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EPA Proposes to add site in Odessa, Texas to National Priorities List

Nationwide, four sites proposed, six sites added, and one removed

09/01/2020
Contact Information: 
Joe Hubbard or Jennah Durant at R6Press@epa.gov

DALLAS – (Sept. 1, 2020) the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the proposed addition of Northwest Odessa Groundwater site to the National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks. The site contains contamination that is potentially threatening the Trinity/Antlers portion of the Edwards-Trinity Plateau Aquifer System in Odessa, Texas.

Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has re-emerged as a priority to fulfill the agency’s mission. EPA’s renewed focus has spurred action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of communities, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations.

Over the last three years, EPA has fully or partially delisted 55 sites from the National Priorities List. In Fiscal Year 2019 alone, EPA deleted all or part of 27 Superfund sites from the NPL – the largest number of deletions in a single year since Fiscal Year 2001.

“Communities with sites on the National Priorities List are a true national priority under the Trump administration,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Many of the sites we are adding today are in vulnerable, low-income, and minority communities that deserve our attention. EPA is demonstrating our commitment to assist overburdened communities in becoming cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous places to live, work, and go to school.”

“At EPA, we are taking action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of communities, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “By adding it to the NPL, EPA prioritizes this site, removing hazards from the community for the benefit of local families, businesses, and natural resources.”

The Northwest Odessa Groundwater site is a chlorinated solvent-contaminated groundwater plume of unknown origin with the site center located at the intersection of 54th Street and Andrews Highway in Odessa, Texas. The area consists primarily of commercial and light industrial properties, used by various businesses from the mid-1950s along Andrews Highway, with residential areas to the east and west of the site center.

The NPL includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only releases at sites included on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup.

Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24% within three miles of sites after cleanup.

Redeveloped Superfund sites can generate substantial economic activity. Thanks to Superfund cleanups, previously blighted properties are now being used for a wide range of purposes, including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, warehouses and solar power generation. At 602 Superfund sites returned to productive use, 9,180 businesses operate with 208,400 employees earning more than $14.4 billion in annual income.

Community members are key partners at Superfund sites, and their early involvement leads to better cleanup decisions, including those about a site’s future use.

Today’s actions are, in part, the result of EPA putting the recommendations of the Superfund Task Force to work. EPA jump-started progress at sites that had long-standing obstacles; took early action to address immediate risks; increased the number of sites that can be returned to communities for reuse; and incentivized work by potentially responsible parties. Since the completion of the Superfund Task Force’s work one year ago, the recommendations have been integrated into the Superfund program and at all NPL sites. The agency will continue to prioritize expediting cleanups to protect human health and the environment across the country.

For more about EPA’s work in Texas: https://www.epa.gov/tx

For more about the National Priorities List: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-national-priorities-list-npl

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Activities in EPA Region 6: https://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central

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