The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on Monday that the Fairfax Street Wood Treaters site in Jacksonville has been removed from its National Priorities List (NPL), better known as the Superfund list.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary Walker, and U.S. Rep. John Rutherford, R-Fla., marked the occasion on the First Coast on Monday.
“EPA has determined that the required cleanup is complete and no further remediation is necessary to protect human health and the environment. This site was one of the 27 Superfund sites fully or partially deleted in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. During the first term of the Trump administration, EPA has deleted all or part of 82 sites from the NPL matching the site year total over two terms of the previous administration,” the EPA noted.
“The Fairfax Street Wood Treaters site is in a predominantly residential area of Jacksonville adjacent to two elementary schools. The property was formerly used as a wood treating facility. From 1980 to 2010, the facility pressure-treated utility poles, pilings, heavy timber and plywood lumber products using the wood treating preservative chromated copper arsenate (CCA). Some of the CCA preservative dripped onto the ground during the wood treating, which resulted in soil and sediment contamination,” the EPA added. “In 2012, Fairfax Street Wood Treaters was added to the NPL. Under the Trump administration, it was decided an aggressive clean-up plan was necessary to accelerate the protection of the health of young children living and attending school nearby. At the request of the FDEP, EPA stabilized the site and started the removal action. EPA was able to clean up this site in about seven months – two full years ahead of schedule.”
Federal and state officials cheered the news.
“The Trump administration promised when it entered office to intensify efforts to clean-up and delist Superfund sites, and we’ve essentially doubled the rate of delistings from the previous administration,” said Wheeler. “Taking the Fairfax Wood site off the Superfund list removes the stigma for surrounding communities regarding the site, which in turn will certainly boost the economic prospects of the area.”
“EPA continues to make good on its commitment to clean up contaminated lands and return them to safe and productive use,” said Walker. “I am pleased that our work at the Fairfax Street Wood Treaters site is completed and we look forward to its productive reuse.”
“From day one, the Trump administration has shown its commitment to a clean and thriving environment,” said Rutherford. “President Trump understands that burdensome, heavy-handed regulation stands in the way of the progress we’re seeing today that keeps our Florida neighborhoods clean and free of pollution. I’m proud to celebrate the deletion of this Superfund site which is now safe for our Northeast Florida community.”
“The important work of cleaning up contaminated sites in our state is accelerated through strengthened state-federal partnerships,” said Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) Sec. Noah Valenstein. “The completion of the work at the Fairfax Wood Treaters site is an example of this successful collaboration. This is great news for the environment, public health and this community as the site is now ready for return to safe beneficial use.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.