Brownfield Vespers
US EPA Superfund Sites, US

Shroud from the Quanta Superfund Site in Edgewater, New Jersey

Brownfield Vespers is an ongoing effort to visit and be with pieces of land that have received the designation of “Superfund” site by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Superfund is the informal name for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), a law passed in 1980 that created a fund for cleaning up “abandoned or uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.” 1

Sites that become eligible for Superfund designation are places that have experienced environmental violence in the form of contamination and pollution. This identity tracks with the term brownfield, which describes a site where future use is affected by environmental contamination.

My effort to visit these sites is motivated by a belief in the importance of bearing witness to violence. Turning away from violence sanctions its continuation. Witnessing respects the dignity of the recipient of violence.

1:  US EPA: What is Superfund?

Sites visited to date:

Iron Horse Park, Billerica, Massachusetts

Quanta Resources Corporation, Edgewater, New Jersey

Universal Oil Products (Berry’s Creek), East Rutherford, New Jersey

Veltron/Vesical (Berry’s Creek), Wood-Ridge, Carlstadt & Moonachie, New Jersey