US outlines $1 billion waste clearance programme

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has earmarked 22 sites that will receive some $1 billion in funding to clean-up hazardous waste sites including landfills, mines and manufacturing facilities.

The sum represents the second wave of approximately $1 billion in funding from President Biden’s Infrastructure Law to start new clean-up projects at 22 ‘Superfund’ sites and expedite over 100 other ongoing clean-ups across the country.

The Superfund programme dates from 1980 and effectively allows the EPA to investigate and clean-up land that has been contaminated with hazardous substances. There are currently 40,000 Superfund sites across the country.

The law gave EPA the authority and funds to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up the most contaminated sites across the country. When no viable responsible party is found or cannot afford the cleanup, EPA steps in to address risks to human health and the environment using funds appropriated by Congress, like the funding provided by the Infrastructure Law.

With the first wave of funding announced in December 2021, EPA deployed more than $1 billion for clean-up activities at more than 100 Superfund National Priorities List sites across the country.
“We’re continuing to build on this momentum to ensure that communities living near many of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination finally get the investments and protections they deserve,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said.

The funding will be used to clean up several important sites, including the Mansfield Trail dump in New jersey, a water contamination site in Indiana and old General Motors foundry in New York state.

Around $50 million will go toward a project to a project to remove lead across a residential neighbourhood in the Atlanta area with a legacy of pollution.