Town Crier

WILMINGTON — This week, the U.S. Environ­men­tal Protection Agency (EPA) announced significant ac­complishments at two Su­perfund sites on the Admin­istrator’s Emphasis List of Superfund Sites Targeted for Immediate, Intense Action (Administrator’s Emphasis List).

After achieving critical short-term milestones, the Madison County Anschutz Mine, Fredericktown, Mis­souri and Tar Creek, Ottawa County, Oklahoma were re­moved from the list. One site — Olin Chemical, Wilming­ton — was added to facilitate cleanup and redevelopment activities.

With this update, there are a total of 15 Superfund sites on the list, and a total of 13 sites have been removed from the Administrator’s Em­phasis List since De­cem­ber 2017 be­cause the short-term milestones were achieved.

“Removing Madison Coun­ty Anschutz Mine and Tar Creek from the Administra­tor’s Emphasis List and ad­ding Olin Chemical demonstrate EPA’s continued pro­gress in accelerating clean­up activities that protect human health and the environment while revitalizing local communities,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “The cleanups at these sites further the commitment EPA made in the federal Lead Action Plan to address lead contamination at Superfund sites and re­duce exposure to residents.”

The Madison County An­schutz Mine was placed on the Administrator’s Empha­sis List to promote the timely implementation of a property-wide cleanup of historical surficial mine waste contamination proposed by the new owners, which will also allow for the beneficial re-use of the property and potentially create significant economic benefit for the local community.

The new property owners intend to re-open a former co­balt mine, which could employ hundreds of residents. EPA and the new owners signed an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Con­sent to conduct the work. Sitewide, the EPA has completed the remediation of over 626,000 cubic yards of soil at more than 1,900 residential properties in and around Fredericktown, in addition to cleaning up approximately 87 acres of mine waste.

EPA’s response actions have resulted in a significant reduction of elevated blood lead in children throughout Madison County where the percentage has dropped from around 27 percent in 1996, to less than two percent today.

EPA released a draft strategic plan to advance the clean­up of the Tar Creek Superfund site on March 11, 2019. The re­lease of the strategic plan fulfills two major milestones identified for the site on the Administrator’s Emphasis List. The first milestone re­quired identification and evaluation of opportunities to ac­celerate site cleanup. The second milestone compelled EPA and the Bureau of Indian Af­fairs to work with the Quapaw Nation to establish the tribe’s ability to establish institutional controls on their properties.

Some near-term cleanup ac­tions include the partial deletion of up to 5,000 acres, amending the 2008 record of decision for mining waste, and issuing a new record of decision for the watersheds. Long-term actions include exploring innovative technologies to ex­pedite the cleanup and identifying additional re-use opportunities. Prior cleanup activities at the site resulted in a significant reduction of elevated blood lead levels in children from 35 percent to 4 percent.

The Olin Chemical Super­fund site was added to the Ad­ministrator’s Emphasis List with the goal of expediting the selection of a remedy to remediate soil, surface water, and areas of highest groundwater contamination. EPA also hopes to work cooperatively with developers and local officials regarding potential reuse plans for the former Olin pro­perty.

The site was originally ad­ded to the National Priorities List in April 2006. Under the Trump Administration, the Su­perfund program has reemer­ged as a priority to fulfill the EPA’s core mission of protecting human health and the environment.

Background

EPA established the Ad­minis­trator’s Emphasis List in December 2017 in response to recommendations from EPA’s Superfund Task Force. Each site on the Administrator’s Emphasis List has a short-term milestone to provide the basis for tracking progress at the site. EPA will consider removing a site from the list once the milestone is achieved. Removal from the Adminis­trator’s Emphasis List does not change the site’s status on the National Priorities List.  

EPA remains dedicated to addressing risks at all Su­perfund sites, not just those on the Administrator’s Emphasis List. The Superfund Task Force Recommendations are aimed at expediting cleanup at all Superfund sites. EPA continues to accelerate pro­gress at Superfund sites ac­ross the country.

The updated Administrator’s Emphasis List is available on the agency’s website at 

https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-sites-targeted-immediate-intense-action

The latest information on the work of the Superfund Task Force is available at  

https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations-2018-update

Administrator Wheeler and Special Counsel Peter Wright have recused themselves at this time from participating in any of these particular matters that involve any of their former clients or former employers in the preceding two years.

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