EPA Proposes 12 Sites, Adds Seven Sites to the Superfund List

Three contaminated properties in Texas are among the 12 sites being proposed to the National Priorities List (NPL or Superfund list), EPA announced on Sept. 19.

The agency also announced the addition of seven hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment to the list for investigation and cleanup. The NPL sets priorities under the federal Superfund program that addresses complex uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.

Contaminants found at the final and proposed sites include arsenic, barium, benzene, beryllium, cadmium, cesium-137, chromium, copper, 1,1-dichloroethane, dioxins, lead, mercury, naphthalene, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans silver, tetrachloroethene (PCE), thorium-230, 1,1,1-trichloroethane, trichloroethene (TCE), and zinc, and other metals.

To date, there have been 1,569 sites listed on the NPL. Of these sites, 320 sites have been deleted resulting in 1,249 sites currently on the NPL. With the proposal of the 12 new sites, there are 66 proposed sites awaiting final agency action: 61 in the general Superfund section and five in the federal facilities section.

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 NPL through various mechanisms:

  • Numeric ranking established by EPA's Hazard Ranking System.
  • Designation by states or territories of one top-priority site regardless of score.
  • Meeting all three 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 (available only at NPL sites) than to use its emergency removal authority to respond to the site.

The proposed Texas sites are Donna Reservoir and Canal System in Donna, Midessa Ground Water Plume in Odessa and the San Jacinto River Waste Pits in Harris County. The Donna Reservoir and Canal System site is being proposed to the NPL because of adverse levels of PCBs in water and fish. At the Midessa Ground Water Plume site, trichloroethene and other chlorinated solvents were found in concentrations above safe drinking water maximum contamination levels. The San Jacinto River Waste Pits site is being proposed because of elevated levels of dioxins found in sediment, water, fish and crabs.

The other nine sites are:

  • Lusher Street Ground Water Contamination (Elkhart, Ind.)
  • Plating Inc. (Great Bend, Kan.)
  • Washington County Lead District - Old Mines (Old Mines, Mo.)
  • Washington County Lead District -- Potosi (Potosi, Mo.)
  • Washington County Lead District -- Richwoods (Richwoods, Mo.)
  • East Troy Contaminated Aquifer (Troy, Ohio)
  • Chem-Fab (Doylestown, Penn.)
  • San German Ground Water Contamination (San German, Puerto Rico)
  • Hidden Lane Landfill (Sterling, Va.)

The seven added sites are:

  • Halaco Engineering Company (Oxnard, Calif.)
  • Eagle Zinc Co Div T L Diamond (Hillsboro, Ill.)
  • South Minneapolis Residential Soil Contamination (Minneapolis, Minn.)
  • Standard Chlorine (Kearny, N.J.)
  • Eagle Picher Carefree Battery (Socorro, N.M.)
  • Formosa Mine (Douglas County, Ore.)
  • 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 09/01/2007 issue of Environmental Protection.

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