EPA has announced the addition of five waste sites to the National Priority List (NPL) starting September 16th, 2014. The five sites are said to pose a risk to human health and theenvironment, and will henceforth be managed by NPL’s Superfund. In addition to the five, the Environmental Protection Agency has also proposed to add three different sites to the Superfund list.
Superfund is a federal program, established by congress in 1980 and tasked with investigating and cleaning up uncontrolled, abandoned, or the most complex waste sites in the U.S. and where possible converts such sites into productive local resources. Ultimately, the program should help to eliminate or reduce environmental contamination and health risks associated with these hazardous waste sites.
“Cleaning up hazardous waste sites prevents diseases and increases value of local property both of which are critical in protection of the country’s most vulnerable populations and economic restoration of communities across the country,” said assistant administrator in the office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response, Mr. Mathy Stanislaus. “When we list a site on Superfund, we are taking an important step in the protection of human health and actively contributing to the economic restoration of the country’s communities.”
Recent academic research reports from Superfund have proved that investment in Superfund cleanups has played a significant role in the reduction of incidences of congenital abnormalities for residents living within 5,000 meters of hazardous waste sites. A joint report by Duke and Pittsburgh Universities revealed that placing a waste site on NPL considerably increases house prices in neighboring areas because buyers see that the site is finally on its way to redemption. The research found the property values in areas neighboring waste sites significantly increase once a site is listed on NPL because buyer confidence is boosted and demand tends to increase.
The 5 sites added to the list are as follows;
The 3 sites proposed for addition to Superfund are;
Most sites listed on NPL were once used for solvent handling, lead smelting, motor manufacturing, and maritime activities. So on most occasions contaminants include arsenic, lead, and other metals; volatile organic compounds e.g. trichloroethylene (TCE); and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) among others. A contamination will often affect wetlands, yards, soil, surface water as well as ground water.
The sites added to the NPL list vary in terms of size, complexity, and the time when contaminations occurred. Some sites were involved in recent contaminations while others were involved in contaminations several years back. However, as with every other NPL site, the EPA always tries to identify the industry/company and people involved in the contamination and asks them to conduct a cleanup or pay for cleanup services.
Superfund is expected to use remedy effectiveness information to improve site management and to refine remedial strategies in an attempt to steadily move these sites to completion.