These sites have been on the CERCLIS (Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability System) list for some time. The DC City Council is concerned that it takes EPA too long to clean up sites once they are placed on the Priorities List, so a councilmember is introducing legislation to force property owners to clean up their sites.
When an abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste site is identified, information about the site is entered into a databased called CERCLIS. The CERCL ACt was passed in 1980 and is more commonly knowns as Superfund. The Superfund trust enables the government to clean up hazardous waste sites and then recover cleanup costs from pulluters. (Washington Examiner, 11/18/2010, AAEA "Our Unfair Share: Pollution in Washington, D.C., 1998)