Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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Cleanup Activities

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The Chemical Commodities, Inc. (CCI) Site is a 1.5-acre property located in Olathe, Kansas. Chemical Commodities, Inc., generated and transported chemicals improperly, leading to groundwater and soil contamination. Residents were concerned about public health and the environment because of emanating odors, contaminated rain water runoff and fires. Contaminants of concern include heavy metals, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and pesticides. Cleanup of the site was completed by responsible parties in 2012. Groundwater monitoring, inspections, and maintenance of ventilation systems in nearby residences are ongoing.

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What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?

Remedial action conducted at the site included the excavation and off-site disposal of highly contaminated soil and construction of a cap over the site to prevent future exposures and treatment of contaminated groundwater.  Ventilation systems were installed in several nearby residences to mitigate risk of inhalation of vapors emanating from contaminated groundwater. 

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Chemical oxidation treatment to address contaminated groundwater and the operation of vapor mitigation systems to address contaminated air in residences is ongoing.

The former CCI property has been redeveloped for reuse and is now a pollinator prairie park that provides ecological habitat for butterflies and other pollinators, and educational opportunities for the community.

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EPA’s Involvement at the Site

CCI was a chemical brokerage and recycling business that operated at the site from 1951 until 1989. Used, off-specification, and surplus chemical products were purchased for resale. Chemicals were stored on the property in various containers including above ground tanks, underground tanks, drums, barrels, cylinders, bottles, etc. Poor housekeeping, improper chemical handling practices and recycling activities led to spills and leakage of chemicals into the soil and groundwater at the site. EPA became involved at the site in the early 1980s. After initial actions taken by the property owner failed to address the threats at the site, EPA conducted a large-scale removal action to address containerized wastes, excavate the most highly contaminated soils, and install an interceptor trench to capture contaminated groundwater and prevent or minimize offsite migration. Due to long-term threats associated with contaminated groundwater, EPA added the site to the National Priorities List in 1994. Numerous investigations and additional removal actions were performed at the site between 1994 and 2004, and a Record of Decision was signed in September 2005.

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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.

The primary contaminants include TCE and its degradation products.

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Sampling and Monitoring

Groundwater monitoring is conducted at least annually to monitor performance of the remedy. Groundwater data resulting from these sampling events will be used to determine the effectiveness of the chemical oxidation treatment, and to assess the degree of natural attenuation that may be occurring in the outer ranges of the contaminant plume. The data will also guide decisions about additional applications of chemical oxidation needed.

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Emergency Response and Removal

Site cleanup has also included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. Between 1989 and 1991, EPA disposed of chemicals and highly contaminated soils, decontaminated buildings, and captured and treated groundwater. Between 2003 and 2007, EPA installed ventilation systems in 45 homes vulnerable to indoor air impacts from contaminated groundwater. In 2003, EPA removed a mound of contaminated soil and the former warehouse building, which may have been releasing contamination to the environment.

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Enforcement Information

EPA has identified a group of PRPs. The PRPs have conducted much of the work at the site in accordance with negotiated agreements. Boeing has historically taken the technical lead for the PRP group, and has been intimately involved in all phases of site characterization and implementation of the final remedy. Boeing has also taken a lead role in the redevelopment of the property.

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