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EPA investing in Missouri Superfund sites through infrastructure bill

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is putting $1 billion from the federal infrastructure package toward the country’s backlog of unfunded contaminated sites, including two in Missouri.

The EPA administers the Superfund program, created by Congress in 1980, to investigate and improve sites across the country that are contaminated with hazardous materials. The allocation will fund investigation and cleanup at the Valley Park and Vienna Wells sites, which have been contaminated for decades. 

“Our underground infrastructure is just as important as the infrastructure we traditionally think of above ground,” U.S. Senator Roy Blunt said. “Ensuring communities have a safe and reliable water supply is one of the most important federal investments we can make for the economy and, most importantly, for the families living near Superfund sites. I was proud to support the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and look forward to seeing that legislation continue to have an impact in our state.”

The Valley Park site, located in St. Louis County, was home to a metal stamping and die shop from 1949-1979, which used chemicals that contaminated the soil and groundwater near the site. Funds will be used to introduce a soil remedy to remove the contamination. 

Vienna Wells was similarly contaminated by companies active in the area from 1952-1996; infrastructure funds were earmarked to remove contaminants from the soil that have permeated the drinking water. 

The EPA’s National Priorities List (NPL) includes 33 Superfund sites in Missouri. The Show-Me State is home to more than 1,800 sites, according to the EPA.

“This work is just the beginning; with more than one in four Black and Hispanic Americans living within three miles of a Superfund site, EPA is working to serve people that have been left behind,” said EPA Administrator Michael Regan. “Approximately 60 percent of the sites to receive funding for new cleanup projects are in historically underserved communities. Communities living near many of the most serious uncontrolled or abandoned releases of contamination will finally get the protections they deserve.” 

The massive federal bill included $3.5 billion for Superfund sites in communities across the country. The first round will cover 49 sites in total, according to the EPA.

The state is expected to see $100 million for broadband infrastructure and $99 million to expand its electric vehicle (EV) charging network, $866 million for improvements to the state’s water infrastructure, and ​​$246 million for airport improvements among a myriad of other investments over the next five years, according to the White House.