EPA steeps up clean ups in Pensacola

Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to accelerate the cleanup of five Superfund sites in Florida with funds from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Nationally, a $1 billion investment from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will be used to initiate cleanup and to clear the backlog of 49 previously unfunded Superfund sites and accelerate cleanup at dozens of other sites across the country. Until this historic investment, many of these were part of a backlog of hazardous waste sites awaiting funding.

“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.”

“We want to make these communities whole again, and residents should feel a sense of peace in the place where they raise their families. EPA is committed to supporting local communities by cleaning up contaminated sites and returning the land to productive use,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Daniel Blackman. “This infrastructure funding will accelerate cleanups for sites that have languished for far too long while promoting potential redevelopment and economic opportunities.”

Superfund cleanup projects in Florida include:

  • American Creosote Works, Inc. – Pensacola Plant – The site was listed on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983 because of contaminated soil and groundwater resulting from facility operations.
  • Anodyne, Inc., North Miami Beach – The site was listed on the NPL in 1990 because of contaminated groundwater and soil resulting from facility operations.
  • Continental Cleaners, Miami – The site was listed on the NPL in March 2012 because of contaminated soil and groundwater resulting from dry cleaning activities.
  • Escambia Wood – Pensacola – The site was listed on the NPL in 1994 because of contaminated groundwater and soil resulting from waste handling practices at the site.
  • Tower Chemical Co., Clermont – The site was listed on the NPL in 1983 because of contaminated soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater resulting from the facility’s waste and wastewater disposal practices.

 

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.

EPA is committed to carrying out this work in line with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative by advancing environmental justice and incorporating equity considerations into all aspects of the Superfund cleanup process. This will help ensure that historic and ongoing impacts of contamination on overburdened communities are fully considered and addressed.

Administrator Regan visited the Lower Darby Creek Area site in Pennsylvania, one of the many sites with ongoing work that will receive a boost from the historic Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. Along with new construction projects, infrastructure funds will be used to accelerate ongoing work and begin cleanup at additional Superfund sites in various stages of pre-construction and planning throughout the country.

These Superfund cleanup projects will make a visible and lasting difference in communities. In one Florida community, residents have been advocating for removal of creosote-contaminated soil in their neighborhood for years. At a New York site, lead contaminated soil will be removed from people’s backyards. At a site in New Mexico, EPA will address the source area of a contaminated groundwater plume migrating towards a community.

The funds will supercharge the Superfund program to address the toll contaminated sites have on communities. EPA is finalizing cleanup plans and preparing funding mechanisms to get construction work started as soon as possible. More information about funding for backlogged sites and accelerated cleanup sites will be available in the coming weeks.

In 1980, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act, known as Superfund, was passed. The novel law gave EPA the authority and funds to hold polluters accountable for cleaning up the most contaminated sites across the country. When no viable responsible party is found or cannot afford the cleanup, funds appropriated by Congress are used. A tax on chemical and petroleum industries provided funds to the Superfund Trust fund for Superfund cleanups up until 1995. The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law reinstates the chemical excise taxes and invests an additional $3.5 billion in environmental remediation at Superfund sites, making it one of the largest investments in American history to address the legacy pollution that harms the public health of communities and neighborhoods.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is a once-in-a-generation investment that will create millions of jobs modernizing our infrastructure, turn the climate crisis into an opportunity, and put us on a path to win the economic competition for the 21st century.

For more information and to see a list of the 49 sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-sites-new-construction-projects-receive-bipartisan-infrastructure-law-funding

For more information about EPA’s Superfund program, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund

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