An EPA analysis obtained by APM Reports and The Intercept found that more than 9,000 federally subsidized properties — many with hundreds of apartments or townhouses — sit within a mile of Superfund sites. Those properties are in 480 cities in 49 states and territories. But even that is an undercount. The list of 9,000 properties doesn’t include several subsidized-housing complexes within a mile of Superfund sites.
In most cases, the federal government has chosen not to relocate housing complexes near Superfund sites and made only piecemeal attempts to address the health threats. Housing officials often don’t inform people who move into these housing complexes that a Superfund site is nearby. Neither the EPA nor the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the two federal agencies primarily responsible for protecting residents, regularly monitor the potential health threats to residents from nearby environmental pollution. In fact, some housing complexes near Superfund sites haven’t been tested for contamination in years, according to the APM Reports and Intercept investigation. Even when testing is conducted and dangerous contamination is found, the pollution isn’t always cleaned up.
As a result, thousands of residents continue to live in places that are potentially dangerous to their health.