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One Louisiana Site Added, Two Proposed for National Superfund List

Release Date: 1/15/1999
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) announced today that the former Delatte Metals property in Ponchatoula has been added to the Federal Superfund program's National Priority List (NPL). Additionally, an abandoned foundry in Ruston and an abandoned wood-preserving operation near Slaughter have been proposed to be added to the NPL.

     "By working together, EPA and the State of Louisiana will be able to clean these sites faster to better protect the public health and the environment of these communities. EPA's goal is to renew contaminated sites and make them available for future development. After a Superfund cleanup, both the stigma and the risk that can sap a community's prosperity is removed," EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said.

     "Louisiana relies on EPA to assist with the costs of remediating larger sites such as these," noted LDEQ Secretary J. Dale Givens.  "In 1997, the Louisiana Legislature voted to dedicate all of the state's hazardous waste tax to LDEQ.  Those funds will enable LDEQ to address smaller sites across the state that are potentially dangerous."

     The 19-acre Delatte Metals site includes the adjacent Ponchatoula Battery Company property, a defunct salvage operation. Both companies recovered lead from spent batteries. Despite several Notices of Violation, both firms channeled water used in their operations and rain runoff contaminated with heavy metals from their facilities into Selser's Creek.

     Soil samples taken from the site and nearby property contain heavy metals including arsenic, chromium, copper, nickel and lead. More than 600 people live within a mile of Delatte Metals. Also, the Joyce Wildlife Management Area is less than a mile and a half downstream from where the contaminated drainage enters Selser's Creek.

     Delatte Metals was proposed to be added to the NPL July 28, 1998.  All of the comments received during the 60-day public comment period were in favor of the site being added to the NPL. Additional information about Delatte Metals is available on EPA's web site at

     The former Ruston Foundry has been proposed to be added to the NPL. Heavy metals have been found in samples taken from slag piles and soil both on and adjacent to the property. More than 9,000 people live within a mile of this five-acre site.

     Also proposed for the NPL is the former Central Wood Processing near Slaughter. At this 12-acre site wood was preserved using creosote and, after 1972, a solution containing copper, chromium and arsenic. Soil samples taken in and around the property contain arsenic, chromium, copper and organic compounds found in coal-tar products.

     About 140 people live within a mile of the site. Rain runoff from the site threatens to contaminate a small creek and wetlands on the eastern edge of the property. Wetlands play a vital role in protecting water quality and nuturing diverse animal and plant life.

     Heavy metals accumulate in humans and animals and can cause neurological disorders. Exposure to lead is particularly associated with learning disabilities in children.

     EPA will seek public comments for 60 days on adding Ruston Foundry and Central Wood Processing to the NPL. Those comments will be addressed when the Agency makes the final decisions about adding these sites to the NPL. During this period, the Agency will continue to develop cleanup plans so that actual work may begin as quickly as possible if the site is listed.

     Send comments to Superfund Docket, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 5201G, 401 M Street SW, Washington, DC 20460. Additional information about these sites is available on the regional web site at

     The Federal Superfund program was created by Congress in 1980 to clean uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.