Abandoned Houma shipyard makes EPA Cleanup list

(WVUE) - The old Delta Shipyard was added to the Environmental Protection Agency's Superfund Clean-Up list this week.

This means that federal dollars will eventually be used to remove hazardous waste from the site. The state of Louisiana first contacted the EPA on this issue in 2012.

The now abandoned Delta Shipyard shut down in the early 1980's. The 165-acre area was used for cleaning and repairing boats and oil barges. During its time in operation, the EPA says unlined pits were used to dispose waste and oil from those barges.

EPA says those pits contain more than 30,000 cubic yards of hazardous materials, but that waste is contained and remote at this time.

The main kind of contaminates we've found is polyaromatic-hydrocarbons," said Brenda Cook with the EPA. "We found similar contamination in the groundwater and in wetland areas both on and off site."

Polyaromatic-hydrocarbons, or PAH, are known carcinogens. The EPA says they also found arsenic and lead in the wetlands nearby.

EBI is one of many companies near the site.

They told FOX8 over the phone "it has never given us any problems before, but we are glad to see it get cleaned up."

"The next step of what we'll do is a remedial investigation," said Cook. Crews from the EPA will look at the extent of the contamination and do a risk assessment. "We'll come up with a measure of risk on this site."

The EPA says there is no set timeline for the project just yet.

Copyright 2014 WVUE. All rights reserved.