Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

GULF STATE UTILITIES-NORTH RYAN STREET
LAKE CHARLES, LA

Cleanup Activities

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Background

Current Status

The EPA issued the third Five Year Review Report (FYR) for Gulf State Utilities North Ryan Street Superfund site in September 2019. The Five Year Review Report determined that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment. There were no issues or recommendations regarding the remedy identified in the report.  The next five year report will be completed in 2024.

The responsible party continues to perform annual groundwater and surface water monitoring and post-removal site control inspections.

Site Background

The 19-acre Gulf States Utilities (GSU)-North Ryan Street site is located in Lake Charles in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. A manufactured gas plant operated at the site prior to 1926. Coal tar byproducts generated during gas plant activities were reportedly discharged into marshlands west of the gas plant. Additionally, a 6-acre wetland area was used as a landfill for the disposal of electric equipment, poles, appliances and other waste. Historical operations and disposal practices contaminated soil, sediment, surface water and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. EPA has selected and implemented cleanups of the contaminated soils, sediment and groundwater at the site.

National Priorities Listing (NPL) History
Proposed Date: 2/13/1995
Final Date: Not Finalized

Location: 303 North Ryan Street, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Population: 56,120 in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through federal, state and PRP actions. EPA has conducted three five-year reviews at the site. 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, completed in September 2019,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.

Implementation of the remedy has reduced health risks and will protect the Calcasieu River, a recreational fishery.

The site was originally a manufactured gas plant on the south bank of the Calcasieu River. The annual production of gas during the years of operation at the Lake Charles gas plant ranged from about 50 to 85 million cubic feet. Manufactured gas production was phased out when natural gas service became available to the city of Lake Charles in 1932.

Coal tar byproducts generated during gas plant activities were reportedly discharged into marshlands west of the gas plant. Additionally, a 6-acre wetland area was used as a landfill for the disposal of electric equipment, poles, appliances and other waste. Electric transformers, capacitors and drums containing used transformer oil were reported to have been disposed of in this landfill. Discovery of site conditions, including potential groundwater contamination, occurred in July 1988. Utility workers digging a trench discovered an oily material leaking out of the side of the trench closest to the site.

Discovery of Site contamination, including potential groundwater contamination, occurred in July 1988, when utility workers digging a trench discovered an oily material leaking out of the side of the trench closest to the Site. Site investigations by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) and the EPA continued for several years.

The responsible party, with oversight from EPA, performed a removal action from 2000-2003 to address on-site contaminated soil and contaminated Calcasieu River sediment.  The remedy selected in EPA’s 2000 Record of Decision was monitored natural attenuation with institutional controls.  The responsible party continues to perform annual groundwater monitoring and post-removal site control inspections.The site was originally a manufactured gas plant on the south bank of the Calcasieu River. The annual production of gas during the years of operation at the Lake Charles gas plant ranged from about 50 to 85 million cubic feet. Manufactured gas production was phased out when natural gas service became available to the city of Lake Charles in 1932.
 

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What Is the Current Site Status?

In 1999, EPA and the site’s potentially responsible party (PRP) signed an agreement to perform a non-time-critical removal action. The PRP, with EPA oversight, conducted the removal action from 2000 to 2003, addressing on-site contaminated soil areas, known as the exposed tar and storm sewer areas, and contaminated Calcasieu River sediment. The removal actions included dredging, dewatering and disposing of sediment from the Calcasieu River, and excavating storm sewer piping, bedding soil and sediments from the west drainage ditch. Removal activities also included disposal of soils and sediments where tar was exposed on the ground surface. Excavation took place in the exposed tar area and an engineered cap was placed over the excavated area. Along the shoreline, river sediment was capped to provide stability and improve the aesthetic appeal of the area. In addition, a sediment cover was placed in the Calcasieu River.

EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for groundwater (referred to as operable unit 1) in 2000, which selected monitored natural attenuation as the groundwater remedy. In 2004, EPA issued a ROD addressing the soil contamination (referred to as operable unit 2) at the site. EPA selected “no further action” for soil at the site based on the low-level risks remaining after the removal actions.
 

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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.

The site is an active Entergy service facility.

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Sampling and Monitoring

The responsible party continues to perform annual groundwater sampling and post removal site control inspections each year.

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