Yadkin Riverkeeper Petitions EPA for Superfund Assessment of Alcoa Badin Works

Yadkin Riverkeeper has asked the United States Environmental Protection Agency to conduct an investigation into the shuttered Badin Works aluminum smelter in Badin, NC, to determine whether the smelter should be declared a Superfund site.

From 1916 to 2007, Badin Works produced aluminum for Alcoa Corporation. The aluminum smelting process produces numerous hazardous byproducts, including spent potliner (a hazardous waste listed under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act), arsenic, cyanide, lead, fluoride, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs).  In high enough doses, each of these chemicals are toxic.  The smelter also used a lot of coal tar pitch, another toxic chemical.

In operation for almost a century – long before there were federal laws protecting the environment – Badin Works produced hundreds of thousands of tons of spent potliner and other toxic wastes.  Testing has shown that PCBs, fluorides, cyanides and metals have made their way into the Yadkin River.

Yadkin Riverkeeper is asking the EPA to proceed with an investigation in order to determine the appropriate steps needed to protect the citizens of Badin, users of the Yadkin River, and the Yadkin River’s natural environment; and to investigate and clean up waste not already addressed by Alcoa. The EPA has already brought Superfund actions at two similar, long-running Alcoa aluminum smelting operations in Point Comfort, TX, and Massena, NY.

This petition is another step in Yadkin Riverkeeper’s work to ensure that Alcoa’s Badin Works’ legacy of pollution is properly remediated to protect both human health and the environment in the Yadkin River basin.