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40 High-Priority Superfund Sites Cleaned Up

Release Date: 11/04/2003
Contact Information:

Environmental News

Dave Ryan, 202-564-7827 /

(11/04/03) Forty high-priority hazardous waste sites across the country were cleaned up in fiscal year 2003 (Oct. 2002 - Oct. 2003), EPA announced today. To date, EPA has cleaned up 886 sites on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). These sites are considered some of the highest health threats in the nation.

“The cleanup of contamination at these 40 sites is indicative of the continued progress the Superfund program has made over the years,” said EPA Acting Administrator Marianne Lamont Horinko.

"We still face serious challenges because we still have much work to do at our remaining sites,” she continued. “Although we currently have 699 construction projects underway at 436 sites, many of these sites tend to be large, expensive, and complex."

To help meet these challenges posed by the large, complex sites, the President requested a $150 million increase in the Superfund budget for Fiscal Year 2004.

The majority of Superfund site clean-ups are conducted by private parties responsible for the contamination, under EPA control and pursuant to EPA enforcement actions. Historically those have represented about 70 percent of all clean-up activity. As of last year, EPA has secured more than $20 billion in cleanup commitments from polluters.

EPA’s other Superfund activities in fiscal year 2003 included:
  • Committed $292 million for long-term cleanup construction work;
  • Proposed for public comment 14 new sites to the NPL, and placed 20 on the final NPL, making them eligible for long-term remedial action federal funding (The NPL now contains 1,243 final sites.);
  • Committed $142 million to conduct short-term emergency actions at 381 sites to remove immediate threats to human health; and
  • Led the debris recovery effort for the Columbia space shuttle disaster, in which EPA and its partners retrieved 84,800 pounds of material -- almost 40 percent of the total dry weight of the shuttle.

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