WASHINGTON–As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) marks the accomplishments of the Superfund program during the past 30 years, it is also taking steps to make the program stronger and more efficient to address the evolving challenges of cleaning up hazardous waste sites. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) was signed into law on December 11, 1980 and was created to address the most polluted, complex, uncontrolled or abandoned sites in the United States.
“Superfund has protected thousands of communities by cleaning up hazardous waste sites in the United States and responding to thousands of chemical spills,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “While Superfund has clearly accomplished a great deal, we also recognize that the challenges facing the program today are different than those we faced 30 years ago. Through our new Integrated Cleanup Initiative we are implementing new practices to meet these evolving challenges.”
The goal of the Integrated Cleanup Initiative (ICI) is to accelerate cleanups of contaminated sites where possible, address a greater number of contaminated sites, and put the sites back into productive use while protecting human health and the environment. The initiative also seeks to provide communities with greater accountability and transparency on EPA’s land cleanup programs.
Since 1980, EPA has completed construction of cleanup remedies at 67.5 percent of final and deleted sites on the National Priorities List. The Superfund program has returned nearly 1.3 million acres of land to productive use and made more than 455,800 acres ready for anticipated use. Through $600 million in funding from the Recovery Act, the Superfund program has accelerated cleanups at 31 ongoing construction projects and started new construction projects at 26 sites.