Paint, Plating Sites Join Superfund List
Abandoned paint and chrome plating operations are among nine hazardous-waste sites newly named to the Superfund National Priorities List.
The list now includes Riverside Industrial Park, of Newark, NJ, which has housed paint manufacturing and other businesses over many years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced May 21.
Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.
The seven-acre Riverside Industrial Park site has been found to contain a wide variety of solvents and hazardous wastes left in 10 abandoned 12,000- to 15,000-gallon underground storage tanks; about 100 3,000- to 10,000-gallon above-ground storage tanks, and dozens of 55-gallon drums and smaller containers.
Also on the list is Walton & Lonsbury Inc., of Attleboro, MA, a 13,500-square-foot chromium plating facility that operated from 1940 to 2007.
From 1940 to 1970, the EPA says, all wastes generated from the facility discharged into the wetlands located on the southern portion of the property via an underground pipe. After 1970, W&L “used a number of different waste disposal techniques that also had environmental consequences on the site,” EPA said.
Site contaminants include total chromium, hexavalent chromium, lead and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).
The other seven companies newly added to the Priorities List are:
9 New Candidates
In addition to the nine new sites on the list, nine more have been proposed. They are:
“Sites that pose serious risks to human health and the environment and warrant Superfund attention continue to be identified by EPA and our state partners,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response.
“EPA continues to act on its statutory obligation to update the NPL annually and clean up hazardous sites to protect human health with the goal of returning them to communities for productive use. Superfund cleanups improve local economies, protect people’s health and improve overall quality of life in affected communities.”
About the List
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.
For decades, EPA investigators found, chrome plating facility Walton & Lonsbury Inc. discharged its wastes into wetlands on the property via an underground pipe.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Duke and Pittsburgh Universities concluded that, while a site’s proposal to the Priorities List reduces property values slightly, making a site final on the list begins to increase property values surrounding Superfund sites.
Furthermore, the study found that, once a site has all cleanup remedies in place, surrounding properties have a significant increase in property values.
Since 1983, EPA has listed 1,685 sites on the National Priorities List. All cleanup remedies are in place at 1,145 (or 68 percent) of those sites. Approximately 610 (or 36 percent) of NPL sites have all necessary long-term protections in place, which means EPA considers the sites protective for redevelopment or reuse.
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.
More information about how a site is listed is available here.
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.