EPA Touts Progress At Olin Superfund Site, Taken Off “Emphasis List” After Milestone Reached

Below is a press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

WASHINGTON, DC — Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the tenth update to the Administrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action (Administrator’s Emphasis List). In this latest update, the following sites were removed from the Administrator’s Emphasis List after achieving critical milestones that furthered site cleanup or resolved issues slowing the pace of cleanup:

  • the Carter Carburetor site in St. Louis, Missouri
  • the USS Lead site in East Chicago, Indiana
  • the Silver Bow/Butte Area site in Butte, Montana
  • the Orange County North Basin site in Orange County, California
  • the Petroleum Products Corporation site in Pembroke Park, Florida
  • Des Moines TCE site in Des Moines, Iowa
  • the Olin Chemical site in Wilmington, Massachusetts, and
  • the Mohawk Tannery site in Nashua, New Hampshire.

In addition, three sites were added to the Administrator’s Emphasis List in this update – the Sauer Dump Site in Dundalk, Maryland; the Riverfront site in New Haven, Missouri; and the Armour Road site in North Kansas City, Missouri.

“EPA has made great progress in the past three years using the Administrator’s Emphasis List to get sites across the country back on track when the cleanup work has been stalled,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “This is some of the most important work that EPA does and demonstrates the agency’s commitment to helping communities near Superfund sites who should not have to wait decades for cleanups to be completed.”

Since the creation of the Administrator’s Emphasis List in 2017, 28 sites have qualified for removal from the list after achieving critical milestones that furthered site cleanup or solved issues slowing the pace of cleanups. With this update, there are a total of 9 sites and one project on the Administrator’s Emphasis List. EPA has achieved significant progress through the Administrator’s Emphasis List over the last 3 years. A report showcasing these accomplishments titled “Making Decisions and Making a Difference in Superfund, Administrator’s Emphasis List 2017-2021” can be found at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/administrators-emphasis-list.

Milestones Achieved and Progress Made at the Eight Sites Removed from the Administrator’s Emphasis List:

  • Carter Carburetor site in St. Louis, Missouri: EPA completed cleanup of the site and returned the property to the community for productive use. On September 16, 2020, at an on-site ceremony, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler signed the Prospective Purchaser Agreement to allow the Boys and Girls Club to acquire a large majority of the site. The club intends to establish an urban golf center in partnership with Gateway PGA Reach, a non-profit dedicated to positively impacting the lives of youth and diverse populations by enabling access to the game of golf. Not only has a dangerous blight on the community been removed, but a vibrant community amenity is in development that will enrich and serve the community’s youth and is expected to spur additional redevelopment in the area, providing jobs to this disadvantaged Environmental Justice community and increasing its tax base.
      
  • USS Lead site in East Chicago, Indiana: EPA completed soil remediation at 795 mostly residential properties in Operable Unit 1 in the former West Calumet Housing complex (Zones 2 and 3), and 671 of those properties were deleted from the Superfund National Priorities List. In addition, EPA finalized a Record of Decision Amendment for Operable Unit 1 (Zone 1). This work brought the site cleanup back on track and allowed the City of East Chicago to select a redeveloper to clean up Zone 1 so that it can be reused, with soil sampling conducted in late 2020.
     
  • Silver Bow/Butte Area site in Butte, Montana: EPA ended a decade-long deadlock in site negotiations with the responsible parties. This put the site cleanup back on track to address various stormwater and water-quality related issues resulting from decades of mine waste being dumped into nearby streams and wetlands.
     
  • Orange County North Basin site in Southern California: EPA completed the process of listing the site on the National Priorities List. The Orange County North Basin, which provides much of the water used in several Orange County cities, is now on track to be cleaned up and protective of human health through the site’s Superfund cleanup work. The Orange County Water District is conducting an interim Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study to address the site’s highest levels of contamination, and EPA expects this work to be finalized in 2021.
     
  • Petroleum Products Corporation site in Pembroke Park, Florida: EPA finalized and issued a Proposed Plan for a $57 million cleanup of waste oil and petroleum product at the site. EPA proposes to excavate contaminated soil, demolish buildings, stabilize and solidify contaminated soil in place, collect and treat contaminated groundwater, and add institutional controls. EPA expects to select the final remedy in 2021.
     
  • Des Moines TCE site in Iowa: After more than a decade of stalled litigation, EPA finalized and lodged a Consent Decree in federal court. The Consent Decree between EPA, Dico/Titan, and the City of Des Moines revived the site cleanup work. As a result, the city is now evaluating potential reuse scenarios.
     
  • Olin Chemical site in Wilmington, Massachusetts: EPA finalized and issued a Proposed Plan for a $48 million cleanup to remediate soil, surface water, and areas with the highest levels of groundwater contamination at the site. The Agency expects to select the final remedy in 2021.
     
  • Mohawk Tannery site in Nashua, New Hampshire: EPA expedited the cleanup and unleashed the site’s redevelopment potential by using the Administrator’s Emphasis List to engage multiple parties, including the State of New Hampshire and the City of Nashua. In December 2020 an agreement was reached to allow the site to be cleaned up expeditiously and redeveloped for residential use.

To continue the significant progress EPA has made with the Administrator’s Emphasis List, EPA will be moving forward with critical work at the three sites added to the list:

  • The Sauer Dump site in Dundalk, Maryland, was added to track the timely conclusion of key steps to allow the completion of the site’s Feasibility Study.
     
  • The Riverfront site in New Haven, Missouri, was added to revise the existing site remedy to address vapor intrusion in a residence.
     
  • The Armour Road site in North Kansas City, Missouri, was added to issue a proposed remedy to address groundwater contamination for public comment.

EPA’s updates to the Administrator’s Emphasis List demonstrate the Agency’s continuing commitment to the American people, especially those living in communities near Superfund sites. By using the Administrator’s Emphasis List to make progress at stalled sites, EPA continues to prioritize the importance of resolving long-standing issues, making timely decisions, and taking action to complete cleanups at Superfund sites.

Background

EPA established the Administrator’s Emphasis List in December 2017 in response to recommendations from EPA’s Superfund Task Force. The list is comprised of sites identified by Administrator Wheeler and EPA regional offices that will benefit from the Administrator’s immediate attention or action to move site cleanups forward.

The list continues to serve as an effective mechanism to address site-specific issues that may cause delays in a site’s cleanup progress. EPA considers removing a site from the list once the milestone is achieved and the cleanup activities are back on track. Sites move on and off the list as needed, and removal from the Administrator’s Emphasis List does not change the site’s status on the National Priorities List.  

The updated Administrator’s Emphasis List is available on the agency’s website at 
https://www.epa.gov/superfund/administrators-emphasis-list.

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