Basic NPL Information

Sites are listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) upon completion of Hazard Ranking System (HRS) screening, public solicitation of comments about the proposed site, and after all comments have been addressed. More information about these steps in the process can be found here:

The NPL primarily serves as an information and management tool. It is a part of the Superfund cleanup process. The NPL is updated periodically. The Federal Register Notices for NPL Updates page provides a list of Federal Register Notices for proposed NPL updates and NPL updates. The list is ordered by year and provides the rule type, rule date, FR citation, and a short content description for each FR.

Section 105(a)(8)(B) of CERCLA (CERCLA Overview) as amended, requires that the statutory criteria provided by the HRS be used to prepare a list of national priorities among the known releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants, or contaminants throughout the United States. This list, which is Appendix B of the National Contingency Plan, is the NPL.

The identification of a site for the NPL is intended primarily to guide EPA in:

  • determining which sites warrant further investigation to assess the nature and extent of the human health and environmental risks associated with a site;
  • identifying what CERCLA-financed remedial actions may be appropriate;
  • notifying the public of sites EPA believes warrant further investigation; and
  • serving notice to potentially responsible parties that EPA may initiate CERCLA-financed remedial action.

Inclusion of a site on the NPL does not in itself reflect a judgment of the activities of its owner or operator, it does not require those persons to undertake any action, nor does it assign liability to any person. The NPL serves primarily informational purposes, identifying for the States and the public those sites or other releases that appear to warrant remedial actions.

Visit the HRS Toolbox page for guidance documents that are used to determine if a site is a candidate for inclusion on the NPL.

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