EPA Updates Superfund National Priorities List to Clean Up Pollution, Address Public Health Risks, and Build a Better America
EPA Proposes to Add Brillo Landfill Site in Cayuga County, New York to Superfund List
NEW YORK - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is adding 12 sites and proposing to add another five, including the Brillo Landfill, an inactive hazardous waste disposal facility in Victory, New York, to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The federal NPL includes sites where releases of contamination pose significant human health and environmental risks.
“No community deserves to have contaminated sites near where they live, work, play, and go to school. Nearly 2 out of 3 of the sites being proposed or added to the priorities list are in overburdened or underserved communities,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “EPA is building a better America by taking action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect communities’ health, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations.”
"A proactive approach in addressing the lingering contamination at the former Brillo Landfill is needed to safeguard local wetlands and mitigate the potential impacts on private drinking water wells," said Regional Administrator Lisa F. Garcia. "With this proposal, EPA is showing the Victory, New York community that historical contamination will not sit idle in their backyards and threaten their wetlands."
“I’m pleased to see the EPA propose adding the Brillo Landfill in Victory, New York to the Superfund National Priorities List,” said Representative John Katko. “This move would provide federal funding to address legacy pollution in Cayuga County and was made possible by investments from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which I strongly supported. This cleanup effort would provide a long-term solution for our community and I’m glad to see the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law making a positive impact in Cayuga County.”
“New York State welcomes U.S. EPA’s proposed addition of the Brillo Landfill site and finalization of the Meeker Avenue Plume site to the Federal Superfund Program’s National Priorities List,” said New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. “Working collaboratively with DEC, our federal partners will deploy the best available science and resources to protect the Greenpoint and East Williamsburg communities by addressing the soil, soil vapor, and groundwater plume in the vicinity of Meeker Avenue, and continue the critical work of preventing potential exposure to the public. DEC remains committed to partnering with the Biden Administration and EPA Administrator Regan to advance the cleanup of former industrial sites in Brooklyn, the town of Victory, and statewide to protect public health and the environment.”
Now closed, the Brillo Landfill accepted a variety of industrial and sanitary wastes, as well as paint and wastewater treatment sludge. As a result, it is currently contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and metals such as lead and mercury in numerous waste disposal units and surrounding soil. Further NYSDEC investigations in 2021 found similar contamination and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in the nearby wetlands, which border Little Sodus Creek.
EPA conducted an immediate removal action to protect public health in June 2018, removing approximately 2,000 intact drums and drum carcasses, including about 8,000 gallons of liquid waste and 782 tons of contaminated soil and other solid debris. However, the site still requires a long-term cleanup to address the remaining contamination. Groundwater sampling results from facility monitoring wells show site-related contaminants above federal and state groundwater standards. NYSDEC has tested private drinking water wells within a one-mile radius of the site and has not identified impacts to these wells at this time. NYSDEC continues to monitor the groundwater for potential effects on these wells.
Thousands of contaminated sites, from landfills, processing plants, to manufacturing facilities exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed. President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will accelerate EPA’s work to help communities clean up these contaminated sites with a $3.5 billion investment in the Superfund Remedial Program and reinstates the Superfund chemical excise taxes, making it one of the largest investments in American history to address legacy pollution. This historic investment strengthens EPA’s ability to tackle threats to human health and the environment, and EPA has already set action in motion to clear the backlog of the 49 contaminated sites which had been awaiting funding to start remedial action.
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 2021, EPA has collected economic data on 650 Superfund sites. At these sites, there are 10,230 businesses operating on these sites, 246,000 people employed, an estimated $18.6 billion in income earned by employees, and $65.8 billion in sales generated by businesses.
With this Superfund NPL update, the Biden-Harris Administration is following through on its commitment to update the NPL twice a year, as opposed to once per year. The Superfund Program is also part of President Biden’s Justice40 initiative, which aims to ensure that federal agencies deliver at least 40 percent of benefits from certain investments to underserved communities.
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. Before EPA adds a site to the NPL, a site must meet EPA’s requirements and be proposed for addition to the list in the Federal Register, subject to a 60-day public comment period. EPA will add the site 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.
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