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EPA adds Newark site to Superfund list, proposes adding Hockessin site

01/09/2018
Contact Information: 
Roy Seneca (seneca.roy@epa.gov)
215-814-5567

PHILADELPHIA (January 9, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took action on two contaminated groundwater sites in Delaware by adding the Newark South Groundwater Plume site to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites and by proposing the Hockessin Groundwater site to the same list.

The NPL is the list of hazardous waste sites in the United States eligible for remedial action financed under the federal Superfund program.  These two sites in Delaware are among the four sites nationwide that EPA is adding to the NPL and 10 sites nationwide that EPA is proposing to the NPL.

“Today’s action ensures the necessary resources are available for effective and safe revitalization of some of the most contaminated sites across the country,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Superfund clean-up continues to be a priority at EPA as we work intently to create a safer and healthier environment for all communities affected.”    

Superfund, which Congress established in 1980, investigates and cleans up hazardous waste sites and converts them into community resources. 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.

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 Newark site, located in the southeast section of Newark, consists of groundwater contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE).  The City of Newark has reported low levels of the contaminants in the untreated groundwater from several of its public supply wells since 2000.  The public drinking water supplied by the city is treated to remove the contaminants and continues to meet Federal and State Safe Drinking Water Act standards.

Investigations conducted by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) have identified several potential source areas.  EPA originally proposed the Newark site to the NPL on August 3.  The designation is now finalized following a 60-day public comment period.

EPA’s next step at the Newark site will be to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study to determine the extent of contamination and assess potential threats to human health and the environment. This also includes evaluation of various cleanup options.

The Hockessin site consists of approximately 32 acres along Delaware State Route 41 through Hockessin, and encompasses numerous commercial, businesses, and residential, properties.  An EPA assessment has identified considerable movement of PCE contamination in the groundwater in the village of Hockessin.

There are two dry cleaners in the vicinity where historical operations continue to contribute to the groundwater contamination.  There may be other sources within the area as well. The Artesian Water Authority uses ground water wells as the primary source of drinking water in this area.  The water authority treats the contaminated groundwater, and the final processed drinking water meets all regulatory standards.

EPA will accept public comments on the proposed listing of the Hockessin site for a 60-day public comment period.  EPA will schedule a public meeting during the comment period to explain details of the Hockessin.

Community partnerships are critical to Superfund site cleanups.  EPA's goal is to work with community partners at every site by establishing and utilizing a process to explore future uses before the cleanup remedy is selected.  This gives EPA the best chance of ensuring that sites are cleaned up in a manner that is consistent with a site’s anticipated future use.  

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.

The task force’s recommendations focused on five overarching goals: expediting cleanup and remediation, reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties, encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse, promoting redevelopment and community revitalization and engaging with partners and stakeholders.

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

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

Information about these and other proposed and final NPL sites is available on EPA's website: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites