Enforcement

Types of Contaminated Sites

There are many different types of contaminated sites that you may encounter when redeveloping a property.

Site Type Site Description
Superfund Superfund sites are uncontrolled or abandoned sites or properties where hazardous waste or other contamination is located. A contaminated site is generally considered a "Superfund site" if the federal government is or plans to be involved in cleanup efforts. Many of these sites are listed on the National Priorities List (NPL). [More information is available on the Agency's Superfund cleanup enforcement web pages.] Over 500 Superfund NPL sites alone are in reuse or are protective and ready for reuse. The Superfund Redevelopment Initiative (SRI) program offers guidance, tools, and services to help communities overcome obstacles to reuse at Superfund sites, including reuse assessments and reuse planning.
Brownfields Brownfield sites are real properties, the expansion, development, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Generally, the federal government is not involved at brownfields. Rather, state and tribal response programs play a significant role in cleaning up and helping to revitalize these sites, frequently through state voluntary cleanup programs.
RCRA Treatment, storage and disposal facilities regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) may have releases into the environment, thereby requiring cleanup. "RCRA brownfields" are RCRA facilities where reuse or redevelopment is slowed due to real or perceived concerns about actual or potential contamination, liability, and RCRA requirements. More Information about RCRA brownfields is available on the Agency’s RCRA Brownfields Prevention Initiative website.
USTs Underground storage tank (UST) sites are sites that contain contamination from petroleum products or Superfund hazardous substances that were released from underground storage tanks.
Federal Facilities Federal facility sites are properties owned or operated by the US Government that may contain environmental contamination from unexploded ordnance, radioactive waste, or other hazardous substances.
State Sites Sites not addressed by EPA as Superfund or RCRA sites are often addressed by the state in which the site is located. State cleanup programs can vary considerably. Many states have a state Superfund program or state Brownfield program. States also have voluntary cleanup programs that address other contaminated sites.

Visit EPA's Land Revitalization website to learn more about the Land Revitalization program.

Learn More: Landowner liability protections