The US government and the State of Delaware have reached an agreement with 21 defendants on completing a $41.6 million cleanup plan for the 27-acre Delaware Sand & Gravel Landfill Superfund Site in New Castle County.
Between 1969 and 1976, approximately 550,000 cubic yards of industrial waste and construction debris, including at least 13,000 drums containing hazardous substances, became part of a toxic mix at the industrial waste landfill that was formerly a quarry.
Those named in the action included DuPont, Chemours, Hercules (now Ashland), and Verizon among others.
The Environmental Protection Agency and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) confirmed the presence of several hazardous substances in the site’s soil and groundwater, and in 1981, EPA added the site to the “National Priorities List” of the most contaminated sites in the nation.
Due to the presence of the chemical industry and other industrial activities, Delaware has a number of Superfund sites that require various methods of clean-up. One of the more notorious is Tybouts Corner, a former county landfill site in the Bear area.
The EPA has proposed taking portions of the site off the SuperFund list. A portion of the site remains on active status, with one issue being methane gas that is now vented from the site that is near residential and commercial development.
Remediation at the site included removal of waste drums, capping of waste disposal areas, bio-venting of contaminated soil, and pumping and treatment of contaminated groundwater. Capping took place on a 16-acre portion of the site.
the EPA worked with the site owner to construct a special “wear-surface” cap over a five-acre portion of the landfill in order to support the reuse of the landfill area. The “wear surface” cap supports daily use as a storage area for heavy equipment. This area of the site operates as a storage area for impounded vehicles, propane tanks and salvage materials, the EPA reported.
“EPA’s Superfund program focuses on making a visible and lasting difference in communities by ensuring that public health and the environment are protected,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz. “This settlement with the responsible parties ensures that ongoing work will continue at this Delaware site that was abused for years with the disposal of hazardous waste.”
EPA and DNREC have been working since 1983 with potentially responsible parties to clean up the site, located on Grantham Lane, about two miles southwest of the City of New Castle.
The agreement – a consent decree subject to a 30-day public comment period and court approval – was reached under the “Superfund” law – which requires landowners, waste generators and waste transporters responsible for contaminating a Superfund site to clean up the site, or reimburse the government or other parties for cleanup activities.