Water Quality Information | Written By Actual Experts — water contamination
Newly Designated Superfund Sites
Analies Dyjak | Policy NerdEPA recently added 6 new sites to the National Priorities List under the Superfund program. Cyanide, Lead, Tetrachloroethene (PCE), Trichloroethylene (TCE), 1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE), vinyl chloride, and Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are just some of the toxic chemicals found at the newly designated sites. Our team is working around the clock to analyze each situation and put together articles and videos explaining how each site can impact your drinking water. Make sure to follow along and subscribe to our Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube as we discuss where each site is located and the contaminants that are present.
What is Superfund?In 1980, the Carter administration decided to address years of environmental degradation by creating the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as Superfund. Superfund establishes requirements concerning closed and abandoned hazardous waste sites, holds responsible parties liable for releases of hazardous waste, and establishes a fund to pay for remediation when a responsible party cannot be identified. Superfund is not necessarily a “cradle to grave” statute. It was established to clean up years of hazardous waste before disposal practices were being regulated, which is why many responsible parties cannot be identified.
Why do we care?Hazardous waste and designated Superfund sites almost always end up affecting drinking water sources. Over periods of time, toxic sludge and vapor plumes at these abandoned hazardous waste sites seep into groundwater. The concern to humans is that the same contaminated groundwater is commonly used as a drinking source for a community. In fact, all 6 of the recently designated Superfund sites involve some sort of groundwater contamination. Many of the toxic chemicals found at Superfund sites are either known carcinogens or extremely toxic.
Superfund Delegation ProcessPrior to EPA’s delegation of a Superfund site, research, community involvement, and site inspections at the state and federal level must be conducted. This process can take years which is why it’s important to stay current with public notices within your community. Once the site meets certain standards, it’s added to the National Priorities List and officially becomes a designated Superfund site. CERCLA has the jurisdiction to delegate two types of response actions; short term removals and long term remedial response actions. For the purpose of this article, we will only be referring to long term remedial response actions. Long term actions permanently reduce the danger associated with releases of hazardous substances. These actions are dubbed serious, but not immediately life threatening. Short term and long term actions are both registered on EPA’s National Priorities List. This list is significant because it’s EPA’s way of addressing that there’s a serious problem that requires some sort of federal involvement. Superfund cleanup efforts are reviewed once every 5 years to see if remedial goals have been met. A site is removed from the National Priorities List once all response and remediation action has occurred. Typically, total remediation of a Superfund site can take decades because of the scope of groundwater and soil contamination.
Sources of Contaminants
As previously stated, EPA detected several hazardous chemicals at each of the sites. The most common being Tetrachloroethene (PCE), which is commonly used by dry cleaning facilities. EPA also detected Trichloroethylene (TCE) which is an industrial solvent, typically used as a metal degreaser as well as a refrigerant in older refrigerators. Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) which were historically used in electrical manufacturing. Cyanide, lead, chromium 6, and mercury, were among some of the other toxic contaminants that EPA detected.
Make sure to follow along this week to learn more about each of the Superfund sites. We’ll be walking through each site, the contaminants that were detected and their toxicity. As always, we encourage you to take advantage of Hydroviv's "Help No Matter What" technical support policy, where we answer questions related to drinking water and water filtration, even if you have no desire to purchase our products. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.orgOther Articles We Think You might Enjoy:
An Overview of Superfund
How Mining Activities From Long Ago Continue To Pollute Water Today
Municipal Drinking Water Compliance
Breaking: ATSDR Releases Toxicological Profile for Perfluoroalkyl Substances
Analies Dyjak | Policy Nerd
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) just released a draft toxicological profile for Perfluoroalkyl Substances such as PFOA and PFOS. This category of emerging contaminants have flooded news headlines this past year, even though they've been persistent in the environment since the 1950’s. PFOA and PFOS are ingredients used in the production of non-stick materials like Scotchgaurd, Teflon, and firefighting foam. The risk to human health is "unknown" but exposure has been linked to various types of cancer, developmental issues, and preeclampsia in laboratory animals.
June 20, 2018 ATSDR Toxicological Study for Perfluoroalkyls
Municipalities across the country have been demanding that government agencies expedite toxicological reports for this dangerous class of contaminants. Wilmington, North Carolina and several Michigan municipalities are just some of the locations that have been severely impacted by perfluoroalkyl contamination. Unfortunately, GenX, the most popular PFAS was not included in this particular toxicity study. This toxicological profile included provisional Minimal Risk Levels for both PFOA and PFOS. A Minimal Risk Level (MRL) is a non-enforceable standard, similar to an EPA health advisory level. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry recommended reducing EPA’s non-enforceable health advisory from 70 parts per trillion to 20 parts per trillion for drinking water. This means municipalities across the country may be in exceedance with this new health recommendation, so people should stay current with public notices in their area.
Are Perfluoroalkyls Now Regulated?
It’s important to note that this toxicity study does not mean that PFOA and PFOS contaminants are now regulated. The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry can only make recommendations and provide scientific data regarding this class of contaminants. It’s now up to regulatory agencies to comb through these data and make decisions to ensure that public health is protected. The regulatory process in this country, especially for toxic substances, can take upwards of decades. A regulation proposed by EPA or CDC could take years to draft and even longer before it’s enforceable.
Our Water Nerds are working around the clock to help make sense of this 852 page document. We’ll be reviewing the document and providing information on our Youtube, Facebook and Twitter accounts. Make sure to subscribe and follow Water Nerd TV on Facebook to stay up to date!Other Articles We Think You Might Enjoy:
Everything You Need To Know About PFAS, PFOA, and PFOS
GenX Contamination in North Carolina
Recap of The 2018 PFAS Summit