Superfund Site Profile

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Site Background

The Escambia Wood (Pensacola) site is located in Pensacola, Florida. The site includes the 31-acre former facility where the Escambia Wood Treating Company manufactured treated wood products from 1942 to 1982, as well as 70 acres of nearby former neighborhoods. EPA placed the site on the Superfund program’s National Priorities List (NPL) in 1994 because of contaminated groundwater and soil resulting from waste handling practices at the site. Soil contamination from the site has been addressed and does not currently threaten people living and working near the site. Groundwater contamination at the site does not currently threaten people because drinking water is supplied by the public water supply. The Groundwater cleanup will begin once funding is available. EPA and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) will continue to protect people and the environment by continuing the cleanup, monitoring the site and undertaking Five-Year Reviews of the cleanup.

Site Location and History 

The site is located at 3910 North Palafox Street in Pensacola, Florida. It is located in a mixed industrial and residential area, bordered on the north by former residential neighborhoods, on the west by Palafox Street, on the east by a Railroad Switchyard, and on the south by an abandoned concrete plant and small industrial park. The site includes the 31-acre former facility and about 70 acres of the nearby former residential areas. The Agrico Superfund site is located about a quarter-mile southeast of the site.

From 1942 to 1982, the Escambia Wood Treating Company manufactured treated utility poles, foundation pilings and lumber with creosote and PCP. Operations generated wastewater that was stored in impoundments on site. In 1991, the company filed for bankruptcy and abandoned the facility. In October 1991, EPA began a removal action to stabilize the site, excavate contaminated materials and to estimate the amount of material to be dealt with in future phases of the cleanup. The removal action finished in 1992. The excavated material (225,000 cubic yards) was stockpiled on site and secured under a heavy-duty geomembrane cover. EPA placed the site on the NPL in 1994 because of contaminated soil and groundwater resulting from facility operations.

Site Status

Site investigations and cleanup activities are divided into two operable units (OUs). These areas include OU-1: contaminated soil; and OU-2: contaminated groundwater.

The EPA selected an Interim remedy for OU-1 in 1997, included permanently relocating 358 households from the on-site residential areas of Rosewood Terrace subdivision, the Oak Park subdivision, the Escambia Arms Apartments and the Goulding subdivision; demolishing the homes in residential areas on site; and placing institutional controls on the site to restrict future land uses to commercial and industrial uses.

The final remedy for OU-1, selected in 2006, included permanently relocating households from the Clarinda Triangle neighborhood, digging up contaminated soil, placing the soil in an on-site containment cell, solidifying and stabilizing the top layer of the cell. The EPA began the final soil cleanup in 2007. The EPA dug up, stockpiled and placed contaminated soil and debris in a 550,000-cubic-yard containment cell. EPA also installed a drainage system above the containment cell. During cleanup activities, EPA conducted air monitoring, dust control and site restoration to minimize additional effects on the surrounding community. By 2010, EPA had completed major cleanup activities for OU-1. The FDEP began Operation and Maintenance of most of the OU1 remedy on March 1, 2013.

The EPA selected the OU-2 remedy in 2008 and then discovered additional contamination, which led the EPA to amended the OU-2 remedy in an Amended Record of Decision in 2015.The OU-2 Remedial Design was approved in September 2016. The EPA presented the site at the EPA Priority Panel and is waiting for funding to become available so the groundwater cleanup can begin. There is no current exposure to contaminated groundwater at the ETC site. The remedy for OU-2 includes a series of cleanup technologies; heating the aquifer with steam and extracting creosote from the aquifer, installing vertical and horizontal injection and extraction wells, treating contamination using chemical and bioremediation, and using monitored natural attenuation.

Lead Agency

The EPA and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) are conducting the cleanup using taxpayer funds because the parties responsible went bankrupt.

Site Risks

 As of 2010, the soil cleanup is protective for human health for industrial or commercial uses.

The EPA is waiting for funding to implement the groundwater cleanup. There is no current exposure to groundwater contamination because groundwater in the contaminated area is not used as a drinking water source. The Northwest Florida Water Management District has listed the site and nearby surrounding area as a groundwater delineation area, which means all wells placed in the area require the District’s approval.

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 for OU-1, completed in 2012, 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. Continued protectiveness of the remedy requires the placement of institutional controls on the site. EPA placed institutional controls on the federally acquired property in early 2014 and is discussing institutional controls with the owners of the former facility. EPA plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2017.