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EPA adds Two and Proposes One Site in the Southeast to Superfund’s National Priorities List

Release Date: 12/11/2013
Contact Information: James Pinkney, (404) 562-9183 (Direct), (404) 562-8400 (Main) pinkney.james@epa.gov

(ATLANTA – December 11, 2013) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added two and proposed one new hazardous waste site in the southeast that pose risks to human health and the environment to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, requires EPA to update the NPL at least annually and clean up hazardous waste sites to protect human health with the goal of returning them to communities for productive use. A site’s listing neither imposes a financial obligation on 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 recent 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. Furthermore, 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.

The following sites in the Southeast have been added to the National Priorities List:

    • Cristex Drum (former fabric mill) in Oxford, N.C.;
    • Hemphill Road TCE (former chemical drum recycling) in Gastonia, N.C.;

The following site in the Southeast has been proposed to the National Priorities List:
    • Walker Machine Products, Inc. (former machine screw products manufacturer) in Collierville, Tenn.;
    With all NPL sites, EPA first work to identify 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, 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 clean up funding is required for these sites.

    Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

    Information about how a site is listed on the NPL:

    http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/npl_hrs.htm

    Superfund sites in local communities:
    http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/index.htm

    More information about the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, can be found at:
    http://epa.gov/superfund/policy/cercla.htm

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    And on Twitter: @USEPASoutheast