The Old Bremerton Gasworks site in Washington may become the first site in the state to be added to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Superfund list since 2007. The property is contaminated with many different hydrocarbons, many of which came from the gasification plant that operated there between the 1930s and 1950s to turn coal into gas for heat and lighting. Cleanup costs could run anywhere from $339,000 to $2.9 million.
A heavy tarlike chemical began seeping from a shoreline pipe into the Port Washington Narrows in October. The spill was stopped, but there are still contaminated sediments and potential groundwater contamination. With the new complexities of the situation, the cleanup could be bumped out of the Brownfields Program and onto the Superfund list in March 2012.
In addition to contamination from a variety of petroleum hydrocarbons, semivolatile organic compounds, and metals, the known carcinogen benzene was been found in concentrations 400 times higher than the EPA’s cleanup standards. Exposure to benzene can cause loss of consciousness, anemia, nervous system damage, immune system suppression, acute myeloid leukemia, secondary aplastic anemia, damage to the reproductive system, and death.
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