On this page:
- What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- Activity and Use Limitations
- Sampling and Monitoring
- Emergency Response and Removal
- Enforcement Information
On related pages:
The Ward Transformer site includes an area where Ward Transformer Company operated a facility that handled transformers, switchgear and other types of electrical equipment from 1964 to 2006. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2003 because of contaminated fish tissue, sediment and soil caused by facility operations.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) and the site’s potentially responsible parties (PRPs) are investigating site conditions. They are taking steps to clean up the site to protect people and the environment from contamination.
What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?
EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2003 because of contaminated fish tissue, sediment and soil resulting from facility operations.
The site’s PRPs lead site investigation and cleanup activities, with the EPA and North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) providing oversight. In 2006, EPA authorized short-term cleanup actions to stop immediate threats. Site PRPs addressed over 420,000 tons of PCB-contaminated material. The PRPs also completed ecological restoration activities in the western part of the site where the uppermost reaches of Little Briar Creek leave the facility area.
What Is the Current Site Status?
Site investigations and cleanup activities focus on two areas. EPA refers to these areas as operable units, or OUs. These areas include:
OU-1: contamination downstream from the former Ward Transformer facility, in Reaches B, C and D, Brier Creek Reservoir, Lake Crabtree, and Lower Crabtree Creek; and
OU-2: contamination at the former Ward Transformer facility, surrounding properties and nearby drainage paths uphill from Reach B.
The site’s PRPs continue to conduct the short-term cleanup and ecological restoration activities at the site. The remedial design for OU-1 is ongoing. A feasibility study for OU-2 is underway.
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.
The site’s PRPs placed institutional controls on a portion of the site property to prevent activities that would disturb the site’s soil without prior approval from EPA and NCDEQ. The controls also limit future use of the site to commercial and industrial uses.
Sampling and Monitoring
Draft results of sediment sampling done in Brier Creek Reservoir in August 2018 are encouraging. All results are well below 1 ppb total PCBs. Final validation of lab data is underway with validated results to be released fall 2018.
Fish consumption advisories are currently in effect for the water bodies related to the site.
Emergency Response and Removal
In 2006, EPA authorized short-term cleanup actions to stop immediate threats. As part of short-term cleanup actions, the PRPs have addressed over 420,000 tons of PCB-contaminated material.
In 2004 and 2005, EPA negotiated legal agreements with the site’s PRPs to conduct the short-term cleanup actions. From 2008 to 2012, EPA negotiated legal agreements with the site’s PRPs to conduct the remedial design/remedial action for OU-1. The PRPs continue to fund remedial design and cleanup activities.
In 2016 EPA reached a global settlement with the potentially responsible parties including an agreement to fund the remaining work at the site, which is now underway.