Contact Us


All News Releases By Date


Cleanup at DuPont-Newport Superfund Site Completed

Release Date: 9/26/2002
Contact Information: David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

David Sternberg, (215) 814-5548

NEWPORT, Del. - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today announced the completion of construction at the DuPont-Newport Superfund site, marking an important milestone in cleaning and restoring what was once considered one of the nation’s worst toxic waste sites. The work was performed by E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc., under state and federal oversight.

The cleanup protects the Christina River and more than 20,000 Delawareans living nearby from high levels of heavy metals that once threatened the groundwater, the river and adjacent wetlands.

Construction completion means that all physical construction has been completed and no threats to human health or the environment remain. Of the 20 Superfund sites being addressed in Delaware, this is the 16th site where cleanup has been completed.

“Thanks to the cooperation between EPA, the potentially responsible parties, and our state and local partners, one of Superfund’s biggest challenges no longer poses a threat. The DuPont-Newport site is a perfect example of how environmental protection, ecological restoration and beneficial reuse go hand in hand,” said Donald S. Welsh, regional administrator for the EPA’s mid-Atlantic region.

"Helping to restore and enhance the Christina River watershed continues to be an ongoing priority for DNREC," said David Small, acting secretary for the agency. “This project has been a major component of that effort. We applaud DuPont for its commitment to clean up this site and EPA for its vigilant oversight.”

Welsh and Small made their remarks today in observing completion of the cleanup, which was held atop the site’s newly-capped southern landfill.

Today, the site has a paint pigment manufacturer; two capped landfills separated by the Christina River, a baseball field, and two wetland areas that were restored as part of the massive cleanup effort. From 1902 to 1929, a pigment manufacturing facility operated on the site and disposed manufacturing waste into two unlined landfills. In 1929, DuPont bought the plant and continued disposing pigment manufacturing wastes in the landfills.

Investigations by EPA and the state in the 1980s and 1990s found landfill wastes containing high levels of lead, cadmium, zinc, mercury and copper in adjacent wetlands and the Christina River.

In 1990, the site was added to EPA’s National Priorities List of the nation’s most hazardous waste sites. EPA worked with DuPont to install a water line to affected residents and businesses, and to remove contaminated soil from a baseball field next to the site.

After an EPA cleanup order in 1994, DuPont removed more than 70,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils and sediments from the Christina River and nearby wetlands and and installed a barrier wall and capture system at the northern landfill that pumps the groundwater to the Wilmington Treatment Plant

Through a cooperative effort by EPA, DNREC and DuPont, more contaminated sediments than the original cleanup plans required were excavated. This effort not only restored the more than 9 acres of wetlands impacted by the site, but also created an additional acre of wetlands and wildlife habitat along the river.

Also installed was an in-ground water filter system at the south landfill that cleans the groundwater before it enters the wetlands, and reduced the impacts to South James Street above the landfill. Due to the flexibility of the Superfund law, DuPont’s innovative cleanup technology saved $13 million from original estimates and the site was completed one year ahead of schedule.

While all the immediate and long-term environmental and human health threats have been removed from the site, EPA will continue to monitor it to ensure continuing protection of human health and the environment.

Construction has been completed at more than 800 of the nation’s 1,479 most hazardous waste sites. Of these sites, 551 have post-construction activities underway that include five year reviews, and operation and maintenance.