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1,000 Plants Nationwide Show Progress in Controlling Human Exposure and Groundwater Contamination

Release Date: 05/05/2004
Contact Information:

Dave Ryan, 202-564-7827 /

(05/05/04) A Dow Chemical La Porte, Texas plant on May 4 became the 1000th facility to achieve EPA’s environmental progress indicators for controlling both: (1) human exposure to environmental risks from waste, and (2) migration of contaminated groundwater. The indicators measure realistic, achievable cleanup goals that are protective of human health and the environment based on site-specific conditions at a facility. They complement EPA long-term waste cleanups by setting time-specific benchmarks for preventing releases of contaminants at these sites. To date, 74 percent of 1714 EPA-designated high priority RCRA Corrective Action facilities have met the current goal for human exposure and 63 percent met the current goal for groundwater. EPA has a 2005 goal of controlling human exposure at 95 percent and groundwater at 70 percent of high priority facilities. The Dow La Porte facility is a chemical manufacturing facility producing plastics, synthetic resins and industrial organic chemicals such as phosgene. It has an operating plan in place to ensure that no off-site human exposures are occurring and on-site exposures are adequately addressed through on-site worker health and safety programs. Dow also has plumes of ground water with contaminants such as chlorobenzene and aniline, but recovery efforts since 1989 have diminished both their size and concentration. The environmental indicators initiative takes place under the auspices of EPA’s Corrective Action program, which holds owners and operators of treatment,storage and disposal facilities responsible for investigating and cleaning up soil, ground water, surface water and air releases from their waste sites, regardless of when the releases occurred. Corrective Action, in turn, is authorized by the Congressional Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which gives EPA authority to control the generation, transportation, treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous waste. RCRA can be an effective tool in preventing future Superfund sites. More information about EPA’s Environmental Indicators initiative is available at: