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Is the Cleaning of Superfund Sites Causing More Harm than Good?

Three decades after it was established, the EPA's Superfund program is taking on some of the most complex and costly projects ever attempted. With many focused underwater, some worry the stirring up of polluted sediment will exacerbate the problem.
August 15, 2012, 7am PDT | Andrew Gorden
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After decades, and centuries in some places, of acting as a toxic dumping ground, America's rivers and riverfronts have been the targets of cleanup efforts by the federal government's Superfund program. But as the EPA tackles some of the most "complex cleanups ever attempted," located in "large stretches of urban waterways where the pollution is out of sight," doubts remain about the best method to handle such immense efforts, reports Anthony DePalma.

DePalma's article chronicles accounts of well-intentioned cleanup efforts gone wrong. And although many do, in fact, improve the safety of targeted sites, they can stir up waste in the process, threatening the surrounding ecosystem. Still, the federal government is pushing ahead with the Superfund program, utilizing new cleanup technologies and computer modeling.

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Published on Monday, August 13, 2012 in The New York Times
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