U.S. EPA Adds Orange County North Basin Site to Superfund National Priorities List
LOS ANGELES – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the addition of six sites, including the Orange County North Basin site in southern California to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). Releases of contamination at this site pose human health and environmental risks.
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.
“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.”
“By placing the Orange County North Basin Site on the National Priorities List, EPA is showing its commitment to clean up groundwater contamination in northern Orange County,” said EPA Regional Administrator John Busterud. “Today’s action is a big step forward in protecting an essential drinking water source for generations to come.”
The Orange County North Basin includes parts of Anaheim, Fullerton and Placentia, and is part of the larger Orange County Groundwater Basin. The groundwater plume is contaminated with chlorinated solvents and other contaminants covering approximately five square miles. Seventy percent of the water served in Orange County is from groundwater, making the basin a critical water resource for 2.4 million residents in 22 cities. All drinking water currently served by water purveyors meets federal and state drinking water standards.
EPA is also proposing to add another five sites nationwide 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
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. Water is a precious resource in arid California, as the pressure to use groundwater is increasing. In southern California, treated groundwater from NPL sites is used to supplement public drinking water supplies (more than 100 million gallons of water per day, enough for 250,000 families.)
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 more information on the Orange County North Basin Supefund Site, please visit: http://epa.gov/superfund/orange-county-north-basin