Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

FCX, INC. (WASHINGTON PLANT)
WASHINGTON, NC

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The 12-acre FCX, Inc. (Washington Plant) site is located in Washington, North Carolina. The site includes the area where the Farmer’s Cooperative Exchange operated a farm supply distribution center from 1945 to 1985. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989 because of contaminated groundwater, surface water and soil resulting from waste handling practices. EPA and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) 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. By monitoring groundwater and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA and NCDENR continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The 12-acre site is located in northwest Washington in Beaufort County, North Carolina. The intersection of Grimes Road and Whispering Pines Road borders the site to the northeast. Wetlands, Kennedy Creek and the Tar River border the site to the south and southwest. Agricultural land borders the site to the west and northwest. The site’s broader surroundings include commercial, industrial and residential land uses. From 1945 to 1985, the Farmer’s Cooperative Exchange (FCX) operated a farm supply distribution center at the site. Operations at the distributions center packaged and sold pesticides, herbicides and tobacco-treating chemicals. Beginning in the early 1970s, operations disposed of pesticide wastes and other agricultural chemicals in a large trench on site.

Farmer’s Cooperative Exchange filed for bankruptcy in 1985. In 1989, the EPA listed the site on the NPL.

EPA leads site investigation and cleanup activities in cooperation with NCDENR.

From 1989 to 1992, EPA dug up 15,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil. In 1996, EPA completed treating contaminated soil.

In 2010, the North Carolina Department of Transportation constructed the U.S. Route 17 Washington Bypass on a portion of the site. Additionally, the department is making improvements to U.S. Route 17, which includes four areas on site. Currently, the highway bypass runs from the site’s southwest boundary to its northeast boundary. Some remaining portions of the site can support reuse.

EPA has conducted one Five-Year Review 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 first review concluded that response actions at the site are in accordance with the remedy selected by EPA and that the remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment in the short term. Continued protectiveness of the remedy requires additional work. EPA is currently following up on the recommendations from the Five-Year Review by evaluating the effectiveness of monitored natural attenuation and working to place institutional controls on the site property. EPA plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2015.

EPA is working to place institutional controls on the site property.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The most recent Five Year Review was published by EPA HQs in 2015.  The remedy at the FCX Washington Plant Site currently protects human health and the environment in the short-term because there are no known current exposure routes to contaminated soil or groundwater.

Site investigations and cleanup activities have focused on two areas, which EPA refers to as operable units (OUs). These areas include OU-1: contaminated groundwater; and OU-2: contaminated soil.
The long-term remedy for OU-1, selected in 1993, included extracting contaminated groundwater; using air stripping, carbon adsorption, precipitation and ion exchange on site to treat contaminated groundwater; and discharging treated groundwater to nearby surface water.

The long-term remedy for OU-2, selected in 1996, included EPA’s decision that no further action was needed to address soil contamination.

EPA updated the long-term remedy for OU-1 in 2005, changing cleanup activities for contaminated groundwater to monitored natural attenuation.

EPA continues to monitor ground water and evaluate the effectiveness of monitored natural attenuation at the site. EPA is working to place institutional controls on the site property. EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2010 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2015.

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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.

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.

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Sampling and Monitoring

EPA continues to monitor ground water and evaluate the effectiveness of monitored natural attenuation at the site.

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Enforcement Information

In 1992, a Trust Agreement provided FCX bankruptcy proceeding assets to fund cleanup activities at the site and the FCX-Statesville Superfund site. EPA is also using federal funds for site cleanup activities.

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