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EPA Proposes to Add Houma, LA, site to National Priorities List of Superfund Sites; Seven hazardous waste sites added to list, 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 proposed to add the Delta Shipyard site in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, 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 165-acre site, in a mixed industrial and residential area south of the city of Houma, operated as a cleaning and repair facility for small cargo boats, fishing boats, and oil barges. Oily waste from the cleaning process was stored in several unlined earthen pits used as evaporation ponds. These pits were reportedly also used to dispose of oil field drilling material. Wetlands near the site are contaminated with a variety of metals, including arsenic, mercury, and lead. Additionally, evaporation pits contain more than 30,000 cubic yards of hazardous material.

“Contaminated sites like the one in Houma 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.”

Contamination from the site has been found in ground water, surface water, and soil. The state of Louisiana referred the site to EPA for inclusion on the NPL. Without remediation of the site, releases of contamination to ground water, surface water, and soil could continue.

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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