Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

MATTHEWS ELECTROPLATING
ROANOKE, VA

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The 1.7-acre Matthews Electroplating site is located in Roanoke County, Virginia. An automobile plating business operated on site from 1972 until 1976. Liquid waste from the plating operation had been discharged directly onto the ground and drained to a sinkhole beneath the property. Poor waste management practices contaminated groundwater with chromium and soil with chromium, nickel and cyanide. After construction of the site’s remedy, EPA took the site off the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in January 1989.

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What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?

In the spring of 1983, EPA selected a remedy to protect local ground water users from drinking contaminated ground water. The selected remedy provided for extending the municipal water supply from the water treatment plant in nearby Salem, VA to residences near the site. The EPA constructed the water line and 28 homes were connected in 1986. In 1987, EPA conducted soil sampling and additional groundwater sampling which demonstrated that no further cleanup actions were needed. In 1988, EPA removed approximately 1,500 gallons of chromium and mercury waste solution and sludges that were contained in drums and tanks. Subsequently, EPA in conjunction with the Commonwealth of Virginia determined that the site no longer posed a threat to human health or the environment, and EPA deleted the site from the National Priorities List.

EPA conducted its second and final five-year review of the site’s remedy in September 2004. 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. EPA concluded that the site poses no unacceptable risk to human health.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

After construction of the site’s remedy, EPA took the site off the National Priorities List in January 1989.

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EPA’s Involvement at the Site

In response to complaints of discolored drinking water from local residents in November 1975, the Virginia State Water Control Board (SWCB) confirmed groundwater contaminated with chromium and soil contaminated with chromium, nickel, and cyanide were a result of poor waste management practices. Liquid waste from the plating operation had been discharged directly onto the ground and drained to a sinkhole beneath the property. In 1976, the SWCB issued an Emergency Order that prohibited the further discharge of electroplating waste from the plant. The facility went out of business in 1977 and was then used as a small-scale pig farming operation. Subsequent investigations performed by the SWCB and EPA determined that the on-site well and ten local residential wells were contaminated with hexavalent chromium.

The site’s long-term remedy included connecting homes to a public water supply. EPA constructed the water line and connected 28 homes to the water line in 1986. In 1987, soil sampling and additional groundwater sampling by EPA demonstrated that no further cleanup actions were needed. In 1988, EPA removed about 1,500 gallons of chromium and mercury waste solution and sludges contained in drums and tanks. 

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Operable Units

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.

View a list of all of the operable units at this site.

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Cleanup Progress

View the schedule for cleaning up this site.

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