The Daily Record
started with outcry about Love Canal, a 15-acre chemical landfill
in Niagara Falls, N.Y., that came to public attention in 1978, and
the Valley of the Drums in Brooks, Ky., where the Environmental
Protection Agency in 1979 began investigating the contamination
of 23 acres by the dumping of 1,500 drums of chemical waste that
had begun to leak.
1980, spurred by public concern about hazardous waste pollution
after those sites and others came to attention, Congress passed
the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability
Act, directing the Environmental Protection Agency to identify such
sites, clean them first and collect fines later.
EPA was given a list of 120 "National Priority Sites,"
an allocation of $1.6 billion and five years to do the work.
wasn't nearly enough.
the legislation expired in September 1985, Congress replaced it
with the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act of 1986 and
provided $9 billion more.
there are more than 1,200 sites on the National Priorities List
- Lincoln Park in Canon City and Maywood in Bergen County, N.J.,
EPA uses several sources to discover possible Superfund sites. Reports
from citizens can trigger an investigation, as can an explosion
or fire. Routine investigations and reports also can lead to an
Hazard Ranking System looks at how likely it is the site has or
could release hazardous waste, the amount of toxicity of the waste,
nearby people or environments that could be affected, and how the
pollutant could be carried from the site in groundwater, surface
water, soil or air.
a site's scores warrant, the EPA can propose placing it on the National
40,000 sites have been proposed for Superfund consideration. Among
them, 37,357 have had a preliminary assessment, 18,129 a site inspection
and as of Aug. 7 there were 1,220 on the National Priorities List
with another 49 sites proposed for listing.
a site has been listed, the EPA investigates the extent of the site
contamination, studies possible cleanup remedies, decides which
remedy to use (referred to as a Record of Decision), then plans
and carries out the remedy.
for cleanup of Superfund sites can come from the parties responsible
for the contamination or from the Superfund Trust Fund, a fund set
up to collect money, primarily from taxes on chemical and petroleum
companies for cleanup.
cleanup can be a long process. When no further action is needed
at a site on the National Priorities List, it can be removed from
of Aug. 7, just 259 sites had been delisted.
Park Superfund site
are 16 active sites in Colorado on the Superfund National Priorities
Lincoln Park site in Canon City - the area adjacent to Cotter Corp.'s
uranium processing mill, was added to the National Priorities List
on Sept. 21, 1984. Areas of concern included uranium and its decay
products, molybdenum, selenium and other metals. According to the
EPA, both groundwater and soils in the area were found to have more
uranium and molybdenum than expected.
began operating the uranium mill in 1958, and between 1958 and 1978
discharged liquid and solid wastes into 11 unlined ponds. The ponds
were replaced in 1982 with two lined ponds.
Corp. and the state of Colorado reached a settlement in 1988 that
made Cotter responsible for cleanup of the site.
to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, the
company has paid to hook up residences in Lincoln Park to the Canon
City water supply. The company also installed an interceptor system
to contain contaminated groundwater on site and a system below the
Sand Creek dam to treat any contaminated water there. It also cleaned
up several railroad loading areas around Canon City to remove uranium
ore and other spilled materials, the CDPHE reported.
EPA issued a Record of Decision in January 2002 that said all necessary
work to deal with contaminated soils in the Superfund site had been
done. The EPA has not yet issued a final decision on whether enough
work has been done to address groundwater concerns.
groundwater concerns need to be resolved before the site can be
removed from the National Priorities List.
Jersey has more active Superfund sites (111) than any state in the
site known as Maywood Chemical Co. in Bergen County was listed Sept.
1, 1983, a year before the Lincoln Park site at Canon City.
to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Maywood company processed
radioactive thorium ore from 1916 until the late 1950s. Tailings
from the processing work contained low-level radioactive materials.
Processing wastes were pumped into diked areas west of the plant.
radiation and radon, which come from the decay of the thorium, are
considered the largest contributors to health risk for the people
who work at the Maywood site, according to a plan for dealing with
the soils, recently released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Currently the soil is fenced and guarded and the material is covered
to reduce exposure.
mitigation has also been a concern at contaminated buildings, according
to the report.
to the 2001 annual environmental monitoring report for the site,
other substances detected included radium-226, radium-228, iron,
manganese, arsenic and aluminium in surface water, and radium-226,
radium-228, arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel
and tetrachloroethene in on-site wells. Most were detected in amounts
lower than state and federal standards allow.
to the EPA, the soil contaminated by the chemical company operations
spread beyond the company's property to contaminate residential
neighborhoods in the area decades ago. A state highway was built
through the disposal area in 1932, spreading the soil. Some of the
waste material was excavated and used as fill dirt or mulch in the
nearby communities of Maywood and Lodi. Other material went into
a stream channel.
1959, Stepan Chemical Co. bought the Maywood company and many of
its operations were discontinued, including work with thorium. Stepan
began working to clean up the company site in the 1960s.
in 1980, an area resident discovered radiological contamination
on property formerly owned by Stepan, prompting testing between
1980 and 1983 by the state of New Jersey, the EPA and the Department
of Energy, which found radioactive contamination in excess of state
and federal guidelines at several sites.
1984 and 1986, the Department of Energy removed about 35,000 cubic
yards of soil and debris from the former location of the diked disposal
areas and from residential properties in Maywood, Lodi and Rochelle
Park. The material was stockpiled on 11.7 acres of land formerly
owned by Stepan, located adjacent to the 18.2 acres the Stepan Co.
currently owns. The storage area, now owned by the federal government,
is known as the Maywood Interim Storage Site. The soil at the storage
site, including soil yet to be excavated from the site, is what
the Cotter Corp. wants to bring to Canon City.
residents have been pressing since at least 1986 to stop storage
of contaminated soil at the interim storage site and to have the
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, through the Formerly Utilized Sites
Remedial Action Program, is in charge of the cleanup effort.
to the "Proposed Plan for Soils and Buildings at the FUSRAP
Maywood Superfund Site," released in August, an estimated 281,288
cubic yards of material remains to be removed at the Maywood storage
cost to excavate and remove the material is $254 million.
Roos, FUSRAP project manager, said the soil to be removed from the
interim site contains thorium, radium and uranium, all of which
naturally occur in the monazite soils that the Maywood company formerly
processed for thorium.
the amount of material to be removed is estimated at fewer than
300,000 cubic yards, the Army Corps of Engineers has asked to contract
with Cotter Corp. to accept as much as 470,000 tons of soils from
the Maywood site.
on soil weight, which can vary according to the Colorado State University
Soil and Crop Sciences Department, 470,000 tons would amount to
between 348,148 and 447,619 cubic yards.
actual amount of material to be removed at the Maywood storage site
may be less, Roos said, but a high figure was used in case more
material than expected must be removed. "A contract of that
nature is not one you want to come up short."
put the amount of material in perspective, the minimum amount of
material that might be removed, 281,288 cubic yards, would cover
a NFL football field and its end zones to a depth of 132 feet. At
the maximum possible under the contract, 447,619 cubic yards, the
field would be covered to a depth of 213 feet, or the equivalent
of a 21-story building.
said excavation work is currently going on at the Maywood Interim
Storage Site and material previously excavated has been sent to
Envirocare, a licensed disposal facility in Utah used for storage
of contaminated soils, with which the Army Corps of Engineers has
said the remaining material could be shipped to either Cotter or
Envirocare. If the state of Colorado determines it is OK for Cotter
to accept the soil, the Army Corps of Engineers will send it there,
would ship to whatever is going to be the most effective way to
manage the removal action, the cleanup we have to do."