What is Superfund?

Superfund is a program within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that was established in 1980 by the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  The goal of the program is to clean up abandoned hazardous waste sites.  For an abandoned hazardous waste site to be considered a Superfund Site, it must undergo an assessment process before it can be placed on the National Priorities List (NPL).  Once on the NPL, the cleanup process begins, but may take years to complete.


Hazardous waste sites

Hazardous substances, as defined by CERCLA, are those that are “considered severely harmful to human health and the environment.”  There are more than 800 substances listed as hazardous and many more identified as potentially hazardous because of the way they act in the environment and the way in which they are released.

Hazardous substances include the following:

  • Anything designated as hazardous under section 102 of CERCLA
  • Any hazardous substance designated under section 311(b)(2)(a) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) or any toxic pollutant listed under section 307(a) of the CWA.
  • Any hazardous waste that fits the descriptions listed under section 3001 of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
  • Any hazardous air pollutant listed under section 112 of the Clean Air Act (CAA).


National Priorities List

There are many sites all over the US that are listed on the National Priorities List.  Below is a table showing the number of Federal and general sites for each status.  You can also view interactive maps of NPL sites by clicking here.