PHILADELPHIA -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that it added the Baghurst Drive site in Harleysville, Montgomery County, Pa., to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL).
The NPL is a national list of sites where hazardous contaminants could impact public health and/or the environment. NPL sites undergo a thorough investigation to determine the full nature and extent of contamination. EPA or the parties responsible for the contamination then address whatever risks the sites pose to human health and the environment.
The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, requires EPA to update the NPL at least annually and clean up hazardous waste sites to protect human health with the goal of returning them to communities for productive use.
Located in Harleysville, the Baghurst Drive site consists of a residential area where ground water is contaminated with volatile organic compounds. The contaminated ground water plume is currently affecting up to 42 residential water wells.
In 1999, the local health department discovered the contaminated ground water plume while sampling residential wells. Bottled water was immediately provided and subsequently, carbon filtration units were installed at homes to treat contaminated well water. The source of the contamination is still unknown.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection referred the cleanup to EPA given the number of homes affected and because whole-house carbon filtration systems provided by the Commonwealth are not a sustainable solution for addressing the contamination. A permanent alternative water supply is needed for residences, along with cleanup of the contaminated ground water plume. EPA will be investigating the possibility of vapor intrusion into homes and buildings, depending on the type of structure.
The Superfund program has provided important benefits for people and the environment since Congress established the program in 1980. Those benefits are both direct and indirect, and include reduction of threats to human health and ecological systems in the vicinity of Superfund sites, improvement of the economic conditions and quality of life in communities affected by hazardous waste sites, prevention of future releases of hazardous substances, and advances in science and technology.
Federal Register notices and supporting documents for the final and proposed sites: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm.
Information about how a site is listed on the NPL:
Superfund sites in local communities:
More information about the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA), the law establishing the Superfund program, can be found at: