EPA Updates Superfund National Priorities List, Taking Action to Address Risks to Public Health and Build a Better America
Galey and Lord Site in Society Hill, South Carolina added to protect communities and chart next steps for cleanup
ATLANTA (March 17, 2022) — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is adding 12 sites and proposing to add another five sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose significant human health and environmental risks. Cleaning up contaminated sites is important for the health, safety, and revitalization of communities.
“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.”
“Protecting overburdened communities from the toxic effects of Superfund sites is one of EPA’s highest priorities,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “By adding sites such as Galey and Lord to the Superfund NPL, we are making good on our commitment to protect the people we serve and support local community revitalization by allowing land to be safely redeveloped for productive use.”
The Galey & Lord Site is a former textile mill and finishing facility located adjacent to Cedar Creek and the Great Pee Dee River. The site was abandoned in 2016 after beginning operations in 1966. The facility encompasses about 234 acres and includes two main plant buildings, a boiler house, coal silos, coal pile/storage area, a coal runoff pond, landfills, a suspected spray field, a chromic acid pit, tank farms, and a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP). Several basins, tanks, clarifiers, former sand drying beds, and an effluent flow measurement and sampler comprise the WWTP. The primary concern for human health and the environment at the site is exposure to contaminated surface water and migratory pathways. The Great Pee Dee River and the wetlands aligning Cedar Creek are used for recreational fishing and swimming. There is a potential threat to human health through the consumption of fish and accidental ingestion of water. More information about the site can be found at www.epa.gov/superfund/galey-and-lord-plant.
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.
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.
EPA is adding the following sites in the Southeast to the NPL:
- Westside Lead, Atlanta, Georgia
- Galey and Lord Plant, Society Hill, South Carolina
- National Fireworks, Cordova, Tennessee
EPA is proposing to add the following site in the Southeast to the NPL:
- Hercules Inc, Hattiesburg, Mississippi
EPA is also withdrawing a previously proposed site, following the Agency’s determination that placing the site on the NPL is not needed to protect human health and the environment. The Agency is withdrawing a proposal to add the Riverside Groundwater Contamination site in Indianapolis, Indiana to the NPL. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is advancing the site’s cleanup at the same standards as an EPA-lead 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. 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.
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.
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