- The Program
- Superfund Redevelopment in Region 5
- Getting Started with Superfund Redevelopment
- Frequent Questions about Legal Issues
- How Region 5 Supports Reuse
- Redevelopment Tools and Resources
- Redevelopment Success Stories
- Reuse Planning at Superfund Sites
- Defining a Federal Superfund Site
- "How EPA Defines 'Reuse'" and Other Questions
EPA is working with local governments, communities, and other partners in considering future use opportunities and integrating appropriate reuse options into the cleanup process at Superfund sites. This work is helping local communities realize that the productive reuse of formerly contaminated properties can have significant positive economic, environmental, and social impacts. Most contaminated and formerly contaminated Superfund sites were once productive and can often be restored to productive uses such as:
- recreational facilities, such as golf courses, parks, and ball fields;
- industrial or commercial uses, such as factories and shopping malls;
- ecological resources, such as wildlife preserves and wetlands;
- community infrastructures, such as public works facilities and transportation facilities; and
- where appropriate, residential housing.
Superfund Redevelopment in Region 5
Region 5 works to support Superfund redevelopment at a wide range of Superfund sites, including removal and remedial sites, which have been cleaned up or are currently undergoing cleanup in Region 5. Region 5’s Superfund program identifies sites that are hazardous to human health and the environment and cleans them up. Before, during, and after the Superfund cleanup process, Region 5 also works to ensure that these sites will be returned to safe and productive uses. Returning sites to beneficial use will provide local communities with valuable green space, recreational amenities, and commercial property.
In partnership with EPA's national Superfund Redevelopment Program, Region 5 works to support the reuse of Superfund sites as well as to remove obstacles that are preventing, or could prevent, Superfund sites, or portions of these sites, from being productively used once remediated. As part of these activities, Region 5 has developed, packaged, and identified a range of services, tools, and resources to help with the redevelopment process.
Getting Started with Redeveloping a Superfund Site
Becoming involved in the redevelopment of a Superfund site requires consideration of a range of issues and challenges, from the stage of the redevelopment process to the specific characteristics of your site. However, successful Superfund site redevelopment projects from around the country demonstrate that reusing Superfund sites can occur and that barriers and challenges can be overcome. Review key steps to think about before and while undertaking redevelopment of a Superfund site.
Frequent Questions About Legal Issues
The cleanup of contaminated property and the clarification of environmental cleanup liability are building blocks for the reuse and redevelopment of formerly contaminated sites. Superfund imposes liability on parties responsible for the presence of hazardous substances at a site. In addition, the Brownfield Amendments to the Superfund law provide important protections from Superfund liability to landowners who meet certain statutory criteria. For example, landowners who qualify as bona fide prospective purchasers, contiguous property owners, or innocent landowners are not held liable under Superfund. Learn more about legal issues at Superfund sites.
Tools and Resources
EPA has developed a number of tools and information sources to help communities, governments, developers, and organizations interested in reusing contaminated and formerly contaminated Superfund sites. These tools and information sources can help you navigate the process of redeveloping formerly contaminated sites. In addition, many states and other stakeholders have also developed useful materials. Review associated tools and resources.
How Does EPA Region 5 Promote the Reuse of a Superfund Site?
Region 5 promotes and facilitates site reuse through the site-specific reuse plans, status/comfort letters and other appropriate redevelopment tools, and by emphasizing an early and thorough consideration of the anticipated future use of sites, wherever possible, so that cleanups can be consistent with that use. However, EPA does not determine the specific reuse of a contaminated property or favor one redeveloper over another. Land use determinations are primarily a local government issue.
Redevelopment Success Stories
Superfund Redevelopment success stories highlight the accomplishments that have been realized at Superfund sites across Region 5. New and continued land uses at these sites include commercial, industrial, recreational, and ecological uses. Read about successful redevelopment projects in Region 5.
Reuse Planning at Superfund Sites
With forethought and effective planning, communities can coordinate with EPA and return sites to productive use without jeopardizing the effectiveness of the remedy put into place to protect human health and the environment. With this in mind, EPA Region 5 supports community-based planning efforts at Superfund sites integrating future land use information with site information and remedy considerations to ensure that future site uses will be protective of site remedies. Learn about reuse planning activities in Region 5.
Definition of a Federal Superfund Site
A federal Superfund site is any land in the United States that has been contaminated by hazardous waste and identified by EPA as a candidate for cleanup under the federal Superfund program because it poses a risk to human health and/or the environment. A federal Superfund site should be distinguished from a state Superfund site, a brownfield site, or any other category of contaminated or formerly contaminated property.
A federal Superfund site is defined by the arial extent of contamination and is not delineated by property boundaries. A Superfund site may exist within a single property’s boundaries or it may encompass many properties. Nearly all impacted properties will have associated health, safety, and legal issues. If you are not sure that the site you are interested in is a federal Superfund site you can search EPA's CERCLIS database by location or contact the Superfund Redevelopment Coordinator in Region 5.
"How EPA Defines 'Reuse'" and Other Frequent Questions
Most Superfund sites were once productive properties. "Reuse" means productive use of a site during or after cleanup. These uses can be industrial or commercial, such as factories and shopping malls; they can be residential or public, such as housing, public works facilities, transportation, and other community infrastructure; they can be recreational, such as golf courses, parks and ball fields; or they can serve as ecological resources, such as wildlife preserves and wetlands. View other frequent questions on the national Superfund Redevelopment page.