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News Releases from Region 06

EPA Adds Jennings, La, Site to National Priorities List to Reduce Risk to Public Health and Environment

09/08/2016
Contact Information: 
Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard (R6Press@epa.gov)
214 665-2200

DALLAS – (Sept. 8, 2016) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced SBA Shipyard site in Jennings, Jefferson Davis Parish, La, will be added to the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) of the nation’s most contaminated sites.

“Protecting Louisiana residents’ health and the state’s environment are important priorities for EPA,” said Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Cleaning up sites like the SBA Shipyard and others on the NPL will help EPA achieve those goals.”

The SBA site, a 98-acre property in the southwest area of the Mermentau River, was used as a construction repair and maintenance facility for barges from 1965 to 1999. The barges typically serviced diesel, coal tar, creosote, asphalt and crude oil. Soil, sediment and groundwater at the site are contaminated with waste from barge cleaning activities that was co-mingled in on-site pits. Contaminates include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and metals.

Contamination has migrated from the facility to underlying ground water, adjacent wetlands and nearby surface waters. The Mermentau River borders the SBA property and is fished recreationally. EPA is working to prevent contamination releases from an abandoned barge that is buried on-site.

Nationwide, EPA added 10 sites to the NPL and proposed to add eight other. EPA adds sites to the NPL when mismanagement of contamination threatens public health and the environment. EPA typically initiates Superfund involvement at a site because states, tribes or citizens ask for the agency’s help. The agency may also find contamination during its own investigations.

These sites can threaten the health of entire communities with short-term or long-term risks. Some groups of people, such as children, pregnant women and the elderly, may be at particular risk. Ecosystems at Superfund sites can be harmed when contaminants accumulate in plants and animals, reducing survival and growth rates, altering the composition of species in an area, seriously damaging or destroying the ecosystem, and rendering fish, shellfish, game and plants inedible. Also, activities at some sites have resulted in destruction of vegetation and topsoil, increasing risks of flooding and storm damage.

Superfund cleanups benefit the health of those who live on or near Superfund sites. Academic research has shown these cleanups reduce birth defects close to a site by as much as 25 percent. When EPA cleans up a site or a portion of a site, it frequently returns to beneficial uses. More than 850 Superfund sites nationwide have some type of actual or planned reuse underway. Cleanups also increase tax revenue and create jobs during and after cleanup. EPA reviewed 454 Superfund sites supporting use or reuse activities and found that these sites had approximately 3,900 businesses with 108,000 employees and annual sales of more than $29 billion. 

Community partnerships are critical to Superfund site cleanups. EPA's goal is to work with community partners at every site by establishing an effective process to fully explore future uses before the cleanup remedy’s selection. This approach gives EPA the best chance of ensuring remedies are consistent with a site’s likely future use.   

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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