Jan 03, 2018

EPA Makes Progress on Superfund Cleanup

The EPA fully removed three sites and partially removed four

The EPA fully removed three sites and partially removed four

On Jan. 2, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the deletion or partial deletion of seven sites from the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). Administrator Scott Pruitt has made the Superfund site cleanups a top priority by creating a Superfund Task Force over the summer, and using their recommendations to create a list of 21 sites targeted for immediate and intense attention last month.

In a press release detailing the successes, the EPA compared the 2017 Superfund site progress to 2016 where “one full site and portions of another” were deleted. The EPA explained that the “increase in deletions reflects Administrator Pruitt’s commitment to accelerating progress, reducing risks at Superfund sites and returning sites to productive use.”

However, while the EPA compared the successes favorably to 2016, the press release failed to mention that seven sites were removed in 2015, 15 sites in 2014, and 12 sites in 2013.

According to the Washington Examiner, critics are concerned that focusing on speeding up cleanup at high-priority sites could lead to inadequate cleanups at other sites. Despite the successes, more than 1,300 Superfund sites remain with the pressure of the Trump administration's proposal of a 25% budget cut for the Superfund program looming in 2018.

The three sites completely deleted from the NPL are:

  • Nutting Truck & Caster Co. in Minn., which had trichloroethylene (TCE) groundwater contamination

  • Shpack Landfill in Mass., which had contaminated soil, sediment and groundwater

  • Perdido Groundwater Contamination in Ala., which had benzene contamination

The four sites with partial deletions from the NPL are:

  • Mystery Bridge Rd/ U.S. Highway 20 in Wyo., which suffered a groundwater plume and was contaminated with benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene and total xylenes

  • Ellisville Site in Miss., which had hazardous materials

  • Omaha Lead in Neb., which had soil contamination from air emissions from lead smelting and refining

  • The North Penn- Area 6 in Penn., which had groundwater and soil contamination from volatile organic compounds