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Superfund Sites

In 1980, Congress passed, and President Jimmy Carter signed, the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), commonly known as the Superfund law. CERCLA was created to deal with abandoned sites of industrial pollution. The act imposed taxes and fines upon companies to recover clean-up costs, and also established containment procedures for the pollution at such sites. This followed several years of highly publicized incidents related to industrial pollution, such as the 1974 contamination of Times Beach, Missouri—which was later evacuated due to high levels of dioxin in the city’s soil and water—as well as the eventual relocation of residents from the notorious Love Canal neighborhood of Niagara Falls, New York, which was the site of a chemical dump for Hooker Chemicals and Plastics Corporation.

In Arkansas, the most well-known Superfund site is probably the Vertac site in Jacksonville (Pulaski County), at which a series of chemical companies manufactured DDT (later banned for its harmful effects upon the environment), as well as 2,4-D (2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid) and 2,4,5-T (2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid), from the late 1940s until the late 1980s, contaminating local creeks and wells with poisonous toxins. However, as of 2009, there are fourteen additional Superfund sites in the state, which includes a number of former industrial sites as well as regional landfills. Some of these sites have been declared safe for human activity, while others are still being monitored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the continued presence of toxins in the environment.

COUNTY

NEAREST CITY/TOWN

SITE NAME

PROPOSED LISTING

CONSTRUCTION COMPLETE

STILL MONITORED?

Boone

Omaha

Arkwood, Inc.

9/18/1985

6/28/1996

Yes

Crittenden

Edmondson

Gurley Pit

12/30/1982

9/13/1994

No

Crittenden

West Memphis

South Eight Street Landfill

2/7/1992

9/19/2000

No

Greene

Paragould

Monroe Auto Equipment

10/26/1989

9/19/2001

Yes

Jackson

Newport

Cecil Lindsey

12/30/1982

3/16/1989

No

Lawrence

Walnut Ridge

Frit Industries

12/30/1982

10/14/1997

No

Lonoke

Jacksonville

Jacksonville Municipal Landfill

1/22/1987

9/25/1995

No

Ouachita

Reader

Ouachita Nevada Wood Treater

2/4/2000

9/21/2006

Yes

Polk

Mena

Mid-South Wood Products

12/30/1982

9/28/1989

Yes

Pulaski

Jacksonville

Rogers Road Municipal Landfill

1/22/1987

9/25/1995

Yes

Pulaski

Jacksonville

Vertac, Inc.

12/30/1982

8/31/1998

Yes

Sebastian

Fort Smith

Industrial Waste Control

12/30/1982

6/10/1992

No

Union

El Dorado

Popile, Inc.

2/7/1992

9/28/2001

Yes

Yell

Ola

Midland Products

10/15/1984

12/21/1993

Yes

Yell

Plainview

Mountain Pine Pressure Treating

4/23/1999

9/28/2005

Yes

For additional information:
“National Priorities List Sites in Arkansas.” Environmental Protection Agency. http://www.epa.gov/superfund/sites/npl/ar.htm#statelist (accessed September 22, 2009).

Staff of the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture

Last Updated 2/25/2010

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