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Emergency Removal Action of Asbestos from the MacMillan Ring Free Oil Superfund Site in Norphlet, Arkansas

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DALLAS – (July 12, 2018) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is initiating an emergency response action to remove asbestos from the MacMillan Superfund Site in Norphlet, Arkansas. The EPA, in consultation with the State of Arkansas and the City of Norphlet, intends to start the accelerated removal action of the asbestos-impacted areas. This action, taken early in the Superfund process, allows EPA to reduce risks to human health and the environment by immediately addressing and removing known hazardous substances.

“The Superfund program is integral to our mission of protecting human health and the environment, and the Superfund Task Force is implementing changes to accelerate cleanups to do just that,” said Regional Administrator Anne Idsal. “Today’s announcement demonstrates our commitment to helping our State partners and local leaders protect communities by quickly removing asbestos from the site.”

“ADEQ appreciates EPA’s quick action to work with Arkansas to protect public health and the environment,” said Becky Keogh, Director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

On June 14, 2018, the EPA, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and the Arkansas Department of Health conducted a Site inspection of the property and observed high levels of friable asbestos at the Site in both the boiler building and in soils outside this building. The Norphlet Middle School borders the Site on the west side and areas of asbestos contamination are within 500 feet of school buildings and recreational facilities.

In May 2017, the Superfund Task Force was established to provide recommendations for improving and expediting site cleanups and promoting redevelopment and they released its recommendations on July 25, 2017. As we approach the one-year anniversary of the Superfund Task Force’s recommendations, this emergency removal action achieves the recommendation to perform early actions during the investigation process to address immediate risk. This accelerated response achieves human health protection on a priority basis.

The EPA is currently conducting the Feasibility Study at the Site. The Site was finalized on the National Priorities List on May 12, 2014.

MacMillan Ring Free Oil is an abandoned refinery located in Norphlet, Union County, Arkansas. The Site operated as a crude-oil refinery and maker of lubrication oil and asphalt products from 1929 to 1987. Nor-Ark Industrial Corp bought the property in 1989 to store asphalt products until 1991.

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