The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued updated guidance on the use of Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund) agreements at alternative sites—those that are eligible to be listed on the National Priorities List (NPL), but are not.

The guidance updates and supersedes the 2004 “Revised Response Selection and Settlement Approach for Superfund Alternative Sites.” The intent of the update is to ensure consistency between the use of CERCLA authority at sites listed on the NPL and at sites with Superfund Alternative Approach (SAA) agreements. The update also reinforces EPA’s continuing commitment to transparency in its use of Superfund authority.

Revisions in the guidance include (i) new sections on “relationships with communities” and “transparency and accountability,” (ii) notices of sites going to the NPL-listing panel, (iii) updated tribal/state discussions, (iv) new language in the community involvement section, and (v) a statement regarding strong initial presumption for listing sites on the NPL where the federal program is managing a cleanup. The guidance also confirms that at sites with SAA agreements, EPA regions should continue to act in accordance with the practices normally followed at sites listed on the NPL, using the same techniques, standards and guidance, and achieving comparable cleanup levels.