Frequent Questions

How does Superfund identify the best means to clean up a hazardous waste site?

There is no one right way to clean up a hazardous waste site. Superfund has at its disposal a wide range of technologies and resources to implement an effective cleanup.

EPA, the state or tribal government or the potentially responsible parties investigate the site and the extent of contamination. At the same time, they are identifying and evaluating the technologies that are available to cleanup the contamination. When evaluating the viable cleanup alternatives, the lead party assesses each alternative against nine criteria: overall protection of human health and the environment; compliance with applicable or relevant and appropriate requirements; long-term effectiveness and permanence; reduction of toxicity, mobility, or volume through treatment; short-term effectiveness; implementability; cost; and state and community acceptance.

Over the years, Superfund has gained a great deal of experience and knowledge about the best ways to clean up all kinds of toxic chemicals and contaminated areas. One thing Superfund has learned is that certain kinds of sites - such as landfills, solvent-contaminated sites, wood treatment facilities, and others - all show similar patterns of contamination and can, therefore, be cleaned up using similar resources and technologies. These cleanup solutions are called presumptive remedies and are used to make hazardous waste site cleanups more efficient and more effective.

If you would like an overview of the cleanup methods Superfund most often uses, you may wish to read Fact Flash 8: Common Cleanup Methods.

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