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Issue Summary
Other Federal Agencies
Organizations/Non-Government Programs

Issue Summary

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), or Superfund program, through its Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response (OSWER) in cooperation with individual states and tribal governments. The Superfund program seeks to locate, investigate, and clean up the worst hazardous waste sites throughout the United States. In some cases, local governments may be held liable for contamination at a site based on their role as a past or current owner or operator of a contaminated site (e.g., a municipal landfill), or as a generator or transporter of hazardous substances sent to a site. However, in recent years, EPA has developed certain policies that address or limit some aspects of a municipality's CERCLA liability. Local governments may also be reimbursed for responses to emergencies involving hazardous substances and oil.

In addition, EPA has recently been focusing not only on the cleanup of Superfund sites, but also on how local governments can reuse less-contaminated sites, or brownfields. Brownfields are industrial and commercial sites that are abandoned or underused because of real or perceived contamination. Communities across the country face the challenge of putting these idle sites back to use, from old industrial cities with thousands of acres of abandoned factories to rural villages built around mines or timber mills. Brownfields are a valuable community resource whose redevelopment can bring important benefits to economically depressed communities. The resources below provide essential information on Superfund and brownfields that can assist in the cleanup and reuse of contaminated and/or abandoned sites.


Brownfields Technical Assistance, Training and Research. Portal with links to information for communities seeking assistance with managing their brownfield sites and technical assistance tools including a roadmap for site investigation and clean-up, a revitalization technology support center and hazardous waste clean-up guidance.

EPA OSRE - Brownfields and Land Revitalization Website. EPA's Office of Site Remediation Enforcement (OSRE) offers resources on brownfields and land revitalization, covering a broad range of topics from liability concerns and protections to EPA's ER3 initiative.

Superfund. EPA's Superfund homepage contains information on Superfund technical resources, programs, frequently asked questions, and more. Visit this site

Waste Analysis at Facilities That Generate, Treat, Store, and Dispose of Hazardous Wastes: A Guidance Manual. Also known as the Waste Analysis Plan (WAP) Guidance, this document updates the 1994 version and is used to provide guidance on how to develop and implement WAPs suitable for managing hazardous wastes in accordance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), assist federal and state permit writers in evaluating submitted WAPs, and assist enforcement personnel in determining whether a facility is in compliance with their testing requirements.

Other Federal Agencies/Programs

Brownfields Technology Support Center. This Web site provides the expertise and information necessary to help brownfields decision-makers determine whether innovative options are available and feasible for their sites.

States/Local Governments

City of Portland, Oregon. Brownfields Online is the Web site for the Oregon Brownfields Initiative of the City of Portland.

Organizations/Non-Government Programs

International City/County Management Association (ICMA). ICMA's Research and Development Department has undertaken a number of brownfields research projects to assist local government managers with issues related to brownfields.

The Brownfields Center. The Brownfields Center, a cooperative effort of the Univerity of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, seeks to improve the brownfields revitalization process by enabling scholars of engineering, the social sciences, economics and the arts to develop a comprehensive, multi-level understanding of the challenges facing community leaders as they seek to return brownfields to productive use.