On this page:
- What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- EPA’s Involvement at the Site
- Emergency Response and Removal
- Operable Units (opens new page)
- Cleanup Progress (opens new page)
For nearly 50 years, the West Dallas area of Dallas, Texas, was home to a major lead smelter operated by the RSR Corporation. Facility operators processed spent car batteries and scrap lead. The company sent resulting waste materials, byproducts and batteries to nearby landfills where these wastes contaminated soils, sediment and groundwater. Wind also transported lead dust from the smelter into nearby parks, schools and neighborhoods. EPA placed the RSR Corporation site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List in 1995.
EPA assessed nearly 7000 properties and cleaned up the yards of over 400 properties between 1991 and 1994. Much of the lead dust deposited from the RSR smokestack affected a nearby Dallas Housing Authority (DHA) public housing complex. With EPA oversight, DHA removed the soil contamination, demolished the sub-standard public housing that existed on the site and reconstructed more than 1,200 units of affordable housing for the West Dallas community. The cleanup of the RSR Superfund site enabled DHA to continue to offer much-needed affordable housing and other needed services, such as a grocery store, library, public and private schools and more. DHA also constructed its headquarters on site and they employ more than 100 people.
Today, following cleanup, the site and the surrounding West Dallas area are a hub of new activity. Goodwill Industries of Dallas acquired 46 acres from DHA and built a 275,000-square-foot facility. Open since 2002, the facility includes offices, meeting space and a retail store. Goodwill Industries of Dallas employs over 500 people and in 2013 placed more than 1000 people in jobs across North Texas. The company focuses on hiring and training disadvantaged workers, benefiting the local workforce.
For their remarkable efforts at the site and across West Dallas, EPA Region 6 presented DHA and Goodwill Industries of Dallas with Excellence in Site Reuse recognition.
The cleanup provided opportunities for other redevelopment opportunities as well, including several public and private schools and the Lakewest YMCA facility, which opened in 2000. The YMCA offers recreation opportunities for local families and residents and hosts several community services, including a day care, a women’s healthcare clinic and a police substation. With residents now benefitting from a new supermarket and shopping center, an animal care clinic, restaurants, and a wider range of housing options, West Dallas will continue to thrive. EPA remains committed to working with local groups and agencies to support redevelopment.
What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site is being addressed through federal, state and local actions.
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 most recent 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 deed notices for OU-3, maintenance at OU-4 and OU-5, monitoring of erosion at OU-3 and OU-5, and protection of the remedy at OU-3.
What Is the Current Site Status?
EPA split the site into five areas, or operable units (OUs), to prioritize and manage cleanup activities.
OU-1: EPA selected “no further action” as the long-term remedy. Removal actions removed significant threats to human health and the environment.
OU-2: EPA selected “no further action” as the long-term remedy. Removal actions removed significant threats to human health and the environment.
OU-3: The long-term remedy included excavation and off-site removal of metals-contaminated soils, backfilling and regrading of excavated areas using clean soil, a protective soil cap, groundwater monitoring, and institutional controls to prevent certain land uses.
OU-4: The long-term remedy included removal, treatment and disposal of contaminated materials and soil; demolition and decontamination of contaminated buildings, structures and equipment; off-site disposal of building debris; and a cap or backfilling with clean soil.
OU-5: The long-term remedy included decontamination or demolition of contaminated buildings, evaluation of the existing cap of the former surface impoundment and a cap for the former landfill.
OU-3: Construction of the remedy took place in 2004. Operation and maintenance activities and monitoring are ongoing.
OU-4: Construction of the remedy took place in 2001.
OU-5: Construction of the remedy took place in 2005. Site activities are in the operation and maintenance phase.
Following cleanup, EPA deleted OU-4 and part of OU-5 from the NPL in 2007.
EPA’s Involvement at the Site
For about 50 years, the secondary lead smelting facility on site processed used batteries and other lead-bearing materials into pure lead, lead alloys and other lead products. The former battery wrecking facility is located on the southwest corner of the Westmoreland Road and Singleton Boulevard intersection. Smelter operations stopped in 1984.
Emergency Response and Removal
Cleanup has included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. Removal actions excavated and remediated contaminated soil and disposed of waste drums, waste piles and laboratory chemicals. Removal actions at residential and commercial properties have resulted in the lowering of blood-lead levels of children living in the area.
During cleanup, a site can be divided into a number of distinct areas depending on its complexity. These areas, called operable units (OUs), may address geographic areas, specific problems, or areas where a specific action is required. Examples of typical operable units include construction of a groundwater pump and treatment system or construction of a cap over a landfill.