EPA Adds Clearwater Refinishing in South Carolina to Superfund National Priorities List and Removes Capitol City Plume in Alabama
ATLANTA (September 3, 2020) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the addition of six sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) including Clearwater Refinishing in Clearwater, S.C. where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks. EPA is also proposing to add another four sites to the NPL, while removing one previously proposed site, Capitol City Plume in Montgomery, Ala. that was never finalized.
Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has re-emerged as a priority to fulfill the agency’s mission. EPA’s renewed focus has spurred action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of communities, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations.
“Communities with sites on the National Priorities List are a true national priority under the Trump administration,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Many of the sites we are adding are in vulnerable, low-income, and minority communities that deserve our attention. EPA is demonstrating our commitment to assist overburdened communities in becoming cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous places to live, work, and go to school.”
“Cleaning up Superfund sites continues to be a top priority for EPA,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “This action ensures that these sites will be addressed, protecting the health of communities, and returning them to productive use. It further demonstrates EPA’s commitment to employ innovative strategies to address contamination cleanup in communities across the southeast.”
Clearwater Refinishing is a former textile dyeing and finishing plant, located on State Road 126 in Clearwater. The site abuts Clearwater Lake and Little Horse Creek. The surrounding area includes extensive wetlands, vacant land, and a mix of residential and commercial uses. Clearwater Refinishing site contamination was documented in soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater at concentrations above health based and ecological screening levels.
"The addition of the Clearwater Refinishing Site is great news for South Carolina and the Clearwater community," said Henry Porter, DHEC Bureau Chief of Land and Waste Management. "While some removal work was completed in the past, this listing will allow EPA and the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to fully assess the site, complete cleanup activities, and return the site to a productive reuse in the community. DHEC and EPA have a history of successfully partnering on NPL projects, and we look forward to continuing this successful relationship through cleanup of the Clearwater Refinishing Site."
EPA is also withdrawing a previous proposal to add the Capitol City Plume (also referred to as Capitol City Plume) site in Montgomery to the NPL because cleanup work is progressing under the state’s authority. EPA uses all available tools to ensure the protection of human health and the environment, and various non-NPL avenues for site cleanup may be more appropriate to meet a specific site’s cleanup needs. These alternative cleanup avenues may include deferral to another authority (state/tribal or federal), referral to EPA’s emergency response program, or actions through EPA enforcement agreements with responsible parties.
“Removal of this site from the status of a proposed NPL site is a major positive development for the city of Montgomery and the state of Alabama,” said Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) Director Lance LeFleur “This action is the result of an innovative and cooperative effort by Montgomery elected leadership, private sector leaders, EPA Region 4 and ADEM over a five-year period. A remediation plan that includes source removal, institutional controls and groundwater monitoring is in place to protect public health and the environment in the affected areas of downtown Montgomery. The Alabama Department of Environmental Management has been most pleased to work with EPA to address contaminated sites in Alabama.”
The NPL includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only releases at sites included on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup.
Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24% within three miles of sites after cleanup.
Redeveloped Superfund sites can generate substantial economic activity. Thanks to Superfund cleanups, previously blighted properties are now being used for a wide range of purposes, including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, warehouses and solar power generation. At 602 Superfund sites returned to productive use, 9,180 businesses operate with 208,400 employees earning more than $14.4 billion in annual income.
Community members are key partners at Superfund sites, and their early involvement leads to better cleanup decisions, including those about a site’s future use.
Yesterday’s actions are, in part, the result of EPA putting the recommendations of the Superfund Task Force to work. EPA jump-started progress at sites that had long-standing obstacles; took early action to address immediate risks; increased the number of sites that can be returned to communities for reuse; and incentivized work by potentially responsible parties. Since the completion of the Superfund Task Force’s work one year ago, the recommendations have been integrated into the Superfund program and at all NPL sites. The agency will continue to prioritize expediting cleanups to protect human health and the environment across the country.
For information about Superfund and the NPL, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund
For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for NPL and proposed sites, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites
For more information about the Superfund Task Force, please visit: https://epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force
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