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Release Date: 08/08/2000
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421,
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced that it has completed a hazardous substance removal at the Barber's Orchard Superfund site in Waynesville, North Carolina. A removal is a short-term cleanup intended to stabilize or clean up a site that poses an imminent and substantial threat to human health or the environment. The removal was completed under the authority and direction of the Agency's Emergency Response and Removal Branch.

The removal included: the excavation of soil at 28 residential properties where arsenic levels exceeded EPA's short term exposure cleanup criteria; and transportation and disposal of 31,500 tons of contaminated soil to an EPA approved landfill. Restoration of site and demobilization of remaining equipment and personnel will be completed by August 25, 2000. The cost of the removal is estimated at $4,000,000.

EPA began the removal in September 1999 in response to potential human health threats from pesticide contamination in residential yards. Previous sampling by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs found elevated levels of hazardous substances in water samples taken from private wells and in soil samples taken from residential yards. Soil and drinking water samples were collected in the residential community occupying the former apple orchard known as Barber's Orchard.

The Barber's Orchard site consists of approximately 500 acres of land situated about 2 miles west of Waynesville, NC. The site is a former apple orchard, which operated from 1903 until the mid-1980's. It is suspected that contamination of the site was caused by long-term application of pesticides, along with associated spills and/or other releases. Suspected pesticides used at the site include lead arsenate, DDT, lindane, DDD, endrin, and dieldrin. In the 1980's, the orchard went bankrupt, and the land was parceled off and sold as residential property. The site is not on the National Priorities List (NPL) of hazardous waste sites.

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA, also known as Superfund) and the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act (SARA) authorize EPA to respond to actual or threatened releases of hazardous substances that may endanger public health, welfare or the environment.