Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

TOWER CHEMICAL CO.
CLERMONT, FL

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The Tower Chemical Company site is located in Clermont, Florida. It includes the area where Tower Chemical Company operated a pesticide manufacturing and repackaging facility from 1947 to 1980. EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) of contaminated sites in 1983 because of contaminated soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater resulting from the facility’s waste and wastewater disposal practices. EPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site. A water line now connects eight residences next to the site to the public water supply. By removing contaminated soil, monitoring and sampling contaminated groundwater, and conducting Five-Year Reviews, EPA and FDEP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

EPA leads site cleanup activities in cooperation with FDEP.

In 1983, EPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Regulation (FDER, now FDEP) completed an emergency short-term cleanup to stop an immediate threat to people and the environment. EPA removed and treated about one million gallons of contaminated water from the wastewater pond. After treatment, EPA discharged the water into a nearby ditch. EPA dug up and disposed of 3,800 cubic yards of contaminated soil and sediment and 72 drums of other hazardous waste from the pond and burn and burial pit area. In 1988, a second cleanup action addressed contaminated storage tanks, concrete pads and underlying contaminated soils. The concrete and excavated soils stayed on site.

In February 2010, EPA began carrying out the OU-3 cleanup plan. EPA dug up contaminated soil in the site’s affected wetland areas, placed clean fill in these areas and replanted vegetation. During 2010 and 2011, EPA dug up and disposed of 45,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and sediment. EPA also removed deeper contaminated soil and debris. EPA conducts periodic monitoring of the restored areas. Cleanup efforts are ongoing and do not affect commercial business activities at the site.

The site’s first Five-Year Review, completed in 2008, found that regular monitoring of wells, maintenance of well filters and application of institutional controls would continue to protect people and the environment from contamination. The 2013 Five-Year Review concluded the site’s remedy remains protective of human health and the environment in the short term while the groundwater remedy is completed. EPA is currently working to complete the next Five-Year Review.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The most recent Five Year Review was published by EPA HQs in 2018. The remedy is expected to be protective of human health and the environment upon completion. In the interim, remedial activities completed to date have adequately addressed all current exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks, as contaminated surface soils and selected subsurface soils have been removed to 12 feet and most affected residences have been connected to the public water supply.

Site investigations and cleanup activities have focused on three areas, which EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. These areas include OU-1: soil and groundwater contamination and potable well replacement; OU-2: interim action carbon filter systems; and OU-3: site-wide contamination.

The site’s long-term remedy for OU-1, selected in 1986, included treating contaminated soil and installing a groundwater pump-and-treat system. During pre-cleanup sampling, EPA did not find the high levels of contaminants originally anticipated. Therefore, EPA did not carry out the cleanup plan.

The OU-2 interim cleanup plan included installation of well filters, well filter maintenance and groundwater monitoring. In 2003, EPA installed filters on six nearby residential wells. In 2010, EPA connected eight residences to the public water system.

The site’s long-term remedy for OU-3, selected in 2006, addressed groundwater and wetland contamination and replaced the OU-1 cleanup plan.

Currently, EPA is in the process of starting a focused feasibility study to investigate stabilizing and solidifying the contaminated soil at the site. Soil and groundwater sampling has occurred as recent as 2017. EPA has completed several treatability and pilot studies over the past years as it continues to evaluate the best approach for site cleanup. EPA is currently working to complete the next Five-Year Review.

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Enforcement Information

Enforcing environmental laws is a central part of EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. When warranted, EPA will take civil or criminal enforcement action against violators of environmental laws.

The EPA negotiated legal agreements with the site PRP to investigate and clean up the site. In 1987, the EPA and the PRP completed legal agreements but the PRP did not follow the agreements. In 2007, the EPA and the owners of the 15-acre area of the site negotiated a windfall lien settlement.

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