Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The North Belmont PCE site is located in Belmont, North Carolina. It includes an area where a dry cleaning business operated from 1960 to 1975. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1999 because of contaminated groundwater resulting from waste handling practices at the site.

EPA and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) have investigated site conditions and taken 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. A water line connects nearby residences and businesses to the public water supply. By treating groundwater and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA and NCDENR continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

The 0.75-acre site is located at Roper's Shopping Center on Woodland Avenue in North Belmont, Gaston County, North Carolina. Residential neighborhoods border the site to the east and west. A cemetery and a forested area border the site to the north. North Belmont Elementary School borders the site to the south. From 1960 until 1975, the Untz family operated a dry cleaning business at the site. Operations at the site also included the use of a boiler to distill dry cleaning waste materials. Operations disposed of spent materials from the boiler onto the ground surface behind the building and through the on-site septic tank system. In 1999, the EPA listed the site on the NPL. Currently, commercial businesses and residential properties are located on the site.

  • EPA leads site cleanup activities in cooperation with NCDENR.
  • In 2000, EPA completed connecting the elementary school and 29 neighborhood drinking water wells to the public water supply.
  • EPA completed construction of the in-well circulation and vapor stripping groundwater treatment system in 2004.
  • In the site’s first Five-Year Review, completed in 2009, EPA found that the Agency could not make a protectiveness determination of the site’s cleanup until well sampling on properties originally declined connection to the public water supply occurs and, if needed, EPA connects additional residences to the public water supply. The Gaston County Health Department conducted well sampling in 2009. Following the sampling, the Five-Year Review found that the cleanup remains protective of human health and the environment in the short term. For the cleanup to remain protective in the long term, the Five-Year Review recommended ongoing use of the groundwater treatment system. 
  • The lastest Five-Year Review was completed in 2014. The review concluded that there were no residents drinking contaminated water from the contaminated aquifer. The treatment of the contaminated groundwater is ongoing.
  • The next Five-Year Review is due in 2019.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The most recent Five Year Review was published by EPA HQs in 2014. Currently, a protectiveness determination of the complete remedy at the North Belmont PCE Site is protective in the short-term.

  • In 1997, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included installing an in-well vapor stripping system to address contaminated groundwater; using living organisms to break down contaminants; connecting nearby residences, schools and businesses to the public water supply; offering wellhead treatment for affected private wells; and monitoring groundwater.
  • In 2000, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to remove the use of living organisms to break down contaminants from site cleanup activities.
  • In 2010, EPA issued a second ESD to discharge treated groundwater to an on-site tributary.
  • EPA constructed a discharge line to the on-site tributary for discharging treated ground water. The treatment system has been fully operational since september 2014. 
  • EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2014.

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Enforcement Information

Enforcing environmental laws is a central part of EPA’s mission to protect human health and the environment. When warranted, EPA will take civil or criminal enforcement action against violators of environmental laws.

EPA is using federal funds for site cleanup activities. Under a legal agreement between the United States and the site’s potentially responsible parties (PRPs), the PRPs had 24 months to sell the site property for fair market value and provide the EPA with 75 percent of the net proceeds. If not sold, the agreement required the PRPs to auction the site property within the next six months. Because of the depressed real estate market, the court, upon motion by the United States and the PRPs, amended the agreement on October 13, 2011 to allow the PRPs six more months to sell the property. If the property does not sell at auction, the EPA reserves the right to auction the property and take 100 percent of the auction proceeds.

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