Did you know that one in six Americans lives within three miles of a toxic waste site that is so dangerous it’s been proposed or approved for cleanup under the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Superfund program?
While the United States created the Superfund program to cleanup decontaminated sites in 1980, only about 25 percent of the more than 1,700 sites that have been added to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List have been removed.
In this blog, we’ll discuss what a Superfund site is and what you need about these areas as a landowner.
1. What is Superfund?
Superfund is the informal name for CERCLA (the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act).
Congress established CERCLA in 1980 to cleanup thousands of contaminated sites identified across the country.
These sites are located near manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills, and mining sites.
Love Canal and Valley of the Drums brought national attention to such areas when the public learned about the risk to human health posed by heavily contaminated lots.
The act forces the parties responsible for the contamination to either perform cleanups or reimburse the government for EPA-led remediation work.
If there isn’t a viable responsible party, then Superfund gives the EPA both the funding and authority to cleanup contaminated sites.
2. What are Superfund’s goals?
Superfund’s goals are…
Protecting human health and the environment by cleaning up contaminated sites
Making responsible parties pay for cleanup work
Involving communities in the Superfund process
Returning Superfund sites to productive use
3. Where can I find a list of Superfund sites?
You can find a complete list of Superfund sites in the following U.S. states and federal districts here.
4. How many Superfund sites are there in the U.S.?
As of May 2023, there were 1,336 sites on the National Priorities List split between 50 states.
We’ll list the number of Superfund sites in each state and territory below.
District of Columbia: 1
New Hampshire: 20
New Jersey: 115
New Mexico: 15
New York: 86
North Carolina: 38
Puerto Rico: 19
Rhode Island: 12
South Carolina: 28