The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the list of Superfund sites that Administrator Scott Pruitt has targeted for immediate and intense attention. The West Lake Landfill, a 200-acre site located in Bridgeton, Missouri, is one of the targeted sites. The 21 sites throughout the U.S. on the list are in direct response to the Superfund Task Force recommendations issued this summer, calling for this list.
“By elevating these sites, we are sending a message that EPA is, in fact, restoring its Superfund Program to its rightful place at the center of the agency’s mission,” Pruitt says. “Getting toxic land sites cleaned up and revitalized is of the utmost importance to the communities across the country that are affected by these sites. I have charged the Superfund Task Force staff to immediately and intently develop plans for each of these sites to ensure they are thoughtfully addressed with urgency. By getting these sites cleaned up, EPA will continue to focus on ways we can directly improve public health and the environment for people across America.”
Originally used for agriculture, the West Lake Landfill land became a limestone quarrying and crushing operation in 1939. Beginning in the early 1950s, portions of the quarried areas and adjacent areas were used to dispose of municipal refuse, industrial solid wastes and construction and demolition (C&D) debris. In 1973, around 8,700 tons of leached barium sulfate from the Manhattan Project, a World War II nuclear bomb development program, was mixed with approximately 38,000 tons of soil and used to cover trash being dumped during daily operations. The entire 200-acre facility was listed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1990.
In developing this initial list, EPA considered sites that can benefit from Pruitt’s direct engagement and have identifiable actions to protect human health and the environment. These are sites requiring timely resolution of specific issues to expedite cleanup and redevelopment efforts. The list is designed to spur action at sites where opportunities exist to act quickly and comprehensively. Pruitt will receive regular updates on each of these sites.
Sites will move on and off the list as appropriate. There is no commitment of additional funding associated with a site’s inclusion on the list.
The Task Force recommendations are aimed at expediting cleanup at all Superfund sites, and Pruitt says there will be a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites across the country.
The Task Force has five overarching goals:
- expediting cleanup and remediation;
- reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties;
- encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse;
- promoting redevelopment and community revitalization; and
- engaging with partners and stakeholders.