EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Releases the Seventh Update to the Administrator’s Superfund Emphasis List, Helping to Accelerate Progress at Sites Across the Country
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the seventh update to the Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action. In this latest update, the Universal Oil Products site in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and the Arsenic Mine in the Town of Kent, New York, were removed from the list, and two sites were added: The DePue (New Jersey Zinc) site in the Village of DePue, Illinois; and the Carter Carburetor site in St. Louis, Missouri.
“All Americans deserve timely action on Superfund site cleanups in their communities – not delays,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I’m happy to report that two sites are back on track to become safe, reusable properties for the citizens of East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Kent, New York. We will continue to advance or accelerate Superfund cleanups across the country by addressing issues that cause site-specific delays.”
Since the creation of the Administrator’s Emphasis List in 2017, 16 sites have been removed from the list after achieving critical milestones causing delays or solving other issues slowing the pace of cleanup. With this update, there are a total of 17 Superfund sites on the Administrator’s Emphasis List. Today’s update includes:
- Removing the Universal Oil Products site in East Rutherford, New Jersey, from the Administrator’s Emphasis List because the milestone to select a remedy that addresses lagoon and wetland sediments at the site was achieved in August 2019. EPA expects the cleanup process at this site to move forward expeditiously and will continue to monitor the site’s progress to ensure that cleanup is not delayed. The Universal Oil Products site is a 75-acre site where various chemicals were manufactured from 1930 until 1979. The site has been on the National Priorities List (NPL) since September 1983 and is divided into several cleanup areas.
- Removing Arsenic Mine in the Town of Kent, New York, from the Administrator’s Emphasis List because the site milestone was achieved when the agency made a final determination to finalize the site on the NPL. EPA proposed the site to the NPL on June 3, 2019, and considered the comments received from the public on the proposal. Finalizing the site on NPL indicates the need for further investigation that may warrant long term action under Superfund. In the interim, EPA has initiated actions to reduce homeowner’s exposure to contaminated soil in current high-use areas at seven residences.
- Adding the DePue (New Jersey Zinc) site in the Village of DePue, Illinois, to the Administrator’s Emphasis List to facilitate negotiations with the site’s potentially responsible parties (PRPs). Negotiations between the State of Illinois and the PRPs reached an impasse. In response to the state’s request, on Oct. 18, 2019, EPA assumed the lead of the site and will now move forward to implement site cleanup activities. The Administrator’s Emphasis List milestone is to negotiate and reach agreement with the PRPs to conduct the cleanup at the site’s Operable Unit 4 by Feb. 1, 2020. The DePue (New Jersey Zinc) site is a 950-acre site that contained a zinc smelting facility and a phosphate fertilizer plant. The site is contaminated with elevated levels of zinc, lead, arsenic, cadmium, chromium and copper. EPA placed the site on the NPL in May 1999.
- Adding the Carter Carburetor site in St. Louis, Missouri, to the Administrator’s Emphasis List to advance the site’s return to the community for productive use. While all cleanup actions have been completed, concerns over future operation and maintenance of the protective cap at the site have hindered final site closeout and have delayed the return of the site to the community for redevelopment and utilization. The Administrator’s Emphasis List milestone is to complete the final site removal action report by January 2020 and secure a Prospective Purchaser Agreement by March 2020. This site is a former carburetor manufacturing facility the size of several city blocks.
Today’s Administrator’s Emphasis List updates continue to demonstrate the EPA’s commitment to the Superfund program and the list’s effectiveness in facilitating progress by resolving issues at Superfund cleanup projects across the country. After these sites have achieved their milestones and are removed from the list, EPA continues to monitor the sites to ensure the administrator’s attention has led to significant progress towards cleanup.
One such former Administrator’s Emphasis List site that has been able to successfully make significant progress towards cleanup is the Centredale Manor Restoration Project in North Providence, Rhode Island. Prior to the Centredale Manor Restoration Project’s temporary listing on the Administrator’s List from December 2017 to July 2018, the site experienced delays due to litigation and the lack of progress in negotiations with the responsible party. An agreement was finalized with the PRP – the milestone identified for the Administrator’s List– after it was added to the list, which jumpstarted the site’s Superfund cleanup. Last month, Administrator Wheeler signed the Explanation of Significant Difference that modified the site’s 2012 Record of Decision. Now, construction of the cleanup has started.
EPA established the Administrator’s Emphasis List in December 2017 in response to recommendations from EPA’s Superfund Task Force. The list is comprised of sites identified by Administrator Wheeler and EPA regional offices that will benefit from the administrator’s immediate attention or action. Each site on the list has a short-term milestone to provide the basis for tracking the site’s progress.
The list serves as a mechanism to address specific milestones that may cause delays in a site’s cleanup progress. EPA considers removing a site from the list once the milestone is achieved and the cleanup activities at that site are back on track. The list is updated quarterly with sites moving on and off the list as needed. Removal from the Administrator’s Emphasis List does not change the site’s status on the NPL.
EPA remains committed to addressing risks at all Superfund sites, not just those on the Administrator’s Emphasis List. EPA continues to accelerate progress at all Superfund sites across the country.
The updated Administrator’s Emphasis List is available on the agency’s website at