Inter-Tribal Environmental Council
What is Superfund?

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund, was enacted by Congress on December 11, 1980. This created a federally funded program that provides for the evaluation and cleanup of abandoned hazardous waste sites. The Superfund program also established a mechanism for the compensation of stakeholders, such as Indian Tribes, who are impacted by such hazardous waste sites.

The Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) amended CERCLA on October 17, 1986. After the first six years of the Superfund program, SARA was enacted to propel several important changes and additions to the program. Among other changes, SARA required Superfund actions to consider the standards and requirements found in other State and Federal environmental laws and regulations; increased State involvement in every phase of the Superfund program; increased the focus on human health problems posed by hazardous waste sites; and increased the size of the trust fund to $8.5 billion.

CERCLA also provides for emergency actions, such as the cleanup of sites or chemicals spills which pose an immediate danger to human health. In the event that your tribe is impacted by such an emergency situation, you should call the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Response Center 24-HOUR EMERGENCY HOTLINE at 1-800-424-8802.

ITEC's Superfund Program

The ITEC Superfund Program can provide non-emergency evaluation of a site on behalf of an ITEC-Member Tribe only if the following three criteria are met:

 

1.      Hazardous waste (as defined in CERCLA) is known or suspected to be present on site.

2.      The site, such as an industrial facility, is abandoned or inactive.

3.      Wastes on the site are impacting, or have the potential to impact, tribal lands or tribal populations.

 

ITEC has evaluated 256 potentially hazardous waste sites under the Superfund Program which could impact member tribes and their lands. The sites were located on or near trust lands within tribes' jurisdictional boundaries. In addition, approximately $494,829 has been allocated to the ITEC member tribes for environmental training and site discovery reimbursements.

 

ITEC provides technical management assistance to member tribes for the following Superfund sites:

 

· Tar Creek in Ottawa County

· Tulsa Fuel & Manufacturing near Collinsville

· Basin Refinery in Okmulgee

· Hudson Refinery in Cushing

· Oklahoma Refining Company near Lawton

- Osage Power Plant in Ponca City 

In 2002 the Superfund Program completed its work on two Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study (RI/FS) projects on lands of the Quapaw Tribe. The lands included in the projects are impacted by lead-zinc mining wastes of the Tar Creek Superfund Site. The Superfund Program completed a Remedial Investigation (RI) of an abandoned industrial property in the town of Cardin. The RI characterized metal contamination in soil and on the property. The Superfund Program also completed an RI/FS Work Plan for the Beaver Creek watershed. The Work Plan provides a blueprint for evaluating the impacts of a variety of mine wastes on the resources of Beaver Creek and on the health of tribal members who use those resources.