About EPA

Times Beach Record of Decision Signed

[EPA press release - September 30, 1988]

The final Superfund cleanup decision for the Times Beach and Minker/Stout/Romaine Creek sites in Missouri was signed late yesterday afternoon by Dr. J. Winston Porter, Assistant Administrator for Solid Waste and Emergency Response.

The remedy will involve the placement of a transportable incinerator at the Times Beach site to provide thermal destruction for 25,600 cubic yards of dioxin-contaminated soil. In addition, the incinerator will provide capacity for thermal destruction of an additional 66,500 cubic yards of dioxin-contaminated soil from 24 other sites in eastern Missouri. Thermal destruction will safely destroy the dioxin in the soil and allow the non-hazardous residue material to be land disposed on site. This decision also provides for demolition and on-site disposal of uncontaminated structures and debris at Times Beach in a facility meeting solid waste disposal requirements.

"This remedy provides a realistic plan to deal with the dioxin contamination and is protective of human health and the environment," said Porter, manager of the Superfund program. "This decision is a very important step towards the cleanup of the Missouri dioxin sites.

"We're delighted to be able to move ahead at another landmark site," said Porter. "The remedies chosen this year to destroy the dioxin contamination at both the Love Canal and Times Beach sites are important milestones and symbolic of substantial progress by EPA and the states in cleaning up the nation's hazardous waste sites." Porter noted that work is currently underway at more than 800 Superfund sites. Construction is underway at more than 100 sites and activities have been completed at about 40 sites.

Times Beach is a formerly incorporated city located approximately 25 miles southwest of the city of St. Louis and adjacent to the Meramec River. The contamination at Times Beach resulted from spraying roads for dust control in the 1970s with dioxin-contaminated oil. The contamination at Minker/Stout/Romaine Creek resulted from the use of dioxin-contaminated soil as fill material. In February 1983, on the basis of an advisory from the Centers for Disease Control, EPA permanently relocated all of the residents and businesses at Times Beach at a cost of approximately $30 million.

Most of the contaminated soils from the Minker/Stout/Romaine Creek site have been excavated and placed in interim on-site storage facilities. The remaining contaminated soils are currently being excavated for completion in the spring of 1989. No soil has been excavated at Times Beach and access at this site is restricted. Previous action was taken at Times Beach to construct a series of spur levees surrounding the site to prevent floodwater from carrying contaminated soil off site.

EPA believes that this remedy provides a permanent solution to the dioxin contamination problem in eastern Missouri. The cost of cleanup for Times Beach and Minker/Stout/Romaine Creek is estimated at $50 million. Total cost to incinerate the soil from the other sites in eastern Missouri is estimated to be $120 million.

EPA has filed an enforcement action to obtain cleanup at this site and to recover costs expended by the government. Negotiations with potentially responsible parties to resolve this litigation are continuing.