The Most Hazardous Contaminated Places and Where They Are

Source: sbeebe / Flickr

8. Taylor Lumber and Treating
> Hazard Ranking System score: 71.8
> Location: Sheridan, Oregon
> Listing Date 6/14/2001

Taylor Lumber and Treating in Sheridan, Oregon, is about 58 miles southwest of Portland, the biggest city in Oregon. Taylor Lumber operated a wood-treating plant in Sheridan from 1946 to 2001. During that time, wood-treating chemicals like creosote pentachlorophenol tainted the groundwater and soil at the site. The site was added to the National Priorities List in 2001, and beginning three years later, the EPA started removing contaminated soils. A concrete reinforcement wall was built to contain the most contaminated groundwater. Since the initial site cleanup was completed, the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has been tasked with monitoring the site.

Source: Debbie Eckert / Getty Images

7. Industri-Plex
> Hazard Ranking System score: 72.4
> Location: Woburn, Massachusetts
> Listing Date 9/8/1983

There has been some type of manufacturing plant at the Woburn, Massachusetts, site since the mid-1800s, at the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. From 1853 to 1931, the site was used to make manufacturing chemicals such as lead-arsenic insecticides, acetic acid, and sulfuric acid for textile, leather, and paper manufacturing companies.

The soil became contaminated from the residue from arsenic, lead, and chrome. Later, the site was used to manufacture glue from raw animal hide until 1969. The residue from the hides and the release of hydrogen sulfide gases from the hides created a toxic environment threatening residences within 3 miles of the site. Cleanup has consisted of two longer-term remedial efforts to stabilize the site and the cleanup of groundwater contamination. Cleanup began in 1986 and continues today.

Source: BrianEKushner / Getty Images

6. Helen Kramer Landfill
> Hazard Ranking System score: 72.7
> Location: Mantua Township, New Jersey
> Listing Date 9/8/1983

Mantua Township is located about 16 miles southeast of Philadelphia. A sand and gravel pit originally operated at the 66-acre site, which became a landfill in the early 1960s until it closed in 1981. During that time, various wastes were disposed there, such as municipal wastes, septage, and industrial wastes that contaminated groundwater with hazardous chemicals. After the site was placed on the EPA’s National Priorities List in 1983, cleanup commenced. A five-year review report issued by the EPA in September 2015 found that the cleanup effort protects people and the environment. An evaluation to ensure groundwater migrating towards Edwards Run is effectively contained still has to take place.

Source: DenisTangneyJr / Getty Images

5. McCormick & Baxter Creosoting Co.
> Hazard Ranking System score: 74.9
> Location: Stockton, California
> Listing Date 10/14/1992

The McCormick & Baxter Creosoting Co. site, situated on 29 acres, is a former wood-preserving facility in Stockton, California, about 83 miles east of San Francisco. The site treated utility poles and railroad ties from 1942 to 1990, and those activities contaminated soil and groundwater with pentachlorophenol (PCP), dioxin, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and non-aqueous phase liquids, which are all considered hazardous.

Source: Scott Brody / Wikimedia Commons

4. Lipari Landfill
> Hazard Ranking System score: 75.6
> Location: Pitman, New Jersey
> Listing Date 9/8/1983

The Lipari Landfill is located in Pitman, New Jersey, about 20 miles south of Philadelphia. The 16-acre site includes a 6-acre landfill that was in use from 1958 to 1971. Over that time, the landfill took in household, chemical, and industrial wastes. Some of the wastes included solvents, paints and thinners, and formaldehyde and seeped into aquifers and marshlands. The first cleanup actions to these contaminants were completed in the 1980s. Landfill contamination was capped, and tainted groundwater was treated. Groundwater and surface water continue to be monitored.