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Record of Decision System (RODS)

CONRAIL RAIL YARD (ELKHART)

Abstract

Site Name:  CONRAIL RAIL YARD (ELKHART)
Address:  SR 33 
City & State:  ELKHART  IN  46514
County:  ELKHART
 
EPA ID:  IND000715490
EPA Region:  05
 
NPL Status:  Currently on the Final NPL
 
ROD Type:  Amendment
ROD ID:  EPA/541/R-00/160
ROD Date:  09/27/2000
Operable Unit(s):  02
 
Abstract:  The railyard began operations in 1956 as part of the New York Central Railroad, and continued operations as a subsidiary of the Penn Central Transportation Company until 1976. From 1961 to 1968, numerous citizen complaints regarding oil discharges from the railyard to the St. Joseph River were filed with state and local authorities. Between 1966 and 1969 a tank car containing carbon tetrachloride collided with another car during humping operations at the railyard, causing the release of approximately 16,000 gallons of carbon tetrachloride. In 1976 operations at the railyard were transferred to the Consolidated Rail Corporation (Conrail). From 1976 to the present, spills and releases of oil, diesel fuel, hydrochloric acid, caustic soda, and various petroleum-related substances have occurred there. Track-cleaning substances (unknown chemical composition) and engine degreasers were also used and disposed of at the railyard.

In 1986, a resident reported to EPA that his residential well contained elevated levels of volatile organic compounds. Later in 1986, the EPA/Technical Assistance Team (EPA/TAT) performed sample analysis indicating that several residential wells contained trichloroethylene (TCE), with concentrations as high as 4,870 ppb, and carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), with concentations as high as 6,680 ppb. Bottled water was provided to residents with affected wells, and many residents installed carbon filters after being connected to the water-main extension from the city. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management assisted in the operation and maintenance of these filters until 1992. IDEM also periodically sampled the wells to monitor migration. EPA/TAT later discovered soil contamination. EPA sent a notice to Conrail in 1988, offering them the opportunity to undertake the RI/FS. Conrail expressed a willingness to undertake only part of the RI/FS, so EPA determined that Conrail had not presented a "good faith" offer to conduct the entire investigation. Later in 1988, EPA entered into a contract to have the RI/FS conducted. The RI was conducted in three phases, the first of which was completed in January 1990 and consisted of a soil gas survey, soil sampling, and groundwater sampling for TCE and CCl4. The second phase, summarized in 1992, preliminarily identified potential sources contributing to contamination. The third phase defined the path of ground water contamination plumes. An interim ROD was signed in June 1991 based on the phase I and II RI results. EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order for Remedial Design and Remedial Action requiring Conrail and Penn Central to perform remedial actions. Only Conrail has complied. The Interim Remedial Action consists of institutional controls, including deed restrictions; a monitoring program for ground water and air; ground water extraction, collection, treatment, and discharge; fence installation; provision of an alternate water supply. The Interim Remedial Action was approved for implementation in 1994, and should begin before the end of 1994.
 
Remedy:  The groundwater remedy for the Conrail Site is Alternative 2 - hydraulic containment of DNAPL source areas; natural gradient flushing; drag strip source area remediation; groundwater monitoring; and contingency remedy. The components of this remedy are as follows: Waiver of groundwater ARAR's in the area on the rail yard indicated on Figure 3; Installation of a line of extraction wells to hydraulically contain the DNAPL source areas on the rail yard; Air stripping of contaminated groundwater that is extracted, with subsequent discharge of treated water in a manner that will not adversely impact Crawford Ditch and the St. Joseph River; Treatment of exhaust from the air strippers with vapor phase carbon adsorption prio0r to emission, with proper disposal of spent carbon generated by the process; Natural gradient flushing of the dissolved portion of the contaminant plumes; Establishment of a groundwater monitoring program to determine the effectiveness of the source containment and natural gradient flushing, as well as further characterization of the contaminant plume emanating from the Track 69 area and some off-rail yard areas where TCE levels may be increasing; Development of contingency remedy to address failure of the hydraulic containment system to adequately contain the DNSPL sources and/or inadequate performance of natural gradient flushing. The contingency remedy for inadequate performance of natural gradient flushing would be to install and operate additional extraction wells off the rail-yard, as outlined in Alternative 3. For inadequate containment of DNAPL's, the contingency remedy would be to increase the pumping rater of some or all of the extraction wells on the rail yard and/or installation and operation of additional extraction wells; and further investigation and remediation of the Drag Strip area. Investigation activities could include geophysical investigations, such as magnetometer surveys or ground-penetrating radar, excavation of test pits, and/or further groundwater monitoring. Remedial action at the Drag Strip area could included removal of soil and/or drums, tanks, and containers and off-site disposal, soil vapor extraction, and/or hydraulic containment of the source areas on the Drag Strip property.
 
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