The Superfund cleanup process encompasses the activities and actions EPA takes to make sure that hazards found contaminated sites are addressed and sites are made protective of human health and the environment. Cleanup actions may include a number of different steps including removal of leaky barrels containing hazardous waste, removal of contaminated soil, and treatment of contaminated ground water. Cleanup actions can include short-term responses, also known as emergency and removal actions, and long-term responses, also known as remedial actions. Sites requiring remedial action are typically complex and highly contaminated sites that require several years to fully study the problem, develop a permanent remedy, and clean up the hazardous waste. To turn these sites into community assets, EPA partners with local governments and communities seek land revitalization opportunities when selecting and implementing remedies.
Generally, EPA’s Superfund program has three options for most Superfund sites that need long-term (remedial) cleanup.
- Listing the site on the National Priorities List (NPL),
- Addressing the site using other clean up options (e.g., other federal or state programs), or
- Using the Superfund alternative approach.
In Region 4, the above remedial activities are overseen by the Superfund Remedial and Site Evaluation Branch and the Superfund Remedial Branch.
Additionally, the Superfund program oversees remedial activites related to federal facilities, including chemical plants, military bases, and former government landfills and fuel distribution stations. In Region 4, these remedial activities are overseen by the Federal Facilities Branch.