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1998 News Releases


EPA Orders Cleanup of West Memphis, Arkansas, Landfill to Proceed

Release Date: 11/24/1998
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued an order Nov. 18, 1998, requiring 57 potentially responsible parties to proceed with the cleanup of an oily sludge pit at a former landfill on South 8th St. in West Memphis, Arkansas.

     "The pit contains a corrosive sludge and high concentrations of toxic compounds and is in the two-year flood plain of the Mississippi River. Because EPA determined that in order to protect public health and the environment the cleanup should not be delayed another year, the order requires the potentially responsible parties to complete the cleanup by Nov. 15, 1999," Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said.

     Work can be done at the site only during the dry season, June through mid-November. To ensure that workers and equipment will be ready to begin the cleanup in June, the order contains specific deadlines for completing preliminary work such as hiring a supervising contractor and submitting a detailed work plan.

     The project has been delayed by negotiations between EPA and the potentially responsible parties about how the costs will be paid. While a fence and earth embankment have been constructed around the oil sludge pit, these temporary measures could be damaged by flooding. In order to complete the cleanup before next year's flood season begins in mid-November, preliminary work must begin soon.