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Contact Superfund, Pacific Southwest

Pacific Southwest, Region 9

Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations

Basic Information

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Frequently Asked Questions About Superfund Redevelopment
Photograph of site

Wetlands at the Apache Powder Superfund site.

The Program

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.
  • Where appropriate, residential housing.

Getting Started with Redeveloping a Superfund Site

Becoming involved in the redevelopment of a Superfund removal or remedial site requires considerations of a range of issues and challenges. Review key steps to think about before and during redevelopment of a Superfund removal or remedial site.

Legal Issues

Understanding environmental cleanup liabilities and protections is an important building block to the reuse and redevelopment of contaminated and formerly contaminated sites. The Superfund law can impose liability on parties who buy Superfund sites, even though the new owner was not responsible for the release of hazardous substances at the site. However, the Brownfields Amendments to the Superfund law provide important liability protections to landowners who meet certain statutory criteria. For example, landowners who qualify as bona fide prospective purchasers, contiguous property owners or innocent landowners may not be held liable for all cleanup costs under Superfund. It is important that prospective purchasers inform themselves about these liability protections before purchasing a site because some of the statutory criteria must be satisfied prior to the purchase in order to provide liability protection. 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 are available to 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.

Success Stories

Superfund Redevelopment success stories highlight the accomplishments that have been realized at Superfund sites across Region 9. New and continued land uses at these sites include commercial, industrial, recreational and ecological uses. Read about successful redevelopments in Region 9.

Definition of a Federal Superfund Site

Federal Superfund removal and remedial sites are properties have been selected either for short-term or long-term cleanup under the federal Superfund program. These sites were contaminated by hazardous substances and identified by EPA as posing a risk to human health and/or the environment. A federal Superfund site is distinguished from a state Superfund site, a brownfield site, or any other category of contaminated or formerly contaminated property.

A Superfund site may exist within the boundaries of a single lot or it may encompass many lots. 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 Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System (CERCLIS) database by location or contact the Superfund Redevelopment Coordinators in Region 9.

"How EPA Defines 'Reuse'" and Other Frequent Questions

Most Superfund sites were once productive. "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 used for housing, public works facilities, transportation and other community infrastructure; they can be used for recreational facilities, such as golf courses, parks and ball fields, or for ecological resources, such as wildlife preserves and wetlands. View other frequent questions.

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