Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The Rentokil, Inc. Site (Site) is located in Henrico County, Virginia. The 10-acre former wood treating plant operated from 1957 to 1990. Pentachlorophenol (PCP), creosote, chromated copper arsenate, chromated zinc arsenate, xylene, and fire retardants in a solution of ammonium phosphates and sulfates were used from 1957 to 1982. Wood treating operation used only the chromated copper arsenate process to treat wood from 1982 to 1990. These processes also required the plant to use mineral spirits and fuel oil in the preserving mixtures. An open earthen pit was used for the discharge of waste processing fluids from 1957 to 1963. In 1963, the earthen pit was cleared, cleaned, and replaced with a concrete holding pond under the direction of the Virginia State Water Control Board because of three fish kills in a nearby pond. Approximately 1,100 to 1,400 pounds of chromated copper arsenate (CCA) were rendered unusable and were disposed of in a ditch on the site in either 1976 or 1977. In 1987, Rentokil, the Potentially Responsible Party (PRP) for the site, and EPA signed a Consent Order (CO) to determine the nature and extent of contamination and identify alternatives. The investigation determined that the groundwater, soil, and surface water are contaminated with pentachlorophenol, creosote derivatives, copper, chromium, arsenic, and dioxin from the plant operations. Approximately 1,500 people live within a one-mile radius of the site. When the site was placed on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989, approximately 350 people used drinking water from wells drilled into the aquifers of concern.  In 1987, water lines were extended to those residents living near the site.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

  • EPA issued the third Five-Year Review (PDF) report for the site in July 2013.
  • EPA has determined that the remedy is protective of human health and the environment.
  • All threats associated with ingestion or dermal contact with contaminated soil and sediments have been addressed through capping of the Site and excavation and consolidation of those areas of contaminated soil and sediments located beyond the cap.
  • The capped area is presently fenced to protect the integrity of the cap.
  • Long-term protectiveness of the remedial action will be verified by obtaining groundwater samples to fully evaluate potential migration of the contaminant plume downgradient of the slurry wall.
  • The Five Year Review found four issues that potentially could prevent the remedy from being protective.
    • High levels of pentachlorophenol (PCP) contamination are still present.
    • EPA plans to issue a cancer component of the dioxin reassessment.
    • Ecological exposures were not evaluated in the Record of Decision.
    • The former Wetland Area B has been sold to a developer.

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EPA’s Involvement at the Site

  • In the spring of 1991, all of the wood treating equipment was removed from the site. In March 1992, Virginia Properties, Inc. (a wholly owned subsidiary of Rentokil, Inc.) and EPA entered into a Removal Consent Order to design, construct, and maintain sediment control structures to reduce further migration of sediment containing arsenic, chromium, copper, and zinc to the unnamed tributary to North Run.
  • The Record of Decision (ROD) which defines the final cleanup approach for the site was finalized by EPA in June 1993. Virginia Properties Inc. (VPI) signed a Consent Decree to design and implement the clean-up remedy in February 1994. The remedy included demolition of remaining structures, excavation and off-site disposal of the unusable chromated copper arsenate (CCA), excavation and off-site incineration of pond sediments, construction of a cap, low temperature thermal desorption of "hot spot" soil, a slurry wall, a dewatering system (horizontal wells) within the cap/slurry wall, and restoration of three wetland areas. Based on an analysis by Virginia Properties Inc., EPA amended the cleanup decision in August 1996 to delete the low temperature thermal desorption of the "hot spot" soil.
  • Construction of the cleanup systems were completed in August, 1999. EPA, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ), the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Virginia Properties, Inc. (the potentially responsible party (PRP) and successor to Rentokil), and their contractors conducted a pre-final inspection on August 3, 1999 and determined that the systems were constructed in accordance with the remedial design plans and specifications.
  • The remedial action included the following components:
    • demolition,
    • off-site disposal of contaminated material,
    • construction of a slurry wall,
    • dewatering system,
    • divider walls,
    • monitoring wells,
    • wetland restoration, and
    • construction of a cap.
  • EPA and VADEQ accepted a proposal made by Virginia Properties, Inc. during the design phase to incorporate possible redevelopment of the site after completion of the remedy. The proposal includes light industrial/commercial buildings constructed on the site with the building foundations incorporated into the cap, a concept termed "divider walls."
  • The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is presently overseeing the long-term groundwater cleanup of the Rentokil Inc. site. Virginia Properties, Inc. pumped contaminated groundwater from within the cap/slurry wall containment area and treated the groundwater at an off-site facility until May 2005, when EPA and VDEQ agreed to a moratorium on the recovery and treatment of the groundwater. The moratorium has been extended indefinitely.
  • In the winter of 2009, EPA deleted a portion of the Site to accommodate industrial/commercial development. This partial deletion includes the soil and sediment at former Wetland Areas B and C and the groundwater at former Wetland Area C. The remaining areas and media of the Site, including the groundwater at former Wetland Area B, will remain on the National Priorities List.
  • Since the end of the remedial action, EPA and VPI have been investigating high levels of pentachlorophenol (PCP) contamination in the area of VPMW-2. These investigations include placement of additional wells (delineation wells), soil sampling, and a pilot study. The pilot study, occurred in October 2007 and included slowly withdrawing groundwater in the vicinity of VPMW-2 over 12 consecutive weeks. Groundwater sampling was performed to evaluate the impact on the levels of contamination in this area.  The results, however, were not conclusive. EPA approved a proposed work plan for a focused feasibility study to address these high levels of PCP. Groundwater and subsurface soil sampling for the focused feasibility study occurred in October 2011 and a sampling report issued in January 2012. EPA reviewed the report and gave direction for the focused feasibility study. The draft focused feasibility study was completed in November 2012.
  • In December 2013, EPA selected a remedy for this area that includes extending the cap and slurry wall containment system and continued groundwater monitoring. Rentokil requested in November 2015 that the focused feasibility study be reopened and additional options be considered. EPA accepted Rentokil’s request.  The revised focused feasibility study is currently be drafted by Rentokil.

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