The Superfund Branch is charged with protecting human health and the environment from the release of hazardous substances, petroleum pollutants or contaminants into the environment. The program seeks to ensure that contaminated sites are evaluated and cleaned up in a timely manner. In most cases this means overseeing companies or individuals who have taken responsibility for cleaning up contamination found on their property. In cases where a responsible party cannot be found or is unable to act, the Superfund Branch may take a direct role in cleaning up a site. The branch is divided into five sections:
The Federal Section works with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determining if a site is eligible for emergency response or cleanup under the Federal Superfund Program
. It also provides technical and administrative support to EPA for those hazardous waste sites in Kentucky that qualify for the National Priority List
The Federal Superfund Section is working in conjunction with the Division of Compliance Assistance to encourage redevelopment of brownfields - abandoned, idled or underused industrial and commercial facilities where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. For more information, visit the Kentucky Brownfields Program Web page.
Employees of the Maxey Flats Section conduct environmental monitoring, radiological monitoring and maintenance activities at the Maxey Flats Project, a low-level radioactive waste disposal site in Fleming County. Visit the Maxey Flats Project Web page for additional information.
The Petroleum Cleanup Section addresses sites that have had releases of petroleum and/or petroleum products, EXCEPT for those releases from regulated petroleum underground storage tanks. Those types of releases are addressed by the Underground Storage Tank Branch. The Petroleum Cleanup Section oversees the investigation and cleanup by the responsible parties.
Risk Assessment Section - Supervisor Jerri Martin
The Risk Assessment Section serves as a technical resource for the Superfund Branch and other Division of Waste Management branches. Section staff review risk assessments and other environmental data, evaluate contaminated sites for their potential to cause adverse impacts and make recommendations for eliminating or mitigating risks to human health and the environment.
State Superfund Section
The State Superfund Section addresses sites that are not eligible for the Federal Superfund program. Members of this section identify sites where a release or threatened release of hazardous substances has occurred and provide oversight for the investigation and remediation of the sites. They also provide immediate response to environmental emergencies. If a site represents an imminent threat to human heath and the environment and a responsible party cannot be found or is unable to act, the State Section may take a direct role in conducting the investigation and remediation at the site.
The State Lead Priority List, a list of all sites addressed under state authority, is available through an open records request.
The Kentucky Revised Statutes governing cleanups overseen or conducted by the Superfund Program include:
Parties responsible for the release of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant must notify the cabinet if the release is above a reportable quantity, characterize the extent of the release and take actions necessary to correct the effect of the release on the environment:
This regulation permits the Energy and Environmental Cabinet to establish a tiered response system for methamphetamine-contaminated properties and to promulgate administrative regulations for decontamination standards:
This regulation (KRS 224.01-450 through 224.01-465) requires a person who owns or operates the source or is responsible for the release of petroleum or a petroleum product from a source other than a petroleum storage tank to characterize the extent of the release and perform corrective action:
This statute authorizes the cabinet to issue a "No Further Remediation" letter to a public entity for a site when an approved remediation plan has been successfully completed following the requirements of these statutes.
Kentucky's Voluntary Cleanup Program
In 2001, the Kentucky General Assembly enacted the Voluntary Environmental Remediation Act (VERA) to encourage parties to voluntarily clean up contaminated properties, also known as brownfields. VERA increased liability protection for participants. Consequently, the Voluntary Environmental Remediation Program (VERP) was created. VERP allows interested parties to initiate cleanups on a property they wish to purchase and redevelop. As a result, delays and costs to clean up contaminated sites can be reduced, which can speed up redevelopment of the site. For further information visit the Kentucky Voluntary Cleanup Program Web page.
Hazardous Waste Management Fund
Kentucky established a Hazardous Waste Management Fund to help remediate high priority sites for which there is no willing or able responsible party. Environmental firms that would like to bid to provide remediation services for these sites should begin by familiarizing themselves with the process by going to eProcurement.ky.gov