Contaminated land cleanup Superfund turns 30

America's contaminated land cleanup fund has marked 30 years of tackling a legacy of pollution across the country.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) was signed into law on December 11, 1980.

It was designed to create a 'polluter pays' system to remediate the most polluted and abandoned sites across the United States.

Since 1980, America's green watchdog the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which oversees the fund 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.

The EPA's assistant administrator for solid waste and emergency response, Mathy Stanislaus, said: "Superfund has protected thousands of communities by cleaning up hazardous waste sites in the United States and responding to thousands of chemical spills.

"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 (ICI) 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.

And, address a greater number of contaminated sites by putting 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.

Luke Walsh


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