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Progress Continues in Cleaning Up Hazardous Waste Sites

Release Date: 11/17/2008
Contact Information: Latisha Petteway, (202) 564-4355 / petteway.latisha@epa.gov

(Washington, D.C.-Nov. 17, 2008) EPA continues to make significant progress in cleaning up America’s most contaminated hazardous waste sites and making them ready for productive use. EPA’s annual summary of the Superfund program’s accomplishments shows that construction was completed at 30 sites in 2008, for a cumulative total of 1,060 sites or approximately 67 percent of the sites on the National Priorities List. Superfund is the federal government program that cleans up the most serious hazardous waste sites across the country.

“The Superfund program met or exceeded every one of its goals for 2008, making significant progress in all aspects of site cleanup,” said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “We are not only completing construction projects, but we are also returning sites to communities for productive uses.”

In 2008, 85 sites were designated as ready for anticipated reuse, meaning that all measures are in place to ensure that the sites are protective over the long term for current and planned future uses. The achievement of this milestone, for which there is a cumulative total of 343 sites, reflects the high priority EPA places on restoring contaminated properties so they can be returned to productive use in communities across the country.

EPA conducted or oversaw 681 ongoing construction projects at 423 sites, which includes projects led by EPA, projects led by potentially responsible parties and federal facility sites. EPA funded nearly $462 million for construction and post-construction projects, including $55 million for new work at 16 projects across the country. Superfund also continued to prepare for future cleanup efforts by listing 18 new sites and proposing 17 sites to the NPL.

The agency also conducted or oversaw 372 emergency response and removal actions to address immediate threats to communities, cleaning up spills and accidental releases of hazardous material. All identified unacceptable human exposures were controlled at a net total of 24 additional sites, bringing the program’s cumulative total to 1,306 sites under control.

EPA secured private party commitments of $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2008 to fund cleanup work. Of this amount, potentially responsible parties agreed to conduct $1.6 billion in future response work, and to reimburse EPA for $232 million in past costs. EPA billed private parties $75.5 million for oversight costs.

Information on the Superfund’s fiscal year 2008 accomplishments: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/accomp/numbers08.htm