EPA Updates Superfund National Priorities List, Advancing the Agency’s Commitment to Protect Human Health and Expedite Cleanups Across the Country

News Releases from Region 02

Arsenic Mine in Kent, New York Added

10/30/2019

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KENT, N.Y. -  Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is adding two sites and proposing to add five sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks. The Arsenic Mine Site in Kent was added to the NPL.

“Our commitment to communities with sites on the National Priorities List is that they are a true national priority,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Under the Trump Administration, EPA has a renewed focus on the Superfund program. We are taking action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of communities, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations.” 

“EPA’s forward-leaning and proactive actions at the Arsenic Mine Site have addressed the immediate need to protect people’s health by reducing residents’ exposure to arsenic contamination in the short-term,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “Today we are announcing the next major step in the cleanup by listing the site on the National Priorities List, which arms the agency with the authorities to address contamination at the site over the long-term.”

Arsenic Mine Site

To reduce the potential for local residents’ short-term exposure to elevated levels of arsenic in the soil, EPA installed barriers to contaminated soil in high-use areas. EPA has also implemented measures to reduce tracking of arsenic indoors by removing or replacing contaminated soil at the affected properties in gardens and areas used by pets and livestock. The specific measures vary based on the use of each property.

EPA has already initiated a focused feasibility study to identify options to address residents’ exposure in the long-term. EPA is expediting this study and anticipates completing it in 2020.

Residents with elevated arsenic levels in their drinking water wells at the site are currently utilizing treatment systems or bottled water. EPA is coordinating with government partners and conducts regular monitoring of residents’ drinking water supplies to confirm that treatment systems continue to be effective. EPA continues communications with residents to ensure that drinking water systems are adequately maintained.

The following sites are being added to the NPL: 

• Arsenic Mine in Kent, N.Y.

• Schroud Property in Chicago, Ill.

Before being added to the NPL, a site must meet the listing requirements and be proposed for addition to the list in the Federal Register, subject to a 60-day public comment period. The site will be added to the NPL if it continues to meet the listing requirements after the public comment period closes and the agency has responded to any comments.

The following sites are being proposed to the NPL:

• Blades Groundwater in Blades, Del.

• Clearwater Finishing in Clearwater, S.C.

• Highway 100 and County Road 3 Groundwater Plume in St. Louis Park and Edina, Minn.

• Henryetta Iron and Metal in Henryetta, Okla.

• Caney Residential Yards in Caney, Kan.

The NPL includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste releases. The list serves as EPA’s basis for prioritizing Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only releases at sites included on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup.

Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24% within 3 miles of sites after cleanup.

Redeveloped Superfund sites can generate substantial economic activity. Thanks to Superfund cleanups, previously blighted properties are now being used for a wide range of purposes, including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, warehouses and solar power generation. At 529 Superfund sites returned to productive use, 8,600 businesses operate with 195,000 employees earning more than $13 billion in annual income.

Community members are key partners at Superfund sites, and their early involvement leads to better cleanup decisions, including those about a site’s future

use. 

In September, EPA announced the Superfund Task Force’s completion and issued its final report outlining significant accomplishments at Superfund sites across the country over the past two years. The Task Force’s important work will continue under the Superfund Program and at all sites on the NPL. The agency will continue to prioritize expediting cleanups to protect people’s health and the environment. 

For information about Superfund and the NPL: https://www.epa.gov/superfund 

For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for NPL and proposed sites: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites

Background information about Arsenic Mine can be accessed at https://response.epa.gov/arsenicmine4

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

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