Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

CENTRAL CHEMICAL (HAGERSTOWN)
HAGERSTOWN, MD

Cleanup Activities

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Background

Beginning in the 1930s, the Site functioned as a blending and packaging facility for agricultural pesticides and fertilizers. Pesticides and fertilizers manufactured at other locations were blended at the Site with inert materials to produce commercial-grade products. Most of the pesticide product blending ceased in 1965. All operations at the plant stopped in 1984.

The buildings were demolished during the Spring/Summer of 2005. Waste materials from the blending processes, including waste generated during the cleaning of the processing equipment, were disposed on-site. The Site was added to EPA's National Priorities List (NPL) in September 1997.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

In early 1997, it was discovered that elevated levels of site contaminants extended several feet beyond the old fence line along the northern end of the property. Land use north of the property is residential. That spring, EPA entered into an agreement with the site owner under which the owner erected a new fence as an interim measure that now prevents people from coming into contact with these contaminants.

EPA entered into an agreement with seven potentially responsible parties, including Allied Signal, FMC, Novartis, Olin, Shell Oil, Union Carbide, and Wilmington Securities, to conduct a remedial investigation and feasibility study (RI/FS) at the site. The cooperating companies notified EPA that an additional seven companies including the site owner, Central Chemical, joined the group.

In February 2003, the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) work plan was completed.

In 2004, the majority of the environmental sampling at the site was completed. Samples were collected of site soil, groundwater, and storm water. In addition, samples were collected from surface water and sediment from the nearby Marsh Run and Antietam Creek. Sampling confirmed that pesticides and metals are present at elevated levels in surface soil across the site, and high concentrations of pesticides and metals are present in a disposal area, the former waste lagoon, located in the north end of the property. To a lesser degree, pesticides were also detected in storm water leaving the site and in surface water and sediment samples from Marsh Run and Antietam Creek.

Groundwater contamination has moved beyond the property boundaries and additional wells were installed and sampled in 2006/2007 to better determine the extent of off-site groundwater contamination.

During the Spring and Summer of 2005, all former pesticide and fertilizer manufacturing buildings were decontaminated, demolished and disposed of in an appropriate manner.

In December 2006, the Potentially Responsible Parties (PRP) provided EPA with the final Remedial Investigation (RI) report for the site. The final RI for on-site soil and waste is complete.

In September 2009, EPA issued a Record of Decision (ROD) (PDF) for contaminated soils and waste at the site. The ROD includes on-site solidification/stabilization of a former waste lagoon; excavation, consolidation, and capping of contaminated soils; and the installation of a ground water extraction and treatment system.

In 2010, EPA divided the Site into Operable Unit 1 (OU-1) for Site soils, principal threat wastes, and shallow groundwater; and OU-2 for bedrock groundwater.

The Remedial Design for OU-1 was completed in early 2017 and work on this portion of the Site began in May 2017.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Since 2017, the following has construction work has been completed at the site:

  • Four extraction wells were installed around the former waste lagoon for a groundwater pump and treat system;
  • Piping and electricity were also installed for the pump and treat system;
  • Concrete slabs and foundations were demolished and stockpiled on-site;
  • Air monitoring was performed to protect the community from demolition dust and potential vapors.

In 2018, dioxin was identified as a new contaminant in groundwater at the Site. Cleanup activities were delayed in order to investigate the extent of dioxin. The dioxin concentrations identified are low and fall below drinking water standards.

Also, in 2018, soil samples were taken at residential properties near the site to determine if a soil cleanup would be required beyond the Central Chemical property. In 2019, the soil sampling results from residential properties confirmed that a soil cleanup is not required beyond the property boundary.

Based on the construction delays, a revised timeline was approved to complete the construction of the pump and treat system by approximately the end of 2020.

Upcoming activities for 2020 include additional sampling to verify and confirm low-level detections of dioxins in the groundwater.

In 2021, the Central Chemical Group plans to begin the on-site soil stabilization work, which will treat the waste in the former site lagoon by binding and trapping the waste into a solid concrete block. Once this process is complete, this area will then be capped and revegetated with grasses.

 

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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.

A Declaration of Restrictive Covenants was placed on the Central Chemical property in 2000. The covenant restricts the use of the Site to commercial and industrial usage; and forbids many types of land use including housing, playgrounds, schools, etc. Further institutional controls will be implemented at the Site by EPA and the cooperating responsible parties, to ensure that the remedy at the Site remains protective of human health and the environment over time.

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Enforcement Information

The work performed at this site, past and future, is/was conducted under orders negotiated between EPA and a group of cooperating responsible parties.

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