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Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England

Discover Contamination (Site Discovery)

Anyone can report the discovery of a hazardous waste problem, including local and state agencies, businesses, the U.S. Coast Guard, concerned citizens, or EPA. Potential hazardous waste sites should be reported to the National Response Center Hotline (available 24 hours a day, seven days a week) or to state and local authorities.

To Report an oil spill or other environmental emergency such as a chemical release, call the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.

Evaluate the Site (Site Assessment)

The top priority in evaluating a hazardous waste site is to determine whether or not an emergency exists. When a hazardous waste site is reported, EPA inspects the site to determine what type of "action" or cleanup procedure, if any, is necessary. EPA reviews existing data, inspects the site, and may interview nearby residents to find out the history and the effects of the site on the population and the environment.

EPA New England has a number of sites for which site assessments have been performed, but a decision whether to list the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) has not been made. These sites are referred to as Sites Awaiting an NPL Decision (SAND). SAND sites include sites that have been assessed by the Superfund program, are now being addressed under state program authorities, or are in various stages of assessment and cleanup by other federal or state agencies. For additional information, visit the EPA New England Superfund SAND Web pages.

EPA tests the soil, water, and air to determine what hazardous substances were left at the site and how serious the risks may be to human health and the environment. Individuals or companies responsible for the contamination at the site may conduct these assessments under close EPA supervision. Many of the sites that are studied do not need cleanup by the Superfund program. Some sites do not require any action, while others are referred to the state, other EPA programs such as the Brownfields program, or other agencies or individuals for cleanup. If the site qualifies for cleanup through the Superfund program, EPA then decides whether the site is a short-term cleanup or a long-term cleanup.

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