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EPA hosts March public meetings in Minden, W. Va. to share latest soil, sediment sampling results

Site assessment process begins for Superfund National Priorities List evaluation

03/08/2018
Contact Information: 
Roy Seneca (seneca.roy@epa.gov)
(215) 814-5567

PHILADELPHIA (March 8, 2018) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be hosting public meetings March 16 and 17 in Minden, West Virginia to share results with the community from the latest round of soil sampling taken in Minden and explain the site assessment process. The most recent soil sampling has identified Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) at levels that do not indicate an immediate threat to human health.  

EPA is continuing to coordinate with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) on all sampling, monitoring and evaluation work in Minden.

EPA collected soil and sediment samples in December to further investigate areas sampled in June 2017 and to confirm the presence of potential soil and sediment contamination. The latest results, which included 37 surface soil samples and 27 sediment samples from Arbuckle Creek, continue to show PCBs, but do not indicate an immediate threat to human health. Therefore, EPA does not anticipate the need to take immediate action to address soils in residential areas.

EPA conducted the two rounds of sampling in response to concerns from residents about potential health effects from the Shaffer Equipment site where EPA conducted cleanup work in 2002. The Shaffer Equipment Company used the site to manufacture equipment used in mining that included transformers and other electrical equipment that contained PCBs.

EPA’s cleanup work included excavating soil and constructing a one acre cap over an area where contaminated soil from the six-acre site that included the remains of a demolished building were placed. In June 2017, EPA inspected the cap and determined that it needed minor repairs as a result of storm damage. During the week of March 19, EPA will survey the cap, determine the extent of those repairs and begin working to implement any corrective action warranted.

During the public meetings, EPA representatives also will discuss its plan to assess the Shaffer Equipment site to determine if it qualifies to be placed on EPA’s Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The Superfund NPL is the list of hazardous waste sites in the U.S. that are eligible for federal funding to pay for extensive evaluation and potential, long-term cleanup actions.

The assessment will include conducting a separate sampling effort beginning this month. Soil samples will be collected from the Shaffer Equipment property and from residential properties.

Sampling data will be used to develop the Hazard Ranking System (HRS) package for the site. Currently, there is insufficient data to determine if the Shaffer Equipment Site will qualify for listing on the Superfund NPL. If a site has a high enough HRS score and meets other criteria, EPA, with the agreement of the Governor, may propose that it be added to the Superfund NPL If listed, EPA will conduct an assessment that will look at long term health risks.

More information on the process to add a site to the Superfund NPL can be found at: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-national-priorities-list-npl

Continued evaluation and maintenance work at the site is not expected to have any impact on ongoing work involving sewer lines in Minden. Furthermore, based on all sampling results available at this time, there is no need to further delay the construction of the force main sewer line.

The public meetings will be held at the New Beginning Apostolic Church, 179 McKinney Road in Minden on Friday, March 16 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturday, March 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.  Representatives from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, WVDEP, and West Virginia Bureau of Public Health (to be confirmed) will also be available to answer questions about sampling results and health concerns. 

For more information on EPA’s response efforts at Shaffer Equipment Site and surrounding areas in Minden, visit: https://response.epa.gov/ShafferEquipmentCompany

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Superfund Task Force. In May 2017 Administrator Scott Pruitt established a task force to restore EPA's Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the Agency's core mission to protect health and the environment. Click here to learn more.