A.L. TAYLOR (VALLEY OF DRUMS)
On this page:
- What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- Activity and Use Limitations
- Enforcement Information
On related pages:
The 23-acre A.L. Taylor (Valley of the Drums) site is located in Brooks, Kentucky. It includes an area used for waste disposal and drum recycling from 1967 to 1977. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the site on the Superfund Program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983, because of contaminated groundwater, soil and surface water resulting from waste handling practices. EPA, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP) and the site’s potentially responsible parties (PRPs) investigated site conditions and took 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. By monitoring groundwater, regularly inspecting the site, and conducting required Five-Year Reviews, EPA and KDEP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
The 23-acre site is located in a rural area 10 miles south of Louisville, Kentucky, near State Highway 1020 in Brooks, Bullitt County, Kentucky. The site includes 17-acres of wooded and grassy areas. A security fence encloses the remaining 6-acre-area. Site surroundings include wooded areas, private residences, Wilson Creek and a golf course. Some commercial businesses are also located nearby.
The site owner used the site for a waste disposal operation from 1967 to 1977. The Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet (KNREP, now KDEP) first documented releases of hazardous substances from the site in 1975 and pursued legal action against the site owner at that time. In January 1979, at the request of KNREPC, the EPA conducted emergency response actions at the site to prevent the migration and future releases of contamination. EPA constructed interceptor trenches and a temporary treatment system, secured leaking drums, and segregated and organized the drums on site. EPA recorded 17,051 remaining drums at the site, which included 11,629 empty drums. EPA operated and maintained the on-site treatment system until December 1979, when KNREPC assumed responsibility for the system.
EPA initially led site investigation and cleanup activities in cooperation with the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP). KDEP currently leads operation and maintenance and monitoring activities, in cooperation with the EPA. EPA conducted four removal actions between 1981 and 1989 to remove the remaining drums on-site, upgrade the treatment system, regrade the ground to promote positive drainage and reduce the amount of ponded water and surface erosion. These actions removed drummed waste from the on-site ground surface but left contaminated soil and buried drums on site. In 1984, the EPA issued letters to site potentially responsible parties (PRPs) and the site owner for reimbursement of costs associated with investigations and removal actions.
- EPA, KDEP and the site’s potentially responsible parties (PRPs) investigated site conditions and took steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination.
- In 1987, EPA installed the clay cap, perimeter drainage system, groundwater monitoring wells and security fence to address remaining soil contamination. In 1988 and 1989, EPA reseeded and regraded the cap. After cleanup, the EPA removed the site from the NPL in 1996.
- EPA has conducted several Five-Year Reviews of the site’s remedy. These reviews ensure that the remedies put in place protect public health and the environment, and function as intended by site decision documents. The 2013 Five-Year Review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by the EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment in the short term. Furthermore, routine operation and maintenance activities and monitoring of groundwater, Wilson Creek surface water and sediment are ongoing. Continued protectiveness of the remedy requires placement of institutional controls (land use restrictions) on the property. In addition, the EPA and KDEP are evaluating whether or not further monitoring and analysis of dioxin and PCBs is needed.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The most recent Five-Year Review report published in 2018, is linked from the HQs site. The remedy at the Site currently protects human health and the environment in the short term due to regular O&M and the landfill cap being in good condition.
The site’s long-term remedy included moving ponded water from the site, installation of a clay cap, perimeter drainage system, groundwater monitoring wells and security fencing. EPA performed operation and maintenance activities at the site from September 1998 to February 1990. Since then, KDEP has performed these activities, which include groundwater monitoring and cap maintenance.
There is no visual evidence that the cap is eroding or that contaminants under the cap are migrating toward Wilson Creek. Currently, no one drinks ground water at the site and there are no known recreational uses of Wilson Creek east of the landfill cap. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site. By monitoring groundwater, Wilson Creek surface water and sediment, regularly inspecting the site, and conducting required Five-Year Reviews, the EPA and KDEP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.
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.
EPA uses institutional controls to reduce exposure to contamination by restricting access to contaminated areas. Institutional controls can also guide human behavior through legal mechanisms such as deed restrictions and public health warning signs.
In 1991, EPA and the site’s PRPs signed a legal agreement to repay EPA for the costs the Agency incurred during initial cleanup activities. The PRPs also agreed to provide funding to perform site monitoring, operation and maintenance work. EPA and KDEP continue to use this funding to support operation and maintenance activities and long-term monitoring of groundwater and Wilson Creek surface water and sediments.