Energy & Environment

EPA announces second $1 billion round of infrastructure funding for Superfund cleanup

A gate at the entrance to the former Ciba Geigy chemical plant in Toms River, N.J., is filled with warning on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023, regarding the contaminated area, which is on the Superfund list of the nation's worst toxic waste sites.

The Environmental Protection Agency on Friday announced an additional $1 billion in funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to be used for cleanup efforts at 22 Superfund sites.

The bipartisan law allocated $3.5 billion toward Superfund cleanup. Friday’s announcement marks the second $1 billion round of funding, following an initial wave in December 2021. The funding round announced Friday includes sites in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Virginia and Vermont.

On a call with reporters Friday, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) highlighted one of the sites, the Westside Lead Superfund site in Atlanta, which was added to the EPA’s National Priorities List in 2022. The site includes over 2,000 homes in the city’s English Avenue and Vine City neighborhoods. The elevated lead levels were first detected in the area in 2018, likely remnants of the foundries that once dotted the area.

“We’ve known for decades the terrible damage that lead contamination does to communities, particularly children, and so I’m glad that we are at this moment,” Warnock said. “This cleanup will include investigating the extent of contamination, excavating and properly disposing of contaminated soil and backfilling and restoring the property. This is a process that typically takes years to advance.”

Rep. Kathy Castor (D-Fla.) also praised the inclusion of the Southern Solvents Inc. Superfund site in the North Tampa area, which she noted has been under EPA scrutiny for nearly a quarter century.

“The infrastructure law, of course, was written with environmental justice in mind, the idea that no matter your ZIP code, you have a right to clean air, you have a right to clean water and a safe community to live in and raise your family,” she said.

A major backlog in Superfund cleanup has developed, which the EPA hopes to clear through infrastructure law funds. At the time of the first round of funding, 49 unfunded sites existed across 17 states.

Energy & Environment