The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is adding three new hazardous waste sites that pose risks to human health and the environment to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites, according to an EPA press release. Superfund is the federal program that investigates and cleans up the most complex, uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites in the country.

To date, there have been 1,610 sites listed on the NPL. Of these sites, 340 sites have been deleted resulting in 1,270 sites currently on the NPL (including the three new sites added in today’s rulemaking). There are 63 proposed sites awaiting final agency action: 58 in the general Superfund section and five in the federal facilities section. There are a total of 1,333 final and proposed sites.

Contaminants found at the sites include arsenic, chlorine gas, chromium, copper, dioxins/furans, hexachlorobenzene, lead, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and zinc.

With all Superfund sites, EPA tries to identify and locate the parties potentially responsible for the contamination. For the newly listed sites without viable potentially responsible parties, EPA will investigate the full extent of the contamination before starting significant cleanup at the site. Therefore, it may be several years before significant cleanup funding is required for these sites.

Sites may be placed on the list through various mechanisms:

• Numeric ranking established by EPA’s Hazard Ranking System

• Designation by states or territories of one top-priority site

• Meeting all three of the following requirements:
  • The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has issued a health advisory that recommends removing people from the site;
  • EPA determines the site poses a significant threat to public health; and
  • EPA anticipates it will be more cost-effective to use its remedial authority than to use its emergency removal authority to respond to the site.
For Federal Register notices and supporting documents for these final and proposed sites:

The following three sites have been added to the National Priorities List:

Raritan Bay Slag (Old Bridge Township/Sayreville, N.J.)
U.S. Magnesium (Tooele County, Utah)
Peck Iron and Metal (Portsmouth, Va.)