Frequent Questions

What is the process Superfund uses to determine whether or not a particular site belongs on the National Priorities List (NPL)?

Once a potentially hazardous waste site is reported to Superfund, trained inspectors perform a Preliminary Assessment (PA). This short inspection determines whether or not a more detailed review of the site is required. If it is deemed necessary, a more thorough Site Inspection (SI) is conducted. During the SI, EPA, the state, or tribe take media (e.g. soil) and waste samples. The SI enables Superfund to score the site according to the Hazard Ranking System (HRS). Sites with a HRS score of 28.5 are proposed to the National Priorities List (NPL). After a site is proposed on the NPL, the listing is subject to a 30-day comment period. After reviewing all comments, EPA makes a determination on whether to finalize the site on the NPL. Only sites on the NPL are cleaned up under the Superfund program. Only sites that are final on the NPL can be cleaned up using the Superfund Trust Fund.

To learn more, please see the Preliminary Assessment/Site Inspection Web page.

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