Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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Cleanup Activities

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Current Status

Third Five Year Review Report was completed in September 2013. The most recent review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment.

Site Background

The Agriculture Street Landfill site is located in New Orleans, Louisiana. A dump began operating on site in 1909, when the City of New Orleans phased out the dumping of municipal wastes and trash into various nearby canals and the Mississippi River. The landfill remained in use until the city constructed its Florida Avenue and Seventh Street incinerators in 1957. The landfill reopened in 1965 for one year for use as a burning and disposal area for debris from Hurricane Betsy. Facility operations contaminated soil and groundwater with hazardous chemicals.

National Priorities Listing (NPL) History
Site Hazard Ranking System Score: 50.00
Proposed Date: 8/23/94
Final Date: 12/16/94

Location: The site is located in New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana. It is approximately three miles south of Lake Ponchartrain and 2.5 to 3.0 miles north-northeast of the Vieux Carre and the Central Business District. The approximate geographic coordinates for the center of the site are 29o59'20" north latitude and 90o02'31" west longitude. The site is bounded on the north by Higgins Road and on the east from Clouet Street (to the south) to Montegut Street (to the north). On the south and west, the site runs along the Southern Railroad right-of-way. The Peoples Avenue and Florida Avenue canals are located west and south of the site, respectively.

Population: 390 residential units housing about 1,000 people.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

In a time-critical removal action initiated in March 1994, EPA installed an eight-foot high, chain link fence topped with barbed wire around the entire undeveloped portion of the former landfill (OU1). EPA conducted a second time-critical removal action at the site in February 1995 removing playground equipment and covering contaminated soil at  the Community Center (OU3) with heavy grass sod. In March 1996.  EPA completed a third time critical removal action to repair the fence surrounding OU1 which had been damaged by trespassers.  In September 1997, EPA issued an Action Memorandum authorizing a Non-Time Critical Removal Action for OU1, OU2 (Residential Properties), and OU3. The removal action on OU1, consisted of clearing the 48-acre area, grading it to direct storm water runoff away from the residential area, laying a permeable geotextile mat followed with orange fencing, covering the mat/marker with twelve inches of clean fill, and re-establishing a vegetative layer on the clean fill. The removal action on OU2 and OU3 consisted generally of excavating 24 inches of soil, placing a permeable geotextile mat/marker on the subgrade, backfilling the excavated area with clean fill, covering the clean fill with grass sod, landscaping and yard restoration, driveway and sidewalk replacement, and final detailing.

The site was addressed through federal, state and municipal actions.

The excavation and replacement of contaminated soils and the capping of the undeveloped area eliminated human exposures and protected the health of over 1,000 people living on site. The cleanup addressed 179 Housing Authority of New Orleans (HANO) townhomes, 128 Gordon Plaza apartments, seven retail businesses, and 58 out of 67 single-family homes in the Gordon Plaza subdivision. The entire undeveloped property was cleared, grubbed, graded, lined and covered with a foot of fill. A total of 69,031 tons of soil and debris was excavated and collected at the site, and a total of 195,945 cubic yards of backfill was used on site. Nine private homeowners in the Gordon Plaza subdivision elected not to participate in the cleanup of their properties.

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality continues to perform bi-annual inspections of the site to ensure the integrity of the permeable cap is maintained and is intact.  Findings are shared with the City of New Orleans and addressed as needed.

EPA also conducts 5-Year Reviews, to confirm human health and the environmental continues to be protected. 

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What Is the Current Site Status?

A series of removal actions, or short-term cleanups, addressed immediate threats to human health and the environment. In 1994, EPA fenced the site. In February 1995, EPA removed playground equipment and covered contaminated soil with heavy grass sod. In September 1997, a removal action cleared, graded, capped and revegetated a 48-acre area. A removal action for other parts of the site excavated contaminated soils, backfilled the excavated area with clean fill, and covered the clean fill with grass sod. Activities also included landscaping and yard restoration, driveway and sidewalk replacement, and final detailing.

The Record of Decision (ROD) for the Agriculture Street Landfill Superfund Site OU4 (Moton School) and OU5 (Groundwater) was signed on September 2, 1997.  No further action was also selected for OU4 and OU5 due to a lack of exposure pathways.  Subsequently, EPA proceeded with the partial deletion of Moton Elementary School and Groundwater from the Site National Priorities List listing (NPL) June 15, 2000.

The ROD for the undeveloped property-OU1, residential and business portion-OU2, and the community center-OU3 was signed in April 2002.  Because previous removal actions were found to have addressed unacceptable risks posed by site contaminants, EPA  determined No Further Action was necessary to protect public health or welfare or the environment at OU1, OU2, and OU3.  The comment period for the Notice of Intent to Delete the site (that includes OU1, OU2, and OU3) from the NPL concluded on October 25, 2004.  Additional institutional controls in coordination with the City of New Orleans are being established and maintained before before the deletion process is completed.

During the removal actions, a total of 69,032 tons of material were excavated and disposed of. About 70,081 cubic yards of sand backfill and 125,865 cubic yards of topsoil were used in backfill, capping and restoration activities on site. A total of 55,732 square yards of sod were installed. Fences, gates, asphalt and concrete roadways, driveways and sidewalks removed or damaged during the removal action were replaced or repaired.

EPA has conducted several five-year reviews of the site’s remedy. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The most recent review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment.

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