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Recovery Act Funding to Accelerate Cleanup, Boost Economy, Create Jobs and Protect Human Health at Ruston/North Tacoma and Bainbridge Island Hazardous Waste Sites in Washington

Release Date: 04/15/2009
Contact Information: Cami Grandinetti. EPA/Seattle, 206-553-8696; Mark MacIntyre, EPA/Seattle, 206-553-7302

EPA: Recovery Act funds added for two Western Washington Superfund cleanup sites

(Seattle, Wash. - April 15, 2009) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced new funding for both the Ruston/North Tacoma and Wyckoff-Eagle Harbor Superfund sites through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The money will accelerate the hazardous waste cleanups already underway at these sites. It will also jumpstart the local economy by creating more jobs at both locations. This Recovery Act funding is part of the $600 million that Congress appropriated to the Federal Superfund remedial program.

“EPA has an answer to these challenging economic times,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Under the Recovery Act, we're getting harmful pollutants and dangerous chemicals out of these communities and putting jobs and investment back in.”

At ASARCO/Ruston, near Tacoma, Washington, the Ruston/North Tacoma study area has been identified for $5 to $10 million in Recovery Act funding. The area encompasses approximately 950 acres in a one-mile circle around the former Asarco Tacoma Smelter. Funding will be used to excavate contaminated soils from residential yards, park lands and rights-of-way.

At Wyckoff/Eagle Harbor on Bainbridge Island, up to $5 million in Recovery Act funds will be used to install new groundwater extraction wells and upgrade existing ones. Recovery funds will also be used to demolish existing structures at the site so that the sheetpile wall can be completed and the soil cap can be constructed. With Recovery funding secured, EPA expects the entire containment remedy to be completed in five to seven years.

Dan Opalski, EPA’s Superfund Office Director in Seattle, sees the Recovery funding putting the ongoing Ruston yard cleanup program on a faster track.

"The stimulus funding will allow us to accelerate clean up of residential yard soils contaminated with high levels of arsenic and lead, further protecting the community that lives and works in this area," said EPA’s Opalski.

For the Wyckoff-Eagle Harbor site, Opalski was similarly sanguine:

“The Recovery Act funds will bring the site another important step closer to completion, which is good news for the citizens of Bainbridge Island.”

The Federal Superfund program was created in 1980 to clean up uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that pose unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Superfund sites are often found in industrial areas hardest hit by the recession. Superfund cleanups are major construction projects which employ thousands of workers nationwide. The Superfund program is implementing new or expanded cleanup actions at 50 sites around the country and since it began, the program has completed construction of remedies at more than 1,060 of the 1,596 sites on its National Priorities List.

By starting or speeding up cleanup at Superfund sites, Recovery Act funding is also increasing the speed with which these sites are returned to productive use. When a Superfund site is redeveloped, it can offer significant economic benefits to local communities including future job creation.

President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on February 17, 2009 and has directed the Recovery Act be implemented with unprecedented transparency and accountability. To that end, the American people can see how every dollar is being invested at http://www.Recovery.gov.

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For more information on the Wyckoff/Eagle Harbor site, please visit:

http://www.epa.gov/superfund/eparecovery/wyckoff_eagle_harbor.html

For more information on the Commencement Bay and ASARCO/Ruston sites, please visit:

http://www.epa.gov/superfund/eparecovery/commencement_bay.html

For more information on the Superfund program, please visit:

http://www.epa.gov/superfund/