EPA says it will use infrastructure money to address backlog of Superfund site cleanouts

Multiple sites in northeast set to be cleaned.
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Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) flag.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) flag logo, APRIL 22, 2018.
(Robert Alexander/Getty Images)

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced plans to use recently appropriated infrastructure money to address a backlog of Superfund cleanouts at multiple states in the Northeast.

“Superfund” sites are those deemed by the federal government to be contaminated with toxic substances of various kinds. Tens of thousands of such sites exist throughout the country. 

In a series of press releases earlier this week, the EPA said it would be using funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to address cleanups in Connecticut, Maine and Vermont.

EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan said in the releases the cleanups are in part a measure of racial justice, claiming that "more than 1 in 4 Black and Hispanic Americans living within 3 miles of a Superfund site."

"Approximately 60 percent of the sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects are in historically underserved communities," Regan also said. "Communities living near many of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination will finally get the protections they deserve."

The agency said the cleanups will work in part by “advancing environmental justice and incorporating equity considerations into all aspects of the Superfund cleanup process.”