WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency is adding 12 hazardous waste sites to the list of most-contaminated places in the United States.
Another eight sites are being considered for the Superfund list.
Investigators found toxins like arsenic, lead and mercury at some sites.
The designation puts the sites in line for major cleanups, either by the government or by companies or people deemed responsible for the contamination.
Waste sites are being added in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, North Carolina and New Jersey. Texas and Ohio both have two sites being added to the list.
EPA says it could take years for cleanups to begin at sites where the government has to pay for cleanup efforts.
In Illinois, the EPA added the Sandoval Zinc Co. site in Sandoval, Ill., to the Superfund National Priorities List.
The Sandoval Zinc smelting facility closed in 1985 and filed for bankruptcy in 1986. A large waste pile containing elevated levels of lead, zinc and other metals covers five acres of the site. Wind-blown contaminants from the plant settled onto a number of properties in the area, and cinder and slag material was used in roads and driveways in the community. A drainage ditch, a pond and wetlands are also contaminated by material from the site. EPA recently collected soil samples on nearby residential properties and will be gathering additional data that is needed to develop a cleanup strategy.