Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL WHEEL & TRIM
GRENADA, MS

Cleanup Activities

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Background

Rockwell International, followed by Textron Automotive, and later by Grenada Manufacturing, operated a wheel cover manufacturing and chrome plating facility on the property from 1966 to the early 2000’s. Although chrome plating operations ceased in 2001, Grenada Manufacturing continued to make wheel covers and trim at the manufacturing plant. In 2005, portions of the plant were leased to Ice Industries, Inc., which converted the facility to a metal stamping plant and renamed the business Grenada Stamping and Assembly, Inc. The business is currently called Ice Industries Grenada.

Historically, waste generated during wheel cover manufacturing and chrome plating operations included chrome plating sludge, solvent still bottoms, buffing compound, paint sludge, waste oil, corrosive alkaline wash waters, metal shavings, and other wastes. Past operations, spills, and waste handling practices have resulted in groundwater, surface water, soil and indoor air contamination with trichloroethene (TCE) and related compounds. The indoor air contamination is within the manufacturing plant building, however, a treatment system is currently operating to keep contamination below risk thresholds.

Wastes were disposed in a wetland area (known as “old landfill”) which is contaminated with TCE and hexavalent chromium, among other contaminants; a disposal area east of the facility (known as the Rockwell Moose Lodge Road Disposal Area); a sludge lagoon (which has been closed and capped); and into surface water via the outfall ditch. Spills of TCE and toluene from above ground tanks occurred in past decades. Chrome plating operations have resulted in a release of TCE and other solvents into soils below the manufacturing building’s concrete foundation.

The use of TCE ceased in 1992, however, TCE remains present in the subsurface soil and groundwater at the Grenada Manufacturing facility. TCE vapors from below the manufacturing building are entering the building through cracks, joints and other openings in the concrete floor, causing TCE contamination in the indoor air. Indoor air in nearby homes has been tested; TCE is not present in the homes.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

In the past EPA, directed the Facility to:  

  • Make improvements to the Permeable Reactive Barrier (PRB) which is used to treat the groundwater. EPA received the PRB Pilot Study Work Plan in March 2016 and approved it in April 2016. Work began in May 2016 and is ongoing.
  • Provide treatment alternatives for reducing the concentration of trichloroethene (TCE) in a spill area at the Facility known as Area of Concern A (AOC A) near a former TCE above-ground storage tank. Two treatment alternatives were submitted in May 2016. EPA will approve the final treatment option based on results from the PRB Pilot Study.

On December 29, 2017, a treatment system to reduce elevated levels of trichloroethene (TCE) inside the manufacturing building at the Grenada Stamping facility was restarted under an EPA CERCLA removal action.

EPA continues to work with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality and the Facility to identify long-term cleanup measures to address the source of the contamination.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

EPA and the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) have determined that it is appropriate to use EPA’s authorities under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA, commonly known as “Superfund”) to address the complex environmental and liability issues at the Rockwell Grenada site. Superfund is the EPA program that addresses complex hazardous waste sites.

  • EPA has determined that the site qualifies for the next step in the Superfund process: inclusion on the National Priorities List. The NPL is a list of serious uncontrolled or abandoned hazardous waste sites identified for investigation and comprehensive cleanup. The NPL is intended primarily to guide the EPA in identifying and prioritizing those sites that warrant further investigation to assess the nature and extent of public health and environmental risks.
  • Inclusion of the site on the NPL will allow EPA to use Superfund authorities and additional resources to ensure, and prioritize, the comprehensive cleanup of the site and areas impacted by site-related contamination. In consultation with MDEQ, EPA proposed to add the site to the NPL in order to implement a Superfund remedial investigation and cleanup of the site. EPA considered public comments before making a final decision about adding the site to the NPL.

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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.

Institutional Controls are in effect for the main Facility Parcels. Institutional controls play an important role in site remedies because they reduce exposure to contamination by restricting access to contaminated areas.  They also guide human behavior through legal mechanisms such as deed restrictions and public health warning signs.

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Sampling and Monitoring

Sampling Events are currently being conducted as part of the Remedial Investigation (RI) for the Rockwell Grenada site. The purpose of the RI is to collect data necessary to assess any risks to human health and the environment, which will help determine future cleanup activities. Sample results from each sampling event will be made available to the residents as soon as EPA has reviewed the validated results, Under the Site Documents and Data tab.

During the week of August 13, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a sampling event in the Eastern Heights community. EPA sampled ambient air (outdoor air) and groundwater. EPA asked property owners for permission before testing their property for contaminants.

EPA conducted sampling in the Eastern Heights community July 8 - 14, 2018. EPA sampled ambient (outdoor) air, indoor air and air under the foundation (sub-slab soil gas) of several homes located over the TCE-contaminated groundwater plume. EPA asked property owners for permission before testing their property. EPA met with residents whose homes were sampled to assess their use of common household chemicals. EPA assisted with removing chemical products from the homes prior to indoor testing.

EPA conducted sampling in the Eastern Heights community between June 18 - 22 and July 9 - 20, 2018. During this event, EPA sampled groundwater, soil, soil gas and ambient (outdoor) air. The attorneys that represent specific residents who live in the Eastern Heights neighborhood have agreed to allow EPA to perform testing around and inside the properties owned by their clients through the existence of known contamination in their neighborhood. The residents attorneys are also allowing their technical team to speak with EPA and coordinate efforts in the neighborhood.

On May 16-17, 2018, EPA conducted ambient (outside) air sampling in the Eastern Heights neighborhood. With the permission from the residents, nine sample locations were strategically chosen throughout the neighborhood. The sampling canisters atop a tripod were placed in the neighborhood on May 16 and after 24 hours they were retreived (May 17).

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Emergency Response and Removal

On December 29, 2017, a treatment system intended to reduce elevated levels of trichloroethene (TCE) inside the manufacturing building at the Grenada Stamping facility was restarted under an EPA removal action. Removal actions are short-term responses under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA) intended to protect people from risks or potential risks associated with contaminated sites.

  • TCE contamination is present beneath the facility as a result of spills from prior operations. Past sampling indicated TCE vapors from beneath the concrete floor are rising into the building and could pose a risk to workers.
  • The treatment system is operating with EPA oversight and monitoring, and sampling to date shows the system is effective at reducing TCE to below risk levels. EPA will continue to oversee monitoring of the treatment system to ensure it remains effective.
  • The new treatment system replaces interim measures taken since January 2017 to increase ventilation within the Facility. These measures have decreased TCE concentrations within the building. The new treatment system is a more reliable, long-term method to ensure TCE concentrations remain at acceptable levels.
  • An On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) was assigned to conduct a Removal Site Evaluation (RSE). The RSE consisted of a review of recent facility indoor air monitoring results and current status of the treatment system. The OSC determined that site conditions met the criteria for conducting a removal action.
  • The OSC conducted a site visit on January 3, 2018, and verified the treatment system is operational.
  • EPA required the Facility to submit a sampling plan for the system in to ensure the system is performing properly, and that workers and the surrounding community are protected while the system operates.
  • People who work inside the manufacturing facility are being notified about the air contamination and the steps being taken to remove contaminants from the indoor air.

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Enforcement Information

NPL listing is the first step in the Superfund process. As part of the Superfund process, EPA will identify potentially responsible parties and notify each such party of their potential liability under CERCLA. In general, EPA seeks to enter into enforceable agreements with responsible parties to conduct necessary investigation and cleanups.

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