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EPA Adds Union County, AR, Refinery Site to National Priorities List of Superfund Sites; Seven hazardous waste sites added, five proposed nationally

Release Date: 05/08/2014
Contact Information: Jennah Durant or Joe Hubbard, R6Press@epa.gov or 214 665-2200

(DALLAS – May 8, 2013) The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today added the MacMillan Ring-Free Oil site in Union County, Arkansas, 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, near a residential neighborhood and a school in Norphlet, operated as a crude-oil refinery and maker of lubrication oil and asphalt products from 1929 to 1987. Nor-Ark Industrial Corp bought the property in 1989 to store asphalt products until 1991. Norphlet Chemical refurbished the site in 2004, intending to manufacture an automotive refrigerant called tetrafluoroethane (Freon 134A); however, the plant never operated as intended and the site has been abandoned since 2007.

“Contaminated sites like the one in Union County directly affect their surrounding environment and residents,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “It’s vital to the community and to EPA’s mission that we restore and protect the land by addressing this pollution.”

The EPA and Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality have found contamination from the site has seeped into groundwater and in drainage pathways that lead to wetlands north of the site. Soil on and under the property has also been affected. Contaminants include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, total petroleum hydrocarbons and metals. While past efforts removed or treated some contamination at the site, much work remains to be done to assess the threat to the surrounding area.

Since 1983, EPA has listed 1,701 sites on the NPL. At 1,158 or 68 percent of NPL sites, all cleanup remedies are in place. Approximately 662 or 39 percent of NPL sites have all necessary long-term protections in place, which means EPA considers the sites protective for redevelopment or reuse.

With all NPL sites, 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, EPA will investigate the extent of the contamination before assessing how best to treat it.

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

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