More than 30 years after the Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program was created to clean toxic waste sites, pollution still lurks in American communities. Knowing where contaminated Superfund sites are and what dangers may remain can help avoid dangers and promote cleanup efforts. National, state and local resources available to provide information on Superfund sites:
The Environmental Protection Agency offers online resources with in-depth information on Superfund sites.
Superfund database: The National Priorities List (www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl) is a database of Superfund sites around the country, organized by state, with information and locations. A “Site Progress Profile” link for each listing shows whether human exposure and contaminated groundwater migration is under control and a summary of how the cleanup is going. A “Community Involvement” link provides a contact for each site’s community involvement coordinator who can answer questions. There are other links to related documents and the latest “Five Year Review” progress report.
Interactive map: The list also links to an interactive map of Superfund sites www.epa.gov/superfund/sites.
At some Superfund sites, groups of citizens have formed formal “community advisory groups” of diverse community interest to help communicate concerns about a cleanup to the EPA. Today, there are 66 such groups attached to individual sites.
EPA list of community groups: www.epa.gov/superfund/community/cag/whereare.htm
Other groups: If no community advisory group has been formed for a site, other groups may be involved in monitoring a site (e.g., Sierra Club) and can be found through Internet searches.
Community Involvement Coordinator: The EPA also distributes technical assistance grants (TAG grants) to community advisory groups and other local organizations to help better understand EPA actions. Grants can be used to hire experts to conduct independent reviews of EPA activities. The EPA Community Involvement Coordinator can identify grant recipients. Search by state and site to find the community involvement coordinator near you.
State health or environmental departments also monitor Superfund sites. State departments can provide state or local warnings and use restrictions placed on a site.
REGISTRY OF DEEDS
Local Registry of Deeds offices usually have information on any restrictions associated with specific pieces of property. Sometimes, however, EPA or state restrictions do not always make it into local paperwork.
-- Ariel Wittenberg