Superfund Fact Book
by Mark Reisch & David
Environment and Natural Resources Policy
Updated March 3, 1997
|Superfund Fact Book (with
glossary) in one omnibus
file (212K) for printing .
The Superfund Trust Fund
National Priorities List
Construction Completions and Deletions
Number of Superfund Sites by State
Emergency Removal Actions
Length of Time to Remediation
Stages of Remediation
EPA Enforcement and Costs to Potentially Responsible
Operation and Maintenance Costs
Waste at Superfund Sites
De Minimis Settlements
Orphan Share Settlements
Natural Resource Damages
Health Issues and the Agency for Toxic Substances and
Public Health Assessments
Overall Assessment of Public Health Impact
Glossary of Superfund
List of Tables
Table 1. Superfund Corporate Environmental Income Taxes in 1993
by Industrial Sector
Table 2. Superfund Corporate Environmental Income Taxes in 1993
by Major Industry
Table 3. Superfund Appropriations: FY1981-FY1998 Request
Table 4. Number of Superfund Sites by State
Table 5. Common Sources of Waste at Superfund Sites
Table 6. Types of Contaminants Commonly Found at Superfund
Table 7. Five Largest Natural Resource Damage Settlements at
Superfund Sites as of July 1995
Table 8. On-Site and Surrounding Land Uses at Superfund Sites
Table 9. Common Sources of Funding for State Cleanup Activities
List of Figures
Figure 1. Superfund Appropriations from FY1981-FY1998 Request
Figure 2. FY1997 Superfund Appropriations
Figure 3. Status of the National Priorities List as of December
Figure 4. Legal Expenses as a Share of Total Costs at Superfund
Figure 5. Estimated Share of Activities Leading to Operations
and Maintenance Costs at Superfund Sites
Figure 6. Public Health Assessments of Superfund Sites from
This report replaces CRS Report
94-464 ENR (now archived), Superfund
Fact Book, dated May 26, 1994.
The Superfund program is the principal federal
effort for cleaning up inactive hazardous waste sites and
protecting public health and the environment from releases of
hazardous substances. The Comprehensive Environmental Response,
Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) established the
program, and the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of
1986 (SARA) amended it. This report is a compendium of data and
other pertinent information about CERCLA and the Superfund
program, followed by a glossary.
The law's strict, joint and several, and
retroactive liability regime requires responsible parties to pay
for cleaning up a site. However, CERCLA established the Hazardous
Substance Superfund Trust Fund to pay for cleanups where a
financially viable party cannot be found. The trust fund has
raised about $1.5 billion per year for cleanup activities,
primarily from excise taxes on petroleum and specified chemical
feedstocks, and from a corporate environmental income tax, all of
which expired on December 31, 1995. The trust fund also pays for
the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) enforcement,
management activities, and research and development. For FY1997,
Congress enacted appropriations of $1.5 billion for the Superfund
program (P.L. 104-204), and the FY1998 Administration request is
The National Priorities List (NPL) specifies
the sites that most seriously threaten public health and the
environment. As of December 23, 1996, the NPL contained 1,259
current and proposed sites, of which 158 are federal facilities.
The Construction Completion List (CCL) catalogs NPL sites where
physical construction is complete for all necessary cleanup and
removal actions. There currently are 412 sites on the CCL.
Excluding federal facilities, construction is complete at 410
sites, representing 34.8% of the total 1,178 non-federal sites
that EPA has placed on the NPL since the Superfund program began.
In addition to being responsible for cleanup
costs, polluters also must pay to restore damaged or lost natural
resources at Superfund sites. As of April 1995, federal agencies
had settled 98 natural resource damage claims with the
responsible parties for a total of $106 million.
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease
Registry assesses the impact of hazardous substance releases on
public health. As of December 31, 1996, the agency had completed
1,736 public health assessments at Superfund sites.
State programs to clean up hazardous waste
sites have grown considerably during the past several years, and
each state has enacted its own enforcement authority. At the end
of 1995, the states reported a total of almost 30,000 potentially
hazardous sites warranting attention. During FY1995, 44 states
actively managed cleanups, and all states except for Nebraska and
the District of Columbia have established their own funds to pay
for cleanup activities, of which the states spent a total of $386
million in FY1995.
CRS has prepared this fact book to assist
Members and Committees of Congress and their staffs in
considering possible Superfund reauthorization legislation in the
105th Congress. For a current discussion of policy issues and
legislation, see CRS Issue Brief 95013, Superfund
Reauthorization in the 105th Congress.
Other CRS products on Superfund
Brownfields Program: Cleaning Up Urban
Industrial Sites. by Mark Reisch. CRS Report 96-879 ENR. Updated
Nov.14, 1996. 5 p.
Escaping Superfund Liability: the
Innocent Landowner and Lender Exceptions. by Robert Meltz. CBS
Report 91-91 A. Updated August 15, 1991. 18 p.
Standards Reconsidered. by
Lisa Gray. CRS Report 95-1076 ENR. October 25, 1995. 24 p.
Taxes to Finance Superfund. by Salvatore Lazzari.
CRS Report 96-774 E. September 13, 1996. 8 p.
On December 11, 1980, Congress enacted the
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and
Liability Act (CERCLA) to create the Superfund hazardous
substance cleanup program.1 The Superfund
Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 (SARA) made
numerous changes to CERCIA to expand the program's scope.2 The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990
extended the law's taxing authority through December 31,
1995, which expired at the end of 1991 under SARA.3
CERCLA's impetus was the emerging
realization that inactive hazardous waste sites presented
great risk to public health and the environment in all parts
of the nation, that state and local governments did not have
the capability to respond, and that existing federal
environmental and disaster relief laws were inadequate. The
Love Canal site in Niagara Falls, New York first brought the
issue to national prominence when the state health
commissioner declared a state of emergency there on August 2,
CERCLA's purpose is to authorize the
federal government to respond swiftly to hazardous substance
emergencies and to protect public health and the environment
by cleaning up the nation's worst hazardous waste sites. The
law seeks to make those responsible for the improper disposal
of hazardous waste bear the costs and accept responsibility
for their actions, and it also established the Hazardous
Substance Superfund Trust Fund to finance response actions
where a liable party cannot be found or is incapable of
paying cleanup costs.
For information on
Superfund not included in this fact book, please refer to the
Superfund Trust Fund
Excise taxes imposed on the petroleum and
chemical industries as well as an environmental income tax on
corporations maintained the Hazardous Substance Superfund
Trust Fund through December 31, 1995. Taxing authority for
Superfund expired at the end of 1995, and Congress has not
enacted legislation to reauthorize the tax. FY1995 was the
last full fiscal year in which the Department of the Treasury
collected the tax. General revenues also contribute to the
As of September 30, 1996, the invested
trust fund balance was $6.0 billion. Of the amounts in
the trust fund, $3.0 billion was available for
The Hazardous Substance Superfund Trust
Fund was supported by:
· a tax on domestically produced
and imported oil (about $576 million in FY1995);
· a tax on feedstock chemicals
(about $291 million in FY199S);
· a corporate environmental income
tax (about $612 million in FY1995);
· general revenues (authorized at
$250 million per fiscal year); and
· reimbursements, penalties, and
interest on the trust fund.5
The Superfund corporate environmental
income tax generated $566.4 million in 1993. Table 1
lists the major industrial sectors that contributed to
1. Superfund Corporate Environmental Income
Taxes in 1993 by
insurance, and real estate
and public utilities
forestry, and fishing
CRS with data from the U.S. Department of the
Treasury.Internal Revenue Service. Source Book, Statistics of Imcome, 1993:
Corporation Income Tax Returns with Accounting Periods ended
July 1993 - June 1994. Publication 1053 (Revised March
1996). 511 p. The March 1996 revision of this publication
reflects the most recent data on the amount of the tax
collected from the industrial sectors.
Table 2 lists the major
industries within the above industrial sectors that
contributed to the corporate environmental income tax.
Corporate Environmental Income
Taxes in 1993 by
|Chemical and allied products
|Petroleum and coal products
|Electrical and electronic
|Motor vehicles and equipment
|Printing and publishing
|Transportation and Public
|Electric, gas, and sanitary
|Credit agencies other than banks
|Security, commodity brokers, and
by CBS with
data from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Internal Revenue Service. Source Book, Statistics
of Income, 1993: Corporation Income Tax Returns with
Accounting Periods ended July 1993 - June 1994. Publication
1053 Revised March 1996). 511 p. The March 1996 revision of
this publication reflects the most recent data on the amount
of the tax collected from the major industries.
1 P.L. 96-510, 94 Stat. 2767 (1980). CERCLA, as amended,
is codified at 42 U.S.C. 9601-9675.
2 P.L. 99-499, 100 Stat. 1613 (1986).
101-508, §6301, 104 Stat. 1388-319 (1990).
additional details, see Taxes to Finance Superfund. by Sal Lazzari. CRS Report
96-774 E. September 13, 1996. 8 p.
Department of the Treasury. Financial Management Service.
"Hazardous Substance Superfund Trust Fund (20X8145) Income
Statement for the Period 10/01/94 Through 09/30/95."
November 3, 1995. 2 p.