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Environmental Agencies Propose Abandoned Site for National Superfund List

Release Date: 7/24/1998
Contact Information: For more information contact the Office of External Affairs at (214) 665-2200.

     The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) announced today that the former Delatte Metals property in Ponchatoula has been proposed for the federal Superfund program’s National Priority List (NPL). Louisiana requested this NPL listing in September 1997 because of the size and type of contamination.

     Established by the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, Superfund is our country’s program for cleaning uncontrolled hazardous waste sites that states may not have the resources to address independently.

     "Louisiana has been a dedicated and effective partner in working to get this property on the NPL and has committed to pay 10 percent of the cost. Because 90 percent of cleanup costs of NPL sites is paid by the Federal Superfund Trust, cleanups can be accelerated. In keeping with EPA’s commitment that polluters pay, the Agency will vigorously seek reimbursement from the responsible parties after the property is restored," EPA Regional Administrator Gregg Cooke said.

     LDEQ Secretary J. Dale Givens said, "Louisiana will continue to rely on our partnership with EPA to assist in remediating larger sites such as the Delatte Metals property. In addition, during the last regular session of the Louisiana Legislature in 1997, lawmakers dedicated 100 percent of the state’s hazardous waste tax to LDEQ, allowing us to address smaller but potentially dangerous sites throughout Louisiana."

     The 19-acre site includes the adjacent Ponchatoula Battery Company property, another defunct salvage operation. Both companies recovered lead from spent batteries. Despite several Notices of Violation, both firms directed water used in their operations and rain runoff contaminated with heavy metals from their facilities into Selser’s Creek.

     Soil samples and water samples taken from monitoring wells around the sites contained arsenic, lead and cadmium at concentrations great enough to pose a threat to public health and the environment.

     Heavy metals accumulate in humans and animals and can cause neurological disorders. Exposure to lead is particularly associated with learning disabilities in children. More than 600 people live within a mile of this site. Also, the Joyce Wildlife Management Area is less than a mile and a half downstream from where the contaminated drainage enters Selser’s Creek.

     EPA will seek public comments for 60 days on adding Delatte Metals to the NPL. Those comments will be addressed when the Agency makes the final decision about adding the site to the NPL. During this period, the Agency will continue to develop cleanup plans so that actual work may begin as quickly after NPL listing as possible.

     Send comments to Superfund Docket, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mail Code 5201G, 401 M Street SW, Washington, DC 20460.

     Additional information about this site is available on the regional web site at