The United States Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) has added seven new hazardous waste sites to Superfund’s National Priorities List (NPL).
These sites expose materials that can potentially harm people and the environment. Aside from these, the EPA has recommended another five new sites to the list.
Superfund is the government’s initiative tasked to probe and tidy up the country’s most complex and abandoned lethal waste sites in order to protect the health of the people as well as the environment.
Assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response Mathy Stanislaus believes that a concerted and organized effort to clear-out polluted areas is “critical to the protection of human health and the environment”.
And not only that, Superfund’s efforts are also geared towards improving the economic welfare of various communities by transforming previously idle real estate into useful assets thereby widening a community’s tax base, producing more job opportunities for the populace, boosting property values and improving the public’s overall health and welfare.
The law that empowers and established the Superfund is the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA).
It requires the EPA to annually update the NPL and mop up harmful waste sites and make them productive communities once again. The regularly updated list provides officials with an inventory of high priority locations, and the magnitude and nature of the hazardous materials present.
Since it was established by the US Congress almost three and a half decades ago, the Superfund initiative has delivered essential benefits for both people and the environment.
These benefits include the massive reduction of health and ecological threats in Superfund sites, improvement in these areas’ economic conditions and the deterrence of future discharge of hazardous substances.
Superfund activities are usually directed at converting contaminated land into productive assets thereby boosting real estate values and these objectives are achieved by lowering or totally eliminating actual and potential health and environmental risks linked with the proliferation of hazardous wastes.
Recent studies conducted by Pittsburgh and Duke Universities researchers showed that when a specific site is added to the updated NPL, properties within the vicinity of the Superfund site immediately increase in value.
The US Environmental Protection Agency has registered 1,701 sites on the NPL since 1983 and 39% of these possess all the needed long-term protections. This means the EPA deems these sites ready for redevelopment or reuse.
For all NPL sites, the EPA works by first identifying the entities accountable to the site’s contamination. Once they are identified, they are required to set up and conduct a comprehensive clean-up program or pay for the clean-up.
For sites that have just been recently added to the list without that do not have potentially accountable entities, a thorough examination on the extent of the contamination will be conducted before initiating a major clean-up of the site. That is why for some sites, it may take a few years before enough clean-up funding is set.
â€¨The new seven sites that have been added to the NPL are:
Keddy Mill located in Windham, Maine;
MacMillan Ring Free Oil in Norphlet, Ark.;
PCE/TCE Northeast Contamination in York, Neb.;
PCE Southeast Contamination also in York, Neb.;
Wolff-Alport Chemical Company in Ridgewood, N.Y.; and
Unimatic Manufacturing Corporation in Fairfield, N.J.;
Walker Machine Products, Inc. in Collierville, Tenn.;
The new five sites being proposed as new additions to the NPL are:
Baghurst Drive in Harleysville, Pa.;
Colorado Smelter in Pueblo, Colo.;
Delta Shipyard in Houma, La.;
North Shore Drive in Elkhart, Ind.;
Jard Company, Inc. in Bennington, Vt.
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