Focus on Emerging Contaminants Will Drive Superfund Activity Even More in 2024
The source of funding for 2024 federal Environmental Protection Agency Superfund enforcement is slated to transition from general appropriations to the reinstated Superfund tax brought about by the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the Inflation Reduction Act early in the Biden Administration. High among EPA’s identified priorities under this new funding structure for 2024 is continuing to expand the focus on perfluorinated compounds and emerging contaminants at both existing sites and new sites. EPA has noted that the emerging threat associated with these substances has led to fewer Superfund sites obtaining a “ready for reuse” designation in recent years and others having that designation stripped away, based on the need for additional investigation or controls.
With the proposed listing of six perfluorinated compounds as CERCLA “hazardous substances,” 2024 is likely to shift regulators’ focus from the investigation phase for these substances to the feasibility study and remedy phases. Along with the continued steady progress of the federal Superfund program, it will not be a surprise to see an increased number of proposed additions to the National Priority List where these emerging contaminants are key remediation drivers, and other existing sites re-examining how they are addressed.