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Superfund Enforcement Authorities

The Superfund law (officially the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, "CERCLA") provides EPA with multiple authorities to ensure cleanup and payment for cleanup. The most commonly used enforcement authorities are:

Enforcement Authority Summary CERCLA
Responding to hazardous waste site situations / Liability for the costs of cleanup EPA can do short or long-term cleanups at a site and later recover cleanup costs from potentially responsible parties (PRPs) under section 107.
EPA can also gather information, get access to a site, and seek penalties for non-compliance with orders and agreements.
Section 104 (42 U.S.C. § 9604)
PRPs doing the cleanup EPA can order, or ask a court to order, PRPs to cleanup the site when an imminent or substantial endangerment may exist. EPA is authorized to seek penalties for non-compliance with order.
This section also sets forth procedures for cost reimbursement.
Section 106 (42 U.S.C. § 9606)
Recovering EPA's cleanup costs EPA can recover its cleanup costs from PRPs. Section 107 also describes defenses to liability and exemptions to liability. Section 107 (42 U.S.C. § 9607)
Federal Facilities Requires federal agencies with National Priorities List (NPL) sites to investigate and clean up the contamination. Section 120 (42 U.S.C. § 9620)
Settlements EPA and the Department of Justice can enter into settlement agreements (administrative orders on consent or consent decrees) with PRPs to cleanup a site or pay for cleanup conducted by EPA. Section 122 (42 U.S.C. § 9622)

Learn More: Finding Potentially Responsible Parties

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