Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

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The Brown & Bryant, Inc. (Arvin Plant) covers about 5 acres in Arvin, CA. The company began operations in 1960 as a formulator of agricultural chemicals, including fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and fumigants. During inspections by state agencies, improper handling and disposal of hazardous wastes at the facility were documented. Accidental spills of pesticides also occurred at the site. In 1979, an evaporation pond was built in the southeastern corner of the site. When the facility was operating, the pond received pesticide rinse water and surface runoff from the site. As a result of heavy rains, this pond overflowed on at least two occasions. Site investigations and cleanup are ongoing.

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What Has Been Done to Clean Up the Site?

EPA has conducted several five-year reviews of the sitewide 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 (2011) concluded that the Site continues to be protective of human health and the environment and remedies continue to operate as intended.  Impermeable caps prevent exposure to contaminated soil and reduce infiltration of precipitation into the groundwater.  Additionally, ongoing testing shows drinking water aquifers continue to be free from Site contamination.  The next five year review will be conducted in 2016.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

Cleanup actions to date have greatly reduced potential exposure to contaminants at the Site.  Current cleanup actions focus on reducing groundwater contamination in order to prevent migration of contaminants toward CW-1, and use the deeper groundwater aquifers (B-zone and below) as potetnial drinking water sources in the future. 

Soils & Groundwater: A remedy selected in 1993 included consolidation of remaining contaminated soil, the installation of a cap over the consolidated soil, and extraction and treatment of water from the first water-bearing unit. Design of the remedies was finished in early 1997. A Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) cap was built over the consolidated contaminaded soil located in the Southern end of the Site, and a non-RCRA cap was built over the remaining Brown and Bryant facility on the Northern end of the Site in 1998.

Groundwater: The overall strategy to reduce groundwater contamination involves extraction and treatment of the groundwater in the shallower A-zone, which is the source of contamination to the B-zone. EPA begain operation of the second groundwater extraction system in 2014, and continues to optimize the treatment system.  EPA continues to work with the State of California and the Arvin Community Services District to replace CW-1.

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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.

Soil (0-1 ft):dinoseb Soil: (0-7 ft) ethylene dibromide (EDB), 1,2-DCP, 1,3-DCP, DBCP, 1,2,3-TCP

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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. In 1988, under State supervision, Brown & Bryant, Inc., excavated heavily contaminated soil under the pond and installed a liner. An additional removal of dinoseb-contaminated soil took place in 1991. Excavated soil was cleaned, treated and returned to the ground. Water used to clean the soil was treated by an innovative technology called ultraviolet/ozone. This process uses special ultraviolet lights and ozone gas to break down hazardous chemicals. In addition, more monitoring wells were installed to detect any contaminants migrating to the Arvin Municipal wells and to monitor the perched water plume.

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