US EPA - Environmental Protection Agency

Grain Handling Facility at Freeman, Washington Proposed to Superfund Cleanup List

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Seattle -- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to add the Grain Handling Facility at Freeman, in Spokane County, Washington, to the Superfund National Priorities List. The proposed listing includes a 60-day public comment period.

“Adding the Grain Handling Facility at Freeman to EPA’s Superfund list underscores that more study and action is needed to further protect the health of students, teachers and workers in the Freeman School District from groundwater contamination,” said Rick Albright, Director of the EPA Region 10 Office of Environmental Cleanup. “It is also important to protect our precious groundwater resources.”

During EPA’s site inspection, carbon tetrachloride and chloroform were found in soil at the Grain Handling Facility at Freeman and in groundwater collected from nearby water supply wells. One of the wells impacted by the contamination is the sole water supply well for the Freeman School District campus which includes their primary, middle and high schools.

The Freeman School District water system serves approximately 900 people including students, teachers and workers on a regular basis throughout the school year. At the present time, a water treatment system is keeping the school’s water supply safe for drinking, but a long term objective is to ensure the groundwater meets drinking water standards without the School District needing to commit their limited resources to treat the water.

The Washington State Department of Ecology, the Washington State Department of Health, the Spokane Regional Health District and the Freeman School District requested EPA’s involvement in addressing the contamination issues at Freeman. Ecology will be overseeing further studies to identify the extent of the contamination and cleanup of the site.

“The state is committed to protecting the community and cleaning up the contaminated soil and groundwater,” said Jim Pendowski, Program Manager for Ecology’s Toxics Cleanup Program. “Adding the site to the Superfund National Priorities List highlights how important it is to get the job done.”

Public comments are invited for 60 days following the date the proposal is published in the Federal Register. Comments can be submitted online, by e-mail or in writing. Additional information on why the site was listed and how to submit public comments can be found on the EPA website at http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/cleanup.nsf/sites/GHFF. Following the public comment period, EPA will consider the input received and finalize the decision on whether to add the site to the EPA National Priorities List.

EPA’s Superfund program investigates and cleans up complex and uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites to protect people’s health and the environment, with the ultimate goal of ensuring their productive use in the community.

More information on the Grain Handling Facility at Freeman site: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/cleanup.nsf/sites/GHFF

More information on the National Priorities List and the Federal Register Notice: http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/current.htm

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