ORLANDO GASIFICATION PLANT
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The site is located near downtown Orlando, Florida, between the 400 and 600 blocks of West Robinson Street. The site includes six properties on the north and south sides of West Robinson Street. These properties are fenced and include office space and a commercial storage facility. Surrounding properties are primarily commercial and industrial. Residential properties, schools and churches are located within a few blocks of the site.
While in operation (from 1887 until 1960), the facility heated coal to produce gas for cooking, lighting, heating and industrial purposes. The primary waste material from the gas manufacturing process was coal tar, which contains polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and is a source of contamination at the site. Poor waste handling practices led to contamination of the site’s soil and groundwater. EPA is addressing the site through the Superfund Alternative Approach. In this approach, EPA uses the same investigation and cleanup process and standards used for sites listed on the National Priorities List (NPL).
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
EPA, FDEP and the site’s PRPs have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site investigations identified contamination in soil and groundwater that could potentially harm people in the area. Soil and groundwater contamination resulted from coal tar waste product handling practices at the site. Contaminants of concern include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), PAHs and heavy metals such as arsenic.
- Site properties are fenced. Pavement, asphalt or concrete covers most areas of contaminated soil. Groundwater in the area flows to the north and northeast, towards nearby surface water bodies. For this reason, monitoring wells are located between the groundwater contamination and nearby surface water bodies. Samples from these monitoring wells indicate that site contamination is not spreading.
- EPA, FDEP and the site’s PRPs have investigated site conditions and taken steps to cleanup the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination.
- Site investigations and activities are focusing on two areas, which EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. These areas include OU-1: site soils and the upper-level aquifer; and OU-2: the deep water aquifer. These activities will aid in creating cleanup options for the site.
- In 1989, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in collaboration with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) performed a preliminary assessment (PA) of the site. At the completion of the PA, FDEP requested that EPA take the enforcement lead of the site. In 2003 and 2004, EPA negotiated legal agreements with site potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to investigate the site.
- PRPs began remedial investigation activities in 2004. PRPs are continuing the remedial investigation work for OU-2.
What Is the Current Site Status?
EPA is addressing the site through the Superfund Alternative Approach. In this approach, EPA uses the same investigation and cleanup process and standards used for sites listed on the National Priorities List (NPL).
- Groundwater monitoring is ongoing. The public water utility continuously samples the quality of public drinking water. Contamination does not affect nearby well fields for the public water supply. Businesses and residents use the public water system for their drinking water and therefore are not exposed to the contaminated groundwater. A well survey confirmed the absence of nearby private drinking water wells. The survey identified a few irrigation wells. However, none of these wells had ground water contamination levels above federal drinking water standards.
- In 2011, PRPs evaluated the issue of vapor intrusion into buildings and determined that it is not an issue at the site.
- EPA issued the cleanup plan for OU-1 in September 2013 and completed the legal negotiations with the PRPs to implement the cleanup activities.
- In September 2018, the PRPs completed the remedial design for OU-1.
- Early remedial action activities to address the contaminated surface soil on parcels 4, 5, and 6 are ongoing.
- Remedial action field activities to address the contaminated soils (parcels 1, 2, and 3) and the contaminated groundwater from the upper-level aquifer will begin in early 2019.