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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Examples of EPA’s cleanups

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  • The Environmental Protection Agency’s cleanup of Superfund sites can result in different amounts of chemicals being left behind and different re-use options for sites once the EPA has finished its work. Here are some examples of different scenarios for Superfund sites across the country.
    Site: New Bedford-Fairhaven Harbor, Massachusetts
    Contaminant:  Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) 0 to 10,000 parts per million
    Cleanup:  Dredging for offsite disposal. Capped holes in harbor floor to be filled with sediment. Fishing bans.
    Status: Cleanup is ongoing and to be completed within five to seven years. Post-cleanup, some shoreline land will be safe for industrial use only. Harbor fish will be unsafe to eat indefinitely.
    Site: Love Canal, New York
    Contaminant: More than 80 chemicals, including benzene, arsenic, dioxin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), halogenated organics, pesticides, chlorobenzenes and trichlorophenols, dumped in landfill.
    Cleanup: Multiple clay and soil caps placed over portions of the site. Some 68,000 feet of sewers cleaned of contaminants. Dredging of adjacent creek with contamination disposed offsite. 
    Status: Deleted from National Priorities List in 2004. Of the 350-acre site, 70 acres are fenced in to prohibit any reuse or redevelopment. Roughly half of the remaining 280 acres are safe for any use, and the other half is only safe for commercial or industrial use.
    Site: DuPage County Landfill/Blackwell Forest Preserve, Warrenville, Illinois
    Contaminant: Volatile organic compounds
    Cleanup: Long-term capping of landfill. Off-site treatment and disposal of leachate.
    Status: Site is part of the 1,200-acre Blackwell Forest Preserve. Forest is open to public for hiking, camping, fishing and horseback riding. The landfill itself is used for hiking and as a scenic overlook onto park. Use of the site is limited only for recreation. Groundwater is safe to drink. Pond may be used for fishing, not swimming.
    Site: Sturgis Municipal Wells, Michigan
    Contaminant: TCE and tetrachloroethylene in soil and two town wells. Up to 338.72 grams per liter in groundwater and 173 parts per million in soil.
    Cleanup: Pumping and treating groundwater. Treating soil so contaminants evaporate and are contained and disposed of offsite.
    Status: Use of groundwater prohibited until cleanup goals are met. Goals expected to be achieved in 20 to 30 years.
    Site: Hudson River, New York
    Contaminant: Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) up to 4,000 parts per million.
    Cleanup: Dredging of contaminated sediment for offsite disposal. Capping of contaminated sediment left in place. Commercial fishing banned. Warnings on fish consumption. 
    Status: EPA cleanup ongoing, to be completed within six years. 
    Site: J.H. Baxter & Co., Weed, California
    Contaminant: Arsenic (up to 38,500 ppm), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (up to 220 ppm), and dioxins (up to 12 ppm).
    Cleanup: Extraction of contaminated groundwater with treatment and disposal. Excavation of contaminated soil disposed of in protected trenches on site.
    Page 2 of 2 - Status: Construction of extraction devices completed in 2002, currently in “operation and maintenance mode.” All uses but industrial prohibited onsite.
    Site: Agriculture Street Landfill, New Orleans, Louisiana
    Contaminant: Lead (up to 4,000 ppm), arsenic, Polynuclear Aromatic Hydrocarbons
    Cleanup: Parts of site capped with clean soil. Other parts, 24 top inches of soil removed. Site graded to direct groundwater runoff away from residential area.
    Status: Cleanup was completed in 2002, leaving contaminants behind under the cap. Flooding and standing water resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita caused benzo(a)pyrene to leach up through the cap, making levels unsafe for residents there. Contaminants have since been removed from properties where residents are allowed.
    NOTE: Information and updates on all Superfund sites may be found at the EPA’s online Superfund database, the National Priorities List at http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/. -- Ariel Wittenberg
     

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