The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency added the Newark South Groundwater Plume site to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites and proposed that the Hockessin Groundwater site go on the same list.
The NPL is the list of hazardous waste sites in the United States eligible for remedial action financed under the federal Superfund program. The two sites in Delaware are among the four nationwide that the EPA is adding to the NPL.
“Today’s action ensures the necessary resources are available for effective and safe revitalization of some of the most contaminated sites across the country,” said EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. “Superfund clean-up continues to be a priority at EPA as we work intently to create a safer and healthier environment for all communities affected.”
Superfund, which Congress established in 1980, investigates and cleans up hazardous waste sites. The Superfund law directs EPA to update the NPL annually. Only sites added to the NPL are eligible to receive federal funding for long-term cleanup.
EPA adds sites to the NPL when contamination threatens human health and the environment. EPA deletes sites from the NPL once all response actions are complete and all cleanup goals have been achieved.
The Newark site, located in the southeast section of Newark, consists of groundwater contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including tetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE). Both are associated with dry cleaning and the use of industrial solvents.
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.
Investigations conducted by the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) identified several potential source areas. The EPA originally proposed the Newark site to the NPL on August 3. The designation was made following a 60-day public comment period.
EPA’s next step at the Newark site will be to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study.
The Hockessin site consists of approximately 32 acres along Delaware State Route 41 through Hockessin, and encompasses numerous commercial, businesses, and residential, properties.
An EPA assessment has identified considerable movement of PCE contamination in the groundwater in the village of Hockessin.
There are two dry cleaners in the vicinity.
There may be other sources within the area as well. The Artesian Water Co. uses ground water wells as the primary source of drinking water in this area. The water company treats the contaminated groundwater, and the final processed drinking water meets all regulatory standards.
EPA will accept public comments on the proposed listing of the Hockessin site for a 60-day public comment period. EPA will schedule a
public meeting during the comment period to explain details of the Hockessin.
The Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations