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One Texas Site Added, Two Sites Proposed to National Superfund List

Release Date: 9/30/1998
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) announced today that the site of a former insulation manufacturing plant near Belton, Rockwood Industries Inc., has been added to the federal Superfund Program's National Priority List (NPL). Also, two sites, one in the Panhandle and one in Houston, have been proposed for addition to the NPL.

     "Texas has been a dedicated and effective partner in working to get these properties on the NPL. Because all but a fraction of the cleanup costs for NPL sites is paid by the Federal Superfund Trust, cleanups can be accelerated. After EPA cleans an NPL site, the Agency will vigorously pursue reimbursement from all responsible parties," Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said.

     The federal Superfund program protects the public health and our environment by cleaning uncontrolled hazardous waste sites when states' resources are limited or exhausted. Sites are evaluated and ranked according to the types of hazardous materials and the potential health threat to surrounding residents. NPL sites have the greatest potential to harm public health and are given priority when scheduling and funding cleanups.

     TNRCC Chairman Barry McBee said, "The TNRCC fully supports the actual and proposed listings of these sites around the state for cleanup. These advances will help ensure the future protection of resources in these areas.                                        

     "For example, with the State's $2 million residential cleanup near the proposed NPL site in Houston already underway, we and the EPA see sustained progress ahead in returning this area to more compatible uses and putting this problem behind us," McBee said.

     Between the mid-1950s until early 1987, Rockwool Industries Inc. manufactured insulation commonly used in the walls, floors and ceilings of residential and commercial structures. Samples of sediment taken from nearby Leon River and Nolan Creek indicate water runoff has carried chemicals from the property into surrounding streams. The Bell County site was proposed for NPL listing March 6, 1998.

     One of the sites currently proposed for NPL listing is a water well in Perryton that has been closed since June 1989, when the Texas Department of Health found carbon tetrachloride contamination. Engineers have not been able to pinpoint the source of the contamination. Scientists are concerned about the potential to pollute the Ogallala aquifer, the principal drinking water source for many Panhandle residents.

     Also proposed for the listing is the former site of Many Diversified Interest Inc. (MDI) about two miles from downtown Houston. The site contains more than 4,000 drums of spent catalyst material from refineries and chemical plants which were abandoned on the property in the late 1980s.Without cleanup, continuing deterioration of the drums will increase the threat of contamination of surrounding residential areas.

     EPA will receive public comments on the proposed NPL listing for the MDI and Perryton sites until Nov. 28, 1998. The Agency will consider and respond to these comments when the decision is made whether to add each site to the NPL.

     EPA is developing proposals to clean these sites so that the health of area residents and the surrounding environments are protected. At various milestones for each site plan, public meetings will be held in the site's area to explain and receive citizens' input about the plans. Residents' concerns and comments will be considered before cleanup plans are finalized. Also, EPA will prepare periodic mailings throughout the planning and actual cleanup to keep interested parties up-to-date on current site activities.

     Additional information about these sites and instructions for submitting comments on the two sites proposed for NPL listing are available on the regional web site at