FRANKLINVILLE, N.J. (September 1, 2020) – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the addition of six sites to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) where releases of contamination pose human health and environmental risks. EPA is also proposing to add another four sites to the NPL, including Pioneer Metal Finishing Inc. in Franklinville, NJ, while removing one previously proposed site that was never finalized.
Under the Trump Administration, the Superfund program has re-emerged as a priority to fulfill the agency’s mission. EPA’s renewed focus has spurred action to clean up some of the nation’s most contaminated sites, protect the health of communities, and return contaminated land to safe and productive reuse for future generations.
“Communities with sites on the National Priorities List are a true national priority under the Trump administration,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Many of the sites we are adding today are in vulnerable, low-income, and minority communities that deserve our attention. EPA is demonstrating our commitment to assist overburdened communities in becoming cleaner, healthier, and more prosperous places to live, work, and go to school.”
Before being added to the NPL, a site must meet the listing requirements and be proposed for addition to the list in the Federal Register, subject to a 60-day public comment period. The site will be added 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 received.
“Proposing to add the Pioneer Metal Finishing Inc. site to the National Priorities List is an important first step toward protecting human health and the environment in affected communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Pete Lopez. “By elevating our focus on the Superfund program, we are making tremendous progress to accelerate cleanups and return sites to safe and productive use.”
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 electroplating activities at the facility ceased. Samples conducted by EPA and Pioneer Metal Finishing Inc. indicate that soil near the facility and sediment within the adjacent wetland are contaminated with chromium, copper, and nickel at levels that pose a threat to human health and the environment. The soil is also contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). The facility is currently being used for powder coating operations. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection supports inclusion of the site to the Superfund NPL.
About the EPA’s national Superfund program:
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.
Superfund cleanups provide health and economic benefits to communities. The program is credited for significant reductions in birth defects and blood-lead levels among children living near sites, and research has shown residential property values increase up to 24% within three miles of sites after cleanup.
Redeveloped Superfund sites can generate substantial economic activity. Thanks to Superfund cleanups, previously blighted properties are now being used for a wide range of purposes, including retail businesses, office space, public parks, residences, warehouses and solar power generation. At 602 Superfund sites returned to productive use, 9,180 businesses operate with 208,400 employees earning more than $14.4 billion in annual income.
Community members are key partners at Superfund sites, and their early involvement leads to better cleanup decisions, including those about a site’s future use.
Today’s actions are, in part, the result of EPA putting the recommendations of the Superfund Task Force to work. EPA jump-started progress at sites that had long-standing obstacles; took early action to address immediate risks; increased the number of sites that can be returned to communities for reuse; and incentivized work by potentially responsible parties. Since the completion of the Superfund Task Force’s work one year ago, the recommendations have been integrated into the Superfund program and at all NPL sites. The agency will continue to prioritize expediting cleanups to protect human health and the environment across the country.
For information about Superfund and the NPL, please visit: https://www.epa.gov/superfund