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Record of Decision System (RODS)

PARSONS CASKET HARDWARE CO.

Abstract

Site Name:  PARSONS CASKET HARDWARE CO.
Address:  424 FAIRVIEW AVENUE 
City & State:  BELVIDERE  IL  61008
County:  BOONE
 
EPA ID:  ILD005252432
EPA Region:  05
 
NPL Status:  Currently on the Final NPL
 
ROD Type:  Record of Decision
ROD ID:  EPA/ROD/R05-96/307
ROD Date:  09/30/1996
Operable Unit(s):  01
 
Media:  soil
 
Contaminant:  VOCs, SVOCs, metals
 
Abstract:  Please note that the text in this document summarizes the Record of Decision for the purposes of facilitating searching and retrieving key text on the ROD. It is not the officially approved abstract drafted by the EPA Regional offices. Once EPA Headquarters receives the official abstract, this text will be replaced.

The Parson's Casket Hardware site is located on the northwest side of Belvidere, Illinois. The site covers about 6 acres and is bordered by residential communities to the east and various industrial facilities to the west, north and south. The Kishwaukee River is 1/4 mile south of the site. Two of Belvidere's eight municipal water supply wells are located approximately 1,500 feet northwest and « mile southwest of the site. Both wells are used on a daily basis. The municipal well located northwest of the site has had hits of TCE, which were also found at the site. Most likely the contamination is from multiple sources, including Parson's. Groundwater has extended to the Kishwaukee River and it is believed to be discharging into the river basin.

The Parson's Casket Hardware Company manufactured decorative metal fittings for caskets at the site from the early 1920s to 1982. Such operations require the use of hazardous chemicals, and hazardous waste byproducts are created as a result of the manufacturing process. The Parson's Company continued to operate in the same facility until filing for bankruptcy in August 1982. Waste generated mainly consisted of electroplating sludge, cyanide plating solution, cyanide cleaning solutions, bronze, nickel and brass sludges, and cleaning solvents.

A series of aerial photos taken from 1954 to 1986 at various intervals show activities that occurred at the site and features that no longer exist. A lagoon was one of the principle waste disposal locations. A railroad spur is visible in a few of the aerial photos. Reportedly, liquid wastes were disposed of along the track prior to construction of the lagoon.

The west wing of the existing facility was used for diecasting and remelting of metals. The most commonly used metals were lead brass, diecast steel, white metal, silver, and zinc. Reportedly, the company used low volumes of diluted cyanide solutions in the west wing operations and large quantities of alkaline compounds and sulfur.

The east wing of the facility house the finishing operations. Cyanide treatment and electroplating were conducted on the first floor. Trichloroethylene (TCE) treatment and refurbishing of meals were performed on the second floor. Reportedly, there were approximately ten dry wells used for disposal of cyanide waste sludge on the north side of this wing.

Parson's Company obtained interim status to operate a hazardous waste management facility under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in 1980. The company notified the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that hazardous waste was stored on site in tanks and containers.

In 1982, the Illinois Attorney General's Office received an anonymous tip that the Parson's Company was going to cease operations and abandon hazardous wastes at the site. A subsequent investigation found that Parson's Company stored cyanide plating wastes in drums, treatment tanks, underground storage tanks, and in an unlined lagoon. The lagoon was used to contain overflows from the company's treatment system. Plating wastes include spent strippers, electroplating sludges, degreasers, acids, heavy metals, and cyanides. During the investigation, approximately 300 metal drums were observed outside of the treatment building. Most of the drums were full, others were partially filled without lids, and some were empty. Some of the drums showed signs of deterioration and leakage.

Under recommendations, Parson's Company began a voluntary cleanup of the site. In 1982, the company declared bankruptcy and was not able to complete the cleanup.
 
Remedy:  The remedial action addresses two Operable Units (OUs) - shallow and deep soils. Groundwater is a separate OU and will be addressed in a separate ROD. The shallow soil OU is being defined as the area from ground surface to 1 foot below land surface (BLS). The shallow soil OU remedy selection consists of institutional controls and deed/zoning restrictions for the property to reduce the risks associated with exposure to contaminated materials. Restrictions would apply so that the property remains industrial, since it was shown that the population at greatest risk would be future adult or child residents. The function of the deep soil OU remedy selection is to excavate and remove from the site a source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), and metals from an abandoned lagoon area which was utilized to dispose electroplating wastes from the 1930s to 1982. The OU will also determine the nature and extent of contamination and clean up dry wells presumed to be on the property. Both the lagoon and the dry wells are continuing to degrade the local groundwater, which is utilized as a drinking water supply for Belvidere.

The major components of the selected remedy include: installation of a security fence around the site; deed/zoning restrictions to prohibit groundwater use, limit building construction on the site, and control waste material generated from manipulation of soils at the site; excavate and remove contaminated soils from the abandoned lagoon area and determine remedial action for the suspected dry wells; and groundwater monitoring.
 
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