The U.S. Superfund program was created in 1980 to clean up the country's most toxic places. It gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) new authority to identify the parties responsible for noxious hazards nationwide, and to make them clean up their messes on their own dime. The program (formally titled the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, or CERCLA) is vital for keeping corporations from ruining our land, air and water without consequence.
Today, more than 1,300 sites are on the program's national priorities list. One might even exist in your own neighborhood, since about 11 million Americans live within one mile of a Superfund site.
That's why it's worth keeping tabs on the successes — and, occasionally, the hardships — of the Superfund program. Here's a look at the status of 10 of the country's most prominent Superfund sites. (Text: Bryan Nelson)