5.1 Superfund

SuperfundAs stated in the introduction of this guidebook, CERCLA, commonly known as Superfund, was enacted to address concerns about hazardous waste sites. The Superfund program is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and allows EPA to clean up hazardous waste sites when the responsible party is unknown or unable to do so.

Goals of Superfund:

  • Protect human health and the environment by cleaning up polluted sites.
  • Involve communities in deciding how to clean up the sites.
  • Make responsible parties pay for work performed at Superfund sites.

CERCLA authorizes two types of responses to clean up a hazardous waste site: short-term and long-term. Short term removal of contaminants is conducted when an immediate response is needed. Long-term removal is implemented when the threat of hazardous waste is serious, but not imminently life threatening.

There are several steps involved in identifying, evaluating and then adding an abandoned or inactive waste site to the Superfund list, also called the National Priority List or NPL. First, there is an investigation of site conditions, where data and soil samples are gathered to test in a lab. Community members can help by providing any information you may have about the site to EPA. If the site is determined to be hazardous to human health and the environment, it is placed on the National Priorities List (NPL), a list of the most serious hazardous waste sites in the country. A Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) is then performed to determine the extent of contamination. A Record of Decision (ROD) is then submitted showing how the site will be cleaned up. Then, Remedial Design/Remedial Action (RDRA) is where most of the cleanup of the site occurs. Once cleanup is completed (through Construction Completion and Post Construction Completion stages), the site can be deleted from the National Priorities List and prepared for reuse if possible. Once the site is deleted from the NPL, EPA must review the site every 5 years and complete a report.

Throughout the Superfund site cleanup and remediation, the public is involved in the process. There are several ways in which community members can be involved:

  • Become familiar with the site via EPA’s Superfund website. Progress on Superfund cleanups is updated routinely.
  • Attend any public meetings EPA may hold in your community. EPA may also publish information in the local paper about their progress.
  • Once a site is placed on the NPL, EPA will appoint a Community Involvement Coordinator (CIC) to act as a liaison to the public. Contact the CIC if you have any questions related to the Superfund site and cleanup process.
  • Visit the Information Repository – a place near the site where all documents and reports are housed for public information.
  • Form a Community Advisory Group (CAG). A CAG can act as a unified voice for the community needs. A CAG can sometimes be eligible for a Technical Assistance Grant (TAG).
  • Ask questions and submit comments on plans to cleanup and reuse the site.
  • Read all EPA reports throughout the process.

Although the Superfund program cleanup process can seem overwhelming, EPA has resources to help communities throughout the process. To learn more visit epa.gov/superfund. To view 5-year reports for Superfund sites in EPA’s Region 6 (which includes Louisiana), visit http://www.epa.gov/region6/6sf/6sf-5_year_reviews.htm.

Once the clean-up or remediation of a Superfund site has been completed, many sites can be reused for other purposes. Whether the site is developed into a factory, shopping mall, housing, park, or ecological protection area, it’s important to redevelop these sites if possible. It places the site back into economic, social, and ecological use. The EPA Superfund Redevelopment Initiative works to place all Superfund sites back into some form of reuse.

There are currently 10 active superfund sites in Louisiana:

Ag Street New Orleans Landfill since 1910. Soil contains elevated levels of lead, zinc, mercury, cadmium, and arsenic.
American Creosote Works, Inc. (Winnfield Plant) Winnfield Wood treatment facility since 1910. 5 unlined storage pits allowed soil contamination by polychlorinated dibenzodioxins, polychlorinated dibenzofurans, and various carcinogenic and mutagenic polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons.
Bayou Bonfuca Slidell Wood treatment facility since before 1900. Creosote leak in 1970 has contaminated soils.
EVR-Wood Treating / Evangeline Refining Company Jennings A wood treatment facility and oil refinery located on adjacent properties with no distinct property boundaries. Soil is contaminated with metals and contaminants have also been released into nearby wetlands.
Combustion Inc. Denham Springs Handled nonreclaimable waste oil. 11 pits and two storage tanks now contain 3 million gallons of waste, including PCBs, volatile organic chemicals, and heavy metals. Lead and Thallium have made it to the groundwater.
Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant Doyline Site associated with loading, assembling, and packing military ammunitions, and the manufacture of metal ammunition parts. Soil, surface water, and ground water are contaminated with TNT, dinitrotoluene (DNT), phenols, 4-DNT, tetryl, and cadmium.
Madisonville Creosote Works Madisonville Wood treatment facility prior to 1950. Site has 15 above-ground storage tanks. Creosote has contaminated the soils.
Marion Pressure Treating Marion Wood treatment waste facility in operation from 1964 to 1989. Unlined pit has allowed creosote to contaminate soils.
Petro-Processors of Louisiana Inc. Scotlandville 3.5 million cubic feet of contaminated materials are potentially stored in a closed pit on-site. There is concern leachate will migrate to local waterways.
Delta Shipyard Houma Cleaning and repair facility for boats and barges which contains unlined earthen pits containing oily waste and oil field drilling material. Arsenic, antimony, lead, mercury, and pyrene, among many other hazardous substances have contaminated wetlands, groundwater, surface water, and soil.

There are currently 6 sites that have been proposed for addition to the superfund site list:

Calcasieu Estuary (formerly Bayou D’Inde) Calcasieu Various organic and inorganic materials were released into the Calcasieu Estuary from various industrial sources along the estuary, causing unsafe levels of PCBs and dioxin in fish from the estuary. The site is in early stages of cleanup.
Colonial Creosote Washington Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) from this former wood treating operations have migrated from the facility to underlying groundwater, adjacent wetlands and nearby surface waters.
Devil’s Swamp Lake Scotlandville Former solid waste management units, a hazardous waste disposal facility, and treated wastewater discharge point were all part of Devil’s Swamp lake. PCBs are present in lake, fish, and up to 2 miles downstream.
Gulf States Utilities – North Ryan Street Lake Charles Wetland area was used as a landfill for utility operations and a tar seep has covered approximately 64 square feet. Contaminants such as PAHs, copper, and lead are being released to the Calcasieu River.
Highway 71/72 Refinery Bossier City Former CITGO refinery site that was developed into residential and commercial areas. Many residential areas have been found to be contaminated with high levels of lead and mercury.
SBA Shipyard Jefferson Davis N/A

The following sites in Louisiana have been deleted from the NPL following clean-up:

Bayou Sorrel Bayou Sorrel Formerly a hazardous waste landfill, the site was closed after violations to state and federal permits. The site has been monitored post cleanup for 25 years.
Central Wood Preserving Slaughter Improper practices led to creosote and copper chromium arsenic contamination from wood treatment. Soil was either treated on site or excavated.
Cleve Reber Sorrento The site was used as a borrow pit during the construction of Highway 70 and the Sunshine Bridge and later as a municipal waste disposal. Groundwater was found to be contaminated with pollutants.
Delatte Metals Ponchatoula Former battery facility which consisted of wetlands and cypress swamp. Remediation included soil excavation, water treatment, and waste disposal.
DL Mud, Inc. Abbeville A small portion of the Gulf Coast Vacuum Services site. The contaminants of concern are mercury, chromium, arsenic, lead, zinc, barium, and petroleum-related hydrocarbons.
Dutchtown Treatment Plant Dutchtown A former waste-oil reclamation facility which contaminated nearby groundwater. Principal pollutants included benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene, and lead. Over 4500 cy of soil were treated on site.
Gulf Coast Vacuum Services Abbeville Vacuum and oilfield drilling mud plant. A citizen complain led to EPA investigation. Principle contaminants include benzene, PAHs, arsenic and barium.
Mallard Bay Landing Bulk Plant Grand Chenier A former hazardous waste treatment/storage/disposal (TSD) facility with numerous violations with LDEQ. Cleanup included offsite disposal of over 60,000 gallons of oil/waste material.
Old Inger Oil Refinery Darrow A former oil refinery and waste oil reclamation facility which discharged waste oil and material into an on-site swamp. The site was contaminated with inorganic and organic pollutants and was cleaned using a variety of methods. The site is now vacant and vegetation has been reestablished.
Pab Oil & Chmical Service, Inc. Vermillion Parish Former disposal site for oil field waste. Contaminants included heavy metal, petroleum hydrocarbons, and VOCs. On site surface water treatment, biological treatment, and excavation has made the site suitable for certain redevelopments.
Ruston Foundry Alexandria An abandoned foundry which manufactured steel, iron, and other metals contaminated the site with load and antimony. Over 7,000 cy of contaminated soils were removed and the site is ready for unlimited reuse.
Southern Ship Building Louisiana Slidell A shipbuilding company which included sludge pits where used waste from vessels was disposed. Levees around the pits failed and 325,000 gallons of material was released into Bayou Bonfouca. Site treatment included removal, incineration, and capping of materials. The site is currently proposed for reuse.

Back to
Chapter 5: Your Land

The Louisiana Citizens’ Guide To Environmental Engagement

Forward to
5.2 Brownfields