Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it is adding four sites to the National Priorities List (NPL) including Pioneer Metal Finishing Inc. in Franklinville, New Jersey where releases of contamination pose significant human health and environmental risks.
EPA is also proposing to add another 13 sites and is withdrawing a previously proposed site, following the agency’s science-based determination that placing the site on the NPL is not needed to protect human health and the environment.
With this Superfund NPL update, the Biden-Harris Administration is demonstrating a commitment to updating the NPL twice a year.
By pledging to add sites more regularly to the NPL, EPA is taking action to protect the health of communities across the country while cleaning up and returning blighted properties to safe and productive reuse in areas where environmental cleanup and jobs are needed most.
“EPA recognizes that no community deserves to have contaminated sites near where they live, work, pray, and go to school. By adding sites to the Superfund NPL, we are helping to ensure that more communities living near the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination have the protection they deserve,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to increasing funding and working with Congress on the bipartisan infrastructure deal to provide the Superfund Program with the resources it needs to address a backlog of sites awaiting cleanup, as well as additional sites in need of cleanup.”
Pioneer Metal Finishing Inc. is a former electroplating facility in Franklinville, NJ. It began operations in the mid-1950s and discharged untreated waste from the facility into an adjacent wetland until the mid-to-late-1970s.
The untreated wastes consisted of metallic salts and process sludge. Around 2005, the facility stopped electroplating, but it continues powder coating operations.
Samples taken by EPA and Pioneer Metal Finishing Inc. show that soil near the facility and sediment within the adjacent wetland are contaminated with chromium, copper, and nickel at levels that could pose a threat to people’s health and the environment.
The soil is also contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) supports the inclusion of the site to the Superfund NPL.
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.
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 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 percent within three 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 2020, EPA has collected economic data on 632 Superfund sites, finding 9,900 businesses in operation, 227,000 people employed, $16.3 billion in employee-earned income, and $63.3 billion in business-generated sales.