Dutchtown waste site removed from EPA priority list

Staff reports

The last of three “superfund” cleanup sites in Ascension Parish has been removed from the national priority list, according to federal officials.

Authorities are seeking to recuperate costs related to the cleanup of the Dutchtown Treatment plant, following more than two decades of cleanup.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established the superfund to address abandoned hazardous waste sites. The program allows the agency to clean up the sites and compel parties to perform cleanup efforts or reimburse the governement for EPA-led efforts.

The current owners of the five-acre lot located at Hwy. 74 and Interstate 10 are to pay $935,000 to the EPA for costs pertaining to the site, according to a consent decree filed Dec. 15 in federal court in Baton Rouge. The EPA will set aside $71,000 for future management.

The agreement is set to go into effect after Jan. 22, after a 30-day public comment period ends.

Cost recovery is one of the last steps of the superfund process, according to the EPA.

The Dutchtown site was first placed on the national priorities list in 1987, and was removed from the list in 1999. It served as a waste oil center from 1965 to 1982. Now located near residences and Dutchtown Primary and Middle Schools, the site had storage tanks, a raild tanker, an oil pit, and a holding pond for oil and water.

Cleanup included excavation, soil and surface water treatment, capping the contaminated waste with clay and growing vegetation over the cap, according to the EPA.

The agency removes a site from the superfund list when it determines that all cleanup goals have been achieved and state governmental agencies agree.

The Old Inger Oil Refinery near Hwy. 75 north of Darrow was removed from the list of the worst hazardous waste sites in August. It is the last of Ascension Parish’s sites to remain on the list.

The third parish site, the Clever Reber site, south of Hwy. 22 and east of Hwy. 70 near Sorrento, was deleted in 1997.

Both the Old Inger and Cleve Reber sites were added to the list in 1983, but state officials decided in 1996 that neither site posed a threat to the public.