EPA Takes Action to Address Risks to Public Health by proposing to add the National Fireworks site in Cordova, Tennessee to the National Priorities List
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (September 9, 2021) —This week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is adding four sites and proposing to add another 13 sites including the National Fireworks site in Cordova, Tennessee to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose significant human health and environmental risks. EPA is also withdrawing a previously proposed site, following the Agency’s science-based determination that placing the site on the NPL is not needed to protect human health and the environment.
With this Superfund NPL update, the Biden-Harris Administration is demonstrating a commitment to updating the NPL twice a year. By pledging to add sites more regularly to the NPL, EPA is taking action to protect the health of communities across the country while cleaning up and returning blighted properties to safe and productive reuse in areas where environmental cleanup and jobs are needed most.
“EPA recognizes that no community deserves to have contaminated sites near where they live, work, pray, and go to school. By adding sites to the Superfund NPL, we are helping to ensure that more communities living near the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination have the protection they deserve,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to increasing funding and working with Congress on the bipartisan infrastructure deal to provide the Superfund Program with the resources it needs to address a backlog of sites awaiting cleanup, as well as additional sites in need of cleanup.”
"EPA continues to protect public health and the environment in communities where industrial contamination from the past continues to pose a threat," said EPA Acting Region 4 Administrator John Blevins. "Once the National Fireworks site is listed on the NPL, we will begin a comprehensive study and cleanup work in Cordova to help ensure that health and the environment in this community is protected."
The National Fireworks site is a former manufacturer of munitions that included flares, grenades, incendiary bombs, and large caliber rounds for the United States Army and Navy. National Fireworks operated from 1942 to 1945. Operations included mixing chemicals and testing manufactured goods on-site. Also, located on the property is a burn pit which was used for disposal of building materials and chemicals. Other areas at the site were used for testing signal flares and disposal of various chemical wastes. The 260-acre site was redeveloped in 1986 as an industrial park.
Metals and chlorinated solvent contamination were identified in the soils and groundwater on the site. An Expanded Site Inspection conducted in 2018, identified the presence of groundwater and soil contamination at an operating facility adjacent to the National Fireworks Superfund Site. The adjacent property is conducting environmental restoration activities for contamination on that property under a 2020 agreement with the U.S. EPA and the Tennessee Department of Environmental Conservation (TDEC) and not included in the proposed site addition.
EPA is adding the following sites to the NPL:
- Pioneer Metal Finishing Inc in Franklinville, New Jersey
- Northwest Odessa Groundwater in Odessa, Texas
- Cherokee Zinc – Weir Smelter in Wier, Kansas
- Billings PCE in Billings, Montana
EPA is also proposing to add the following sites to the NPL:
- Lower Neponset River, Boston/Milton, Massachusetts
- Meeker Avenue Plume, Brooklyn, New York
- Ochoa Fertilizer Co, Guánica, Puerto Rico
- Bear Creek Sediments, Baltimore County, Maryland
- Paden City Groundwater, Paden City, West Virginia
- Westside Lead, Atlanta, Georgia
- Galey & Lord Plant, Society Hill, South Carolina
- National Fireworks, Cordova, Tennessee
- North 5th Street Groundwater Contamination, Goshen, Indiana
- Michner Plating – Mechanic Street, Jackson, Michigan
- Southeast Hennepin Area Groundwater and Vapor, Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Unity Auto Mart, Unity, Wisconsin
- Bradford Island, Cascade Locks, Oregon
This list includes sites contaminated with lead and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), two contaminants that the EPA is committed to addressing using the best available science, and our full range of statutory authorities.
With this update, the Agency is also withdrawing a previous proposal to add the Highway 71/72 Refinery in Bossier City, Louisiana, to the NPL because a responsible party, under EPA oversight, is advancing the site’s cleanup. EPA uses all available tools to ensure the protection of human health and the environment, and various non-NPL site cleanup alternatives may be more appropriate to meet a specific site’s cleanup needs.
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.
EPA proposes sites to the NPL based on a scientific determination of risks to people and the environment, consistent with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan.
Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in both birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24 percent within three miles of sites after cleanup.
Further, thanks to Superfund cleanups, communities are now using previously blighted properties for a wide range of purposes, including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, warehouses, and solar power generation. As of 2020, EPA has collected economic data on 632 Superfund sites, finding 9,900 businesses in operation, 227,000 people employed, $16.3 billion in employee-earned income, and $63.3 billion in business-generated sales.
For information about Superfund and the NPL, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund
For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for NPL and proposed sites, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites