Nine hazardous waste sites added to Superfund's National Priorities List

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WASHINGTON, DC<, Dec. 18, 2013 -- On Wednesday, Dec. 11, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added nine hazardous waste sites that pose risks to public health and the environment to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites, with another eight more to potentially be added. 

With all NPL sites, the EPA identifies companies or people responsible for the contamination at a site, and requires them to conduct or pay for the cleanup. For the newly-listed sites without viable, potentially responsible parties, the EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site. Therefore, it may be several years before significant EPA cleanup funding is required for these sites.

The following nine sites have been added to the NPL:

• Beck’s Lake (former automotive and hazardous waste dump) in South Bend, Ind.
• Garden City Ground Water Plume (ground water plume) in Garden City, Ind.
• Keystone Corridor Ground Water Contamination (ground water plume) in Indianapolis, Ind
• Cristex Drum (former fabric mill) in Oxford, N.C.
• Hemphill Road TCE (former chemical drum recycling) in Gastonia, N.C.
• Collins & Aikman Plant (Former) (former automotive rubber manufacturer) in Farmington, N.H.
• Jackpile-Paguate Uranium Mine (former uranium mine) in Laguna Pueblo, N.M.
• Wilcox Oil Company (former oil refinery) in Bristow, Okla.
• Makah Reservation Warmhouse Beach Dump (municipal and hazardous waste dump) in Neah Bay, Wash.

Further, The following eight sites have been proposed for addition to the NPL:

• Macmillan Ring Free Oil (former oil refinery) in Norphlet, Ark.
• Keddy Mill (former sawmill, grist and wool carding mill) in Windham, Maine
• PCE Southeast Contamination (ground water plume) in York, Neb.
• PCE/TCE Northeast Contamination (ground water plume) in York, Neb.
• Troy Chem Corp Inc (chemical manufacturer) in Newark, N.J.
• Unimatic Manufacturing Corporation (former chemical manufacturer) in Fairfield, N.J.
• Wolff-Alport Chemical Company (former metal extraction facility) in Ridgewood, N.Y.
• Walker Machine Products, Inc. (former machine screw products manufacturer) in Collierville, Tenn.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, requires the EPA to update the NPL at least annually and clean up hazardous waste sites to protect public health with the goal of returning them to communities for productive use. A site's listing neither imposes a financial obligation on the EPA nor assigns liability to any party. Updates to the NPL do, however, provide policymakers with a list of high-priority sites, serving to identify the size and nature of the nation's cleanup challenges.

The Superfund program has provided important benefits for people and the environment since Congress established the program in 1980.Those benefits are both direct and indirect, and include reduction of threats to human health and ecological systems in the vicinity of Superfund sites, improvement of the economic conditions and quality of life in communities affected by hazardous waste sites, prevention of future releases of hazardous substances, and advances in science and technology.

By eliminating or reducing real and perceived health risks and environmental contamination associated with hazardous waste sites, Superfund actions frequently convert contaminated land into productive local resources and increase local property values. A study conducted by researchers at Duke and Pittsburgh Universities concluded that, while a site's proposal to the NPL reduces property values slightly, making a site final on the NPL begins to increase property values surrounding Superfund sites. Further, the study found that, once a site has all cleanup remedies in place, surrounding properties have a significant increase in property values as compared to pre-NPL proposal values.

Since 1983, EPA has listed 1,694 sites on the NPL. At 1,147 or 68 percent of NPL sites, all cleanup remedies are in place. Approximately 645 or 38 percent of NPL sites have all necessary long-term protections in place, which means EPA considers the sites protective for redevelopment or reuse.

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