Contact Us

Newsroom

News Releases

 

EPA Proposes to Add Phillips County Chemical Company to National Priorities List of Superfund Sites - Nine hazardous waste sites added, 10 proposed

Release Date: 03/13/2012
Contact Information: Dave Bary or Jennah Durant at 214-665-2200 or r6press@epa.gov

(DALLAS – March 13, 2012) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced the Cedar Chemical Corporation site in Phillips County, Arkansas, has been proposed to be added to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites, a list of sites that pose risks to people’s health and the environment. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.

The site, just south of West Helena along state highway 232, consists of six former production units, support facilities, and an office. The area has been occupied by different chemical companies since 1970, with the last owner, Cedar Chemical Corporation, filing for bankruptcy in 2002. Cedar Chemical manufactured agricultural chemicals, including insecticides and herbicides, which left behind contaminants such as chloroform and methylene chloride. Other threats include abandoned chemicals, buried drums, groundwater and soil contamination, and an abandoned stormwater treatment system.

“Today we’re taking an important step toward restoring contaminated property and protecting people’s health and our environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Al Armendariz. “Cleaning up hazardous waste in our communities and returning properties to environmental and economic vitality are EPA priorities.”

In 2003, EPA removed abandoned tanks and containers, and in 2007 the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality issued an administrative order to several former operators of the site to address environmental concerns. Adding the site to the NPL will allow for more extensive clean-up of remaining contamination.

The EPA will seek public comment on adding the Cedar Chemical Corporation site to the NPL for 60 days. Comments will be considered as the agency completes the final decision process.

Since 1983, 1,661 sites have been listed on the NPL. Of these sites, 359 have been cleaned up resulting in 1,302 sites currently on the NPL (including the nine sites added today). There are 62 proposed sites (including the 10 announced today) awaiting final agency action.

With all NPL sites, the EPA works 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, 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.

More information on the Superfund NPL is available at http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

More about activities in EPA Region 6 is available at http://www.epa.gov/aboutepa/region6.html

EPA audio file is available at http://www.epa.gov/region6/6xa/podcast/mar2012.html

# # #