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EPA Continuing Cleanup Progress at Hazardous Waste Sites

Release Date: 12/11/2006
Contact Information: Roxanne Smith, (202) 564-4355 / smith.roxanne@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C. - Dec. 11, 2006) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency continued to make significant progress in cleaning up America's most contaminated hazardous waste sites over the past year. Superfund, the federal government program that cleans up these sites, completed work at 40 sites during fiscal year 2006 for a cumulative total of 1,006 sites with construction work completed.

"EPA continues to make progress in protecting human health and the environment by cleaning up the nation's most contaminated sites," said Susan Bodine, EPA's assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. "These efforts have turned community blight into community assets. At the same time, we continue to give top priority to cleaning up sites that pose the greatest risk."

EPA conducted 653 ongoing cleanup projects at 414 sites and funded new work at 18 projects across the country. Superfund also continued to prepare for future cleanup efforts by listing 11 new sites and proposing that 10 sites to be added to the National Priorities List, the most serious sites across the country that have been identified for possible long-term cleanup by the Superfund program.

EPA also conducted or oversaw 294 emergency response and removal actions to address immediate threats to communities, cleaning up spills and accidental releases of hazardous material.

As the Superfund program has matured, the size, complexity and cost of sites under construction or ready to begin construction are often greater than the sites already completed. In FY06, 45 percent of the Superfund obligations for construction and post-construction activities went to 14 sites. However, EPA also provided nearly $45 million to start cleanup construction work at 18 projects across the country.

EPA secured private party commitments of more than $550 million in FY06 to fund cleanup work. Of this amount, potentially responsible parties agreed to conduct $391 million in future response work, and to reimburse EPA for $164 million in past costs.

Protecting human health and the environment and restoring contaminated properties to environmental and economic vitality are EPA priorities. EPA continues to work with communities to transform contaminated sites into community assets. Locations that once pulled local economies down are now generating new tax revenues and serving as catalysts for broader revitalization. Redevelopment at Superfund sites has resulted in more than 80,000 on-site jobs and $2.7 billion in annual income.

Superfund was created in 1980 when Congress enacted the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) to clean up the nation's uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. Under the Superfund program, abandoned, accidentally spilled, or illegally dumped hazardous wastes that pose a current or future threat to human health or the environment are cleaned up. EPA works closely with communities, potentially responsible parties, scientists, researchers, contractors, and state, local, tribal, and federal authorities on site cleanup. Together with these groups, EPA identifies hazardous waste sites, tests the conditions of the sites, develops cleanup plans, and cleans up the sites.

Superfund National Accomplishments Summary Fiscal Year 2006: epa.gov/superfund/action/process/numbers06.htm

Sites Receiving FY 2006 New Construction Funding: epa.gov/superfund/accomp/factsheets06/index.htm#funded

Sites Not Receiving FY 2006 New Construction Funding: epa.gov/superfund/accomp/factsheets06/index.htm#not_funded

Construction Completions at National Priorities List (NPL) Sites - by Number: epa.gov/superfund/sites/query/queryhtm/nplccl1.htm