On NE 10 just east of Interstate 35, a small sign outside a former junkyard warned visitors they are not wanted. “Restricted area,” the sign read. “Hazardous waste site entry not permitted.” Past the chain link fence in the waist-high weeds, there was another sign. It read: “For sale.” Efforts nationwide to redevelop tracts of land with past environmental problems like this one have had mixed results, and Oklahoma City is no different. The Skirvin Hilton Hotel, the Dell Inc. campus and many locations in Bricktown were once like the junkyard: Abandoned and environmentally scarred. The Skirvin Hotel in Oklahoma City was filled with asbestos; Dell's campus operates on top of a closed city landfill; and much of Bricktown stands on top of old oil fields. Those locations were aided by the Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfield program, which provides federal money to turn places like oil fields, landfills and asbestos-laden buildings into safe places to live and work. But such redevelopment success isn't always the case for locations that make it into another high-profile EPA sponsored program, Superfund. Redeveloping those lands is often much more difficult, despite the millions of dollars spent cleaning up those sites. “There is a stigma with them, but some are cleaner than other property you might buy,” said Chris Varga, a redevelopment specialist with the Oklahoma City Planning Department. Image, red tape problems Part of the problem is overcoming the Superfund perception, Varga said. Superfund sites often are larger and sometimes more hazardous to people's health than other environmental problem areas, heightening apprehension about redevelopment. Developing such sites can be frustrating because of expensive cleanup costs and the extra time needed, Varga said. Developers getting past those hurdles face federal and state restrictions on what can be built on the property, how long people can be exposed to the site and for what purposes the land can be used. Possibilities slim Except for the state Environmental Quality Department's periodic checkups, the former landfill and junkyard on NE 10 has been left untouched for years. Amy Brittain, an agency environmental programs manager, said building on the site is possible but environmental and financial barriers would make it difficult. “I don't see a lot of possibility for redevelopment soon,” Varga said. “When it is an economically depressed area already, having a Superfund site in the middle of it doesn't help things.” Success elsewhere Two Superfund sites in Tulsa County have overcome the stigma. A site just west of Tulsa was a former limestone quarry before it became a Tulsa city landfill. Even though it wasn't allowed under land use permit conditions, industrial waste such as jet fuel, acids, bleaches and benzene were dumped there, according to an Environmental Protection Agency report. Compass Industries owned the site and was among the first entities in the state to complete a Superfund cleanup, said Hal Cantwell, who oversees the site for the state Department of Environmental Quality. The site borders Chandler Park with 192 acres of wooded area. “Many people don't really know that it was a Superfund site,” Cantwell said. “Now that the remedy is put in place, it's really kind of quiet out there. It is a nice place to go and watch nature.” The site of the Old Sinclair Refinery on the banks of the Arkansas River also has finished the Superfund process and several industrial businesses operate there.