Five Sites Proposed, Five Added to National Priorities List

Two groundwater plume sites in Texas are among the five contaminated properties added the to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites, EPA announced on March 7. The agency also is proposing to add five other sites to the cleanup list.

Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country. EPA's action brings the total number of sites (or final sites) on the cleanup list to 1,245.

Contaminants found at these final and proposed sites include arsenic, barium, benzene, butyltins, cadmium, cesium-137, chromium, cis-1,2-dichloroethene (cis-1,2-DCE), copper, dibenzofuran compounds, dioxin, lead, lindane, mercury, pentachlorophenol (PCP), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), silver, tetrachloroethene (PCE), thorium-230, trichloroethene (TCE), zinc and other metals.

With the proposal of the five new sites, there are 61 proposed sites awaiting final agency action: 56 in the general Superfund section and five in the federal facilities section. Altogether, there are 1,306 final and proposed sites. To date, there have been 1,562 sites listed on the NPL, with 317 of these sites deleted.

With all Superfund sites, EPA tries to identify and locate the parties potentially responsible for the contamination. For the newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site. Therefore, it may be several years before significant cleanup funding is required for these sites.

Sites may be placed on the list through various mechanisms:

  • Numeric ranking established by EPA's Hazard Ranking System.
  • Designation by states or territories of one top-priority site.
  • Meeting all three of the following requirements:
    • The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) of the U.S. Public Health Service has issued a health advisory that recommends removing people from the site.
    • EPA determines the site poses a significant threat to public health.
    • EPA anticipates it will be more cost-effective to use its remedial authority than to use its emergency removal authority to respond to the site.

Bandera Road Ground Water Plume in Leon Valley and East 67th Street Ground Water Plume in Odessa are the two Texas sites that were added to the program after being proposed in September 2006. The Bandera Road site was added to the cleanup priorities list because of the presence of PCE and TCE in concentrations above safe drinking water maximum contamination levels within the Edwards Aquifer. The East 67th Street site was added to the federal list because of the presence of PCE, TCE and cis 1, 2 DCE in concentrations above safe drinking water maximum contamination levels in public and private drinking water wells. The source of contamination at the respective sites has not yet been identified.

Other sites added to the list are: Elm Street Ground Water Contamination, Terre Haute, Ind.; Sonford Products, Flowood, Miss.; and Lockheed West Seattle, Seattle. The sites proposed to the list are: Halaco Engineering Co., Oxnard, Calif.; Eagle Zinc Co Div T L Diamond, Hillsboro, Ill.; Eagle Picher Carefree Battery, Socorro, N.M.; Formosa Mine, Douglas County, Ore.; and Five Points PCE Plume, Woods Cross/Bountiful, Utah.

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for these final and proposed sites, go to http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 03/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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