EPA Announces 2018 Annual Superfund Accomplishments

News Releases from Region 02

EPA Region 2 Leads the Nation in Superfund Deletions with 75 since Program Began

03/04/2019

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Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is releasing Superfund’s annual report covering major accomplishments and environmental progress during fiscal year (FY) 2018. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler traveled to the Berry’s Creek Study Area (BCSA), which is part of the Ventron/Velsicol Superfund site in Bergen County, N.J., to announce the release and also visited the Universal Oil Products (UOP) site, which is geographically located within the watershed that forms the BCSA. The Superfund program is a top priority for EPA under President Trump, and the agency is making great strides in accelerating sites through remediation and back to productive use. As detailed in the report, communities across the country are benefiting from these efforts.

“We are proud to report that in Fiscal Year 2018 EPA deleted all or part of 22 sites from the National Priorities List, the largest number of deletions in one year since 2005,” said Administrator Wheeler. “By renewing and elevating our focus on Superfund under President Trump, we are accelerating cleanups, returning sites to productive reuse, and revitalizing communities across the country.”

“We are taking the smart and scientifically sound approach to Superfund cleanups throughout our region, including by advancing interim mitigation measures aimed at tackling the greatest risks first,” said Pete Lopez, EPA Regional Administrator. “EPA’s Region 2 office oversees a robust and effective Superfund program, including our long-term cleanup and short-term cleanup and emergency response work.”

Region 2 Superfund Accomplishments

  • In New York, after cleaning up more than 10,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and approximately nine million gallons of contaminated groundwater, EPA deleted the Fulton Terminals Superfund site, located in the City of Fulton, N.Y. The EPA's action is another step in the site’s potential redevelopment and community reuse as it overlooks the Oswego River and is located on the main street that runs through the City of Fulton.
  • EPA announced it was moving forward with a $332 million cleanup of Berry's Creek Study Area, Bergen County, N.J., which is the first step in remediation in this contaminated area within the Meadowlands. EPA is using an adaptive management approach to cleaning up the Berry’s Creek Study Area to remove the worst of the mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and chromium contamination that are sources of contamination to the marshes in the Meadowlands.
  • In Brooklyn, N.Y. EPA completed a dredging and capping pilot in the 4th Street turning basin of the Gowanus Canal Superfund Site, marking the first time in over 100 years that a portion of the Canal bottom is clean. EPA has completed three successful pilot studies in the Canal, including a pilot study for in-place stabilization of the contaminated native sediment at the bottom of the canal, which constituted the first time that such a technology had been applied in sea water. These measures and others are taken in a way to compliment the burgeoning re-development of the community along the canal.
  • Just outside Niagara Falls, N.Y., EPA is leading a comprehensive assessment of environmental conditions at the notorious former Tonawanda Coke Corporation facility in Tonawanda, N.Y. Despite efforts by New York State and EPA, the corporation would not run its facility in compliance with state and federal environmental law. EPA is taking all necessary steps to safeguard the community and secure the closed facility, while looking towards future cleanup needs.
  • EPA announced a $74 million final plan to clean up acid tars, benzene and other chemicals at the American Cyanamid Superfund site in Bridgewater Township, N.J.  More than 44,000 tons of hazardous waste will be removed from the Bridgewater community and permanently destroyed. Approximately 2.3 million gallons of contaminated liquid will be collected and treated, thereby safeguarding people’s health and arresting a threat to the Raritan River.
  • In Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico, EPA will imminently finalize a $5.3 million cleanup plan addressing contaminated groundwater in the in the municipality. The agency will use a combination of methods to address the groundwater contamination within distinct areas of the site, including a system that removes harmful chemicals from soil by extracting them in vapor form with a vacuum and then filtering the vapors through carbon filters to remove contaminants. Groundwater at the site is contaminated with volatile organic compounds. Working in partnership with the government of Puerto Rico and the local water utility, the contaminated wells have been taken off-line and secured. While this community isn’t using the wells that are contaminated on this site for their drinking water, it is important that EPA address the contamination and prevent it from spreading to other wells.

   Highlights of EPA’s national 2018 accomplishments include:

  • Improving human health for people living near our sites by controlling potential or actual human exposure risk at 32 additional Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) sites and controlling the migration of contaminated groundwater at 29 sites.
  • Deleting 18 full and four partial sites from the NPL – the largest number of deletions in one year since 2005 – signaling to the surrounding communities that EPA has completed the job of transforming these once highly contaminated areas.
  • Returning sites to communities for redevelopment by identifying 51 additional sites as having all long-term protections in place and meeting our “sitewide ready for anticipated use” designation, the highest annual result since 2013.
  • Completing or providing oversight of 242 Superfund removal actions at sites where contamination posed an imminent and substantial threat to human health and the environment.
  • Quickly and effectively responding to large scale emergencies brought on by hurricanes, wildfires, and other natural disasters in California, North Carolina, Puerto Rico and elsewhere.
  • Moving many sites closer to completion by making decisions that have been delayed, including West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.; USS Lead in East Chicago, Ind.; and San Jacinto Waste Pits in Channelview, Texas.

Congress created the Superfund program in 1980 to protect human health and the environment by responding to releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances, pollutants and contaminants. For nearly 40 years, in communities across the country, Superfund has been one of EPA’s most visible and vital programs. EPA’s FY 2018 Superfund Accomplishments Report highlights the many public health and economic benefits that come from the cleanup of contaminated sites across the country.

To read EPA’s FY 2018 Superfund Accomplishments Report, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-remedial-annual-accomplishments

Follow EPA Region 2 on Twitter at http://twitter.com/eparegion2 and visit our Facebook page, http://facebook.com/eparegion2

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EDITOR’S NOTES: The following is background information for Administrator Wheeler’s Berry’s Creek site visit.

Berry’s Creek is a tributary to the Hackensack River traveling through Carlstadt, East Rutherford, Lyndhurst, Moonachie, Rutherford, Teterboro and Wood-Ridge and includes approximately six miles of waterway, tributaries to the creek, and approximately 750 acres of marshes. The major contaminants in the BCSA are mercury, methyl mercury, PCBs and chromium, which are at high levels in the water and sediment.

The UOP site consists of approximately 75 acres of upland property and marshes. Highways and light industrial and commercial properties surround UOP. It is geographically located within the watershed that forms the BCSA, which is part of the Ventron/Velsicol Superfund Site. The upland portion of UOP is the former location of the Union Ink Company facility and the former Trubek Laboratories, Inc. facility, which operated from 1930 through 1979. Trubek constructed and operated a wastewater treatment plant and two wastewater holding lagoons located a marsh area. Seepage from the wastewater lagoons and routine handling of products and wastes resulted in the release of various hazardous substances to upland soils, groundwater, tidal marshes and waterways of Ackermans Creek.                                           

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