EPA Adds WV Site to Superfund List
The site has seen significant contamination issues going back to the 1980s, when elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls were first discovered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in the soil near the old Shaffer Equipment Company location.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler was joined by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice on May 13 to announce that the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek area site in Minden, W.Va., has been added to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites. The site has seen significant contamination issues going back to the 1980s, when elevated levels of polychlorinated biphenyls were first discovered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in the soil near the old Shaffer Equipment Company location. Since then, additional testing by the WVDEP and EPA indicated additional contamination in the waters of the nearby Arbuckle Creek and in certain residential areas of Minden.
Being added to the National Priorities List allows EPA to utilize federal funding and other resources to conduct long-term cleanup initiatives on the site.
"I'm not going to let this travesty continue on my watch," Justice said. "Since the 1980s, far too many people in this area have suffered and even died from terrible diseases like cancer. Past governors, federal representatives, and past presidential administrations have simply kicked the can down the road while our people got sicker. Those politicians should be very apologetic to our great West Virginians. After I talked directly to President Trump, the EPA, and our West Virginia DEP, finally the people of this great community are going to be helped. This is such an important day because the wonderful people of Minden have been hurting for too long, and they've been waiting on this level of help for decades."
"By adding the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek area to the National Priorities List, we are taking action to clean up the site and protect the health of the local community," Wheeler said. "EPA listened closely to the concerns of the community in making this decision, and our commitment to the Minden community is that a site on the National Priorities List will be a true national priority."
According to the governor's news release, from 1970 to 1984, Shaffer Equipment used oil containing PCBs in certain equipment they built, including electrical transformers. For years, the company stored damaged and outdated transformers on site property that leaked coolant and lubricants with PCBs into the surrounding area. Frequent flooding in the area caused the PCBs to be spread to residential areas.
EPA's involvement on the site dates to 1984, when the agency performed the first of two soil removal actions over a seven-year span in efforts to stop the spread.