The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a $1 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to initiate cleanup and clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country. These include American Creosote Works (Winnfield) and Marion Pressure Treating in Louisiana and Eagle Picher Carefree Battery and McGaffey & Main Groundwater Plume in New Mexico. Until this historic investment, many of these were part of a backlog of hazardous waste sites awaiting funding. Thousands of contaminated sites exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed. These sites include manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills and mining sites.
American Creosote Works, Inc., in Winnfield, La., is a 34-acre lot where groundwater and soils have been contaminated by pentachlorophenol (PCP) and other pollutants associated with wood treating. While much of the site has been cleaned up, more remedial actions have been awaiting funding. The city and Winn Parish plan to use the site for first-responder training facilities.
“This work is just the beginning; with more than 1 in 4 Black and Hispanic Americans living within 3 miles of a Superfund site, EPA is working to serve people that have been left behind,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “Approximately 60 percent of the sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects are in historically underserved communities. Communities living near many of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination will finally get the protections they deserve.”
“Communities with Superfund sites often contend with long waits for cleanup to finish,” said Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance. “This funding will go a long way to help complete the work on these sites so Marion and Winnfield, Louisiana, and Socorro and Roswell, New Mexico, can keep families safe and move forward with reincorporating the properties back into their communities.”
The $1 billion investment is the first wave of funding from the $3.5 billion in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to help cleanup polluted Superfund sites in communities. The backlog of previously unfunded sites that will now be receiving funding are in 24 states and territories and all 10 EPA regions, including some communities who have been waiting for cleanup for more than four years.