The C&R Battery Superfund site in Chesterfield. (Virginia Department of Health)
A site near the James River used nearly 40 years ago by a company that dismantled car batteries is no longer on the Environmental Protection Agency’s list of highly polluted areas known as Superfund sites.
The EPA announced the removal of the 11-acre site in Chesterfield County used by C&R Battery Company Inc. from the list on Tuesday.
The company dismantled batteries from cars, trucks and other items to recover lead and lead oxide between the early 1970s and 1985, a release from the EPA stated. The batteries were cut open and their acid was drained into on-site ponds, contaminating the soil, sediment and surface water with lead and other hazardous chemicals.
The Superfund list is a compilation of the country’s most contaminated hazardous waste sites. Its label is an informal title for the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), which was enacted by Congress in 1980 in response to growing concerns over the health and environmental risks posed by hazardous waste sites. The legislation was spurred by toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal in New York and Valley of the Drums in Kentucky in the 1970s.
The Virginia battery site was added to the list in 1987. Its removal from the list came after the EPA oversaw cleanup, including excavating and disposing of contaminated surface soils and sediments.
A final inspection by EPA found cleanup goals had been met for all groundwater, surface water, soil and sediment, which are particles that result from erosion. The James River wetlands, which are typically used recreationally and are located about three miles downstream, were found to be free of site contaminants also.
Controls to prevent future contamination were also established, the release states.
EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Adam Ortiz said in a statement that the removal of sites from the list “…can revitalize communities, raise property values, and promote economic growth by signaling to potential developers and financial institutions that cleanup is complete.”
According to the EPA’s website, over 30 locations in Virginia remain on the list. Four sites have been deleted, including: Dixie Caverns County Landfill in Salem, the Suffolk City Landfill, Matthews Electroplating in Roanoke County and Rhinehart Tire Fire Dump in Frederick County.
In December, the Arrowhead Associates/Scovill Manufacturing site, which is located about two miles southeast of Montross on Virginia’s rural Northern Neck, was selected to receive $8.3 million for cleanup as part of $3.5 million in federal infrastructure spending devoted to EPA sites.
The EPA administers the Superfund program, while the state’s Department of Environmental Quality ensures state regulations are considered as part of cleanups.
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