ROCKWELL INTERNATIONAL WHEEL & TRIM
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On this page:
- What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- Activity and Use Limitations
- Sampling and Monitoring
- Emergency Response and Removal
- Enforcement Information
On related pages:
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.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
On October 11th, the EPA approved the Non-Time Critical Removal Action Work Plan for Meritor to develop the Engineering Evaluation and Cost Analysis report (EE/CA).
The first week of August 2019, Meritor installed the pilot extraction well, with MDEQ oversight, that will be used to gain information about the Site specific drainage and contaminant concentrations during a pilot phase of extraction well operation. The information obtained during that period will be used to inform the EE/CA action alternatives. For the system to be operational the drainage lines for the system, pump house building, pump and treatment system will have to be installed and tested.
On April 23, 2019, Meritor entered into an Administrative Settlement Agreement and Order on Consent (AOC) with EPA to evaluate the potential for an early action at the Rockwell International Wheel & Trim Superfund Site. Meritor approached the EPA and proposed an early action to address contaminated groundwater at the facility with the likely benefit of addressing contaminated groundwater beyond the facility. Under the AOC, Meritor will develop an EE/CA for public review and comment.
- The EE/CA will describe the effectiveness, feasibility and costs of each option to address contaminated groundwater at the facility and identify a preferred option. The EPA will solicit public comments on the EE/CA and hold a public meeting to answer questions. The EPA will evaluate the options and consider all information received during the public comment period before deciding whether to move forward with an early action.
- As part of the EE/CA, Meritor will install a groundwater pilot well at the facility to pump and treat the groundwater, while measuring groundwater flow and contaminant concentrations. Residents may see construction of the pilot well and more frequent monitoring of the wells surrounding the facility. The EPA, in consultation with the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), will oversee Meritor’s work under the AOC and any resulting early action performed by Meritor. The agencies will ensure all work performed by Meritor is protective of human health and the environment, and consistent with the future long-term cleanup of the site.
- Any early action is not considered a final remedy. EPA will continue to investigate the site. The EPA’s AOC with Meritor complements the ongoing work at the site and could expedite the cleanup of contaminated groundwater.
In March 2018, EPA initiated the OU-1 Remedial Investigation/ Feasibility Study (RI/FS) prior to the site being final on the NPL to evaluate indoor and outdoor risks to nearby residents from elevated levels of TCE in the indoor air of the neighboring facility or elevated levels of TCE in the groundwater underneath residential homes. Sampling Events were conducted as part of the OU-1 RI beginning in May 2018. 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. These results will be posted under the Site Documents and Data tab. The list of recent sampling activities can be found under the Sampling and Monitoring section.
In the past the 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.
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 the 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.
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.
Sampling and Monitoring
The draft RI is currently being developed.
All sampling events described below were conducted as part of the Remedial Investigation (RI) for Operable Unit 1 (OU1) of the Rockwell Grenada site. OU1 focuses on the Eastern Heights neighborhood. 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.
- A sampling was held July 26 thru August 4, 2019. This event was the third and final event using vertical profile testing of the soil and groundwater for the RI. This event focused sampling in the railroad lines to the east and south of the Eastern Heights neighborhood. In order to limit disruptions to the rail operations the event was scheduled to span two consecutive Saturdays to allow the rail authority to shutdown the lines impacted. These results will be used to complete the contaminant and subsurface soil maps connecting to the Eastern Heights neighborhood.
- The sampling event scheduled from January 7 thru January 17, 2019 was cancelled due to the partial government shutdown. This sampling event was held March 25- April 5, 2019. This event used vertical profile testing of the soil and groundwater in the Eastern Heights neighborhood. These results are being used to map the contamination and subsurface soil properties. These results will also be used to determine the best locations to add new permanent groundwater monitoring wells for future sampling and response work.
- A sampling was held October 2 thru October 12, 2018. This event used vertical profile testing of the soil and groundwater in the property to the east of the Eastern Heights neighborhood. A second event will be held to use this testing method in the Eastern Heights neighborhood. These results will be used to determine where the bulk of the contamination is located and the best locations to add new permanent groundwater monitoring wells for future sampling and response work.
- During the week of August 13, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted a sampling event in the Eastern Heights neighborhood. 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 neighborhood from July 8 to July 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 neighborhood between June 18 thru June 22. 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.
- During May 16 thru May 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 retrieved (May 17, 2018).
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.
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.