EPA adds La. shipyard to Superfund priority list

The following is the text of a news release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency:

(DALLAS) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has added the Delta Shipyard site in Terrebonne Parish, La., to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites, a list of sites that pose risks to people’s health and the environment. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.

The 165-acre site, in a mixed industrial and residential area south of the city of Houma, operated as a cleaning and repair facility for small cargo boats, fishing boats and oil barges. Oily waste from the cleaning process was stored in several unlined earthen pits used as evaporation ponds. These pits were reportedly also used to dispose of oil field drilling material. Wetlands near the site are contaminated with a variety of metals, including arsenic, benzene and lead. Additionally, evaporation pits contain more than 30,000 cubic yards of hazardous material.

“Finalizing the Delta Shipyard site on the NPL will allow EPA and our partners to begin restoring the land,” said EPA Regional Administrator Ron Curry. “Addressing these types of complex cleanups is one of the most important parts of EPA’s mission.”

Contamination from the site has been found in groundwater, surface water and soil. The state of Louisiana referred the site to EPA for inclusion on the NPL. Without remediation of the site, releases of contamination to groundwater, surface water and soil could continue.

The Superfund program uses remedy effectiveness information to actively manage site operations and refine remedial strategies in order to efficiently move sites to completion. Today, more than 800 Superfund sites across the nation support some type of continued use, active reuse or planned reuse activities.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, gives EPA the authority to clean up releases of hazardous substances and directs EPA to update the NPL at least annually to protect human health and the environment with the goal of returning these sites to communities for productive use. The NPL contains the nation’s most serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites. The list serves as the basis for prioritizing both enforcement actions and long-term EPA Superfund cleanup funding; only sites on the NPL are eligible for such funding.

By Professional Mariner Staff