Newark Groundwater Plume moved to Priorities list of Superfund sites

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The Environmental Protection Agency announced it is proposing to add the Newark South Groundwater Plume site in Newark to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites.

The NPL is the list of hazardous waste sites in the United States eligible for remedial action financed under the federal Superfund program.

“My goal as Administrator is to restore the Superfund program to its rightful place at the center of the agency’s core mission. Today, we are adding and proposing sites to the Superfund National Priorities List to ensure they are cleaned up for the benefit of these communities,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, “When we clean up these sites, we make communities healthier places to live and clear the way for development and increased economic activity.”

Located in the southeast section of Newark, the site consists of groundwater contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE). The chemicals were used in dry cleaning and manufacturing.

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The City of Newark has reported low levels of the contaminants in the untreated groundwater from several of its public supply wells since 2000. The public drinking water supplied by the city is treated to remove the contaminants and continues to meet Federal and State Safe Drinking Water Act standards.

The city has struggled with well water supply issues that also include high iron content that is a byproduct of the geology of the area. A Newark landmark not far from the plume area is Iron Hill, which was the site of sporadic mining work.

The plume designation extends to an industrial area to the west of Route 72.

The city relieved supply pressures with an expensive reservoir project that ended up in litigation over construction issues. A multi-million dollar settlement was reached.

Click here for a further description of the site.

Investigations conducted by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) have identified several potential source areas. The state of Delaware referred the site to EPA for consideration to the list after a nearly two-decade long effort by the city.

“We are pleased that EPA’s proposed National Priorities Listing for the Newark South Ground Water Plume site enables us to further our efforts to better understand the extent of ground water contamination in the Newark area,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin. “We continue partnering with EPA to address historical contamination in the area as we work to protect and restore Delaware’s precious ground water resources.”

The EPA will accept public comments on the proposed listing for 60-days following the Monday announcement. EPA has scheduled a public meeting to explain details of the site on Tuesday, August 15 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Newark Senior Center, 200 White Chapel Drive in Newark.

Information about this and other proposed and final NPL sites is available on EPA’s website: https://www.epa.gov/superfund/current-npl-updates-new-proposed-npl-sites-and-new-npl-sites

The nnouncement of new and proposed NPL sites follows the announcement of the Superfund Task Force recommendations to improve the Superfund program.

The task force’s recommendations focused on five goals: expediting cleanup and remediation, reinvigorating cleanup and reuse efforts by potentially responsible parties, encouraging private investment to facilitate cleanup and reuse, promoting redevelopment and community revitalization and engaging with partners and stakeholders, the EPA release stated.

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