Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:


Cleanup Activities

On this page:

On related pages:


The Spectron, Inc. Site is located on approximately 8 acres near Elkton, Maryland, in a rural residential area. Solvent recycling operations occupied the Site from 1962 to 1988. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were processed and released from the facility, resulting in contaminated soil, groundwater and seeps along the western bank of Little Elk Creek.

EPA and the Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) Group continue to plan and implement the cleanup at the site. The Little Elk Creek has been addressed, contaminated sediments were excavated and a Stream Isolation/Groundwater Collection and Treatment System operates to keep contaminated groundwater from reaching the stream.

Top of Page

What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

A papermill opearted at the Site until it was destroyed by fire in 1954.

Solvent recycling operations operated at the Site from 1962 to 1988, reportedly handling more than 1 million gallons of liquids per year. The solvents included many Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that are not very soluble or able to dissolve in water. The organic substances are classified as either ´╗┐Light Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (LNAPLs), less dense than water, or Dense Non-Aqueous Phase Liquids (DNAPLs), more dense than water. Both LNAPLs and DNAPLs were released into the environment resulting in contamination to soil and groundwater (overburden and bedrock), as well as DNAPL seeps along the western bank of Little Elk Creek.

The Site was abandoned by the owner in 1988, with more than 500,000 gallons of solvents and other liquids left on-site in tanks and drums. These materials were removed by a Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) Group in late 1989 and 1990, with oversight by EPA.

Approximately 2,000 cubic yards of affected stream sediments were excavated by the PRP Group from Little Elk Creek in 1998. The Group constructed a Stream Isolation/Ground Water Collection and Treatment System (SI/GWTS) in 1999 to intercept VOC-bearing groundwater before it can discharge to the stream.

The Site was divided into two Operable Units (OUs). OU-1 consists of Soil and Overburden (shallow) Groundwater and OU-2 consists of Bedrock Groundwater and Office Area Soil.

OU-1:  Soil and Overburden Groundwater

  • The OU-1 Record of Decision (ROD) was issued in 2004, with an amendment in 2012. The remedy includes building demolition, grading of the Plant Area, placement of onsite debris piles under the cap, installation of an asphalt cap (or equivalent), continued operation of the SI/GWTS, in-situ thermal treatment, monitoring to ensure the effectiveness of the remedy, and land and groundwater use restrictions.
  • The in-situ thermal treatment was started in February 2016 and completed in December 2016. A report summarizing the results is expected later this year, but primary results indicate the levels of VOCs were significantly reduced.
  • A Remedial Design for the cap is expected in Spring 2017.

OU-2: Bedrock Groundwater and Office Area Soils

  • An Interim ROD was issued in 2012. The Bedrock Groundwater Dissolved VOC Plume will be addressed in a future Final Proposed Remedial Action Plan (PRAP) and Final OU-2 ROD.
  • The remedy chosen for OU-2 includes a pre-design investigation, pump and treat in the bedrock groundwater Source Area, Source Area bedrock groundwater monitoring, dissolved bedrock groundwater monitoring, continued operation of the SI/GWTS, residential groundwater well monitoring, excavation of office area soil and placement under OU-1 cap, land and groundwater use restrictions, and vapor intrusion sampling for the Five-Year Review.
  • Semi-annual residential groundwater well sampling has been ongoing since 1995.
  • Quarterly surface water sampling is ongoing.
  • The office area soil excavation was completed in September 2016 and the soil has been stockpiled in the Plant Area to be graded under the cap when it is constructed.

Top of Page

What Is the Current Site Status?

The PRP Group is currently implementing the OU-2 remedial design activities for the bedrock groundwater, operating the SI/GWTS, and monitoring surface water and residential groundwater wells. The PRP Group is also currently performing the OU-1 remedial design for the asphalt cap.

Human health and the environment are being protected by the implementation of the selected remedies. Additionally, operation & maintenance, which includes monitoring, and Five-Year Reviews will continue to ensure the remedies remain protective.

The November 2017Five-Year Review states that OU1 and OU2 remedies are expected to be protective of human health and the environment upon completion. In the interim, exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks are being controlled through the cleanup actions to date.

Top of Page

Enforcement Information

02/09/2006: DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Notice of Lodging of Consent Decree Pursuant to the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act
12/11/2002: Notice of Lodging of De Minimis Consent Decrees Under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act. Department of Justice.
De Minimus Settlement Information: Alphabetical listing of most of the Potential Responsible Parties.

Top of Page