EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

02/27/2024 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 02/27/2024 13:08

EPA announces new cleanup projects in Arizona as part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda

EPA announces new cleanup projects in Arizona as part of President Biden's Investing in America agenda

Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is continuing to boost Superfund cleanup efforts across Arizona

February 27, 2024

Contact Information
Audrey-Olushola Momoh ([email protected])

San Francisco, CA-Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a third and final wave of more than $1 billion for cleanup projects at over 100 Superfund sites nationwide as part of President Biden's Investing in America agenda. This funding is made possible by the President's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and will launch new cleanup projects at 25 Superfund sites nationwide, including Arizona's Iron King Mine - Humboldt Smelter Superfund Site in Dewey-Humbolt.

"Thanks to unprecedented funding from President Biden's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, EPA is delivering significant investment to achieving the goal of long-term protection for communities living closest to contaminated sites," said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. "With our Superfund cleanups we are taking firm action to protect the health, safety, and environment of communities throughout Arizona and the Pacific Southwest."

"Our Bipartisan Infrastructure Law continues to address critical needs in Arizona, including by making investments to protect public health and the environment," said U.S. Senator Mark Kelly. "When we were negotiating the infrastructure law, one of my priorities was addressing the cleanup of abandoned mine sites in my state. This is going to protect Yavapai County residents from waste and contamination."

"The historic investment I secured from my bipartisan infrastructure law will clean up the hazardous waste impacting the Dewey-Humboldt community - ensuring our state remains a safe, healthy place to call home for generations to come," said U.S. Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding will enable the EPA to fund further cleanup at the Iron King Mine - Humboldt Smelter Superfund Site in Dewey-Humbolt, Arizona. This funding is crucial to safeguard the community from mining and smelting waste by supporting the cleanup of additional residential properties and permanently consolidating the contaminated waste on-site. The Iron King Mine operated from the early 1900s to 1970, leaving behind four million cubic yards of mine tailings and approximately one million cubic yards of waste rock and contaminated soils. Some of the tailings at the site are still exposed and susceptible to erosion. The smelter operated from the late 1800s to about 1937, leaving behind over 750,000 cubic yards of mine tailings, waste dross, slag, and contaminated soils. The site's mine tailings contain high levels of arsenic and lead, with arsenic being a known carcinogen and lead exposure causing damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development in children, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems.

Thousands of contaminated sites exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed. These sites can include toxic chemicals from manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills, and mining and can harm the health and well-being of local communities in urban and rural areas.

Today's investment is the final wave of funding from the $3.5 billion allocated for Superfund cleanup work in the President's Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. So far, EPA has deployed over $2 billion for cleanup activities at over 150 Superfund National Priorities List sites. EPA has been able to provide as much funding for cleanup work in the past two years as it did in the previous five years while delivering on President Biden's Justice40 Initiative, which set a goal to deliver 40% of the overall benefits of certain federal investments to disadvantaged communities that are marginalized by underinvestment and overburdened by pollution.

EPA is committed to continuing this work, advancing environmental justice, and incorporating equity considerations into all aspects of the Superfund cleanup process. More than one in four Black and Hispanic Americans live within three miles of a Superfund site. These investments are restoring the health and economic vitality of communities exposed to pervasive legacy pollution. Thus far, nearly 80% of the funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has gone to sites in communities with potential environmental justice concerns. Out of the 25 sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects, more than 75% are in communities with potential environmental justice concerns based on data from EJSCREEN.

To see a list of the 25 sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects, visit EPA's Superfund webpage.

To see highlights from the first two years of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding at Superfund sites, visit EPA's Cleaning Up Superfund Sites: Highlights of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funding website.

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