Environmental Hazards and Human Health
The Hartford Courant reported some good news on the Superfund site which is on Main Street, East Hartford, Connecticut.
A superfund site is a piece of real estate that has been polluted with “hazardous wastes” from an accidental spill or illegal dump then abandoned. Hazardous waste is pollution in the environment, including soil and groundwater that can harm the ecosystem and the health of people.
On December 11, 1980 the “Superfund” was established by Congress under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) to gather up a tax (the “fund”) for cleaning up abandoned and uncontrolled hazardous waste sites.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is directed to clean up these sites. The EPA works with and coordinates the clean up with the communities where the site is located, the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs), the environmental protection state agencies, the contractors and scientists and technicians with experience on the particular hazard wastes at the site.
The Pratt and Whitney aircraft manufacturers of helicopters had created a hazardous waste problem at their factory on Main Street, East Hartford with the heavy metals that are part of the grinding of metals and other processes in the making of aircraft. Pratt and Whitney, the PRP, cooperated with the cleanup of the site. The pollution was high in both the soil and water.
Several methods have been used for cleanup of heavy metals like source removal (digging up contaminated soil and taking to a place to be cleaned up and pumping contaminated water to a wastewater treatment plant) and natural attenuation (using trees and plants to draw up the metals when the roots soak up water). There are also chemical methods for cleaning up metal “soups” of waste. For example, the SCE Environmental Group remediates lead, chrome and arsenic all at the same time by using specially made chemical treatments to fit different situations.
The good news reported in the newspaper was about the “Final Remedy Decision for the Stadium Parcel and Willow Brook/Willow Pond areas” report. The land has been cleaned up and can be used for a different purpose by the neighborhood. The EPA will continue to test the groundwater because some contaminants are still in measurable concentrations although the concentrations are below unacceptable levels.
Laws have to be followed to prevent this kind of contamination because the cleanup is complicated, expensive and takes a long time. The EPA is also in charge of enforcing the Clean Water Act and the Soil Remediation Standards.
Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection. (12/2007). List of contaminated or potentially contaminated Sites in Connecticut. Retrieved from http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2715&q=325018&depNav_GID=1626
SCE Environmental Group Remediation Services. (2011). Custom Designed Treatment. Retrieved from http://www.scenv.com/about-sce/innovative-technologies/heavy-metal-stabilization.html
United States Environmental Protection Agency NE. (August 23, 2010). Waste Site Cleanup & Reuse in New England. Retrieved from http://yosemite.epa.gov/r1/npl_pad.nsf/51dc4f173ceef51d85256adf004c7ec8/c99041a5eecbfa7185256c2c0073b683!OpenDocument&Highlight=0,hartford