AMERICAN CHEMICAL SERVICE, INC.
On this page:
- What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
- What Is the Current Site Status?
- EPA’s Involvement at the Site
- Activity and Use Limitations
- Sampling and Monitoring
- Enforcement Information
- Operable Units (opens new page)
- Cleanup Progress (opens new page)
The American Chemical Service, Inc. (ACS) site located in Griffith, Indiana, consists of the 15-acre ACS facility area, 5 acres of surrounding wetlands, the 13-acre Off-site Containment Area and the Kapica Pazmey Area. ACS operated solvent recovery, chemical manufacturing and waste disposal facilities on site from 1955 to 1975, when it voluntarily stopped using two disposal areas on site and covered them. The Kapica Pazmey Area was the site of a separate chemical drum reconditioning operation. Facility operations contaminated soil and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. Site cleanup is ongoing.
What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?
The site is being addressed through federal, state and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.
EPA has conducted several five-year reviews 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 most recent review in 2011 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 in the short term. The remedy will achieve long-term protectiveness when site cleanup goals are met and institutional controls are in place and effective.
What Is the Current Site Status?
The site’s remedy includes a subsurface barrier wall, groundwater pumping and treatment, soil vapor extraction, soil caps to prevent access to contaminated areas, off-site incineration of intact buried drums, and excavation and on-site consolidation of contaminated parts of adjacent wetlands.
EPA’s Involvement at the Site
ACS began operating a solvent recovery business at the Site in May 1955. Poor waste handling, storage, and disposal practices led to the contamination of the site as described in United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 1992 Record of Decision (ROD) and subsequent documents. ACS ceased solvent reclaiming activities after losing its interim status under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) in 1990. ACS currently operates as a specialty chemical manufacturer.
EPA issued a ROD for the Site in September 1992. Some of the ACS site potentially responsible parties (PRPs) conducted pre-design investigations in 1995 and voluntarily constructed site stabilization remedial measures in 1996 and 1997. EPA issued a ROD Amendment in July 1999 that incorporated the 1996/1997 stabilization measures and additional protective remedial actions into the amended cleanup remedy.
EPA identified the following principle threats at the Site: buried chemical drums, buried wastes, contaminated soil and debris, contaminated groundwater, and contaminated surface water. EPA determined that buried wastes and contaminated soil and debris were a continuing contamination source to groundwater and that the contamination might pose a direct contact threat if the material was excavated. EPA also determined that the excavated material might pose an inhalation threat due to permeation of volatile organic compounds (VOC) through existing cover material causing potential inhalation exposure of the contaminants into the neighboring community.
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 groundwater is contaminated with VOCS including BENZENE, TOLUENE, CHLOROMETHANE, XYLENE, and vinyl chloride; CREOSOTE PENTACHLOROPHENOL (PCP); and PHTHALATES. The shallow aquifer contains the highest amounts of organic contaminants. Soils are heavily contaminated with numerous substances including PCBS, HEAVY METALS, semi-VOCs, COAL TAR constituents, VOCS, and some pesticides.
Sampling and Monitoring
Remedial Action Report, September 2005
- 1: General background and information (PDF) (16pp, 6.9MB)
- 2: Performance Standards (PDF) (2pp, 247K)
- 3: Quality Assurance/ Control Procedures (PDF) (19pp, 6.4MB)
- 4: Final remedial Action Construction (PDF) (14pp, 2.0MB)
- 5 - 7: Health and Safety Concerns (PDF) (6pp, 128K)
- 8 - 11: Summary, Observations, Contacts, References (PDF) (11pp, 184K)
- Figures: Figures accompanying the report (PDF) (11pp, 8.9MB)
- Field Updates (see entire list)
EPA and over 40 PRPs signed a consent decree in January 2001 that included the construction, operation, and maintenance of the final cleanup remedy for the Site. Construction completion status was achieved in September 2004 and further remedy enhanceme
During cleanup, a site can be divided into a number of distinct areas depending on its complexity. These areas, called operable units (OUs), may address geographic areas, specific problems, or areas where a specific action is required. Examples of typical operable units include construction of a groundwater pump and treatment system or construction of a cap over a landfill.