By Staff

WILMINGTON (CBS) – The Environmental Protection Agency approved a plan to clean up a superfund site in Wilmington that has been linked to a childhood cancer cluster. A study connected the 53-acre Olin Chemical site on Eames Street to a contaminated public water supply.

The EPA says the first step is negotiations with Olin Chemical and other potentially responsible parties to conduct and pay for the clean-up. The costs are expected to reach $48 million. Negotiations are expected to take between six and nine months.

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Early next year, work will begin to design a new groundwater extraction and treatment system and once that’s finished, crews can deal with the contaminated soil that remains at the site.

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The facility was used to produce specialized chemicals for the rubber and plastics industry. Prior to 1970, chemicals were disposed of in pits and ponds on the property. According to the EPA, the waste eventually overflowed into streams and reached the groundwater table.

Between 1990 and 2000, 22 children living in the area were diagnosed with cancer.

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The EPA said if the clean-up works, eventually the land could be reused. Staff