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News Releases from Region 05

EPA Releases Ninth Update to the Administrator’s Superfund Emphasis List, Highlights Progress at USS Lead Site in East Chicago, Indiana

Contact Information: 
Francisco Arcaute (
312-886-7613, 312-898-2042 cell

For Immediate Release No. 20-OPA-002

East Chicago, Ind. (August 12, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the ninth update to the Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action (Administrator’s Emphasis List). This latest update highlighted EPA’s continued progress towards achieving the milestones at the sites across the country, including the USS Lead site in East Chicago, Indiana.

"EPA is showing its commitment to getting Superfund site clean-ups across the country back on track,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

Today’s Administrator’s Emphasis List updates continue to demonstrate EPA’s commitment to the American people to facilitate progress at Superfund sites by resolving long-standing issues at cleanup projects across the country. EPA monitors sites removed from the list to ensure that significant progress continues, and cleanups move towards completion. One such site is the USS Lead site in East Chicago, Ind.

“EPA is keeping its promise to the people of East Chicago to remove lead from their homes and to improve public health in their hometown by picking up the pace of this Superfund cleanup,” said EPA Region 5 Administrator Kurt Thiede. “And we will keep up that momentum in East Chicago until we finish the job at all the remaining properties.”

The USS Lead site was placed on the Administrator’s Emphasis List to amend the cleanup for Zone 1 to reflect the change in Zone 1 conditions, including future land use and ensure completion of soil remediation in Zones 2 and 3. On March 24, 2020, the EPA Administrator amended the 2012 remedy for the former West Calumet Housing Complex in Zone 1. The amendment reflects EPA’s awareness of local efforts to redevelop Zone 1 for commercial use, although the current designation remains residential.

Additionally, EPA has completed soil cleanup at a significant number of residential properties in Zone 2 and 3 and as a result, on July 8, 2020, EPA announced its proposal to remove 671 properties at the site from the Superfund National Priorities List. EPA accepted public comments on its proposal through August 7, 2020.

Residential properties removed from the USS Lead site may be eligible for funding through the city of East Chicago’s Residential Repair Program. Also, deleting this section of the site from the NPL will enable the city to redevelop vacant lots.

Since the creation of the Administrator’s Emphasis List in 2017, 20 sites have been removed from the list after achieving critical milestones that furthered site cleanup or solved issues slowing the pace of cleanups. With this update, there are a total of 14 Superfund sites and one project on the list.

Building on the Superfund Task Force recommendations, EPA added a specific project to the Administrator’s Emphasis List that involves reviewing sites that have been proposed but not yet added to the National Priorities List (NPL). By December 2020, EPA will review and evaluate the current status of such sites and determine if it is still necessary to continue the NPL listing process for those sites or if EPA can withdraw the proposal. This project aims to provide clarity, transparency and certainty regarding NPL site status.


EPA established the Administrator’s Emphasis List in December 2017 in response to recommendations from EPA’s Superfund Task Force. The list is comprised of sites identified by Administrator Wheeler and EPA regional offices that will benefit from the Administrator’s immediate attention or action to move site cleanups forward.

The list serves as a mechanism to address site-specific issues that may cause delays in a site’s cleanup progress. EPA considers removing a site from the list once the milestone is achieved and the cleanup activities are back on track. Sites move on and off the list as needed, and removal from the Administrator’s Emphasis List does not change the site’s status on the National Priorities List. 

The updated Administrator’s Emphasis List is available on the agency’s website at:

For more information: