Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:


Cleanup Activities

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  • The Chem-Solv, Inc. site is located on a 1.5-acre property in Cheswold, Delaware.  Chem-Solv was a small solvent distillation facility beginning in 1982.
  • The facility recycled waste solvents, but in 1984 an explosion and fire at the site destroyed the facility.  Witnesses, at the time, saw fluids flowing off a concrete pad and into the soil.
  • After the fire, authorities evaluated the Columbia Aquifer beneath the site and found high concentrations of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), primarily trichloroethene (TCE).
  • The site was proposed to the National Priority List (NPL) in January 1987 and added to the NPL in August 1990.
  • In 1995, TCE was found in a private water supply well located immediately downhill from the facility, at levels 200 times greater than the drinking water standard.
  • The total population of Cheswold is about 300 residents.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

  • In 1985, the State excavated and treated 1,300 cubic yards of contaminated soil and installed a groundwater recovery system which it operated from 1985 to 1988.  The system reduced the TCE concentrations from the 200-300 parts per million range to the 1 part per million range.
  • In March 1992, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) that required additional recovery of contaminated groundwater in order to reduce contaminant concentrations in the Columbia Aquifer to the level of drinking water standards.  The ROD also restricted the use of groundwater in the contaminated aquifer until cleanup levels are achieved.  It also provided for an alternate water supply to area residents, if necessary.
  • In 1992, EPA issued an order to 33 companies (potentially responsible parties - PRPs) requiring them to carry out the cleanup laid out in the ROD.
  • As required by the ROD, the PRPs immediately provided bottle water to the owners of the contaminated private wells. In 1996-1998, the PRPs replaced two private wells with wells that tap a deeper, uncontaminated aquifer, and replaced six uncontaminated private wells downgradient of the site, with deeper wells.
  • Groundwater recovery and treatment was conducted from 1997-2017. In 2017, groundwater sampling showed concentrations had dropped below cleanup levels and groundwater extraction and treatment was conditionally discontinued. 

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What Is the Current Site Status?

  • The site is being addressed through federal, state and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.
  • The site’s long-term remedy included recovering contaminated groundwater; implementing groundwater use restrictions; providing bottled water to the owners of the contaminated private wells; and replacing contaminated private wells. Construction of the remedy took place between 1997 and 1998. 
  • 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 in July 2013 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.
  • In 2017, groundwater sampling showed concentrations had dropped below cleanup levels and groundwater extraction and treatment was discontinued. 
  • The PRPs continue to monitor groundwater to verify concentrations remain below cleanup levels.  A groundwater management zone that restricts groundwater use will remain in place until determined unnecessary.
  • The next Five-Year of the Site will be completed in July 2018.

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