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Studies At Contaminated Navassa Superfund Site Continue

By Vicky Janowski, posted Mar 13, 2017
Contractors for the Multistate Trust use sampling equipment to see if creosote contaminants are in this part of the marsh near the Brunswick River. (Photo from Multistate Trust)
Workers in recent months have continued to collect water and soil samples at a contaminated site in Navassa that is part of a multi-agency cleanup.
 
Officials plan to hold a public meeting Tuesday in Navassa to update residents about the fieldwork efforts and environmental investigation at the property, home to a former creosote plant that was designated a Superfund site.
 
Since the last public hearing in December, “contractors have collected 44 groundwater samples, 15 soil samples and 13 sediment samples,” according to a news release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. More than 200 soil samples had been taken already as well as nearly 150 groundwater samples as environmental officials figure out the best way to remediate the property.
 
The EPA is holding the meeting along with officials from the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality and Multistate Environmental Response Trust.
 
Soil, sediment and groundwater at the 251-acre site in Navassa have been impacted by creosote-related contaminates, according to the EPA. Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp. and other companies used the site between 1936 and 1974 for treating wood. Those wood-treatment facilities were dismantled by 1980.
 
EPA officials said the site contamination does not threaten people who live or work near the site.
 
The Multistate Environmental Response Trust formed in 2011 to own the Navassa Superfund site and 400 other contaminated properties in the country as part of a court-approved agreement between the federal government, 24 states and Tonox, formerly Kerr-McGee, according to the Multistate Trust.

Settlement funding provided the Multistate Trust $92.5 million to clean up the Navassa site.
 
“These cleanup funds can be spent only on environmental actions, such as site investigations and cleanup,” said Christine Amrhine, a spokeswoman for the Multistate Trust. “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) approves Multistate Trust cleanup plans and budgets, in consultation with the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. The Multistate Trust has been working on environmental investigations to characterize the nature and the extent of the contamination.”
 
Settlement funds also resulted in more than $20 million for the Navassa Trustees Council. Those funds, Amrhine said, are to be used for projects to restore natural resources and habitat for fish, birds and other wildlife harmed by the contaminants at the Superfund site.

Tuesday’s public meeting is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. at the Navassa Community Center, 338 Main St.
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