On Sept. 1, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the addition of the Blades Groundwater Site to the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL). The NPL is EPA’s list of priority sites with releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants requiring evaluation for possible remediation. The public announcement of the listing appears in the Sept. 3, 2020, edition of the Federal Register.
Public notice of the proposed listing first appeared in the Federal Register for Nov. 8, 2019. The EPA accepted public comments on the proposal through Jan. 7, 2020. No adverse comments to the proposal were received. More information about this site is available on the EPA website.
The proposed listing of the Blades Groundwater Site is due to the identification of electroplating compounds, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) , and hazardous metals contamination in municipal and residential drinking water wells in and near the Town of Blades.
The EPA, with support from DNREC, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) and the Town of Blades, held a public information meeting about the listing on Dec. 5, 2019, at the Blades Fire Hall. Public comments were accepted through Jan. 7, 2020.
The public drinking water currently provided by the Town of Blades is treated to remove the contamination, including PFAS. The finished drinking water meets all applicable federal and state standards. Testing completed in March 2021 indicates the Blades municipal drinking water continues to meet the applicable standards.
Listing the site on the NPL makes it eligible for remedial action financed under the federal Superfund program. This will allow EPA to use Superfund authority and resources to investigate and remediate the contamination and protect human health and the environment in Blades.
EPA, DPH and DNREC will continue to work closely with state and local agencies and officials. Supporting documents for the proposed listing of the Blades Groundwater Site are available on the EPA website.
For more information on the proposed listing and EPA’s Superfund Program, contact Alexander Mandell, EPA Community Involvement Coordinator, at 215-814-5517, Connor ‘O’Loughlin, EPA Site Assessment Manager, EPA at 215-814-3304 (or 800-438-2474), or Daniel Taylor, EPA Remedial Project Manager, at 215-814-3326.
For media inquiries, contact David Sternberg, EPA Press Officer, at 215-814-5548.
Elevated PFAS was first detected in groundwater samples collected from three Blades municipal supply wells in January 2018. DNREC worked closely with the EPA and the Division of Public Health (DPH) in February 2018 identifying the PFAS contamination, notifying local officials and the public, and securing safe drinking water supplies. DNREC also coordinated carbon treatment for the impacted residential wells.
DNREC subsequently requested EPA’s assistance to conduct additional private well sampling and investigate the area to help identify the source of the contamination in the groundwater. DNREC requested EPA’s assistance with the management and remediation of the site due to the complex nature of the hazardous chemicals and the extent of the contamination. A total of 54 private homeowners’ wells were sampled. The EPA completed 18 groundwater monitoring wells and additional PFAS sampling in 2018 and 2019 to delineate the PFAS contamination in the Blades area.
Investigations conducted by DNREC and the EPA identified the potential sources of the PFAS and metals contamination as the Hazardous Substance Cleanup Act Sites Procino Plating and Peninsula Plating, where historical operations may have impacted groundwater. Although the sources have been identified, the contamination has not been fully delineated or remediated. Additional sources of the PFAS and metals contamination in the groundwater may be identified in the future as a result of EPA’s investigation.
EPA submitted a letter to Governor John Carney in July 2019 requesting the concurrence of the State of Delaware in proposing the Site to the NPL. Governor Carney responded in August 2019 concurring with EPA’s NPL listing proposal.
For more information regarding the previous DNREC and EPA investigations at the Blades Groundwater Site and nearby sites, please visit the Delaware Environmental Navigator (DEN) for information on the following sites:
For additional information or questions regarding DNREC’s investigations, contact Qazi Salahuddin, Administrator, or Rick Galloway, Project Manager, at DNREC’s Remediation Section at 302-395-2600, or Christina Wirtz, DNREC Strategic Services Section, at 302-395-2600.