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Record of Decision System (RODS)

ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL CORP. (ALLEGAN PLANT)

Abstract

Site Name:  ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL CORP. (ALLEGAN PLANT)
Address:  ONE GLASS ST 
City & State:  ALLEGAN  MI  49010
County:  ALLEGAN
 
EPA ID:  MID006028062
EPA Region:  05
 
NPL Status:  Currently on the Final NPL
 
ROD Type:  Record of Decision
ROD ID:  EPA/ROD/R05-95/276
ROD Date:  07/11/1995
Operable Unit(s):  01
 
Media:  LNAPL, soil, groundwater
 
Contaminant:  2-methylnaphthalene, benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, arsenic, lead, manganese, VOCs, SVOCs, pesticides, PCBs, 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 Rockwell International Corp. site is a former drive line manufacturing facility located at 1 Glass Street in Allegan, Michigan. The site occupies approximately 30 acres in an industrially zoned area and is bound on the north and northwest by the Kalamazoo River; to the east by private residences and River Street; on the south by private residences and North Street; and to the southwest and west by vacant, low-lying land and the Allegan municipal wastewater treatment plant. North Ward Elementary School is also located east of the site, east of River Street.

Buildings and facilities at the site include two former manufacturing/assembly buildings (east and west buildings), a former heat treatment building, east and west parking areas, an unused grassy field, and Rockwell's former industrial wastewater treatment plant consisting of a control house building and three inactive wastewater treatment ponds.

In 1991, the western portion of the site (including the west manufacturing building, Rockwell's wastewater treatment plant and ponds, and the west parking area) was sold. The west manufacturing building and parking area are currently occupied by light industrial operations, however, the Rockwell wastewater treatment plant has been dismantled, and the manufacturing building and the heat treatment building were discontinued in 1992. These buildings were sold in 1995 and are currently occupied by light industry.

Located at and adjacent to the southwest corner of the Rockwell International site is the former Allegan municipal landfill. The landfill occupies approximately 11 acres. Two-thirds of the landfill is covered by the Allegan wastewater treatment plant, a maintained lawn, and an unpaved parking lot. The remaining portion of the landfill occupies 4 acres of vacant, vegetated, low-lying land south of North Street that is poorly drained and frequently covered by areas of standing water. The landfill property is currently zoned for and expected to remain under industrial use. Allegan has also proposed to expand their wastewater treatment plant facilities over 2 acres of the unpaved parking lot area.

Operations at the Rockwell International site began in 1901 with the manufacture of glass. In 1916 the facilities at the site were sold and thereafter operated for the machining and assembly of automotive drive line parts until 1992. Materials known to be used in the drive line manufacturing operations at the site include carbon steel, welding rods and flux, soluble and non-soluble cutting and quenching oils, cleaning agents and solvents, heat treatment chemicals, and maintenance paints.

The manufacturing process at the site generated two types of waste streams: contact quenching fluids and contact fluids. In general, these waste streams contained lubricants, emulsifiers, oxidation inhibitors, cleaning compounds, treatment compounds, metal filings, and metal salts. From 1916 to approximately 1945, process wastewaters from the plant were discharged to the Kalamazoo River. In 1945 an oil floatation house was built to intercept and recover the oil fraction of the wastewater. During the 1960s, however, the oil floatation system was no longer adequate and several overflows of oil were observed in the Kalamazoo River. An interview with plant personnel and analysis of an aerial photograph of the site in 1955 also indicated that wastewater from the plant was discharged to the backwater area of the Kalamazoo River behind the plant. This area was subsequently filled and is now used for other purposes, however, oily deposits and metal fragments were detected below the water table in a soil boring collected within this area.

From 1964 to 1972, water soluble wastes were discharged into two unlined ponds adjacent to the river. When the use of each pond was discontinued, the pond was filled to surface grade and built over. In 1972, a plant was constructed to treat the plant's wastewater. Following treatment, the treated wastewater would discharge to a series of three newly constructed ponds and then to the Kalamazoo River under a national Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

In the early 1970s, oil seepage was observed along the east bank of the Kalamazoo River adjacent to one of the three wastewater treatment ponds. In 1974, a shallow clay barrier was installed along the length of the pond to prevent the seepage. The seepage continued, and further investigation indicated that two underground equalization tanks in the wastewater treatment plant were leaking. In 1976 the underground tanks were cleaned and lined with an impermeable liner, and three oil recovery wells were installed near the tanks to recover the oil and potential impacted groundwater. Operation of the oil recovery wells was discontinued in 1992 when the western portion of the site was sold and the wastewater treatment plant was dismantled.

In 1984, a field investigation team conducted a site inspection and collected groundwater samples from one of the oil recovery wells, and sediment samples from the Kalamazoo River adjacent to Rockwell's NPDES outfall. Arsenic and 4-methylpentanone were detected in the groundwater samples, and elevated levels of arsenic, chromium, 4-nitrophenol, chrysene, and pyrene were detected in the sediment samples adjacent to the outfall.

Based on historical records and data collected during remedial investigations, the potential areas of contamination at the site include Rockwell's wastewater treatment plant and ponds, the two buried unlined ponds, an area of former metal chip washing operations and a former oil floatation house, and the former Allegan municipal landfill.

The former Allegan municipal landfill is located in the southwest corner of the Rockwell International site beneath the west parking area, and extends beneath the municipal wastewater treatment plant and grounds, and the low-lying, vacant property south of North Street. The landfill was not identified as an area of potential concern for the site, however, approximately 4 acres of the landfill purchased by Rockwell from the City in 1956 for use as the west parking area were included as part of the site and have undergone limited investigation during the RI.

The northwest-west portion of the Rockwell International site and area south of the site, including the landfill, was formerly a low-lying backwater area of the Kalamazoo River. From approximately 1950 to 1974, Allegan operated a municipal landfill in the southern portion of the backwater area north and south of North Street. Fill materials encountered in soil borings collected throughout the landfill primarily consist of sand, gravel, and concrete debris. Allegan also reportedly burned municipal waste in the southern portion of the former backwater area, and residues from burning could be mixed with the landfilled material. Black-stained sands encountered in the landfill may also indicated the disposal of foundry sand.

Oily deposits, irregular black staining, metal fragments and wire pieces were also found in the landfill below the water table at two locations. These oily deposits and metal fragments compare to similar findings encountered below the water table at similar elevations in a soil boring collected in the former backwater area behind the Rockwell plant. These soil boring results, in conjunction with the information obtained from plant personnel and analysis of historical aerial photographs of the site, indicate that some portion of the landfill was operated over areas previously impacted by manufacturing operations at the site prior to landfilling. These impacts occur below the water table, however, and as such are considered to be part of the saturated zone and will be evaluated with groundwater.

The surface of the landfill is generally flat and at grade with the surrounding area, however, the depth of the landfill varies with the base of the former backwater area, ranging from approximately 25 feet below ground surface in the northern portion of the landfill to 8-9 feet below ground surface in the southern and western portions of the landfill. Because the landfill materials were deposited within a low-lying backwater area and subsequently filled to surface grade, the majority of the landfill contents are now below the water table and constitute part of the saturated zone. The depth to the water table in the landfill ranges from approximately 4 feet below ground surface north of North Street to approximately 2 feet below ground surface south of North Street.

Indications show that several organic and inorganic chemicals are present in the landfill contents. These include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs), pesticide and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) compounds, and inorganic compounds such as metals.
 
Remedy:  No Action has been selected for the Landfill Contents Operable Unit.
 
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