EPA Updates Superfund National Priorities List, Advancing the Agency’s Commitment to Expedite Cleanups and Protect Human Health
WASHINGTON (September 1, 2020) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is adding six sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks. EPA is also proposing to add another four sites to the NPL while removing one previously proposed site that was never finalized.
“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.”
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.
The following sites are being added to the NPL:
- Blades Groundwater Plume in Blades, DE
- Clearwater Finishing in Clearwater, S.C.
- Highway 100 and County Road 3 Groundwater Plume in St. Louis Park and Edina, MN
- Henryetta Iron and Metal in Henryetta, OK
- Caney Residential Yards in Caney, KS
- Orange County North Basin in Orange County, CA
By adding these sites to the NPL, we are taking action to address some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of the local communities, and return the sites to safe and productive reuse. While EPA may find contamination during its own investigations, EPA typically initiates Superfund involvement because states, tribes or citizens ask for the agency’s help.
Before being added to the NPL, a site must meet the listing requirements and be proposed for addition to the list in the Federal Register, subject to a 60-day public comment period. The site will be added to the NPL if it continues to meet the listing requirements after the public comment period closes and the agency has responded to any comments received.
The following sites are being proposed to the NPL:
- Pioneer Metal Finishing Inc in Franklinville, NJ
- Northwest Odessa Groundwater in Odessa, TX
- Cherokee Zinc – Weir Smelter in Wier, KS
- Billings PCE in Billings, MT
“This is a positive development. The PCE plume is not going away any time soon. Being added to the NPL will make it easier to access federal dollars for monitoring and mitigation in the future and may be very helpful,” said Billings, Mont. Mayor Bill Cole.
“I am pleased to hear that another Montana Superfund site will be prioritized for clean-up by the EPA. This decision is great news for folks in Billings and will ensure this site receives the resources and attention needed to protect the health of communities and restore this property for homes and businesses in Billings,” said U.S. Senator Steve Daines (R-MT). “I will continue working with the Administration to ensure Montana Superfund sites receive the attention and resources needed for comprehensive clean-up.”
Today, EPA is also withdrawing a previous proposal to add the Capitol City Plume (also referred to as Capital City Plume) site in Montgomery, Ala. to the NPL because cleanup work is progressing under the state’s authority. EPA uses all available tools to ensure the protection of human health and the environment, and various non-NPL avenues for site cleanup may be more appropriate to meet a specific site’s cleanup needs. These alternative cleanup avenues may include deferral to another authority (state/tribal or federal), referral to EPA’s emergency response program, or actions through EPA enforcement agreements with responsible parties.
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 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
For more information about the Superfund Task Force, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force