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CERCLA Liability and Reopened Superfund Sites: PRP Impact, Settlement Consequences, Insurance Considerations

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will address the implications of ongoing CERCLA liability for potentially responsible parties (PRPs) given the EPA's recent indication that closed Superfund sites may be reopened to address PFAS contamination and due to the new reduced screening levels for lead-contaminated soil. The panel will address remedial measures that PRPs may want to take in advance of possible site reopening and discuss methods of mitigating risk including insurance considerations and language in consent decrees.


EPA leadership recently indicated that the classification of certain PFAS chemicals as hazardous substances under CERCLA could lead to the agency's reopening of closed Superfund sites to address lingering PFAS contamination. Additionally, in recent guidance that lowers recommended screening levels for investigating and cleaning up lead-contaminated soil in residential areas, the EPA stated that the guidance, effective Jan. 17, 2024, "should be considered for all residential lead sites subject to CERCLA [. . .] including those previously addressed and/or deleted from the National Priorities List."

The reopening of closed Superfund sites raises liability concerns for new PRPs who may be identified for those reopened sites and who may have little to no experience dealing with CERCLA liability and for previously identified PRPs who believed their liabilities were resolved. There are also insurance considerations where current policies may have certain environmental exclusions or where payouts have already occurred in prior settlements.

Counsel should understand the implications of reopened Superfund sites on their clients, remedial steps their clients may want to take in advance of any reopening, and possible measures to mitigate the impact through insurance coverage and consent decree terms.

Listen as our expert panel discusses the EPA's authority to reopen closed Superfund sites and under what circumstances it may do so. The panel will address the potential impact of reopening sites on former and new PRPs and offer best practices to mitigate risk.



  1. Overview of CERCLA liability and settlement process
  2. EPA's authority to reopen closed Superfund sites
    1. PFAS hazardous substances designation
    2. Reduced lead screening levels
  3. Impact on PRPs
  4. Strategies
    1. Insurance considerations
    2. Consent decrees
    3. Others
  5. Practitioner takeaways


The panel will review these and other important issues:

  • Under what circumstances may the EPA reopen closed Superfund sites? What recent developments may prompt reopening sites?
  • How may reopened Superfund sites impact former PRPs? New PRPs?
  • What remedial measures may PRPs take in advance of possible reopening?
  • What insurance considerations should counsel and their clients examine when faced with the possibility of a reopened Superfund site?
  • What are best practices for limiting liability and mitigating risk?


Heinzelmann, Mark
Mark S. Heinzelmann

Lowenstein Sandler

Mr. Heinzelmann counsels business clients on regulatory issues, dispute resolution, and federal and state court...  |  Read More

Van Osselaer, Andrew
Andrew P. Van Osselaer

Haynes and Boone

Mr. Van Osselaer is an insurance coverage and environmental litigator who represents clients in disputes with their...  |  Read More

Teel, Cynthia
Cynthia M. Teel

Lathrop GPM

Ms. Teel advises clients on environmental issues that arise in the litigation, transactional, and regulatory contexts....  |  Read More

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