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Demolition Begins on EPA Superfund Site

City

EPA Superfund site | Image by Bethany Erickson

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has begun the demolition and excavation of the Lane Plating Superfund Site in south Dallas near the Arden Terrace neighborhood.

This facility was marked for demolition because the structure and surrounding grounds have been contaminated by highly toxic waste material produced by Lane Plating.

Lane Plating Works is a former electroplating facility that specialized in hard chromium and cadmium plating for over 90 years. However, the facility was closed in 2015 due to multiple apparent violations, investigations, and bankruptcy filings.

This closing left behind tons of liquid-plating waste material at the site, where it remained stored until the EPA removed it in 2016 to mitigate the threat to the public of contact exposure.

The area was designated a Superfund site in 2018, giving the EPA the funding and authority to further clean up the contaminated area.

“We conducted numerous assessments and determined that the concentrations of hazardous substances within the structure and the surrounding soil posed an imminent and substantial risk to trespassers, resulting in the removal action,” EPA on-site coordinator Eric Delgado told The Dallas Morning News.

The most hazardous chemical found at the Lane Plating site is hexavalent chromium, according to the EPA.

Hexavalent chromium compounds are a group of chemicals used in multiple industries that are known to be harmful to the eyes, skin, and respiratory system and are considered occupational carcinogens, according to the CDC.

D Magazine reported last fall that trespassers who entered the building were stirring up “yellow clouds” of hexavalent chromium dust that hung in the air for hours afterward. Delgado said the risk to an adult or adolescent trespasser was “over four times the acceptable range.”

Dallas City Councilmember Tennell Atkins, who spoke at a brief ceremony before the demolition began, said the initiative to dismantle and clean up the site was community-driven. For years, members of the community have seen and breathed in the toxic waste on a daily basis and have pushed to get the site cleaned up.

“It was an issue; they breathe it in and see it by their front yard every day and know it’s toxic waste,” said Atkins, according to The Dallas Morning News. “You wonder, are they going to clean it up? It was a big issue,” he continued.

“This action today is not only an EPA victory, it is a victory for all those who have put time and effort in making sure this community and ecosystem are free of contaminated materials,” said EPA Regional Administrator Dr. Earthea Nance, according to a press release on January 19.

“This demolition brings the community one step closer to the removal of contamination,” she continued.

“This demolition is an important step for our city. For too long, this site has stood as a symbol of past generations’ disregard for our communities in southern Dallas,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson, according to the EPA press release. “But now, it can represent opportunity and new beginnings,” he continued.

Allen McGill, chair of the Lane Plating Community Advisory Group, said the organization will continue to amplify the community’s voices to maintain the health and safety of the area.

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