Superfund Site: OBEE ROAD

Superfund Site Profile


In 1983, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) received complaints from a citizen regarding unpleasant odors and taste in water from a domestic well near the Obee Road Site. KDHE initiated a program of sampling and analysis of domestic and monitoring wells from 1983 to 1986 and determined that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were present in the shallow sand and gravel aquifer that supplies water to public and private wells in the area. The possible sources of these contaminants appeared to be the closed City of Hutchinson landfill on Obee Road, an industrial area at the Hutchinson Municipal Airport, and an industrial area located west of the intersection of 4th Avenue and Airport Road. A brief history of operations for each of these areas is provided below:

Landfill Subsite

The landfill was operated from 1953 to 1968. The landfill was the only public disposal site in the Hutchinson area during that time period. During operation, the landfill received domestic wastes and unknown quantities and types of industrial wastes. Disposal practices at the landfill reportedly consisted of placing liquid and solid wastes into trenches excavated to a depth of 14 to 15 feet below ground surface. No records have been located that document the construction, operation, or closure of the landfill.

Airport Road Subsite

The primary sources of contamination for the Airport Road Subsite are the East 4th Street Facility and the Farmland-Obee Road Site. Only low levels of contamination were detected at the Hutchinson Municipal Airport property. East 4th Street Facility - Cessna Aircraft Company operated as the Cessna Fluid Power Division at 3401 East 4th Avenue in Hutchinson between 1942 and 1988. The facility was used to manufacture military gliders, furniture, and industrial hydraulic components. Chlorinated solvents were used to manufacture hydraulic components. The primary solvent used at the facility was trichloroethene (TCE); however, smaller amounts of 1,1,1-trichloroethane (1,1,1-TCA) and tetrachloroethene (PCE) were also used. Solvents were stored in aboveground storage tanks (ASTs) and used in vapor degreasing pits. Cessna sold the manufacturing plant to Eaton Corporation in July 1988. Eaton manufactures hydraulic parts at the facility, including pumps, valves, and cylinders.

Farmland-Obee Road Site – Big Chief Manufacturing Company manufactured metal trusses for buildings at 3501 East 4th Avenue in Hutchinson between 1949 and 1959. Farmland Industries, Inc., purchased the facility in 1959. Between 1959 and 1986, Farmland used the facility to manufacture steel buildings, grain bins, hog feeders, bulk feed tanks, calf feeders, stock tanks, farm gates, and other miscellaneous farm supplies. Chemicals used at the Farmland Steel Fabricating Plant included paint, paint thinners, motor oil, and degreasers. The degreaser used at the facility was a caustic-based surfactant called Oakite 5. In 1986, Farmland sold all of the machinery used at the plant and leased the building to Jackson Ice Cream and Republic Paperboard. In 2000, Farmland sold the property to Go Investments LLC. Farmland declared bankruptcy in 2002. The warehouse was used as a storage facility between 2000 and 2006. Currently, the property is leased by Superior Boiler Works, Inc., and is used to manufacture industrial boilers.

Airport Road Subsite of the Obee Road Superfund Site – The portion of the Airport Road Subsite located north of 4th Avenue is occupied by the Hutchinson Municipal Airport and commercial buildings. The airport began operating in 1928. In 1943, the United States Navy made improvements to the airport infrastructure and used the airport as a naval air station until the 1950s. Wells Aircraft, Inc., an aircraft maintenance and storage company, occupies a portion of the western part of the airport property along Airport Road.