Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The Benfield Industries, Inc. site is located in Waynesville, Haywood County, North Carolina. It includes the area where Benfield Industries mixed and packaged bulk materials for resale from 1971 to 1983. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the site on the Superfund Program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989 because of contaminated groundwater and soil resulting from facility operations.

EPA and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) investigated site conditions and took steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site. By monitoring groundwater and undertaking Five-Year Reviews (FYRs), EPA and NCDENR continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination. NCDENR is now called North Carolina Department of Environment Quality (NCDEQ).

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

After the fire at the site in 1982, the owner of the facility, at the direction of NCDENR, removed all debris, including usable chemicals, fire debris, recyclable materials and storage tanks, and then covered the site with clean soil. The owner completed these activities before EPA listed the site on the NPL.

EPA led site investigation and cleanup activities in cooperation with NCDENR. Between 1990 and 1992, EPA conducted the remedial investigation/feasibility study using Superfund funding as no viable potentially response party was located.

  • In 1995, EPA implemented the modified the cleanup plan for both site soils and groundwater. 18,000 cubic yards of contaminated soils were excavated and treated and the groundwater extraction system was installed
  • In 1998, EPA dug up and treated 13,500 tons of contaminated soil using manure and hay in an on-site treatment unit. In 1999, the Agency conducted additional treatment of 12,000 tons of soil. EPA treated an additional 6,000 tons of soil in 2000. Following treatment, EPA replaced soil in the dug-up areas. The Agency finished grading and seeding the site in 2000.
  • EPA completed construction of the site’s groundwater pump-and-treat system in 2001. The system included two extraction wells and discharged water into the local wastewater treatment system. From 2001 to 2007, the system extracted and discharged over 22 million gallons of groundwater. In 2007, EPA reviewed the system and recommended its shutdown. The Agency shut down the system in 2007 and began the use of monitored natural attenuation to address groundwater contamination.
  • In 2002, EPA modified the cleanup plan again to require an institutional control on the site property to restrict groundwater use at the site.

EPA has conducted several Five-Year Reviews (FYR) 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 2013 FYR 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. This FYR recommended that EPA complete the investigation/evaluation of technologies to address residual contamination in the soils at the groundwater table interface in the western portion of the site and implement the technology appropriately.

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What Is the Current Site Status?


The 3.5-acre site is part of a larger 6-acre area on Riverbend Street in Waynesville, Haywood County, North Carolina. A residential and a commercial business border the site to the north, Riverbend Street borders the site to the east, a residential area borders the site to the south and the Southern Railway and Browning Branch Creek border the site to the west. The site's broader surroundings include industrial, commercial and residential areas.


  • From 1971 until 1983, Benfield Industries mixed and packaged bulk materials for resale at the site. The company's facility handled and stored paint thinners, solvents, sealants, cleaners, de-icing solutions and wood preservatives.
  • In 1982, a fire destroyed most on-site structures and ended operations. In 1989, EPA listed the site on the NPL
  • In 1992, EPA issued the Record of Decision (ROD), the cleanup plan, for the site. The cleanup included excavating and washing contaminated soil; biotreating contaminated slurries; and placing the cleaned soil and slurry in the excavated areas.·
  • In 1995, EPA issued ROD Amendment changing the cleanup approach based on new information generated during a treatability study conducted as part of the remedial design.
  • The ROD for the Site was signed on July 31, 1992.
  • On June 15, 1995, a ROD Amendment was issued. The issuance of the ROD Amendment was warranted based on the information/data developed during the remedial design (RD) and associated treatability studies. The ROD Amendment modified both the soil and groundwater remediation alternatives to be implemented at the Site. The soil cleanup included screening the excavated soil, steam cleaning the larger cobbles and bio-treating the remaining soils in windrows constructed onsite. In the event that the concentrations of benzo(a)pyrene remained greater than 0.3 milligrams per kilogram in the treated soil, then these soils would be segregated and buried together under at least one foot of clean soil to eliminate direct human contact. This area of the property would have a deed restriction placed on it to prevent digging into this particular area in the future. This deed restriction would remain until the concentration of benzo(a)pyrene decreased to the cleanup goal concentration. These soils would be sampled and analyzed, at a minimum, every five years in accordance with Section 121 (c) of CERCLA.
  • The groundwater cleanup called for the installation of three extraction wells, one at the periphery of the plume and two within plume with direct discharge to the Town of Waynesville's public owned treatment works (sewer system).
  • On November 6, 2001, an ESD was signed. The ESD provided restrictive covenant language (i.e., Institutional Controls (ICs)) for the Site. The goal of this covenant was to restrict/control the future development/use of this property.
  • EPA completed site cleanup activities in 2000 and completed construction of the site’s groundwater pump-and-treat system in 2001.
  • In 2001, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Difference (ESD). The ESD provided restrictive covenant language (i.e., Institutional Controls (ICs)) for the Site. The goal of this covenant was to restrict/control the future development/use of this property.
  • In 2002, Haywood Vocational Opportunities, Inc. (HVO) purchased the 6-acre parcel.
  • In 2004, HVO redeveloped the property/site into a vocational training center and a manufacturing facility with multiple parking areas. Fencing around the site limits access. The site's cleanup supports commercial and industrial land uses.
  • In 2007, a third party conducted a Streamlines Remediation System Evaluation (RSE-Lite) which is an independent, evaluation of remedial operations at a site. The RSE-Lite concluded that the groundwater extraction system at the site was no longer an effective groundwater remedy, and that monitored natural Attenuation (MNA) may be a more appropriate groundwater remedy.
  • Between 2010 and 2011, EPA conducted an MNA evaluation. Due to elevated levels of PAHs, EPA concluded that it is not appropriate to issue an ESD to change the groundwater alternative to MNA.
  • Instead, in 2017, the Agency initiated a pilot scale treatability study using in-situ chemical oxidation in the area where elevated levels of PAHs were detected.
  • Annual groundwater monitoring is ongoing. The EPA completed the third FYR in 2013 and plans to complete the next FYR in 2018.


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Sampling and Monitoring

Ground water monitoring is ongoing to evaluate progress of MNA.

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Enforcement Information

EPA was unable to identify any viable potentially responsible parties for the site. EPA is using federal funds for site cleanup activities.

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