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Environment Matters Audio Podcast

Environment Matters
EPA Region 3
Topic: Superfund Five Year Reviews
Size: : 3,067K
Time: 03:15

Date: May 6, 2014

HOST: Once EPA finishes cleaning up pollution at a site, the Agency maintains a presence to ensure public health and our environment are protected in the long-term.

In just this year alone – 2014, EPA is returning to 21 cleanups performed at Superfund Sites in our region which covers throughout Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Virginia and West Virginia. These sites, once placed on the National Priorities List of our country’s most hazardous sites, are now complete - but far from forgotten.

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Hi, I’m Lena Kim, and in this edition of Environment Matters, we’ll hear from an EPA Project Manager about how he and his team are committed to making sure all completed Superfund sites are cleaned, and evaluated on a routine basis.

Chris Corbett has 30 years of experience cleaning up and managing Superfund sites.   Chris is the EPA Project Manager and team leader for this comprehensive review process, called the “Five Year Review”.  He’ll explain how it works.

CHRIS: After EPA oversees the cleanup of a Superfund site, our work continues into the operation and maintenance phase. EPA experts will continue to conduct these follow-up evaluations at least once every five years, unless all waste materials have been removed from the site and there are no restrictions on using the property.

HOST: Corbett explains how EPA’s Five Year Review program is designed to go far beyond simply checking whether the original remedy is working as designed.

CHRIS: We see the Five Year Review process as our chance to revisit sites to make sure everything related to the cleanup is going as planned. We check to see if there are changes in the use of the site, which could impact the effectiveness of the original remedy. We also check for changes in the health standards for any chemicals still present.  We not only figure out if the remedy is working as designed, but we also take any additional steps needed to make it protective and to keep it protective in the future.  

HOST: These reviews don’t happen in a vacuum. EPA works with local and state partners to ensure all are on the same page. And as with the entire site cleanup process that happens years prior to each review, EPA involves the community. 

CHRIS:  We pride ourselves on our Five Year Review program, and our ability to include all of the key players. This means we include hydro-geologists, toxicologists and biologists, and of course our state environmental partners.

HOST: As with most of the Agency’s work, EPA considers community outreach a priority, not an afterthought.

CHRIS: We usually interview neighbors and elected officials to find out if there are any new concerns regarding the site. We let everyone know that we are conducting this review by placing an ad in a local paper, plus we are exploring other avenues to inform the public, such as this podcast.  EPA may also send out a flyer to update nearby residents, especially if the community has expressed interest in the site.

HOST: Every Superfund site has its own webpage.  To find out about the 5-year reviews underway and more, do a search with the words: EPA, NPL, and the name of the site.

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And thanks for joining us on Environment Matters.

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