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EPA Proposes Shaffer Equipment Company/Arbuckle Creek Area Site In Minden, W. Va. To Superfund National Priorities List

09/11/2018
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PHILADELPHIA (September 11, 2018) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is proposing to add the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area Site in Minden, West Virginia to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites.

“In adding these sites to the NPL, EPA is carrying out one of our core responsibilities to the American people,” said EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Cleaning up sites that pose risks to public health and the environment is a critical part of our mission and it provides significant health and economic benefits to communities across the country.”

“Today, we are proposing to add the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area Site in Minden to the National Priorities List,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “This is part of EPA’s continuing effort to conduct a thorough study to evaluate the contamination issues in the community and develop a remediation plan that will protect human health and the environment.”

“I am very pleased to learn that the EPA is proposing to add the Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area Site to the National Priorities list of Superfund sites,” said West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice. “Ongoing study will determine the best way to move forward and ensure that the threat to public health and the environment is finally eliminated.”

“The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) has closely followed EPA’s efforts to evaluate this site,” said WVDEP Cabinet Secretary Austin Caperton. “We are fully supportive of the process which has led to this proposed listing of NPL sites. The WVDEP encourages everyone with an interest in this action to write to the EPA during the public comment period and share their concerns.”

The Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area Site is among six sites being proposed to the NPL today. EPA is also finalizing the addition of five other sites to the NPL. These additions represent commitments from the Agency to advance cleanup to protect communities across the country.

The site consists of sediments in Arbuckle Creek that are contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) which have spread to residential properties due to frequent flooding in the area. Elevated levels of PCBs have been found up to one mile downstream in Arbuckle Creek. Wetlands along the creek and endangered species’ habitats are also contaminated.

In addition, the creek flows into the New River Gorge National River which is used extensively for recreation and fishing.

The Shaffer Equipment Company used the site from 1970-1984 to manufacture equipment used in mining that included transformers and other electrical equipment that contained PCBs.

From 1984 to 1991, EPA performed two soil removal actions at the site. In 1997, the EPA was notified of a fire at the remaining building on the Shaffer property that contained materials with PCBs. EPA conducted another assessment and contracted with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to design a cap for the remaining contaminated soils and building debris. The USACE completed the construction of the cap in 2002.

The state of West Virginia referred the site to the EPA because of the risk to residents and those who use the creek and river for fishing or other recreational purposes. Other federal and state cleanup programs were evaluated, but are not viable at this time. EPA received a letter of support from Governor Jim Justice for placing this site on the NPL.

EPA will accept public comments on the proposed listing for 60 days following publication of the proposal in the Federal Register on Thursday, Sept. 13.

Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has reemerged as a priority to fulfill and strengthen EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment. Since October 2017, EPA has deleted 10 full sites, and two partial sites from the NPL.

Background

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

EPA initiates Superfund involvement at sites when states, tribes, or communities ask for the agency’s help, or when the agency finds contamination during its own investigations. Sites are deleted from the NPL once the agency completes all response actions and achieves all cleanup objectives. The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which established the Superfund program, requires EPA to update the NPL annually.

The Superfund program has been providing important health benefits to communities across the country for more than 35 years.

Superfund cleanups also strengthen local economies. Data collected through 2017 shows that at 487 Superfund sites in reuse, approximately 6,600 businesses are generating $43.6 billion in sales and employ 156,000 people who earned a combined income of $11.2 billion.

The NPL is one focus area of the 2017 Superfund Task Force Recommendations to improve and revitalize the Superfund program. On July 23, 2018, EPA released the Superfund Task Force 2018 Recommendations Update. 

The 2018 Recommendation Update can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations-2018-update

The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites

For information about Superfund and the NPL:  http://www.epa.gov/superfund

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