News Releases from Region 06
EPA Proposes to add site in Odessa, Texas to National Priorities List
Nationwide, four sites proposed, six sites added, and one removed
DALLAS – (Sept. 1, 2020) Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added six sites to the National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks, including Henryette Iron and Metal in Henryetta, Oklahoma. EPA is also proposing to add four sites to the NPL and removing one previously proposed site that was never finalized.
Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has re-emerged as a priority to fulfill the agency’s mission. EPA’s renewed focus has spurred action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of communities, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations.
Over the last three years, EPA has fully or partially delisted 55 sites from the National Priorities List. In Fiscal Year 2019 alone, EPA deleted all or part of 27 Superfund sites from the NPL – the largest number of deletions in a single year since Fiscal Year 2001.
“Communities with sites on the National Priorities List are a true national priority under the Trump administration,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Many of the sites we are adding today are in vulnerable, low-income, and minority communities that deserve our attention. EPA is demonstrating our commitment to assist overburdened communities in becoming cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous places to live, work, and go to school.”
“At EPA, we are taking action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of communities, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations,” said Regional Administrator Ken McQueen. “By adding it to the NPL, EPA prioritizes this site, removing hazards from the community for the benefit of local families, businesses, and natural resources.”
Henryetta Iron and Metal (HIM) is a scrap-metal yard on the west side of Henryetta in southern Okmulgee County, Oklahoma. The property has housed several businesses since the 1930s, including a blacksmith, motor freight lines, a welding facility, and a pipe and supply company. Electrical transformers containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were reportedly recycled on-site beginning in the 1950s, and scrap piles remain on-site. The soil, groundwater and downstream sediments on and around the site are contaminated with PCBs, metals, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). In November 2018, EPA removed soil from three homes and some city property, and constructed a berm to redirect surface water flow away from the remediated homes.
The NPL includes the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing EPA Superfund cleanup funding and enforcement actions. Only releases at sites included on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup.
Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24% within three miles of sites after cleanup.
Redeveloped Superfund sites can generate substantial economic activity. Thanks to Superfund cleanups, previously blighted properties are now being used for a wide range of purposes, including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, warehouses and solar power generation. At 602 Superfund sites returned to productive use, 9,180 businesses operate with 208,400 employees earning more than $14.4 billion in annual income.
Community members are key partners at Superfund sites, and their early involvement leads to better cleanup decisions, including those about a site’s future use.
Today’s actions are, in part, the result of EPA putting the recommendations of the Superfund Task Force to work. EPA jump-started progress at sites that had long-standing obstacles; took early action to address immediate risks; increased the number of sites that can be returned to communities for reuse; and incentivized work by potentially responsible parties. Since the completion of the Superfund Task Force’s work one year ago, the recommendations have been integrated into the Superfund program and at all NPL sites. The agency will continue to prioritize expediting cleanups to protect human health and the environment across the country.
For more about EPA’s work in Oklahoma: https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/ok
For more about the National Priorities List: https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-national-priorities-list-npl
Connect with EPA Region 6:
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On Twitter: https://twitter.com/EPAregion6
About EPA Region 6: https://19january2021snapshot.epa.gov/aboutepa/epa-region-6-south-central
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