PHILADELPHIA (Sept. 8, 2021) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed adding the Paden City Groundwater site in Paden City (northern West Virginia) today to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is the list of hazardous waste sites in the United States eligible for remedial cleanup action financed under the federal Superfund program.
With this Superfund NPL update, the Biden-Harris Administration is demonstrating a commitment to updating the NPL twice a year. By pledging to add sites more regularly to the NPL, EPA is taking action to protect the health of communities across the country while cleaning up and returning blighted properties to safe and productive reuse in areas where environmental cleanup and jobs are needed most.
The state of West Virginia referred the site to EPA to assist in characterizing the extent and impact of the groundwater contamination. Paden City and the state of West Virginia support future investigation and NPL listing.
The site consists of co-mingled groundwater plumes containing hazardous substances. The groundwater and soils are contaminated with the solvent tetrachloroethylene (commonly referred as perchloroethylene or PCE) and its breakdown products which are commonly used in commercial and industrial operations such as dry cleaning. Three former dry cleaners may have contributed to the groundwater and soil contamination.
“If finalized, today’s proposed listing will enable us to continue our joint work, to investigate and remediate the contamination in Paden City,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Acting Regional Administrator Diana Esher. “While Paden City has successfully treated the water supply, additional cleanup of the groundwater will maintain safe drinking water and protect human health and the environment in this community for many years to come.”
In 2020, EPA began investigating the groundwater contamination to determine if hazardous substances are present and pose a threat to human health and the environment. EPA collected water, soil, and air samples. The investigation concluded that the site poses a risk and qualifies for long-term cleanup under Superfund. In concurrence with the state of West Virginia, EPA is proposing the site to the National Priorities List.
Paden City’s public water source is groundwater. PCE was detected in the groundwater samples collected from the aquifer. There are two active municipal wells in that area that are contaminated above EPA’s drinking water standards for PCE. Paden City’s new water treatment plant was placed online in May 2020 and the drinking water currently meets State and Federal Drinking Water standards.
When EPA proposes to add a site to the NPL, the Agency publishes the proposed rule in the Federal Register and notifies the community through the local media so interested members of the community can comment on the proposal.
There will be a 60-day comment period from September 9 – November 8, 2021, where the public can comment on the listing of Paden City Groundwater. EPA will consider those comments in the final decision to list the site on the NPL.
If, after the formal comment period, the site still qualifies for cleanup under Superfund, the Agency will publish a final rule in the Federal Register and Paden City Groundwater will become a Superfund Site. EPA then conducts a more comprehensive investigation of the Superfund Site, called a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study.
More information on the public comment process of listing sites can be found here.
All comments received will be treated equally. During the comment period, comments may be submitted in one of two ways:
Search for “EPA-HQ-OLEM-2021-0467”
Mail: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
EPA Docket Center
Docket # EPA-HQ-OLEM-2021-0467
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20460
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.
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. EPA typically initiates Superfund involvement because states, tribes or citizens ask for EPA’s help. EPA may also find contamination during its own investigations.
For information about Superfund and the NPL: http://www.epa.gov/superfund