As the Carolinas and other affected states prepare for the landfall of Hurricane Florence, another danger lurks in the shadows: nine Superfund sites that sit directly in the path of the storm, filled with toxic chemicals and hazardous waste. Expected strong winds and severe storm surge will likely threaten these sites and the areas surrounding them.
The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that it is monitoring the progression of the hurricane and is performing vulnerability assessments. "The agency is prepared to assist the states if help is requested, and coordinate with state and federal partners as needed,” commented EPA spokesman John Konkus in a statement to CNN.
Yet as representatives from FEMA and the Red Cross have urgently stated, everyone who is able to is being urged to evacuate to safer land. These nine Superfund sites cannot be evacuated, and thus, what will become of the dangerous chemicals and waste that they house?
In the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey last year, 13 toxic waste sites were impacted and started dangerous fires because chemicals were not able to be properly stored after power outages. Unsurprisingly, the EPA and public alike hold fears of similar situations occurring with Florence.
The sites that are under threat by Florence are as follows: Macalloy Corp. (Charleston, SC), Koppers Co. Inc. (Charleston, SC), Geiger (Charleston, SC), Parris Island Marine Corps Recruit Depot (Beaufort County, SC), Wamchem Inc. (Beaufort County, SC), Triangle Pacific Corp. (Pasquotank County, NC), Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point (Havelock, NC), Horton Iron and Metal (Wilmington, NC), FCX Inc. (Beaufort County, NC). The sites hold everything from carcinogenic chemicals to processed waste oil to hazardous fertilizer and contaminated groundwater and soils to toxic metals.