Frequent Questions

What is orphan share compensation?

Orphan shares are the part of liability for a Superfund site that may be attributed to insolvent or defunct parties who cannot pay their share of a site's cleanup costs. Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) joint and several liability system, Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) are potentially liable for these shares (i.e., the orphan share).

Orphan share compensation provides a major incentive for responsible parties to perform cleanups and settle claims quickly without litigation, and reduces transaction costs by resolving the question of who should bear the burden of orphan shares. To enhance fairness and encourage PRPs to enter into settlement agreements to perform cleanups, EPA compensates participating parties for a limited portion of orphan shares in future cleanup settlements.

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