Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The Ram Leather Care site is located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It includes an area where the Ram Leather Care company restored leather goods and operated a dry cleaning facility from 1977 to 1993. EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 2003 because of contaminated groundwater and soil resulting from facility operations and waste handling practices.

EPA and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ) have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. A water line connects nearby residences and businesses to the public water supply. EPA issued the site's interim cleanup plan in 2004; EPA is currently undertaking investigations and studies in preparation for the site's final cleanup plan. By conducting site investigations and studies, EPA and NCDEQ continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

Studies at the Ram Leather Care Site were initiated by the owner in 1991 and the EPA began investigations in 1994, at the request of the Superfund Section of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (formerly Department of Environment and Natural Resources). The selected groundwater remedy to pump and treat of groundwater at an onsite wastewater treatment system also was initiated in 2008. Additionally, in 2008 four potable wells were abandoned at residential properties adjacent to the site. The pump and treat system was shut down in 2011 after it was determined that the construction of the pumping well, which included a long screen interval, was increasing contamination concentrations in the deeper portions of the bedrock aquifer.

EPA leads site investigation and cleanup activities in cooperation with NCDEQ.
  • EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2003 because of contaminated ground water and soil resulting from facility operations and waste handling practices.
  • In 1999, EPA began the remedial investigation/feasibility study (RI/FS) at the site. In 2007, EPA began cleanup activities, including digging up contaminated soil and disposing of it off site. EPA also conducted sampling of site monitoring wells and nearby residential wells.
  • Several investigations were conducted at the site between 1994 and 2006 resulting in the issuance of an Interim ROD (IROD) in 2004. Based on the 2004 IROD, an interim soil remedy to excavate 2,400 cubic yards of soil to the approximate depth of the water table (18 feet below ground surface [ft bls] ) was implemented in 2008.
  • In 2008, EPA completed soil cleanup activities and installed the groundwater pump-and-treat system. EPA began additional soil and groundwater sampling as part of the site’s remedial investigation. EPA also connected nearby residents to the public water supply.
  • From 2008 to 2011, EPA conducted operation and maintenance activities for the groundwater pump-and-treat system. An additional Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) was initiated in 2010 to better characterize the extent of contamination at the site and to finalize an approach to remediate the site remediation in support of a final Record of Decision (ROD). Additional investigations included soil and groundwater sampling, monitoring well installation, surface water sampling, a modified active gas and multiphase extraction pilot test, an electrical resistivity imaging (ERI) survey, a Membrane Interface Probe-Hydraulic Profiling Tool (MiHPT) investigation, an investigation of suspected buried drums using ground penetrating radar (GPR), and vertical profiling of groundwater using a sonic drill rig.
  • The system operated until 2011, when EPA shut the system down to perform RI/FS activities in preparation for the site's final cleanup.
  • In 2013, EPA completed the building demolition activities at the site. EPA also completed an electrical resistivity imaging of the top of compeetent bedrock and has finalized the soil and groundwater investigation.
  • EPA completed the Remedial Investigation (RI) at the site in 2015 and a draft Feasibility Study (FS) in 2017. Soil and groundwater contamination at the site were classified into four contaminated media zones that are the basis for remedial alternative screening and remedy selection. EPA proposed alternatives to clean up the site. The public was invited to a public meeting and had an opportunity to comment on a proposed plan in May 2018.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

EPA conducted a Proposed Plan public meeting in mid-May 2018. After the public comment period, EPA selected the cleanup plan for the site. The cleanup at the site  was classified into four contaminated media zones as follows: Unsaturated zone, Saturated source Zone , Main source Area and the Dilute Plume Area. The Dilute Plume including the bedrock aquifer and the regolith aquifer down-gradient of the site will be developed in a future proposed plan. An Interim Record of Decision will be completed to document the preferred remedy for the site this year. The preferred cleanup plan for the Unsaturated zone is soil vapor extraction. The preferred cleanupp plan for the Main source Area is insitu thermal treatment. The remedy for the Saturated area is in-situ thermal treatment with biobariiers.

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Sampling and Monitoring

EPA will continue to monitor and sample residential wells in the vicinity of the site. A final cleanup plan documented in an Interim Record of Decision will be approved this year.

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Enforcement Information

In 1991 and 1992, NCDEQ issued violation notices and legal documents requiring the site owner to clean up the site. However, the site owner filed for bankruptcy. EPA is using federal funds for site cleanup activities.

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