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EPA Adds Old HWY 275 and N. 288th Street Site in Valley, Neb., to National Priorities List

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Ben Washburn (

Environmental News


EPA seal(Lenexa, Kan., July 31, 2017) - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today is adding the Old HWY 275 and N. 288th Street Site in Valley, Neb., to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).

EPA is adding a total of seven and proposing to add four hazardous waste sites, to the NPL.

The site is at the northwest city limits of Valley. A 2.5-mile groundwater plume is present along W. Reichmuth Road, and consists of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and other contaminants. Trichloroethane (TCE) is the VOC representing the majority of the contamination.

Groundwater sampling at another site led to the discovery of the plume in 2000. The Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) performed an initial site assessment and requested EPA involvement in 2004.

Between 2004 and 2006, EPA performed site work consisting of groundwater, soil, soil gas, and indoor air sampling. EPA installed whole-house carbon filtration systems at locations with private wells impacted by TCE. In 2015, EPA became involved at the site again, after sampling in 2012 found the Pines public water supply well to be impacted by TCE. After NDEQ worked to reduce the level of TCE in the well, the Pines community was connected to the city of Valley’s public water supply. EPA attempted to find the source area of that contamination; however, despite extensive sampling, no source area was found.

Superfund, which Congress established in 1980, investigates and cleans up the nation’s most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites and converts them into community resources. The Superfund program is a cornerstone of the work that EPA performs for citizens and communities across the country.

The Superfund law directs EPA to update the NPL annually. Only sites added to the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term permanent cleanup.

EPA adds sites to the NPL when mismanagement of contamination threatens human health and the environment. EPA typically initiates Superfund involvement at a site because states, tribes or citizens ask for the Agency’s help. The Agency may also find contamination during its own investigations.

“My goal as Administrator is to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency’s core mission. Today, we are adding sites to the Superfund National Priorities List to ensure they are cleaned up for the benefit of these communities,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, “When we clean up these sites, we make communities healthier places to live and clear the way for development and increased economic activity.”

The following sites are being added to the NPL:

  • The Battery Recycling Company in Bo Cambalache, Puerto Rico
  • Former Custom Cleaners in Memphis, Tenn.
  • Highway 18 Ground Water in Kermit, Texas
  • Microfab Inc. in Amesbury, Mass.
  • Old HWY 275 and N. 288th Street in Valley, Neb.
  • Post and Lumber Preserving Co. Inc. in Quincy, Fla.
  • Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in Village of Hoosick Falls, N.Y.

The following sites are being proposed for addition to the NPL:

  • Newark South Ground Water Plume in Newark, Del.
  • American Creosote DeRidder in DeRidder, La.
  • Mississippi Phosphate Corporation in Pascagoula, Miss.
  • Eagle Industries in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Superfund addresses both older and newer sites. At least four of the 11 sites EPA is adding or proposing today were in operation within the last two decades. The sites listed today have contamination from a variety of sources, including manufacturing, wood treatment, and aircraft maintenance.

Superfund sites can threaten the health of entire communities. Some groups of people, such as children, pregnant women and the elderly, may be at particular risk. Superfund cleans up or isolates contamination, keeping it away from people and the environment.

Superfund cleanups benefit the health of those who live on or near Superfund sites. Academic research has shown these cleanups reduce birth defects close to a site by as much as 25 percent. Similarly, cleanups involving lead-contaminated soil have contributed to documented reductions in children’s blood lead levels.

When EPA cleans up a site or a portion of a site, the site is available for beneficial uses. More than 850 Superfund sites nationwide have some type of actual or planned reuse underway.

Cleanups also increase tax revenue and create jobs during and after cleanup. EPA reviewed 458 Superfund sites supporting use or reuse activities. The Agency found at the end of fiscal year 2016 that these sites had approximately 4,700 businesses with 131,000 employees and annual sales of more than $34 billion.

Today’s NPL update follows the announcement of the Superfund Task Force recommendations to improve the Superfund program.

The task force’s recommendations focused on five overarching goals: expediting cleanup and remediation; reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties; encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse; promoting redevelopment and community revitalization; and engaging with partners and stakeholders.

Work to prioritize and reinvigorate the program by the task force has been initiated and will be ongoing into the future.

The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed online.

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites, go to EPA’s website.

Learn more about Superfund and the NPL.

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