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The Zanesville Well Field site is located on the banks of the Muskingum River in the center of Zanesville, Ohio. The property on the west side of the bank had been used for manufacturing purposes since 1893, when American Encaustic Tiling Company was a ceramic products manufacturer. United Technologies Automotive was the source of the contamination and retained the liability for the site. Unknown waste storage and disposal practices occurred. Filling in of a well in the 1970s used rubble from the demolition of the well pump house along with some 120 steel drums. The drums contained trichloroethylene-based solvents. TCE is a chemical commonly used as a solvent and in pharmaceuticals. It can be toxic to humans. Remaining fragments of these drums and debris were removed and the well was closed in 1983. Following cleanup, operation and maintenance activities are ongoing.

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What Has Been 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. Follow ups completed based on earlier five-year review recommendations included an enhanced groundwater recovery plan, a vapor intrusion study, and evaluation and implementation of institutional controls. The most recent review 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. Monitoring data continue to show decreasing trends of contamination at the site.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The site’s long-term remedy included containment and capture of contaminated groundwater, restoration of the aquifer, treatment of contaminated groundwater, treatment of soil contaminated with inorganic compounds by soil washing, and treatment of soil and source areas contaminated with volatile organic compounds using in-place soil vapor extraction. Over 1,880 cubic yards of soil was removed and 16 soil vapor extraction wells were put in.

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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.

Due to the long history and varied usage of the site, many details of past waste storage and disposal practices are not available. However, it has been established that during American Encaustics ownership of the site, a dug well 10 feet in diameter and 40 feet deep was installed. Over the years the dug well fell into disuse, and in the early 1970s the well was backfilled. Rubble from the demolition of a building and up to 121 drums containing trichloroethylene (TCE) solvents were placed inside the well. The abandoned well was approximately 900 feet west of the river and directly across the river from the southern portion of the ZMWF.

Evidence of TCE contamination at the ZMWF was first observed in July 1981, during a random spot check for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) by U.S. EPA. At that time, TCE was detected in the plant tap at the water treatment plant. Three wells in the southern end of the well field were found to be contaminated with TCE and 1,2-dichloroethylene (DCE). The southern portion of the ZMWF is currently not being used as a source of water.

The groundwater and soil contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The soil also contains some heavy metals.  In September 1983, U.S. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL).


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Sampling and Monitoring


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Enforcement Information

Consent Decree (PDF) (71pp, 2.5MB) August 1992

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