SuperFund Sites Across The US, Maps, History, Procedures, Implementation, Hazard Ranking System, Data, And Lists – Walmart Found Guilty Of Dumping Hazardous Waste
No one knows how many sites have been blighted by Superfund. Obviously, the starting point is the 39,000 plus that are on CERCLIS, but to those must be added all the sites on state lists. Also, as the possibilities of private legal action become more obvious to all, every possibly contaminated site becomes a leper, regardless of its presence on any list. Nearby property become tainted as well. Why should someone who wants to start a grocery store buy a site once occupied by a dry cleaner, and thus possibly contaminated by cleaning solvent? Or a site that is close to a dry cleaner? Developers prefer finding virgin sites to running the risks of the Superfund tar baby, and estimates of the number of blacklisted contaminated sites run to 500,000 or more.
The EPA published the first Hazard Ranking System
(HRS) in 1981, and the first National Priorities List
(NPL) in 1982.
The implementation during early years has been criticized as being ineffective due to the Reagan administration’s laissez-faire policies. During his two terms, 16 of the 799 Superfund sites were cleaned up, and $40 million of $700 million in recoverable funds from responsible parties were collected.
The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA), made several important changes and additions to CERCLA, most significantly including Section 121 which added important minimum cleanup requirements, and 122 which required that most agreements with responsible parties to perform remedial action be entered in federal court as a consent decree subject to public comment to address Congressional findings of “sweetheart deals” with industry by the Reagan-era EPA.
In 1994, the Clinton administration
proposed a new Superfund reform bill, which was seen as an improvement to existing legislation by some environmentalists and industry lobbyists. However, the effort was unable to gain bipartisan support, and was followed by numerous unsuccessful efforts by the newly elected Republican Congress to significantly weaken the law. This led the Clinton Administration to adopt some industry favored reforms as policy while effectively blocking most major changes.
Until the mid-1990s, most of the funding came from a tax on the petroleum and chemical industries, reflecting the polluter pays principle
CERCLA authorizes two kinds of response actions:
Removal actions. These are typically short-term response actions, where actions may be taken to address releases or threatened releases requiring prompt response. Removal actions are classified as: (1) emergency; (2) time-critical; and (3) non-time critical. Removal responses are generally used to address localized risks such as abandoned drums containing hazardous substances, and contaminated surface soils posing acute risks to human health or the environment.
Remedial actions. These are usually long-term response actions. Remedial actions seek to permanently and significantly reduce the risks associated with releases or threats of releases of hazardous substances, and are generally larger more expensive actions which may include such measures as preventing the migration of pollutants with containment, or preferably removing and/or treating or neutralizing toxic substances.
These actions can be conducted with federal funding only at sites listed on the EPA National Priorities List
(NPL) in the United States and the territories. Remedial action by responsible parties under consent decrees or unilateral administrative orders with EPA oversight may be performed at both NPL and non-NPL sites, commonly called Superfund Alternative Sites in published EPA guidance and policy documents.
A potentially responsible party (PRP) is a possible polluter who may eventually be held liable
under CERCLA for the contamination or misuse of a particular property or resource
. Four classes of PRPs may be liable for contamination at a Superfund site:
the current owner or operator of the site;
the owner or operator of a site at the time that disposal of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant occurred;
a person who arranged for the disposal of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant at a site;
a person who transported a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant to a site, who also has selected that site for the disposal of the hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants.
The CERCLA also required the revision of the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan
The NCP provides guidelines and procedures for responses to releases and threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants. The NCP also established the NPL. The NPL, which appears as Appendix B to the NCP, primarily serves as an information and management tool for the EPA. The NPL is updated periodically by federal rulemaking.
The identification of a site for the NPL is intended primarily to guide EPA in:
determining which sites warrant further investigation to assess the nature and extent of the risks to the human health and environment;
identifying what CERCLA-financed remedial actions may be appropriate;
notifying the public of sites which EPA believes warrant further investigation; and
notifying PRPs that EPA may initiate CERCLA-financed remedial action.
Inclusion of a site on the NPL does not itself require PRPs to initiate action to clean up the site, nor does it assign liability to any person. The NPL serves primarily informational purposes, notifying the government and the public of those sites or releases that appear to warrant remedial actions.
Despite the name, the Superfund trust fund lacks sufficient funds to clean up even a small number of the sites on the NPL. As a result, EPA will typically negotiate consent orders with PRPs to study sites and develop cleanup alternatives, subject to EPA oversight and approval of all such activities. EPA then issues a Proposed Plans for remedial action for a site on which it takes public comment, after which it makes a cleanup decision in a Record of Decision (ROD).
RODs are typically implemented under consent decrees by PRPs or under unilateral orders if consent cannot be reached.
If a party fails to comply with such an order, it may be fined up to $37,500 for each day that non-compliance continues. A party that spends money to clean up a site may sue other PRPs in a contribution action under the CERCLA.
CERCLA liability has generally been judicially established as joint and several among PRPs to the government for cleanup costs (i.e., each PRP is hypothetically responsible for all costs subject to contribution), but CERCLA liability is allocable among PRPs in contribution based on comparative fault. An “orphan share” is the share of costs at a Superfund site that is attributable to a PRP that is either unidentifiable or insolvent.
EPA as a matter of long-standing policy tries to treat all PRPs equitably (fairly). Budgetary cuts and constraints can make more equitable treatment of PRPs more difficult.
WALMART FOUND GUILTY OF DUMPING HAZARDOUS WASTE
Retail giant Walmart will pay $100 million for violating environmental regulations after pleading guilty to disposing fertilizer, pesticide and bleach in sewage systems across the country. After nearly a decade of litigation, and dozens of prosecutors and environmental groups weighing in, the long-standing debate over Walmart’s past antics finally came to a close recently in a San Francisco courthouse. But will this change things for retailers and current regulations, or will Walmart walk away without being affected? RT’s Meghan Lopez discusses with producers Rachel Kurzius and Bob English.
MAP OF SUPERFUND SITES
Map of Superfund sites. Red indicates currently on final National Priority List, yellow is proposed, green is deleted (usually meaning having been cleaned up). This map is as of October 2013.
Locate A Superfund Site By Zip Code
are the nation’s worst toxic waste sites: 1,305 are scheduled for cleanup on the National Priorities List (NPL). About 11 million people in the U.S., including 3-4 million children, live within 1 mile of a federal Superfund site and confront potential public health risks. Scorecard profiles the risks these sites pose to public health and the environment. Scorecard ranks sites
by how high they scored in EPA’s Hazard Ranking System, and states
by number of Superfund sites.
Provide your zipcode
to get a report for your community, or use the Pollution Locator
to search for specific areas or companies. To zoom in to your state’s report, click on the map below.
Upon notification of a potentially hazardous waste site, the EPA conducts a Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection (PA/SI) which involves records reviews, interviews, visual inspections, and limited field sampling.
Information from the PA/SI is used by the EPA to develop a Hazard Ranking System (HRS) score to determine the CERCLA status of the site.
Sites that score high enough to be listed typically proceed to a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS). The RI includes an extensive sampling program and risk assessment in order to define the nature and extent of the site contamination and risks. The FS is used to develop and evaluate various remediation alternatives. The preferred alternative is presented in a Proposed Plan for public review and comment, followed by a selected alternative in a ROD.
The site then enters into a Remedial Design phase and then the Remedial Action phase. Many sites include Long-Term Monitoring. 5-year reviews once the Remedial Action has been completed are required whenever hazardous substances are left onsite above levels safe for unrestricted use.
The CERCLA information system (CERCLIS) is a database maintained by the EPA and the states that lists sites where releases may have occurred, need to be addressed, or have been addressed. CERCLIS consists of three inventories: the CERCLIS Removal Inventory, the CERCLIS Remedial Inventory, and the CERCLIS Enforcement Inventory.
The Superfund Innovative Technology Evaluation (SITE) program supports development of technologies for assessing and treating waste at Superfund sites. The EPA evaluates the technology and provides an assessment of its potential for future use in Superfund remediation actions. The SITE program consists of four related components: the Demonstration Program, the Emerging Technologies Program, the Monitoring and Measurement Technologies Program, and Technology Transfer activities.
A reportable quantity (RQ) is the minimum quantity of a hazardous substance which, if released, is required to be reported.
A source control action represents the construction or installation and start-up of those actions necessary to prevent the continued release of hazardous substances (primarily from a source on top of or within the ground, or in buildings or other structures) into the environment (40 C.F.R. 300.5
A section 104(e) letter is a request by the government for information about a site. It may include general notice to a potentially responsible party that CERCLA-related action may be undertaken at a site for which the recipient may be responsible..
This section also authorizes EPA to enter facilities and obtain information relating to PRPs, hazardous substances releases, and liability, and to order access for CERCLA activities.
The 104(e) letter information-gathering resembles written interrogatories in civil litigation.
A section 106 order is a unilateral administrative order issued by EPA to PRP(s) to perform remedial actions at a Superfund site when EPA determines there may be an imminent and substantial endangerment to the public health or welfare or the environment because of an actual or threatened release of a hazardous substance from a facility, subject to treble damages
and daily fines if the order is not obeyed.
A remedial response is a long-term action that stops or substantially reduces a release of a hazardous substance that could affect public health or the environment. The term remediation, or cleanup, is sometimes used interchangeably with the terms remedial action, removal action, response action, remedy, or corrective action.
A nonbinding allocation of responsibility (NBAR) is a device, established in the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act, that allows the EPA to make a nonbinding estimate of the proportional share that each of the various responsible parties at a Superfund site should pay toward the costs of cleanup.
Relevant and appropriate requirements are those United States federal or state cleanup requirements that, while not “applicable,” address problems sufficiently similar to those encountered at the CERCLA site that their use is appropriate. Requirements may be relevant and appropriate if they would be “applicable” except for jurisdictional restrictions associated with the requirement (40 C.F.R. 300.5
1,280 SITES LISTED AS OF NOVEMBER 2010
As of 29 November 2010,[dated info
] there are 1,280 sites listed on the National Priority List; an additional 347 have been delisted, and 62 new sites have been proposed.
Approximately 70 percent of Superfund cleanup activities historically have been paid for by parties responsible (PRPs) for the cleanup of contamination. The only time cleanup costs are not borne by the responsible party is when that party either cannot be found or is unable to pay for the cleanup. For those sites, the Superfund law originally paid for toxic waste
cleanups through a tax
and chemical industries
The chemical and petroleum fees were intended to provide incentives to use less toxic substances. Over five years, $1.6 billion was collected, and the tax went to a trust fund
for cleaning up abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites. The last full fiscal year
(FY) in which the Department of the Treasury
collected the tax was 1995. At the end of FY 1996 the invested trust fund balance was $6.0 billion. This fund was exhausted by the end of FY 2003; since that time funding for superfund sites for which the potentially responsible party (PRP) could not be found has been appropriated by Congress
out of general revenues.
HAZARD RANKING SYSTEM
The Hazard Ranking System (HRS) is a scoring system used to evaluate potential relative risks to public health
and the environment from releases or threatened releases of hazardous wastes
at uncontrolled waste sites. Under the Superfund program, EPA and state
agencies use the HRS to calculate a site score (ranging from 0 to 100) based on the actual or potential release of hazardous substances from a site through air
, surface water
. A score of 28.5 places the site on the National Priorities List
, making the site eligible for long-term remedial action (i.e., cleanup) under the Superfund program.
ACCESSING SUPERFUND DATA
The data in the Superfund Program are available to the public.
EPA Superfund Information Systems: Report and Product Descriptions
EPA Superfund Information Systems: Superfund Product Order Form
is a Geographic Information System (GIS) from the Division of Specialized Information Services
of the United States National Library of Medicine
(NLM) that uses maps of the United States to help users visually explore data from the EPA Toxics Release Inventory
(TRI) and Superfund programs. TOXMAP is a resource funded by the US Federal Government. TOXMAP’s chemical and environmental health information is taken from NLM’s Toxicology Data Network (TOXNET), PubMed
, and other authoritative sources.
provides a free Geographic Information System (GIS) to locate Superfund and other contaminated sites in the United States 
that uses Google Maps
to help users visually explore data from the TRI, RCRA
, and Superfund programs.
LIST OF SUPERFUND SITES BY STATE
District of Columbia
Northern Mariana Islands
U.S. Virgin Islands
SUPERFUND HAS ‘CLEANED UP’ APPROXIMATELY 40,000 TOXIC WASTE SITES OVER THE LAST 20 YEARS
Over the past 20+ years, Superfund has located and analyzed tens of thousands of hazardous waste sites, protected people and the environment from contamination at the worst sites, and involved states, local communities, and other partners in cleanup
. Superfund measures its cleanup accomplishments
through various criteria including construction and post construction completions of hazardous waste sites.
Superfund Regions Cleanup Sites
LISTED AND UNLISTED TOXIC WASTE SITES; ARE THEY REALLY CLEAN, HOW MUCH PROGRESS IS BEING MADE?
The EPA “Superfund” (CERCLIS) List
“A large number of sites were removed from the Superfund “current” list as a result of agreements by the companies involved to perform the cleanup privately, whether or not the cleanup has actually been performed adequately, although many of these sites have been properly remediated. Some were removed because a decision was made that the contamination was not severe enough for Superfund listing. The highest priority sites were placed on a special list called the National Priority List (NPL). There are a total of more than 40,000 CERCLIS sites in the U.S. and its territories, of which only about 1,000 were chosen as priority cleanup sites. Call the EPA Regional Office to check the status of a site. In general, CERCLIS sites are those where serious hazards exist or have existed which are threats to health. Most states have reporting mechanisms for hazardous waste problems, and only the most serious of these incidents are reported to EPA for the Superfund list. For example, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection lists over 8,000 sites, of which only about 1,000 were placed on the CERCLIS list.”
Cleanup/Screening Levels For Hazardous Waste Sites
Here is an example of what happens with some of these sites just in one state; around radiation contamination only…