EPA Adds Hercules Inc. Site in Hattiesburg, Mississippi to the Superfund National Priorities List to Clean Up Pollution and Protect Public Health
HATTIESBURG, Miss. (December 20, 2022) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it has added two sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose significant human health and environmental risks. The addition of Hercules Inc. in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and PCE Carriage Cleaners in Bellevue, Nebraska will prioritize cleanup for these contaminated sites and is important for the health, safety, and revitalization of communities in these areas.
“EPA remains committed to ensuring communities living near the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination get the health and environmental protections they deserve,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Adding the Hattiesburg and Bellevue locations to our National Priorities List will advance environmental justice and help address longstanding pollution that has impacted these communities for far too long.”
“One of EPA’s highest priorities is protecting overburdened communities from the toxic effects of Superfund sites,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “By adding Hercules Inc. to the Superfund NPL, we are making good on our commitment to protect the people we serve and support local community revitalization by allowing land to be safely redeveloped for productive use.”
Thousands of contaminated sites, from landfills, to processing plants, to manufacturing facilities, exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law accelerates EPA’s work to clean up this pollution with a $3.5 billion investment in the Superfund Remedial Program. The law also reinstates the Superfund chemical excise taxes, making it one of the largest investments in American history to address legacy pollution. This historic investment strengthens EPA’s ability to tackle threats to human health and the environment, and EPA has already set action in motion to clear the backlog of the 49 contaminated sites which had been awaiting funding to start remedial action.
In addition to funding remediation projects, this investment is enabling EPA to dedicate more of its Congressionally appropriated funds and funds available from Superfund tax revenues for all other Superfund remedial activities, including remedial investigations, feasibility studies, remedial designs, and community involvement activities – thus accelerating cleanup efforts across the country.
EPA is adding the following sites to the NPL:
- Hercules Inc., Hattiesburg, Mississippi: The Hercules Inc. site was home to a former 200-acre chemical manufacturer located in a mixed residential, commercial, and industrial area. During operations, over 250 chemical products, including paper and textile chemicals, paints, varnishes, pesticides and insecticides were produced. Improper handling and disposal of these chemicals led to soil, waste and groundwater contamination in amounts that exceed EPA’s Regional Screening Levels (RSL) and Safe Drinking Water Act Maximum Contaminant Levels (MCLs).
- PCE Carriage Cleaners, Bellevue, Nebraska: The PCE Carriage Cleaners site was home to a dry cleaner business that resulted in the release of tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) at the site. This contamination caused overlying commercial and residential properties to have contaminated indoor air due to vapor intrusion. Superfund’s removal program has already installed 21 vapor mitigation systems at mixed commercial and residential buildings to address the contaminated indoor air.
The Superfund Program also advances President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40 percent of benefits from certain investments to underserved communities.
The NPL includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination. This list serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only releases at non-federal 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 both birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24 percent within three miles of sites after cleanup.
Since taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration has followed through on updating the NPL twice a year, as opposed to once per year. However, EPA has the discretion to update the list more frequently to address unique circumstances for sites needing cleanup. Today’s announcement marks the third time in 2022 that EPA has updated the NPL.
For information about Superfund and the NPL, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund.
For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the NPL and proposed sites, please visit:
New Proposed and New Superfund National Priorities List Sites