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Source: US Environment Protection Agency

News Releases from HeadquartersLand and Emergency Management (OLEM)

10/26/2020

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JACKSONVILLE (October 26, 2020) — Today, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler, EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary Walker, and U.S. Congressman John Rutherford (FL-04) celebrated the deletion of the Fairfax Street Wood Treaters site in Jacksonville from the National Priorities List (NPL). EPA has determined that the required cleanup is complete and no further remediation is necessary to protect human health and the environment. This site was one of the 27 Superfund sites fully or partially deleted in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. During the first term of the Trump Administration, EPA has deleted all or part of 82 sites from the NPL matching the site year total over two terms of the previous administration

“The Trump Administration promised when it entered office to intensify efforts to clean-up and delist Superfund sites, and we’ve essentially doubled the rate of delistings from the previous administration,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “Taking the Fairfax Wood site off the Superfund list removes the stigma for surrounding communities regarding the site, which in turn will certainly boost the economic prospects of the area.”

“EPA continues to make good on its commitment to clean up contaminated lands and return them to safe and productive use,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary Walker. “I am pleased that our work at the Fairfax Street Wood Treaters site is completed and we look forward to its productive reuse.”

“From day one, the Trump Administration has shown its commitment to a clean and thriving environment,” said U.S. Congressman John Rutherford. “President Trump understands that burdensome, heavy-handed regulation stands in the way of the progress we’re seeing today that keeps our Florida neighborhoods clean and free of pollution. I’m proud to celebrate the deletion of this Superfund site which is now safe for our Northeast Florida community.”

“The important work of cleaning up contaminated sites in our state is accelerated through strengthened state-federal partnerships,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Secretary Noah Valenstein. “The completion of the work at the Fairfax Wood Treaters site is an example of this successful collaboration. This is great news for the environment, public health and this community as the site is now ready for return to safe beneficial use.”

The Fairfax Street Wood Treaters site is in a predominantly residential area of Jacksonville adjacent to two elementary schools. The property was formerly used as a wood treating facility. From 1980 to 2010, the facility pressure-treated utility poles, pilings, heavy timber and plywood lumber products using the wood treating preservative chromated copper arsenate (CCA). Some of the CCA preservative dripped onto the ground during the wood treating, which resulted in soil and sediment contamination.  

In 2012, Fairfax Street Wood Treaters was added to the NPL. Under the Trump Administration it was decided an aggressive clean-up plan was necessary to accelerate the protection of the health of young children living and attending school nearby. At the request of the FDEP, EPA stabilized the site and started the removal action. EPA was able to clean up this site in about 7 months – two full years ahead of schedule. This administration has prioritized Superfund actions, including site deletions. After years of little to no action, EPA is finishing the job.

EPA completed cleanup activities to address soil and sediment contamination at the Fairfax Street Wood Treaters site from March to October 2019. The cleanup included:

  • Removal of 60,000 tons of contaminated soil and sediment.
  • Transport of contaminated materials to an appropriate disposal facility.
  • 60,000 tons of clean backfill and topsoil used to restore excavated areas.
  • Remediation of the 12.5-acre wood treater property and 51 residential properties.
  • EPA used the Superfund Job Training Initiative to train 13 people from the community, 8 of whom were hired to work on this cleanup. The Superfund Job Training Initiative is a job readiness program that provides training and employment opportunities for people living in communities affected by Superfunds. 

Background

EPA deletes sites or parts of sites from the NPL when no further cleanup is required to protect human health or the environment. While EPA encourages site reuse throughout the cleanup process, deletions from the NPL can help revitalize communities and promote economic growth by signaling to potential developers and financial institutions that cleanup is complete. Over the past several years, the EPA has placed special emphasis on deleting sites and portions of sites to demonstrate to communities that cleanup is complete.

More information on EPA’s cleanup work at the Fairfax Street Wood Treaters (FSWT) site and https://semspub.epa.gov/src/document/04/11116367.

MIL OSI USA News