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DEQ, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service release final $12 million Phase 1 Restoration Plan for Kerr-McGee site in Navassa

RALEIGH – The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service acting as Natural Resource Trustees, have released the final Phase 1 Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment that identifies 10 projects, totaling $12 million, to offset environmental harm due to releases at the Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp. Superfund site in Navassa.

The plan can be found online at: https://pub-data.diver.orr.noaa.gov/admin-record/6102/Kerr-McGee_Final_RP-EA_04-02-20.pdf. The plan identifies 10 restoration projects in the Lower Cape Fear River watershed and specifically near the Town of Navassa. The projects listed below address damage to natural resources through restoration or conservation of a similar habitats and provide benefits in and near Navassa.

  • Alligator Creek Restoration and Conservation
  • Battleship North Carolina—Living Water Restoration
  • Carolina Beach State Park Restoration
  • Indian Creek Natural Resource Restoration and Conservation
  • Lower Black River Conservation
  • Lower Cape Fear Bottomlands Conservation
  • Merrick Creek Conservation
  • Moze Heritage Site Tidal Restoration
  • Navassa Stormwater and Riparian Restoration
  • Navassa Waterfront Park

The proposed projects were evaluated in a Draft Restoration Plan and received support during the public comment period. These projects will be funded by a portion of the 2014 $23 million settlement. Restoration will be done in phases until all remaining restoration funds are exhausted.

Public input on restoration ideas is always welcome during the natural resource damage assessment and restoration process. To provide input, please send suggestions to Howard Schnabolk, NOAA coastal marine specialist, via email at: howard.schnabolk@noaa.gov or mailed to: Howard Schnabolk ℅ NOAA Restoration Center, 2234 South Hobson Ave, Charleston, SC 29405.

From 1936 to 1974, Kerr-McGee and other companies used the 246-acre site, located in Navassa (Brunswick County) for creosote-based wood treating. Site operations ended in 1974, and Kerr-McGee dismantled the wood-treating buildings and facilities in 1980. Kerr-McGee transferred the site to Tronox, Inc. in 2006, which declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 12, 2009. The soil, sediment and groundwater are contaminated by creosote-related chemicals. The Trustees determined that the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) levels present in the site sediments could cause harm to the organisms living in, on or near those sediments and negatively affect the ecological services provided by the habitat. In 2014, the Trustees recovered $23 million for natural resource restoration planning and implementation.

More information about the habitat restoration efforts at the former Kerr-McGee Chemical Corporation site can be found at: https://darrp.noaa.gov/hazardous-waste/kerr-mcgee-chemical-corp-tronox.

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