EPA to Oversee Paint Cleanup at Superfund
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced late last month that it had reached an agreement with Honeywell International, Inc. and the City of South Bend to oversee the cleanup of portions of Lasalle Park and two nearby residential yards at the Beck’s Lake Superfund site
According to the EPA, soil sampling taken at the sites exceeds lead levels outlined by the Agency’s residential soil Removal Management Level of 400 parts per million. RMLs help identify areas, contaminants and conditions where cleanup may be needed to protect human health and the environment.
Nearly a decade ago, nine hazardous-waste sites were named to the Superfund National Priorities List. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.
EPA overseeing cleanup, lead soil removal at Beck's Lake Superfund site in South Bend's LaSalle Parkhttps://t.co/KNwWM2kxCi— WVPE Public Radio (@wvpe) February 25, 2022
Sites added at the time included:
When the sites were added, the EPA noted that nine more had been proposed. Those sites included:
Historical records indicate that the Beck’s Lake Superfund site was used as a dumping ground from the 1930s to the mid-1950s. Asbestos, plating and paint wastes, solvents and oils, and arsenic-contaminated foundry sand may have been disposed of in this area.
More recently, in October 2001, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) conducted an assessment at the site to evaluate whether the site would be suitable for redevelopment. The 2002 assessment report found lead, arsenic and Benzo(a)pyrene in some surface soil samples above the Risk-Based Closure (RISC) levels.
The NPL is intended primarily to guide EPA in determining which sites warrant further investigation. A site’s listing neither imposes a financial obligation on EPA nor assigns liability to any party. Updates to the list provide policymakers and the public with a list of high-priority sites, serving to identify the size and nature of the nation’s cleanup challenges.
From 1983-2013, the EPA listed 1,685 sites on the National Priorities List. All cleanup remedies in place at the time accounted for 1,145 (68%) of those sites. Approximately 610 (36%) of NPL sites were reported to have all necessary long-term protections in place, which means that the EPA considers the sites protective for redevelopment or reuse.
Beck’s Lake Cleanup Plans
As part of its recent agreement with Honeywell International, Inc. and the City of South Bend, the EPA will oversee the cleanup on portions of Lasalle Park and two nearby residential properties.
At Lasalle Park, which includes Beck’s Lake, a community center and recreational areas, cleanup crews will excavate soil from areas with contamination above the RML and backfill areas with clean soil. In addition, crews will also cap the remediated areas with one to two feet of additional clean soil.
At the two nearby residential properties, sections with contaminated soil above the RML will be excavated to a depth of two feet below ground and backfilled with clean soil. For all sites—totaling nearly 45 acres—the EPA has included a specific health and safety plan to ensure the safety of the local community and workers during the cleanup.
Cleanup efforts are slated to take place this spring and reach completion by the fall.
More information on the Superfund site can be found here.
How Superfund Works
With all Superfund sites, EPA first works to identify companies or people responsible for the contamination at a site, and requires them to conduct or pay for the cleanup.
For newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site. Therefore, it may be several years before significant EPA cleanup funding is required for these sites.
Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites are available here.
More information about The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, is available here.