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Superfund

Superfund News

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EPA Issues Guidance on Health and Safety Decisions at Cleanup Sites During COVID-19 Pandemic

EPA issued interim guidance to the Agency’s regional offices to ensure that decisions about new or ongoing cleanup activities at sites across the country are made with the health and safety of communities, state and tribal partners, EPA staff, and contractors as the priority.

“EPA remains committed to protecting human health and the environment as we continue to adjust to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This guidance will allow us to keep workers and the residents in these communities safe while also being able to respond to any emergency that may present an imminent danger to the public health or welfare.”

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EPA Administrator Releases Eighth Update to the Administrator’s Emphasis List

Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the eighth update to the Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action. In this latest update, the Allied Paper, Inc./Portage Creek/Kalamazoo River site in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the St. Regis site in Cass Lake, Minnesota on the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation and the San Mateo Creek Basin site in McKinley and Cibola counties, New Mexico were removed from the list, and the Abandoned Uranium Mines contamination in the Navajo Nation was added to the list. In addition, EPA continues to make progress towards achieving the milestones at the sites that remain on the Administrator’s Emphasis List. At least two more sites (St. Regis Waterway and Silver Bow/Butte) have made significant progress to-date, and EPA expects their milestones to be achieved soon.

“For the past three years, EPA has focused on getting Superfund sites across the country back on track, and even during these difficult times our work continues, most recently our efforts have finalized a cleanup plan for the St. Regis and resulted in cleanup agreements at two more sites.” EPA Associate Deputy Administrator Doug Benevento. “I’m pleased to announce that the communities in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and McKinley and Cibola counties in New Mexico can be assured that the long-standing Superfund sites in their communities are on track and making great strides towards effective cleanups. We will continue to advance or accelerate Superfund cleanups at the Abandoned Uranium Mines in Navajo Nation and at sites across the country using every tool in our toolbox to address site-specific issues that delay cleanups.”

Since the creation of the Administrator’s Emphasis List in 2017, 19 sites have been removed from the list after achieving critical milestones that furthered site cleanup or solved issues slowing the pace of cleanups. With this update, there are a total of 15 Superfund sites on the Administrator’s Emphasis List.

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EPA Updates Superfund National Priorities List

On October 30, 2019, EPA announced that it is adding two sites and proposing to add five sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks.

“Our commitment to communities with sites on the National Priorities List is that they are a true national priority,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Under the Trump Administration, EPA has a renewed focus on the Superfund program. We are taking 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:

  • Arsenic Mine in Kent, N.Y.
  • Schroud Property in Chicago, Ill.

The following sites are being proposed to the NPL:

  • Blades Groundwater in Blades, Del.
  • Clearwater Finishing in Clearwater, S.C.
  • Highway 100 and County Road 3 Groundwater Plume in St. Louis Park and Edina, Minn.
  • Henryetta Iron and Metal in Henryetta, Okla.
  • Caney Residential Yards in Caney, Kan.
     
  • News Release
  • Supporting documents for NPL and proposed sites

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Administrator Wheeler Releases Seventh Update to the Administrator's Emphasis List

Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the seventh update to the Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action. In this latest update, the Universal Oil Products site in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and the Arsenic Mine in the Town of Kent, New York, were removed from the list, and two sites were added: The DePue (New Jersey Zinc) site in the Village of DePue, Illinois; and the Carter Carburetor site in St. Louis, Missouri.

“All Americans deserve timely action on Superfund site cleanups in their communities – not delays,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “I’m happy to report that two sites are back on track to become safe, reusable properties for the citizens of East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Kent, New York. We will continue to advance or accelerate Superfund cleanups across the country by addressing issues that cause site-specific delays.”

Since the creation of the Administrator’s Emphasis List in 2017, 16 sites have been removed from the list after achieving critical milestones causing delays or solving other issues slowing the pace of cleanup. With this update, there are a total of 17 Superfund sites on the Administrator’s Emphasis List. 

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EPA Provides Lasting Benefit to Communities by Deleting All or Part of 27 Superfund Sites from the National Priorities List

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 the agency deleted all or part of 27 sites from Superfund’s National Priorities List (NPL), the largest number of deletions in a single year since FY 2001. This represents the third year in a row that EPA has significantly increased the number of sites deleted from the NPL, helping communities move forward in reusing and redeveloping the land by making it clear that cleanup is complete.

EPA deletes sites or parts of sites from the NPL when no further cleanup is required to protect human health or the environment. Years, and sometimes decades, of complex investigation and cleanup work has gone into getting these sites to where they are today. This important milestone indicates to communities that cleanup is complete and that sites are protective of human health and the environment.

The agency’s FY 2019 deletions include 12 full sites and parts of 15 more sites.  

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Superfund Task Force Issues Final Report and Announces Plans to Continue Program Improvements Moving Forward

On September 9, 2019, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the completion of the Superfund Task Force and issued the Task Force’s final report outlining significant accomplishments over the past two years at Superfund sites across the country. The announcement, made from the Southside Chattanooga Superfund Site, included plans for integrating the work of the Task Force into EPA’s ongoing cleanup work moving forward.

“Thanks to the hard work of EPA career officials, the Superfund Task Force has strengthened the program in numerous ways, from accelerating cleanups to promoting redevelopment to improving community engagement,” said Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The recommendations generated by the Task Force and applied by the Superfund program have directly improved the health and economic opportunity of thousands of people living near Superfund sites. We are taking concrete steps to ensure that the work of the Task Force continues to enhance the Superfund program moving forward.”

The important work of the Task Force will continue under the Superfund Program and at all sites on the National Priorities List (NPL). The agency will continue to prioritize expediting cleanups to protect people’s health and the environment. Moving forward, the agency plans to:

  • Improve accountability and ensure the work continues in the future by tracking and reporting on our progress with a new set of performance measures.
  • Conduct a strategic and comprehensive portfolio review of every site remaining on the NPL to enable EPA to better utilize the Task Force’s tools and lessons learned in advancing cleanups across the country.
  • Continue to identify and implement new opportunities and approaches to improve the program’s performance and effectiveness.

EPA Celebrates 20 Years of Superfund Redevelopment

On July 31, 2019, EPA commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative (SRI), launched in 1999 with the goal of returning formerly contaminated lands to long-term sustainable and productive reuse for communities across the country. Returning Superfund sites back to productive use has resulted in dramatic changes in communities by improving the quality of life, raising property values, and providing needed services to communities.

“Over the past 20 years, the Superfund Redevelopment Initiative has proven that incorporating reuse early in the process removes barriers to redevelopment and ensures that cleanup plans promote future economic and recreational opportunities,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Thanks to SRI, hundreds of formerly contaminated sites have been transformed into hubs of economic, recreational, or residential activity. Promoting redevelopment and community revitalization is a top priority of this Administration and one of the key goals of the Agency’s Superfund Task Force.”

Before the agency’s Redevelopment Initiative, sites were cleaned up but not necessarily put back into productive use. By considering reuse early in the site cleanup process, the Redevelopment Initiative helps ensure that desired future uses are compatible with site cleanup remedies and removes barriers that could keep areas vacant or underused.

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EPA Updates the National Priorities List

On May 15, 2019, EPA added seven sites to the National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks. On May 29, EPA proposed two sites for future addition to the list.

“By adding these sites to the National Priorities List, we are taking action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of the local communities, and return the sites to safe and productive reuse,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Our commitment to these communities is that sites on the National Priorities List will be a true national priority. We’ve elevated the Superfund program to a top priority, and in Fiscal Year 2018, EPA deleted all or part of 22 sites from the NPL, the largest number of deletions in one year since Fiscal Year 2005.”

The following sites are being added to the NPL:

  • Magna Metals in Cortlandt Manor, New York;
  • PROTECO in Peñuelas, Puerto Rico;
  • Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area in Minden, West Virginia;
  • Cliff Drive Groundwater Contamination in Logansport, Indiana;
  • McLouth Steel Corp in Trenton, Michigan;
  • Sporlan Valve Plant #1 in Washington, Missouri; and
  • Copper Bluff Mine in Hoopa, California.

The following sites are being proposed for addition to the NPL:

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EPA provides job training to 13 community members at Fairfax St. Wood Treaters

On March 6, 2019, the Superfund Job Training Initiative (SuperJTI) project in Jacksonville, FL culminated in a graduation ceremony for 13 newly-trained community members. The graduates completed a three-week environmental remediation job readiness program that supports employment opportunities, and the skills needed to take advantage of those opportunities.

Local partner, Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corp., EPA and contractors began this project in December 2018. After a rigorous screening and recruitment process, 13 trainees were selected to participate in the program. Once selected, the trainees earned three certifications in hazardous waste and emergency response, CPR/First Aid, and OSHA construction safety courses. The trainees also received professional development training.

Superfund Job Training Initiative home page

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EPA Announces 2018 Annual Superfund Accomplishments

On March 4, 2019, EPA released Superfund’s annual report covering major accomplishments and environmental progress during fiscal year 2018.

Highlights of Superfund’s 2018 accomplishments include:

  • Improving human health for people living near our sites by controlling potential or actual human exposure risk at 32 additional Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) sites and controlling the migration of contaminated groundwater at 29 sites.
  • Quickly and effectively responding to large-scale emergencies brought on by hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters in California, North Carolina, Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
  • Moving many sites closer to completion by making decisions that have been delayed, including West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.; USS Lead in East Chicago, Ind.; and San Jacinto Waste Pits in Channelview, Texas.

    Superfund: Transforming Communities - FY 2018 Accomplishments Report
    Press Release

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EPA Updates Administrator’s Emphasis List

On Nov. 20, 2018, EPA released its third revision to the Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action. EPA removed West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri, from the list and added three sites — Universal Oil Products in East Rutherford, New Jersey; Allied Paper in Kalamazoo, Michigan; and Madison County Anschutz Mine in Fredericktown, Missouri.

With this update, there are 16 Superfund sites on the list. EPA has removed 11 sites from the list since its launch in December 2017 because the short-term milestones were achieved.

With this update and going forward, EPA is now considering sites for the list based on one or more of the following criteria:

  • Sites where the Administrator’s attention may help to enhance human health and environmental protection, promote more timely resolution of issues, advance more effective cleanup, or promote redevelopment opportunities;
  • Sites in diverse geographical areas and in various environmental settings;
  • Sites that are addressing different contaminants;
  • Both Fund and potentially responsible party lead sites; and
  • Sites that are representative of other sites, which can provide lessons learned and best practices for similar sites.

​Press release

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EPA Issues Proposed Plan for U.S. Smelter and Lead in East Chicago, Indiana

On Nov. 12, 2018, EPA began a 60-day public comment period on a proposed cleanup plan for zone 1 of the U.S. Smelter and Lead Superfund site in East Chicago, Indiana.

EPA conducted a feasibility study to evaluate cleanup options based on the city of East Chicago’s stated intention to zone this parcel of land for residential use.

EPA’s proposal to clean up the site to residential standards involves removing more than 160,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and replacing it with clean soil and seed or sod. Soil below 2 feet would remain undisturbed. EPA determined that digging deeper is not meaningfully more protective of residential users and does not justify the additional cost. Excavated soil would be disposed at an approved off-site landfill.

Digging restrictions and other controls would be instituted to protect future site users from unacceptable risks related to exposure to remaining contaminated soil. Because some contaminated soil would be left in place, EPA would conduct five-year reviews of the cleanup as required by the Superfund law.

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Environmental Response Team celebrates 40th anniversary

This year marked the 40th anniversary of EPA’s Environmental Response Team’s (ERT) creation. Thanks to the hard work of its staff, ERT has been at the forefront of EPA’s efforts to protect human health and the environment.

Over the past 40 years, ERT has provided:

  • Technical and logistical assistance in responding to environmental emergencies, such as oil or hazardous materials spills;
  • Technical advice and field support for Superfund remedial actions, including technology selection and evaluation, feasibility studies, and treatment systems;
  • Scientists, engineers and other staff to support emergency response actions, including unusual and complex incidents;
  • Policy development, evaluation and implementation; and
  • Training for on-scene coordinators and other emergency response staff through its Environmental Response Training Program.

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EPA Posts Superfund Task Force Quarterly Accomplishments

The Superfund Task Force has posted its latest quarterly report, which provides accomplishments from August and September 2018. In this time period, EPA completed seven recommendations and integrated the associated deliverables into Superfund program processes and activities.

Please note that EPA reported accomplishments for the third quarter of FY 2018 and July 2018 in the 2018 Update Report (PDF) (64 pp, 8.2 MB, About PDF).

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EPA Finalizes Record of Decision Amendment for West Lake Landfill

On Sept. 27, 2018, acting Administrator Wheeler signed the record of decision (ROD) amendment for West Lake Landfill, an approximately 200-acre inactive solid waste disposal facility. This document amends the 2008 ROD and finalizes the Agency’s cleanup decision for Operable Unit 1 at the site, paving the way for the remedial design phase to begin.

The improvements made to the proposed plan—which was issued on Feb. 6, 2018—will reduce exposure to the community and cleanup workers, shorten construction time by a year, and allow flexibility to more efficiently remove contamination.

Once the design begins, it will take about a year and a half to complete. EPA will make every effort to reach an enforceable agreement with the potentially responsible parties to perform the cleanup work. EPA expects the remedy to take approximately three years to complete after construction begins and cost $205 million.

This site was on the initial Administrator’s Emphasis List. EPA took it off the list after publishing the ROD amendment.

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EPA Hits 13-Year High in Deleting Sites from the National Priorities List

In FY 2018, the Agency deleted all or part of 22 sites from the NPL, the largest number of deletions in one year since FY 2005 and a significant increase over the past few years.

Site deletions have been a major focus of the Superfund Task Force, which reviewed existing policies and procedures related to deleting sites from the NPL and issued several recommendations. In addition, the Superfund program began providing the EPA administrator’s office with monthly updates on upcoming deletions.

Through these and other actions, EPA deleted 18 sites and portions of four more sites in FY 2018, a significant increase over the three full and partial deletions in FY 2016.

Altogether, EPA has deleted 412 sites from the NPL and has made 90 partial deletions at 67 NPL sites (some sites have multiple partial deletions).

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EPA Adds and Proposes New Sites to National Priorities List

On Sept. 11, 2018, EPA announced the addition of five hazardous waste sites to the Superfund Program’s National Priorities List (NPL) and proposed to add another six sites to the NPL. These additions represent commitments from the Agency to advance Superfund cleanup to protect communities across the country.

The following sites are being added to the NPL:

  • Rockwell International Wheel & Trim in Grenada, Mississippi;
  • Southside Chattanooga Lead in Chattanooga, Tennessee;
  • Broadway Street Corridor Groundwater Contamination in Anderson, Indiana;
  • Donnelsville Contaminated Aquifer in Donnelsville, Ohio; and
  • Delfasco Forge in Grand Prairie, Texas.

The following sites are being proposed for addition to the NPL:

  • Magna Metals in Cortlandt Manor, New York;
  • Shaffer Equipment/Arbuckle Creek Area in Minden, West Virginia;
  • Cliff Drive Groundwater Contamination in Logansport, Indiana;
  • McLouth Steel Corp in Trenton, Michigan;
  • Sporlan Valve Plant #1 in Washington, Missouri; and
  • Copper Bluff Mine in Hoopa, California.

For the first time, EPA is listing sites on the NPL based on subsurface intrusion, or intrusion of contaminants into occupied spaces. With this recent addition to EPA's system for assessing sites, EPA examined the threat of subsurface intrusion to support listing the Rockwell International Wheel & Trim and Delfasco Forge sites.

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