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Press Release

ICYMI: Rep Castor & Biden-Harris Administration Announce $5M for North Tampa Superfund Site, Additional $1B in Bipartisan Infrastructure Law Funds to Start New Cleanup Projects and Expedite On-going Cleanup Work

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the second wave of approximately $1 billion in funding from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to start new cleanup projects at 22 Superfund sites and expedite over 100 other ongoing cleanups across the country. On Friday, Rep. Castor joined EPA Administrator Michael Regan and U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA) virtually to announce this historic funding.

At least $5 million in Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act funds have been granted to the Southern Solvent Superfund Site in North Tampa. This Superfund site was first issued an EPA clean up plan in 1999 and will receive funds to continue cleaning up contamination.

“With this new funding, Administrator Regan is providing the good news of hope for a healthier, more prosperous tomorrow for many communities, including Tampa Bay. Through Superfund cleanups, we are revitalizing neighborhoods, putting Americans in good-paying jobs, and cleaning up the places people call home. Thanks to the over $5 million awarded to clean up Southern Solvent, a former dry cleaning solvent distributor in Tampa, we’ll be able to clean up soil contamination and limit further groundwater contamination. My North Tampa neighbors know that this site has been on the EPA’s radar since 1999 when it was first issued a clean up plan – now, thanks to strong bipartisan action, funds are headed home to address this contaminated site.

“The Infrastructure Law was written with environmental justice in mind – the idea that no matter your zip code, you deserve clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and a safe community to live in. Environmental Justice ensures all communities, families and individuals enjoy the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards. Tampa Bay is a region with a strong track record of turning contaminated sites into jobs. Communities that are home to Superfunds need a shot in the arm to make sure that everyone has a path to opportunity, success and a good paying job – that’s what these grants are all about. The EPA has been a very good partner for us here in Tampa to create partnerships that allow properties to be redeveloped and cleaned up. I am grateful for the work that the Biden Administration and the EPA have done to ensure no communities are left behind and cannot wait to hear of the success stories from around the country as 22 new Superfund cleanup sites are awarded with funds and the 100 ongoing projects receive an infusion of additional, expedited help. When we combine economic development with environmental cleanup, our communities are better for it,” said Rep. Castor.

“The Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County is thankful that adequate monies have been appropriated from the federal government after decades of pollution at the Southern Solvents facility.   This important funding will help thermally treat the soils at this Superfund site and assist in protecting the groundwater and Florida aquifer from further contamination,” said Janet D. Lorton, Executive Director, Environmental Protection Commission of Hillsborough County.

Thousands of contaminated sites exist nationally due to hazardous waste being dumped, left out in the open, or otherwise improperly managed, including in manufacturing facilities, processing plants, landfills, and mining sites. Superfund cleanups help transform contaminated properties and create jobs in overburdened communities, while repurposing these sites for a wide range of uses, including public parks, retail businesses, office space, residences, warehouses, and solar power generation. In addition, these sites can support natural areas, parks, and recreation facilities, providing greenspace and safe places for families to play outside.

“Thanks to President Biden’s historic investments in America, we are moving faster than ever before to progress clean up at contaminated sites – from manufacturing facilities to landfills – in communities across the country,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan “But our work is not yet finished – we’re continuing to build on this momentum to ensure that communities living near many of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination finally get the investments and protections they deserve.”

The $1 billion investment announced today is the second wave of funding from the $3.5 billion allocated for Superfund cleanup work in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. With the first wave of funding announced in December 2021, EPA deployed more than $1 billion for cleanup activities at more than 100 Superfund National Priorities List sites across the country. Thanks to this historic funding, EPA started 81 new cleanup projects in 2022, including projects at 44 sites previously on the backlog. By starting four times as many construction projects as the year before, EPA is aggressively bringing more sites across the country closer to finishing cleanup. For example, in Evansville, Indiana, EPA continued to reduce exposures to lead and arsenic in soil in the neighborhoods of the Jacobsville Neighborhood Contamination site by starting the next phase of cleaning up contaminated residential soils.

In addition to funding cleanup construction work, this investment is enabling EPA to increase funding for and accelerate essential work needed to prepare sites for construction and ensure that communities are meaningfully involved in the cleanup process. In 2022, EPA more than doubled its spending for Superfund pre-construction activities like remedial investigations, feasibility studies, remedial designs, and community involvement.

EPA is committed to carrying out this work in line with President Biden’s Justice40 Initiative by advancing environmental justice and incorporating equity considerations into all aspects of the Superfund cleanup process. This will help ensure that historic and ongoing impacts of contamination on overburdened communities are fully considered and addressed. Out of the 22 sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects, 60% are in communities with the potential for environmental justice concerns based on data from EJSCREEN, an environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic socioeconomic indicators.