The New York State Superfund Program is formally known as the Inactive Hazardous Waste Disposal Site (IHWDS) Program. Its purpose is to identify, investigate, and clean up sites that contain “consequential” levels of hazardous waste.

Prospective State Superfund sites come to light when responsible parties notify officials of problems or through citizen complaints and other means. At that point, IHWDS mandates a specific process for investigation, assessment, cleanup, and monitoring of each site.

First, a Site Characterization (SC) is performed

The SC determines whether the site actually meets the State’s Superfund listing criteria by confirming the presence of hazardous substances and determining the threat level to public and/or environmental health. The SC is often performed by the responsible party, but it can also be completed by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Division of Environmental Remediation (DER).

Sites deemed to be a threat are formally listed

Once hazardous waste is confirmed at a site, it is added to the State’s official list and assigned a classification code. A classification code of 2 indicates a significant danger requiring action. This triggers a more in-depth remedial investigation to determine corrective options. The responsible party often pays for and performs this work as well. If they can’t be identified or won’t participate, the state performs the work and may attempt to recover costs.

What happens next?

  • A project manager from the regional IHWDS office or DEC is assigned to each class 2 site.
  • This individual reviews and approves cleanup plans and monitors the process.
  • Project managers also coordinate with the Department of Health to ensure cleanup fully addresses public health concerns.

DEC fees help pay for Superfund sites cleanup

Regulatory program fees can be charged to hazardous waste generators and any facility required to have an air, water, hazardous waste, or waste transporter permit. Annual fees are collected from:

  • Generators of hazardous waste and hazardous wastewater.
  • Treatment, storage, and disposal facilities.

If you want to learn more about the IHWDS Program or need help managing your Superfund (or potential Superfund) site, contact Walden’s environmental remediation experts at 516-559-6976.