Projects to clean up 22 toxic waste sites across the country will receive $1 billion from the federal Superfund program to help clear a backlog of hazardous sites such as landfills, mines and manufacturing facilities, the government announced Friday. Environmental Protection Agency.
The money is the second installment of $3.5 billion earmarked under the Infrastructure Act of 2021 signed by President Joe Biden. Sites targeted for cleanup include a lead-contaminated neighborhood in Atlanta’s Westside and a former dry-cleaning solvent dispenser in Tampa, Florida.
The money will also be used to accelerate the cleanup of 100 ongoing Superfund projects across the United States, the EPA said. The agency is committed to eliminating a long-standing backlog in the Superfonds program, created in 1980 to clean up sites contaminated by hazardous substances. The program has dragged on for years due to a lack of funding.
While the agency is accelerating the cleanup of contaminated sites in communities across the country, “our work is not yet done,” EPA Administrator Michael Regan said in a statement Friday. “We continue to build on this momentum to ensure that communities living near many of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned contamination releases finally get the investments and protections they deserve.”
Of the new cleaning sites announced Friday, 60% are in low-income or minority communities that are chronically over-polluted, Regan said.
Thousands of contaminated sites exist across the country as a result of hazardous waste dumped – often illegally – left uncovered or mismanaged, including at manufacturing facilities, treatment plants, landfills and mining sites. .
Superfund cleanups help transform contaminated properties and create jobs in overstretched communities, while reallocating these sites to a wide range of uses, including public parks, retail, offices, homes and solar power generation, the EPA said.
Along with the Atlanta and Tampa projects, the money will also go to a groundwater contamination site in Indianapolis, a former tannery in Danvers, Massachusetts, and a former metal stamping and iron shop. tools and dies near Saint-Louis.
In all, new projects in 14 states and Puerto Rico will receive funding, says the EPA.
About $50 million will go towards cleaning up lead contamination in a residential area of Atlanta. The Westside project has been waiting for years to access federal funds. Experts say it’s unclear exactly where the lead came from, but it likely comes from metal smelters that were once common on Atlanta’s Westside.
The cleanup money “couldn’t come soon enough,” Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., said in a Friday conference call with Regan and other officials. “This accelerated schedule would not be possible without this historic investment.”
Similarly, a project in Tampa was identified as a Superfund site in 1999 but remains contaminated, said Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla.
The site is close to where she and her husband were married, Castor said. In an apparent nod to Warnock’s status as a pastor, Castor said while “having faith is important, there’s nothing like having resources” to clean up the mess. pollution.
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