DALLAS – (June 19, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has started to conduct work for the remedial investigation of the Colonial Creosote site in Washington Parish, Louisiana. The activities will be conducted in phases, with the first phase involving the collection of soil, sediment, ground water and surface water samples to support the remedial investigation.
EPA Administrator Pruitt has prioritized Superfund cleanup as part of his effort to refocus EPA on its intended mission. Under his leadership, EPA will look for ways to streamline and improve the Superfund program, with a focus on identifying best practices with regional Superfund programs, reducing the amount of time between identification of contamination at a site and determination that a site is ready for reuse, encouraging private investment at sites during and after cleanup, and realigning incentives of all involved parties to foster faster cleanups.
In underscoring this renewed focus, Administrator Scott Pruitt said, “I am making it a priority to ensure contaminated sites get cleaned up. We will be more hands-on to ensure the proper oversight and attention to the Superfund program at the highest levels of the Agency, and to create consistency across states.”
“These are the first steps in the process of rendering this site ready for reuse. LDEQ is happy to partner with EPA in effecting this cleanup,” said LDEQ Secretary Dr. Chuck Carr Brown.
Subsequent activities will include defining the remaining contaminant sources on the property using soil, soil gas and ground water sampling. After defining the potential risks to public health, EPA will be able to provide the best scientific strategy to clean the site.
The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality referred the site to EPA for cleanup. In September 2016, EPA added the site to the list of contaminated sites that pose risks to public health and the environment as part of the Superfund program. The remedial investigation determines the nature and extent of contamination. The feasibility study evaluates the various ways to deal with the contamination at the site. The overall remedial investigation and feasibility study is anticipated to take about three years to complete and result in a proposed plan for cleanup. The public will have an opportunity to review the plan and make comments.
The site, a 32-acre property in southeast Bogalusa, operated as a wood-treating facility from 1911 to 1953, with creosote used as the primary preservative. The site most recently housed Bogalusa Concrete, which operated until 2008. The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality referred the site to EPA for evaluation in 2011.
Creosote contamination has been found in soil, sediment, and ground water near the site. The contamination, mainly in the form of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), have migrated from the facility to underlying groundwater, adjacent wetlands and nearby surface waters. Certain PAHs are suspected causes of cancer in humans, and have been shown to cause reproductive problems and birth defects in animals.
Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country and converts them into productive community resources by eliminating or reducing public health risks and environmental contamination.
Learn more about EPA’s Superfund program at: https://www.epa.gov/cleanups
For more about EPA’s work in Louisiana: https://www.epa.gov/la
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