EPA Administrator Wheeler Highlights Superfund Redevelopment, Clean Air Progress in Visit Southeast Virginia
Norfolk, Va. (August 24, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler kicked off his swing through the Mid-Atlantic region with stops in southeast Virginia. Administrator Wheeler and EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio toured the Virginia Port Authority in Norfolk and saw firsthand the cleanup and redevelopment success at the Former Nansemond Ordance Depot Superfund site in Suffolk, Va.
“The Trump administration has put a renewed focus on Superfund clean-ups since the moment it entered office,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The Nansemond Superfund clean-up has transformed this area of Suffolk with new businesses and housing developments. Combined with the replacement of old diesel engines with new cleaner ones at the Virginia Port Authority, the entire Norfolk-Newport News metro area is benefiting from a cleaner environment with EPA’s help.”
“By engaging our partners and communities through strong science, we’ve achieved the greatest record of Superfund success in decades; restoring these contaminated properties and returning them to community assets,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Cleaning up toxic sites and returning them to safe and productive reuse is critical to EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. As we celebrate EPA’s 50th Anniversary, we are proud to showcase Superfund clean-up efforts like the Former Nansemond Ordnance Depot.”
Administrator Wheeler began his trip visiting the Virginia Port Authority where EPA has awarded Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) grants to the Port Authority to replace older diesel straddle carriers. The DERA program provides rebates and grant funding to replace diesel vehicles and engines with equipment that meets or exceeds current emissions standards. This year, EPA awarded $2,375,000 to the Virginia Port Authority to replace ten older straddle carriers with newer hybrid models. These grants provide cost-effective reductions of harmful diesel pollution across the U.S., particularly in areas where air quality is concern.
He then took part in a boat tour where he observed the Southern Coal Terminal, Hampton Road Wastewater facility, and Army Corps Drudging for Future Marine Terminal.
Following his stop at the Port Authority, Administrator Wheeler visited the Nansemond Ordance Depot Superfund site where he received a briefing on cleanup progress from Region 3 staff. Added to the National Priorities List in 1999, the U.S. Department of Defense used the property for munitions storage, shipment, classification, reconditioning, loading and destruction. The facility handled up to 1,300 tons of ammunition daily. The site’s cleanup has included the removal of munitions, explosives, contaminated debris and various military items, as well as the removal of contaminated soil.
In addition to Regional Administrator Servidio, Administrator Wheeler was joined by Virginia Department of Environmental Quality Director David Paylor, Suffolk Economic Development Authority Director Kevin Hughes, Army Corps. of Engineers Norfolk District Commander Col. Patrick V. Kinsman, and Tidewater Community College Executive Director Matt Baumgarten.
Though the site is still undergoing cleanup, the formerly used defense site has been transformed into a thriving community that has showcased the importance of successful remediation and redevelopment. To date, 26 on-site businesses are employing approximately over 700 people with annual sales revenue reported at $60.2 million. The Trump Administration has made it a priority to cleanup Superfund sites and redevelop communities adversely impacted by toxic, surrounding environments.