Superfund Information Systems: Site Profile

Superfund Site:

KAISER ALUMINUM (MEAD WORKS)
MEAD, WA

Cleanup Activities

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Background

The 240-acre Kaiser Aluminum (Mead Works) site is located near Mead, Washington. From 1942 until 1978, operators at the on-site aluminum reduction facility disposed of pot linings in the northwestern section of the plant property. Site operations and waste disposal practices contaminated soil, sludge and groundwater with hazardous chemicals. Remedy construction is underway.

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What Is Being Done to Clean Up the Site?

The site is being addressed through state and potentially responsible party (PRP) actions.

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What Is the Current Site Status?

The site’s long-term remedy includes consolidation and capping of contaminated soil; repair of stormwater and sanitary sewer lines; groundwater extraction and treatment; institutional controls; and long-term monitoring and cap maintenance. Remedy construction began in 2000 and is ongoing.

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EPA’s Involvement at the Site

In 1978, sampling detected cyanide and fluoride in several private drinking water wells northwest of the site. Cyanide and fluoride also contaminated an aquifer that supplies water to the Little Spokane River. Kaiser Aluminum went bankrupt in 2004 and a Public Custodial Trust was established through the bankruptcy to take title to the property and manage cleanup activities.

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Sampling and Monitoring

Groundwater monitoring is conducted at this site by the Washington Department of Ecology.

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Emergency Response and Removal

Cleanup has also included removal actions, or short-term cleanups, to address immediate threats to human health and the environment. Actions in 1979 included construction of an alternative water supply to residents with contaminated wells, construction of an asphalt cap to keep precipitation from seeping through the source of contamination (potliner waste piles) and halting the on-site disposal of waste potliners.

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