(KFOR NEWS September 8, 2022) LENEXA, KAN. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced it is adding five sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) and is proposing to add another two sites where releases of contamination pose significant human health and environmental risk – one of which is in Bellevue, Nebraska.
In 2017, it was discovered that groundwater at the former, now abandoned site of Carriage Cleaners was contaminated with tetrachloroethene (PCE), an ingredient found in dry-cleaning chemicals.
Before EPA adds a site to the NPL, it must meet EPA’s requirements and be proposed for addition to the list in the Federal Register, subject to a 60-day public comment period. EPA will add the site to the NPL if it continues to meet the listing requirements after the public comment period closes and the Agency has responded to any comments.
The Superfund National Priorities List 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 non-federal sites included on the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term, permanent cleanup. Cleanup at federal facilities is funded by the lead federal agency responsible for the site.
EPA proposes sites to the NPL based on a scientific determination of risks to people and the environment, consistent with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) and the National Oil and Hazardous Substances Pollution Contingency Plan.
Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in both birth defects and blood lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24% within 3 miles of sites after cleanup.
Further, thanks to Superfund cleanups, communities are now using previously blighted properties for a wide range of purposes, including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, warehouses, and solar power generation. As of 2021, EPA has collected economic data on 650 Superfund sites. At these sites, there are 10,230 businesses operating, 246,000 people employed, an estimated $18.6 billion in income earned by employees, and $65.8 billion in sales generated by businesses.
For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for new proposed and new NPL sites, please visit EPA’s website.