Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Cleanup Project in North Carolina
EPA announces start of new cleanup projects at 22 Superfund sites, along with 100 other ongoing cleanups, thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
ATLANTA (February 10, 2023) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the second wave of approximately $1 billion in funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to start new cleanup projects at 22 Superfund sites, including the Cristex Drum Superfund site in the City of Oxford, and expedite over 100 other ongoing cleanups across the country.
Thousands of contaminated sites exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed, including in manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills, and mining sites. Superfund cleanups help transform contaminated properties and create jobs in overburdened communities, while repurposing these sites for a wide range of uses, including public parks, retail businesses, office space, residences, warehouses, and solar power generation. In addition, these sites can support natural areas, parks, and recreation facilities, providing greenspace and safe places for families to play outside.
“Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, we are moving faster than ever before to progress clean up at contaminated sites – from manufacturing facilities to landfills – in communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan “But our work is not yet finished – we’re continuing to build on this momentum to ensure that communities living near many of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination finally get the investments and protections they deserve.”
“Cleaning up Superfund sites is a top priority for EPA,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “Thanks to the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we can clean up contaminated sites that threaten communities, breathe new life into these sites and turn them from a liability into community assets.”
“A clean and healthy environment is critical for families to grow and thrive,” said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. “Thanks to the Biden-Harris Administration and the EPA, this investment will help protect underserved communities in Oxford.”
“Thanks to the historic investments from the Biden Administration and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the Environmental Protection Agency is able to address the backlog of contaminated sites that were waiting for funding, including a site located in the Fourth District of North Carolina,” said Congresswoman Valerie Foushee (NC-04). “Every person deserves to live in a community that is free from harmful pollutants, and this critical federal funding will help accelerate the EPA’s work and tackle toxic threats to public health and the environment.”
The Cristex Drum site was added to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in 2013. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funds will be used at the site to demolish the former Cristex Building and foundation which contain asbestos, excavate and safely dispose contaminated soils, and treat groundwater that is heavily contaminated with tetrachloroethylene (also known as PCE or PERC). The cleanup will restore the site and prevent the contaminants from migrating to other areas.
The $1 billion investment announced today is the second wave of funding from the $3.5 billion allocated for Superfund cleanup work in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. With the first wave of funding announced in December 2021, EPA deployed more than $1 billion for cleanup activities at more than 100 Superfund National Priorities List sites across the country. Thanks to this historic funding, EPA started 81 new cleanup projects in 2022, including projects at 44 sites previously on the backlog. By starting four times as many construction projects as the year before, EPA is aggressively bringing more sites across the country closer to finishing cleanup. For example, in Evansville, Indiana, EPA continued to reduce exposures to lead and arsenic in soil in the neighborhoods of the Jacobsville Neighborhood Contamination site by starting the next phase of cleaning up contaminated residential soils.
In addition to funding cleanup construction work, this investment is enabling EPA to increase funding for and accelerate essential work needed to prepare sites for construction and ensure that communities are meaningfully involved in the cleanup process. In 2022, EPA more than doubled its spending for Superfund pre-construction activities like remedial investigations, feasibility studies, remedial designs, and community involvement.
EPA is committed to carrying out this work in line with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative by advancing environmental justice and incorporating equity considerations into all aspects of the Superfund cleanup process. This will help ensure that historic and ongoing impacts of contamination on overburdened communities are fully considered and addressed. Out of the 22 sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects, 60% are in communities with the potential for environmental justice concerns based on data from EJSCREEN, an environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic socioeconomic indicators.
In 1980, Congress passed the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, known as Superfund. The law gave EPA the authority and funds to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up the most contaminated sites across the country. When no viable responsible party is found or cannot afford the cleanup, EPA steps in to address risks to human health and the environment using funds appropriated by Congress, like the funding provided by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
For more information on each site, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-sites-new-construction-projects-receive-bipartisan-infrastructure-law-funding
To see highlights from the first year of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding at Superfund sites, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/infrastructure/cleaning-superfund-sites-highlights-bipartisan-infrastructure-law-funding
For more information about EPA’s Superfund program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund