Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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Beginning in the 1930s, the Site functioned as a blending and packaging facility for agricultural pesticides and fertilizers. Pesticides and fertilizers manufactured at other locations were blended at the Site with inert materials to produce commercial-grade products. Most of the pesticide product blending ceased in 1965. All operations at the plant stopped in 1984.

The buildings were demolished during the Spring/Summer of 2005. Waste materials from the blending processes, including waste generated during the cleaning of the processing equipment, were disposed on-site. The Site was added to EPA's National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1997.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

In early 1997, it was discovered that elevated levels of site contaminants extended several feet beyond the old fence line along the northern end of the property. Land use north of the property is residential. That spring, EPA entered into an agreement with the site owner under which the owner erected a new fence as an interim measure that now prevents people from coming into contact with these contaminants.

EPA entered into an agreement with seven potentially responsible parties, including Allied Signal, FMC, Novartis, Olin, Shell Oil, Union Carbide, and Wilmington Securities, to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) at the site. The cooperating companies notified EPA that an additional seven companies including the site owner, Central Chemical, joined the group.

In February 2003, the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) work plan was completed.

In 2004, the majority of the environmental sampling at the site was completed. Samples were collected of site soil, groundwater, and storm water. In addition, samples were collected from surface water and sediment from the nearby Marsh Run and Antietam Creek. Sampling confirmed that pesticides and metals are present at elevated levels in surface soil across the site, and high concentrations of pesticides and metals are present in a disposal area, the former waste lagoon, located in the north end of the property. To a lesser degree, pesticides were also detected in storm water leaving the site and in surface water and sediment samples from Marsh Run and Antietam Creek.

Groundwater contamination has moved beyond the property boundaries and additional wells were installed and sampled in 2006/2007 to better determine the extent of off-site groundwater contamination.

During the Spring and Summer of 2005, all former pesticide and fertilizer manufacturing buildings were decontaminated, demolished and disposed of in an appropriate manner.

In December 2006, the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRP) provided EPA with the final Remedial Investigation (RI) report for the site. The final RI for on-site soil and waste is complete.

In September 2009, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) (PDF) for contaminated soils and waste at the site. The ROD includes on-site solidification/stabilization of a former waste lagoon; excavation, consolidation, and capping of contaminated soils; and the installation of a ground water extraction and treatment system.

In 2010, EPA divided the Site into Operable Unit 1 (OU-1) for Site soils, principal threat wastes, and shallow groundwater; and OU-2 for bedrock groundwater.
The Remedial Design for OU-1 was completed in early 2017 and work on this portion of the Site began in May 2017.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

EPA is overseeing the cleanup of OU-1 of the Central Chemical Site, which began in May 2017. The work conducted in 2017 included:

  • The clearing of trees and shrubs from the site;
  • Construction of an access road;
  • Measures to enhance erosion control;
  • Demolition of remaining concrete building foundations and related subsurface structures; and
  • Permanently closing specific monitoring wells; and,
  • Construction of a groundwater treatment building and four extraction wells, and associated underground piping.

The work mentioned above will lay the groundwork for the soil cleanup remedy, expected to begin in 2018 and be completed in 2019. This remedy will include:

  • Operation of the groundwater containment and treatment system;
  • In-Situ Soil Solidification (ISS), which binds and traps waste into a solid block of material. In this case, material within the former waste lagoon will be solidified through this method;
  • Excavation of contaminated soils outside the lagoon area;
  • Once excavated, contaminated soils will be consolidated and placed atop the solidified material; and
  • This soil will then be covered with a low permeability cap.

Status of OU-2 Groundwater:

  • Groundwater contamination was confirmed to extend beyond the boundaries of the Central Chemical property. Therefore, further delineation of groundwater contamination in the bedrock aquifer is ongoing.
  • A series of tracer studies designed to locate potential receptors was initiated in Spring 2014 and completed in 2016. Many springs and streams including Antietam Creek were found to be potential receptors. However, tracer recoveries were intermittent and analytical results from surface water/sediment grab samples indicated that concentrations of Site-related contaminants were detected at very low concentrations or were not detected.  Passive sampling of surface water over time is planned to confirm the potential intermittent presence of Site-related chemicals at springs and streams. 
  • Residential well sampling was performed to the northeast of the Site in the Fountainhead Country Club neighborhood. Additional sampling, at some locations, was conducted during peak pumping season (June to October) 2015.  Analytical results from irrigation well samples also indicated that concentrations of Site-related contaminants were detected at very low concentrations or were not detected.
  • Vapor Intrusion sampling in some Matthew Court townhomes, which are located adjacent to the Site, was also conducted to assess the potential presence of vapors in residences that have volunteered for the sampling.  The vapor intrusion sampling did not identify any issues in these homes. No additional vapor intrusion sampling is anticipated in this area.
  • EPA is working with the PRP Group on the final Remedial Investigation Report for OU-2.

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Activity and Use Limitations

At this site, activity and use limitations that EPA calls institutional controls are in place. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by limiting land or resource use. They also guide human behavior. For instance, zoning restrictions prevent land uses – such as residential uses – that are not consistent with the level of cleanup.

For more background, see Institutional Controls.

A Declaration of Restrictive Covenants was placed on the Central Chemical property in 2000. The covenant restricts the use of the Site to commercial and industrial usage; and forbids many types of land use including housing, playgrounds, schools, etc. Further institutional controls will be implemented at the Site by EPA and the cooperating responsible parties, to ensure that the remedy at the Site remains protective of human health and the environment over time.

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Enforcement Information

The work performed at this site, past and future, is/was conducted under orders negotiated between EPA and a group of cooperating responsible parties.

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