health, shows that investment in Superfund cleanups reduces the incidence of congenital abnormalities in infants by as much as 25 percent for those living within approximately 2100 yards of a site.
- Superstorm Sandy Response and Recovery Efforts
On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Storm surge and high winds caused massive damage and flooding along the New Jersey and New York coastlines. EPA responded first under its own authority and then as part of FEMA's coordinated federal response. In New York, EPA supported debris management, recovery operations, and collection of household hazardous waste. In New Jersey, EPA provided assistance with restoring the wastewater treatment plant to pre-storm service levels and recovery of HAZMAT and household hazardous waste.
- Superfund and Economic Revitalization
A study by researchers at Duke and Pittsburgh Universities found that once a site has all cleanup remedies in place, nearby property values reflect a significant increase as compared to their values prior to the site being proposed for the NPL. Cleanups also increase tax revenue for local communities and state governments, including helping to create jobs during and after cleanup. For example, at 450 of the 800 sites supporting use or reuse activities, EPA found, at the end of fiscal year 2014, that there were ongoing operations of approximately 3,400 businesses, generating annual sales of more than $31 billion and employing more than 89,000 people.
- Superfund Program Review
In 2014, the Superfund remedial (long-term cleanup) program responded to reduced funding by initiating a comprehensive review to evaluate the efficiency of current cleanup processes and the use of remedial program resources. The review's overall goal was to help ensure maintenance of an effective cleanup program protective of human health and the environment under resource constraints. It identified short and long term measures and activities which was undertaken to maintain an effective remedial cleanup program.
- Settlement Agreement in Anadarko Bankruptcy Case
On November 10, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) approved the historic settlement agreement announced by the EPA and the Department of Justice (DOJ) on April 3, 2014, resolving fraudulent conveyance claims against Kerr-McGee Corporation and related subsidiaries of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. Under the settlement, Anadarko paid $5.15 billion plus interest to a litigation trust so that the settlement proceeds can be distributed to the trust's environmental and tort beneficiaries. This is the largest recovery for the cleanup of environmental contamination in history and is the largest bankruptcy-related award that the EPA has ever received for environmental claims and liabilities.
- 35th Anniversary of Superfund
It's easy to forget that there was a time in the United States when EPA lacked the legal authority to clean up hazardous waste sites like Love Canal, New York, or to respond to emergencies such as train derailments involving dangerous chemicals. Even though the EPA had been established for ten years, it was not until December 11, 1980, that President Jimmy Carter signed into law the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund). This historic new statute gave EPA the authority to clean up uncontrolled hazardous waste sites and spills. Visit EPA's Superfund at 35, '35 Years, 35 Stories' website to view a collection of podcasts, videos, and site case studies highlighting the benefits of Superfund site cleanups and program history from the perspective of site stakeholders, EPA staff and cleanup partners.
- Superfund Task Force
EPA established the Superfund Task Force on May 22, 2017, to provide recommendations for improving and expediting site cleanups and promoting redevelopment. On July 25, 2017, the Task Force released its recommendations, which are organized under five goals:
- Expediting cleanup and remediation;
- Reinvigorating responsible-party cleanup and reuse;
- Encouraging private investment;
- Promoting redevelopment and community revitalization; and
- Engaging partners and stakeholders.
- Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act
On November 15, 2021, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) (P.L. 117-58) was signed into law, investing $5.4 billion in cleaning up legacy pollution at Superfund and brownfields sites. IIJA provides $3.5 billion to clean up Superfund sites on the National Priorities List (NPL) and reinstates and modifies the Superfund taxes on domestic and imported chemical feedstocks beginning July 1, 2022, through December 31, 2031.
- Inflation Reduction Act
On August 16, 2022, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) was signed into law, permanently reinstating the Superfund taxes on domestic crude oil and imported petroleum products beginning January 1, 2023, at the rate of 16.4 cents per barrel in 2023 and adjusted annually for inflation thereafter.
- Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023
On December 29, 2022, the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2023 (P.L. 117-328) included legislative language that allows all tax receipts collected in the Superfund Trust Fund from the prior fiscal year to be available without further congressional appropriation.