EPA Announces New Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) Superfund Cleanup Projects in Pennsylvania
Biden-Harris Administration BIL funding enables start of new cleanup projects at 22 Superfund sites, along with 100 other ongoing cleanups
WASHINGTON (Feb. 10, 2023) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the second wave of approximately $1 billion in funding today from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) to start new cleanup projects at 22 Superfund sites, including the Jackson Ceramix, Inc. and Ryeland Road Arsenic sites in Jefferson and Berks counties and expedite over 100 other ongoing cleanups across the country.
“Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, we are moving faster than ever before to progress clean up at contaminated sites – from manufacturing facilities to landfills – in communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “But our work is not yet finished – we’re continuing to build on this momentum to ensure that communities living near many of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination finally get the investments and protections they deserve.”
There are thousands of contaminated sites across the country due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed. Superfund cleanups help transform and repurpose contaminated properties into residences, retail and office space warehouses, solar power generation, and more. In addition, these sites can support natural areas, parks, and recreation facilities, providing greenspace and safe places for families to play outside.
“The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is making Pennsylvania healthier and more prosperous, including communities that have historically missed out on federal funding,” U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) said. “The people of Jefferson and Berks Counties deserve this funding and deserve to breathe cleaner air and drink cleaner water—rights guaranteed to them by our Commonwealth’s constitution.”
The Jackson Ceramix, Inc. Superfund Site, located in Falls Creek, Jefferson County, is a former china manufacturing facility that operated until 1985. Historical operations resulted in primarily lead contamination in soils, sediments, surface water and a nearby wetland. New BIL investments will be used to clean-up the Site and will include repairing the existing soil cover, thermal treatment, and removal of contaminated soils and sediments.
“We are very excited to be moving forward with the cleanup of the Jackson Ceramix Superfund site. We feel that once this project is completed it will open up this property for economic development in our community, providing a facility that will offer jobs for our extended community, and an increased tax base for our Borough,” said Chuck Case, Borough Manager, Falls Creek, Pa.
The Ryeland Road Arsenic Superfund Site, located in Heidelberg Township, formerly housed facilities that made pesticides, fungicides, paints and varnishes, and disposed of waste. Past operations contaminated soil and groundwater with arsenic, lead and other chemicals. New federal dollars will be used to further the cleanup efforts, which will include removing soil contamination.
"We’re thankful that the federal government is helping Heidelberg Township and for looking out for the wealth, health, and betterment of our community. We’re hoping to see this site turned into greenspace for future generations.” said David Randler, Chairman of the Board, Heidelberg Township.
The $1 billion investment announced today is the second wave of funding from the $3.5 billion allocated for Superfund cleanup work. With the first wave of funding announced in December 2021, EPA deployed more than $1 billion for cleanup activities at more than 100 sites across the country. Thanks to this historic funding, EPA started 81 new cleanup projects in 2022, including projects at 44 sites previously on the backlog. By starting four times as many construction projects as the year before, EPA is aggressively bringing more sites across the country closer to finishing cleanup.
“This funding brings communities that much closer to being rid of legacy contamination that’s been hindering recreational access, economic redevelopment, and ultimately – the peace of mind that comes with knowing one’s air, land, and water are safe,” said EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “EPA is steadfast in its efforts towards making that peace of mind a reality for all Pennsylvanians, regardless of the shortsightedness of industries past, while transforming contaminated properties and creating jobs in overburdened communities.”
EPA is committed to carrying out this work in line with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative by advancing environmental justice and incorporating equity considerations into all aspects of the Superfund cleanup process. Out of the 22 sites in this round of funding, 60% are in communities with the potential for environmental justice concerns based on data from EJSCREEN, a mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic socioeconomic indicators.