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EPA Announces Final Decision at Former Agriculture Street Landfill

Release Date: 9/2/1997
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

Today in Dallas the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the cleanup plan for a former New Orleans landfill.

"EPA's plan to remove potential health risks from the 95-acre Agriculture Street Superfund Site will cost about $20 million," EPA Region 6 Administrator Jerry Clifford said.

Lead contamination was found in some residential properties and around the Press Park Community Center. Contaminated soil will be removed, a barrier placed in the excavated areas and clean fill dirt added. Photos taken before excavation begins will help EPA contractors grade and landscape these areas to look, as much as practicable, as they did before cleanup work began.

A 48-acre undeveloped area will be covered with a permanent barrier, topped with a foot of clean soil and replanted to prevent contained pollutants being washed off or blown to other areas. Cleanup activities should be completed in about a year.

Extensive evaluation of potential health risks has shown there is no need for further action in two areas: the Moton School area (including the Maugrauer Playground) and the site's ground water. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) agrees with EPA's decision to remove these areas from the Superfund National Priorities List," Mr. Clifford said.

Before the school was constructed, soil in the area was excavated to a depth of five feet, removed and replaced with clean fill, eliminating the risk of exposure to contaminants. According to LDEQ, the ground water is not a potential source of drinking water, so it does not pose a health risk.

Public meetings have been held throughout the evaluation process to address area residents' comments and concerns. EPA staff will be available to informally discuss the cleanup plan at the EPA Community Outreach Office at 3221 Press St. Sept. 10 from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. Meetings to inform area residents about the plan will be held Sept. 11 at Gordon Senior Center at 10 a.m. and at the Press Park Community Center at 6:30 p.m.

The site had been operated as a municipal landfill by the City of New Orleans from about 1909 through the late 1950s and for about a year in 1965 during the Hurricane Betsy cleanup. There is no evidence that industrial or chemical wastes were disposed at the site. About half the site was developed as a residential and retail area in the '70s and '80s.