The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the Blades Groundwater Site in Delaware to the Superfund National Priorities List.
“Cleaning up toxic sites and returning them to safe and productive reuse under the Superfund program is critical to EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “By adding these sites to the National Priorities List, we are moving forward in creating a healthier environment for the affected communities.”
“Superfund cleanup continues to be a top priority for EPA,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Today’s listing ensures that resources are available to take the necessary cleanup actions to address the contamination and any potential impacts on the Blades community.”
EPA originally proposed the Blades Groundwater Site, located in Sussex County, adjacent to the Town of Seaford, on Nov. 8, 2019.
EPA’s next step will be to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study to determine the nature and extent of contamination, assess potential threats to human health and the environment, and evaluate various cleanup options after the nature and extent of contamination is understood.
Throughout the process, EPA will continue with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC).
“Today’s listing by the EPA will allow us to continue our joint work, now with Superfund authority to investigate and remediate the contamination in municipal and residential wells in Blades,” said DNREC Secretary Shawn Garvin. “While we have successfully treated the water supply with carbon filtration, additional remedial action will maintain the safe drinking water and protect human health and the environment in this community.”
As noted in the story below, the National Guard was brought into Blades to provide drinking water while the filtration system was installed.
The Blades Groundwater Site is being listed because industrial chemicals which can cause adverse effects to human health and the environment have been found in groundwater that is used as a source of drinking water. The primary groundwater contaminants of concern in the Blades area are metals associated with electroplating compounds that were used at a prodution plant.
Perfluorooctanesulfonic Acid (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) (forever chemicals)have also been found in groundwater and were identified in public and residential supply wells.
Background on the Superfund Program
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. In recent years, EPA has set the expectation that there will be a renewed focus on accelerating work and progress at all Superfund sites across the country.
The Blades Superfund Task Force Recommendations can be viewed at https://www.epa.gov/superfund/superfund-task-force-recommendations