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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.
South Eight Street Landfill
Monroe Auto Equipment
Jacksonville Municipal Landfill
Ouachita Nevada Wood Treater
Mid-South Wood Products
Rogers Road Municipal Landfill
Industrial Waste Control
Mountain Pine Pressure Treating
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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