What is Superfund?
Superfund is the name given to the environmental program established to address abandoned hazardous waste sites. It is also the name of the fund established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980, as amended (CERCLA statute, CERCLA overview). This law was enacted in the wake of the discovery of toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal and Times Beach in the 1970s. It allows the EPA to clean up such sites and to compel responsible parties to perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-lead cleanups.
How Superfund Works
The Superfund cleanup process is complex. It involves the steps taken to assess sites, place them on the National Priorities List, and establish and implement appropriate cleanup plans. This is the long-term cleanup process. In addition, the Agency has the authority
- to conduct removal actions where immediate action needs to be taken;
- to enforce against potentially responsible parties;
- to ensure community involvement;
- involve states;
- and ensure long-term protectiveness.
The blueprint for these activities is the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP), a regulation applicable to all federal agencies involved in responding to hazardous substance releases.
Over the past 20+ years, we've located and analyzed tens of thousands of hazardous waste sites, protected people and the environment from contamination at the worst sites, and involved others in cleanup.
Who Implements Superfund
EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) in Washington, D.C. oversees the Superfund program. The Office of Emergency Management within OSWER is responsible for short term responses conducted under the authority of Superfund. The Office of Superfund Remediation and Technology Innovation, and the Federal Facilities Response and Reuse Office, also within OSWER, have the lead for managing the long-term Superfund response program, the latter for responses involving Federal Facilities. In addition, OSWER manages the federal Brownfields program.
PartnershipsEPA's Superfund Program attempts to get interested parties and other stakeholders involved as much as possible, as early as possible.