MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (AP) — The Environmental Protection Agency has placed a contaminated industrial site in Midwest City on the national priorities list for Superfund sites.
The Eagle Industries site is now considered among the nation's most severely polluted parcels of land and its addition to the priorities list qualifies it for long-term remediation. The EPA moves Superfund sites onto a priorities list when contamination endangers human health and the environment.
At Midwest City, trichloroethylene and dichloroethane have contaminated soil and groundwater. Regulators say the chemicals have been found in private water wells away from the plant, which is above a recharge area for the central Oklahoma aquifer system.
"Groundwater resources at the site and the surrounding area are threatened by the contamination," the EPA wrote in a memo Tuesday.
Contamination was discovered at the site in 2003. The company closed in 2010. Gov. Mary Fallin asked the EPA to put the site on its priority list.
To warn residents that trichloroethylene, or TCE, had been found in wells, state investigators distributed a fact sheet to residents that stated the chemical "may cause nervous system effects, liver and lung damage, abnormal heartbeat, coma and possibly death."
And an internal memo obtained from the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality by the newspaper noted that the contamination is spreading.
"It is clear that the TCE is migrating, with the likelihood of affecting approximately 30 additional residences and businesses," the memo said. "Eagle Industries lies in Midwest City. The plume of pollution is flowing into Oklahoma City."
In its notice Tuesday, the EPA wrote, "There are currently no readily available alternative drinking water sources for the 18 family homes south of Eagle Industries."
Three sites in Delaware, Louisiana and Mississippi were also added to the priority list Tuesday.