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EPA to Add Franklin Street Groundwater Contamination Site in Indiana to the Superfund National Priorities List

05/15/2018
Contact Information: 
Rachel Bassler (bassler.rachel@epa.gov)
312-886-7159

For Immediate Release: No. 18-OPA014

CHICAGO (May 15, 2018) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced its commitment to clean up the Franklin Street Groundwater Contamination site in Spencer, Ind. by adding it to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL).

“EPA is making tremendous progress accelerating sites through the entire Superfund remediation process and returning them to safe and productive reuse,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Adding these sites to the proposed and final National Priorities List is the next step toward cleaning up these sites and creating a healthier environment for the affected communities.”

“I’m strongly committed to working with states and local communities to identify, clean up and return Superfund sites to productive reuse,” said EPA Regional Administrator Cathy Stepp. “Enabling responsible redevelopment of sites can transform underutilized sites that have long been considered eyesores or wastelands to become engines of revitalization.”

A groundwater plume contaminated with the chlorinated solvent, tetrachloroethene or PCE, has adversely impacted the city of Spencer’s municipal well field which provides water to approximately 9,900 residents. The water is blended and treated before distribution to residents. According to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, the municipal water supply in Spencer meets the Safe Drinking Water Act standards. The source of the contamination is unknown, but IDEM has identified nine active and former facilities that may be contributing to the contamination.

“We greatly appreciate the Environmental Protection Agency’s focus on accelerating work at Superfund sites across the country, especially in Indiana,” said IDEM Commissioner Bruno Pigott. “It’s because of great partnerships at all levels of government that Superfund sites such as this one can be cleaned up and restored to productive use.”

Academic research has shown that Superfund cleanups reduce birth defects within approximately 1 mile of a site as much as 25 percent. Cleanups also increase tax revenue and create jobs during and after cleanup. According to EPA data, 487 of the 888 Superfund sites cleaned up for reuse supported approximately 6,6000 businesses in 2017. And these businesses’ ongoing operations generate annual sales of $43.6 billion and employ more than 156,000 people who earned a combined income of $11.2 billion.

Background

Superfund, which Congress established in 1980, investigates and cleans up hazardous waste sites. 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 cleanup. Administrator Pruitt has set the expectation that there will be a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites across the country.

EPA adds sites to the NPL when contamination threatens human health and the environment. EPA deletes sites from the NPL once all response actions are complete and all cleanup goals have been achieved. EPA typically initiates Superfund involvement because states, tribes or citizens ask for the Agency’s help. The Agency may also find contamination during its own investigations.

The Franklin Street Groundwater Contamination site is one of six sites to be added to the NPL today, and were included in the most recent proposed rule in January 2018, evidence of the EPA’s commitment to expediting the Superfund process.

The NPL is one focus area of the Superfund Task Force Recommendations that were announced in July 2017 to improve and revitalize the Superfund program.

For information on the Franklin Street Groundwater Contamination site: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/franklinstreetgroundwater

The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites

For information about Superfund and the NPL: http://www.epa.gov/superfund

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Superfund Task Force. In May 2017 Administrator Scott Pruitt established a task force to restore EPA's Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency's core mission to protect health and the environment. Click here to learn more.