US Superfund programme making 'significant progress' on contaminated land

The American Environmental Protection Agency has published a report on the progress made in cleaning up the country's most difficult contaminated sites during 2009.

The document claims the multi-billion dollar programme, boosted by the President's financial stimulus package, is making good progress in cleaning up the USA's most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites and protecting the health of nearby communities and ecosystems from harmful contaminants.

"Protecting human health and the environment, and restoring contaminated properties to environmental and economic vitality are EPA priorities," said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

"EPA gives top priority to cleaning up sites that pose the greatest risk to human health and to the environment while engaging communities throughout the site decision-making process."

With $582 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, EPA began work at 26 new Superfund sites and provided additional support to ongoing construction activities at 25 other sites.

The recovery act funding is supporting local economies by creating and maintaining jobs, and is increasing the speed in which Superfund sites are cleaned up and returned to productive use.

When a Superfund site is cleaned up and redeveloped, it can offer significant economic benefits to local communities, including future job creation.

EPA conducted or oversaw more than 368 emergency response and removal actions to address immediate threats to communities, such as cleaning up spills and accidental releases of hazardous material in 2009.

Underscoring EPA's commitment to the "polluter pays" principle, the agency secured commitments from potentially responsible parties to conduct more than $1.99 billion in future response work, and to reimburse EPA for $371 million in past costs.

Full details of the Superfund National Accomplishments Summary can be found here.

Sam Bond



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