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Glynn Environmental Coalition comments on Hercules proposed plan to cleanup the Toxaphene Manufacturing Plant
 

 
 


Mr. Jim McNamara, Unit Coordinator
Georgia Environmental Protection Division
2 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Suite 1154
Atlanta, Georgia  30334-0900

 Re: Notice of intent to amend Permit Number HW-052(D&S) to Hercules Incorporated for a proposed soil and sediment corrective action plan for Solid Waste Management Unit #5, the former toxaphene production facility.

 Mr. McNamara,       

The enclosed comments are regarding the proposed amendment to Permit Number HW-052(D&S) and Corrective Action Plan (CAP), Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) #5 Area, Hercules Brunswick Facility, Brunswick, Georgia, September 2007, prepared by New Fields.

 The following documents were also reviewed in preparation to comment:

 1.) Hercules Inc. July 1999, RFI Phase II Work Plan, Volumes 1 and 2; 

2.) Hercules Inc. June 2001, Draft Phase II RCRA Facility Investigation Report (RFI), Volumes I, II and III;

3.) Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD), March 5, 2002, Hercules RFI Notice of Deficiency (NOD);

4.) Response to Notice of Deficiency for RFI Report, May 9, 2002, by New Fields;

5.) GA EPD SWMU Clean-up Guidance[1];

6.) OSWER Directive No. 9355.7-04, Land Use in the CERCLA Remedy Selection Process. (applicable to RCRA regulated facilities)

7.) Corrective Action Plan SWMU #5 Area Hercules Brunswick Facility, Brunswick, Georgia, March 2003, prepared by New Fields;

8.) Georgia Environmental Protection Division, July 24, 2003, Notice of Deficiency, SWMU #5 CAP.

9.) Georgia Environmental Protection Division, February 19, 2004, Notice of Deficiency, SWMU #5 CAP.

 The Glynn Environmental Coalition requests the Georgia Environmental Protection Division take the following comments into consideration and incorporate changes into the proposed modification to the Hercules Incorporated Hazardous Waste Facility Permit Number HW-052(D&S) and the SWMU #5 Corrective Action Plan.

                                                                         Sincerely,

                                                                         Bill Owens, President

 

 Glynn Environmental Coalition November 8, 2007, comments on Corrective Action Plan (CAP), Solid Waste Management Unit (SWMU) #5 Area, Hercules Brunswick Facility, Brunswick, Georgia, September 2007, prepared by New Fields.

 General Comments

 1. The Glynn Environmental Coalition (GEC) is very concerned over the lack of progress in cleaning up the 39 Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) at the Hercules Plant over the past 20 years.  Notable is that the RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) has not been completed, not a single Corrective Action Plan (CAP) has been developed and implemented, while an additional 28 SWMUs have been identified.  Inspections and investigations by the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have found numerous cases of leaking and poorly maintained equipment, untrained personnel operating the Hercules Plant (Plant), and at least 175 cases in which the Emergency Response Team has been contacted regarding spills or releases at the Plant.  The GEC notes that the EPD has not used all the regulatory tools and resources available to it to bring the Hercules Plant into compliance, and to facilitate a timely cleanup of SWMUs; the GEC further notes that, in some cases, the EPD has known of the need for SWMU cleanup for more than three decades.

 2.) With Permit HW-052(D&S), Hercules accepts the responsibility not to disturb their neighbors, not to endanger others, and to clean up their spills and releases.  Hercules has not demonstrated the will or the ability to operate in a manner that does not disturb their neighbors as documented by the numerous complaints in the EPD records.  Hercules has failed to demonstrate the ability to operate in a manner that does not endanger others as demonstrated by 175 Emergency Response Team records, continued releases of toxaphene to Terry Creek, and the resulting seafood contamination.  Hercules has not demonstrated the ability to clean up spills and releases as demonstrated by the Corporation's failure to complete a viable RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) or Corrective Action Plan (CAP) in the 20 years since the EPD ordered these actions in the 1987 Hazardous Waste Permit.  Likewise, the EPD has not exercised regulatory options available to protect neighborhoods, businesses, and schools around the Hercules facility from adverse health and economic impacts, which is the EPD's charge and responsibility.

 The CAP, as currently written, is a continuation both of Hercules' failure to produce viable cleanup plans for the Plant, and of its history of noncompliance; as written, the CAP further underscores the need for the EPD use the regulatory tools at its disposal to bring the Hercules facility into compliance in a timely manner.  The following specific SWMU #5 CAP comments address the specific failures of Hercules to perform their regulatory obligations and duties under Permit HW-052(D&S), as demonstrated in this and previous CAPs for the SWMU #5 area.

 3.)   The SWMU #5 CAP should be considered only an interim action, and not the final remediation for the toxaphene production area.  Georgia SWMU Guidance requires a RFI be completed prior to preparation of a CAP, or establishing remediation levels.  "Once the nature and extent of contamination are known, the facility will develop a proposed CAP for review by EPD.  EPD will identify the SWMUs that must be considered under the CAP and will identify media remediation levels based on the information provided in the RFI Report".  Until the RFI report is completed, the EPD will be unable to identify remediation levels, particularly for the groundwater in the SWMU #5 area.  Future use of the SWMU #5 area should be avoided until the RFI, CAPs for the other 39 SWMUs, and a groundwater remediation plans are completed and implemented.

 4.) In the March 5, 2002 EPD NOD on the Hercules Plant 2001 RFI, the EPD identified specific locations that needed additional vertical delineation, and ordered Hercules Incorporated to complete the sampling and submit the results by April 30, 2002.  Hercules has failed to complete the vertical delineation, including sampling location SS-248 and SS-264, which are located within the SWMU #5 area.  Evidently, the specific locations of the SS-248 and SS-264 sampling points cannot be identified.  The CAP does not address how the vertical delineation requested by the EPD was performed for areas that can no longer be identified.  At a minimum, latitude and longitude should be recorded for every sampling location so they can be returned to at a future date and the data is meaningful and useable during remedial activities.

  5.) The May 9, 2002, Response to Notice of Deficiency for RFI Report by New Fields, Hercules set conditions upon which the EPD must concur before conducting additional soil and groundwater sampling. Hercules Response 4 is a refusal to delineate dioxin in identified or suspected SWMUs.  The EPD is correct in demanding dioxin samples from the SWMU area, and not "within the vicinity of the SWMU".   Detection limits for dioxin data from the SWMU #5 area are so high that the data is useless for determining potential health risks.  With meaningful data, dioxin would very likely be another Chemical of Concern (COC) in the SWMU #5 area.

 6.) The CAP does not address the extensive groundwater contamination in the SWMU #5 area. 

             A. With extremely high level of VOC in the groundwater, it is not surprising that toxaphene in present in the groundwater above the amount that can theoretically be dissolved in water.  Within SWMU #5, toxaphene was found at 2000 ug/l in sampling location PZ 1-4.  The CAP fails to address groundwater contamination, or how the proposed removal is protective of groundwater.  To the contrary, cleanup levels have been established based on an industrial exposure scenario, which utilized suspect assumptions.   The ability of VOCs to increase absorption of toxaphene through the skin should be included in the evaluation of remedial action goals based upon exposure assumptions.

 The validity of the PZ 1-4 sampling data has been questioned by Hercules.  To resolve any uncertainty associated with the data from PZ 1-4, additional sampling should be conducted to evaluate groundwater in the zone from the water table to the depth of monitoring wells, which are reported to be screened ~15 feet below ground level.  Without additional VOC data, the assumptions concerning absorption and biological availability of COCs are suspect.

 B.  The SWMU #5 corrective action plan should also be based on the protection of groundwater.   The vertical delineation of SWMU #5 is insufficient to delineate source areas in groundwater.  Only one groundwater sampling point, PZ 1-4, is within SWMU #5, and this is not a properly installed monitoring well.  Samples from PZ 1-4 indicate extremely high levels of COC, which warrants further investigation by installation of monitoring wells in the SWMU #5 area.

C.  Georgia SWMU Guidance states, "Specifically, it must be established during the RFI process (and supporting documentation in the RFI report) that chemicals left in place or remediated to health based levels are protective of human and ecological receptors as well as groundwater quality (emphasis added) (in Georgia, all groundwater is considered a potential source of drinking water)".  In addition, "Risk assessments and associated proposed remedial levels will not be accepted by EPD for review unless all relevant components have been addressed and the data submitted are of sufficient quantity, quality, and layout to allow a critical and efficient review of the findings".  As noted by the EPD in the NODs on previous CAPs for the SWMU #5 area, data submitted is insufficient in quantity and quality.               

            D. Background delineation is required in higher groundwater pollution susceptibility areas. The Hercules plant is in a higher groundwater pollution susceptibility area.[2]

            E. The CAP fails to discuss how the removal action supports efforts to stop contaminated water releases regulated by the EPD under the NPDES Permitting Program. 

 7.)  The CAP fails to incorporate groundwater data from the RFI.  At a minimum, RFI Figures 2-6 (Monitoring Well Locations), 5-12, 5-13, and 5-14 (Groundwater Delineation) should be included in the SWMU #5 CAP since they contain additional information about the area.  Furthermore, the inclusion of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) data could result in far different conclusions than reached in Attachment E, VLEACH Analysis, by virtue of the ability of VOC to mobilize toxaphene in soils, to the air, and into groundwater.  Therefore, the conclusions in Attachment E, VLEACH Analysis, are not useful in evaluating the potential transport of toxaphene from soil contaminated with high levels of VOCs to groundwater.  

8.)  The CAP fails to discuss the groundwater contamination in the SWMU #5 area, or potential for groundwater contamination from adjoining SWMUs to mobilize and transport toxaphene and other COC.   The presence of VOCs, solvents, and Non Aqueous Phase Liquids (NAPL) in and surrounding SWMU #5, and their potential to mobilize toxaphene, PCBs, and other COC into the groundwater should be discussed in relation to setting cleanup levels and delineation of areas for removal.  

9.)  The May 9, 2002, Response to Notice of Deficiency for RFI Report by New Fields, in Response to HHRA Comment 2, Hercules contends that, "The large groundwater database available for the Hercules plant site provides more than adequate information to assess the impact of soils on groundwater".   Even though Hercules contends that there is sufficient information to assess the impact of toxaphene contaminated soils on groundwater, the CAP does not contain an assessment of toxaphene contaminated soils on groundwater, or the potential for VOCs or other solvents to transport toxaphene from soil to groundwater.  Significant levels of VOCs are present in the SWMU #5 area. 

10.)      The CAP fails sufficiently to delineate toxaphene vertically to evaluate source removal both above and below the water table, and the potential impacts on groundwater remediation.  Toxaphene delineation in the SWMU #5 area should include potential source areas above and below the groundwater table.  In addition, the CAP should discuss and explain how and why toxaphene has reached 2000 ug/l in sample location PZ 1-4.  If the quality of the PZ-1-4 sampling point is in doubt, additional groundwater sampling should be expedited to resolve the observed toxaphene in groundwater at several orders of magnitude above drinking water standards. 

11.)  The July, 24, 2003, EPD Notice of Deficiency on the SWMU #5 CAP Stated: " EPD samples showed elevated levels of toxaphene in surface samples in this area contrary to the findings shown in the RFI Report."  The EPD sampling results could not be found in the CAP.  In addition, the EPD's observation that samples they took resulted in higher levels being detected is a pattern repeatedly observed with data produced by Hercules. 

12.)  The CAP does not include a decontamination pad for vehicles leaving the SWMU #5 exclusion zone.  Due to the extremely elevated levels of contamination in the area, a decontamination pad should be installed and all vehicles decontaminated rather than just a visual inspection.  As noted in the February 19, 2004, Notice of Deficiency on the SWMU #5 CAP submitted by Hercules, "Inspection and Cleaning procedures for equipment and vehicles leaving the exclusion zone should be included in this CAP." 

 

 Comments on Specific Sections of the Corrective Action Plan, SWMU #5 Area, Hercules Brunswick Facility, Brunswick, Georgia, September 2007, prepared by New Fields. 

13.)      A. Section 1.3 states that the groundwater is approximately 4-5 feet below ground surface.  To the contrary, CAP Section 4.0 describes a maximum excavation depth of 3 to 4 feet, which is represented as the water table. Data was not provided to support either approximation of the depth of groundwater below the surface.

             B. Section 3.1 states the water table is 3-4 feet BGS (below ground surface).  No supporting documentation has been provided in the CAP or RFI to support this statement.

             C. Attachment D of the CAP states: "The well logs indicate the presence of only moist and wet soils (groundwater) from three to five feet of ground surface, but do not indicate standing water at these depths."   The CAP arbitrarily defines the groundwater as "moist and wet soil" rather than the accepted definition of the level of water that would be found in a surface aquifer well.  The definition of the groundwater table used by Hercules would result in the groundwater table being at the surface after a rain event by virtue of the soil just being wet or moist.  The premise presented by Hercules for limiting the depth of excavations to 3-4 feet is not supported by data.  Furthermore, confirmation sampling would not take place under this CAP when soil appears moist.

             D.     Section 1.3 should also include a discussion about the production of the toxaphene clay and toxaphene xylene mixtures in relation to the elevated levels in soil and groundwater at sample locations SS-284, SS-246, and PZ 1-4.  

 14.)  Section 3.1 makes a number of unsupported statements and assumptions, and uses inappropriate guidance documents.       

            A. The CAP states that the Remedial Action Objectives were based on current and reasonable future use of the site.  Future reasonable use of the site is mentioned, but not analyzed. In light of Hercules' continuing attempts to sell the facility, a discussion of probable future land uses and reasonable worker exposure scenarios should be included in the CAP.   At a minimum, a discussion of residential uses should be included in the CAP. 

 The City of Brunswick is anticipating the closure of Hercules due to the repeated efforts of Hercules to sell the plant and is working to address the ramifications to the community.  The September 2007 Comprehensive Plan Community Assessment stated:

 "The Hercules site is the largest industrial site in the City and is a major disruption to the regular urban fabric of the City of Brunswick.  The City must be prepared to handle the brownfield remediation issues and have a redevelopment strategy to handle the potential closure of the plant."

The CAP must include residential Remedial Action Objectives in order to reflect the efforts of Hercules to sell the facility and the City of Brunswick Comprehensive Plan.  Clearly, future use of the Hercules facility could change significantly in the future due to Hercules' announced intention to sell the Resins Division.  "Sale of the Resins Division is a step in our new strategy to focus on fewer markets".
[3]  

 
            B. In light of the extensive remediation required for 39 SWMU's and construction (demolition) that is expected on the Hercules Plant Site, exposure frequency for construction and remediation workers is unreasonably short.            

            C. Institutional controls such as a deed restriction would be needed to assure that the future industrial land use scenario proposed in the CAP would be maintained.  Anticipating industrial land use in the future is inappropriate in light of Hercules' repeated attempts to sell the plant and the vision presented in the City of Brunswick Comprehensive Plan. 

            D. It is nearly impossible to enforce different exposure scenarios for the 39+ SWMUs already identified.  Land use change at the Hercules plant is very probable in the future, including residential uses.  The Remedial Action Objectives should be based upon the reality that residential land uses will take place, and residential-use scenarios should be utilized across the plant site for consistency.     

 Georgia SWMU Guidance states, "Especially where there is some uncertainty regarding the anticipated future land use, it may be useful to compare the potential risks associated with several land use scenarios to estimate the impact on human health and the environment should land use unexpectedly change." [4] The Hercules plant is located at the "Gateway to the Golden Isles of Georgia".  A potential buyer would most certainly consider the location of the facility and value of the land for other purposes. Divestiture of some of the 150+ acres would quickly recoup part of the purchase price.  In addition, different future land use scenarios need to be considered for Route 17 and the St. Simons Island Causeway area, Parkwood Avenue (Hospital area), Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, and the L Street corridor.  A significant portion of the Hercules Plant is unutilized or under utilized, which could be divested by a future owner.  An analysis of future land use of the Hercules plant and the surrounding areas should be part of the RFI and the CAP for SWMU #5. 

E. The CAP toxaphene excavation criterion of 100 mg/kg was used in the CAP, contrary to the standard Hercules was ordered to use in the July, 24, 2003, Notice of Deficiency.  The EPD wrote: "Hercules should refer to the Supplemental Guidance for Developing Soil Screening Levels for Superfund Sites (EPA, March 2001) for updated values."  The correct value for utility and construction workers is 330 mg/kg.  Protection of groundwater must be used as an excavation criterion, in addition to the protection of workers. 

F.   An analysis of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) in the SWMU #5 area must be part of the process of evaluating potential absorption factors.  The 30% absorption factor could be much higher when VOC transport factors are included for skin and oral routes.  Furthermore, the high VOC levels in the SWMU #5 area nullifies the use of EPA Region I guidance for pesticides with high soil sorption, which does not include the VOCs variable. 

The assertion that toxaphene is the only criterion that exceeds excavation criteria is incorrect.  PCB 1254 was detected at 330000 ug/kg at sampling location SS006A06 in the SWMU #5 area.  The SWMU #5 area is also notable for the other Chemicals of Concern (COC) that are at maximum levels detected on the facility.  This high frequency of maximum plant wide COC detections indicates that the SWMU #5 area is a significant source area for soil and groundwater contamination.  Maximum plant wide COC detections in SWMU #5 include:

 

SOIL COC                              AMOUNT                ___   LOCATION

Mercury                                   19 mg/kg                      SS003A09

Acetone                                  71000 ug/kg                  SS003A09

Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate         11000 ug/kg                  SS008A06

Ethylbenzene                           1800000 ug/kg SS-284

Methyl ethyl ketone                  160000 ug/kg                 SS-284

Tetrachloroethylene                  50 ug/kg                        SS-222

Xylenes (total)                         8100000 ug/kg               SS-284

Naphthalene                            730 ug/kg                      SS-284

Toxaphene                              55000000 ug/kg              SS-246

4,4 DDD                               3.8 ug/kg                       SS-284

Lindane                                   0.16 ug/kg                     SS-284

Parathion                                 35 ug/kg                       SS006A06

Aroclor 1254 (PCB)                    330000 ug/kg                 SS006A06

Pentachlorodibenzofuran            310000 ng/kg                 SS001A64

Phosphorothioc acid,
        O,O-diethyl O-pyrazinyl  ester     25 ug/kg                       SS-284

Sulfide                                     1600 mg/kg                   SS003A09

 

 

WATER COC                         AMOUNT                   LOCATION

Ethylbenzene                       20000 ug/l                    PZ 1-4

Styrene                                55 ug/l                        PZ 1-4

Tetrachloroethylene                  9.6                           PZ 1-4

Toluene                                1200 ug/l                     PZ 1-4

Trichloroethylene                      1.2 ug/l                     PZ 1-4

Xylenes (total)                     100000 ug/l                   PZ 1-4

Toxaphene                              2000 ug/l                   PZ 1-4

 

            G.  The Phosphorothioc acid, O,O-diethyl O-pyrazinyl ester detection at soil sampling point SS-284 is of particular interest.  Hercules reports manufacturing Metron, more commonly called Methyl Parathion, from 1966 to 1968, which is also described as Phosphorothioc acid, O,O-diethyl O-pyrazinyl ester in the analytical results.  Since this is the only detection point on the Hercules plant for Methyl Parathion, it is probable that the Methyl Parathion manufacturing or packaging facility was located in the vicinity of the Former Toxaphene Production Facility.  The RFI and CAP should further discuss this Methyl Parathion detection in relation to the location of the 1966 to 1968 Metron manufacturing facility operations.  The CAP should clarify that Metron, Methyl Parathion, and Phosphorothioc acid, O,O-diethyl O-pyrazinyl ester are all the same chemical. 

            H.   A cursory review of the SWMU #5 soil and groundwater data indicates that COC are distributed throughout both soil and groundwater.  The approach in the CAP fails to craft a corrective action plan that removes known and identified source areas from soil and groundwater.  

            I.  The September 2007 SWMU #5 CAP contends the N Street Ditch, "...do not provide suitable habitat for potential ecological receptors," and, "...potential aquatic receptors in the ditch will not likely be present after removal of soil/sediment and improvement of the ditch with a synthetic, concrete, or combination liner."  As noted by the EPD in the February 19, 2004, Notice of Deficiency on the SWMU #5 CAP submitted by Hercules, "Furthermore, the Phase II RFI Risk report stated that "the drainage ditch supports aquatic species and wildlife dependent on aquatic resources and either overlaps with SWMUs or is susceptible to constituent migration from the SWMU's.  For these reasons, a screening level ecological assessment should be developed for SWMU 5."  First, there is no reason to believe that aquatic species will avoid the area because of the material used to line the ditch in a small portion of the waterway.  The aquatic species, and their predators, should be expected to re-inhabit the waterway.  Furthermore, no basis of support for the position that aquatic species will leave the area has been presented.  Second, the screening level ecological assessment is not present in the current SWMU #5 CAP.   

            J. Attachment D - Hercules contends that, "... toxaphene has never been detected in groundwater in this area, provides for a complete and robust conclusion that the CAP is protective of groundwater."  Hercules' own data in Attachment E contradicts this finding with 2000 ug/l  toxaphene in PZ 1-4.   Furthermore, the lack of sampling data for toxaphene in groundwater in the SWMU #5 area cannot be used to conclude toxaphene has not impacted groundwater.  As noted in Appendix D, "...the groundwater data available was collected from a depth of 15 feet bgs or greater.  The high levels of VOCs and toxaphene that are commingled in the SWMU #5 area makes it highly probable that toxaphene is present in groundwater, as indicated by the results from PZ 1-4. 

15.  Section 3.2 cites Attachment E as the supporting document for contending that the excavation criteria are protective of groundwater.  The assumptions and calculations presented in Attachment E are insupportable due to the lack of any analysis of VOCs on toxaphene transport from soil to groundwater.  As noted in Comment 14. F., high levels of several VOCs have been detected in the SWMU #5 area soil and groundwater.  Any analysis of toxaphene transport in soils, groundwater, or to the air must take the variables presented by the VOCs present into account.      

16.)      A.  Section 4 eliminates most, if not all, of the proposed excavation by limiting excavation activities to 6 feet from existing structures, tanks, rail lines, underground utilities, or facility infrastructure, and as mentioned in Section 1.3, paved areas.  There is no compelling reason to limit excavation to 6 feet from structures, paved areas, utilities, or infrastructure.  Removal actions routinely work far deeper and closer to structures and utilities.    

            B.  Figures depicting the location of underground utilities and facility infrastructure are conspicuously absent from the RFI and CAP.  The EPD has ordered Hercules to identify and provide a figure with utilities and infrastructure in the July 2003 and February 2004 Notice of Deficiency on previously submitted SWMU #5 CAPs.  Hercules remains noncompliant by failing to correct deficiencies in the CAP repeatedly identified by the EPD.  Furthermore, one of the first steps in the planning stages of any excavation activity is to identify all underground structures present.  The refusal of Hercules to identify underground utilities and infrastructure indicates that they contemplate implementing the alternative plan, a geotextile membrane and aggregate cover. 

            C.  Hercules misrepresented the findings of the geotechnical consultant concerning the 6 to 8 feet excavation setback from structures and roads.  Attachment F, the letter from the ATC Associates Inc., clearly states that, "An excavation free zone of 6 feet from the structures was presented in the CAP for the area.  The purpose of the site visit was to verify if the 6-foot distance is appropriate."    The purpose of ATC Associates was to verify, and not to analyze, what was appropriate protection of buildings, roads, and concrete slabs.   Notable is what was not done by the geotechnical consultant, including:           

- The depth of the building foundations was not determined.

- No effort was made to identify the type of foundation present, and the inspection concluded that it is "likely" that the buildings are on shallow foundations, and supports "appear" to be on shallow foundations.  

At a minimum, the geotechnical consultant should determine foundation depth and type, actually examine the soil and conditions, and make recommendations for excavation depth next to buildings, roads, and other structures, and the side slope angle to the maximum excavation depth.   

The CAP should demonstrate that existing structures, tanks, rail lines, underground utilities, facility infrastructure, and paved areas can be avoided while meeting the objectives of protecting human health, environment, and groundwater.  Since the CAP appears to eliminate some, if not all soil excavation, it appears that the intent of the CAP is to establish criteria that will assure that the alternative presented, installation of geotextile with a crush run cover, asphalt cover, or concrete cover, will be the actual remedial action.   The CAP should demonstrate that the proposed removal action would remove sufficient soil and groundwater contamination source areas to obtain remedial goals.   

Utilities and infrastructure should be relocated, if need be, to obtain remedial action levels protective of human health, ecological receptors, and groundwater.  Without identifying the utilities and infrastructure in the area, an analysis of the need to move potential obstacles to excavation can not be conducted. 

            D. Previous SWMU #5 CAPs submitted by Hercules identified a 5-foot setback from buildings and other structures as the appropriate distance.  No explanation is provided for the increase to 6 to 8 feet.  The change appears to be capricious and provides further evidence that Hercules has designated the distance to minimize excavation, and not for any documented threat to structural integrity to nearby structures.  A casual observer would note that ditches along roads in Glynn County are routinely deeper than 4 feet, and far closer to the road than 3 feet.  The 6 to 8 feet setback is not supported by empirical evidence, including the N Street ditch.      

17.)  Section 5 starts by stating, "For the SWMU #5 area, the success of corrective action will be ensured by the sampling and analysis of confirmatory samples from the bottom of the excavated areas."  While this statement may indicate that every excavated area will be sampled to confirm the remedial action goals have been achieved, this is not the case at all as the following caveat later in Section 5.0 indicates.  "However, excavations that reach the groundwater table in any excavation unit will be backfilled and confirmatory sampling will not be performed."   Attachment D of the CAP states: "The well logs indicate the presence of only moist and wet soils (groundwater) from three to five feet of ground surface, but do not indicate standing water at these depths."   The CAP arbitrarily defines the groundwater table as "moist and wet soil rather than the accepted definition of the level of water that would be found in a surface aquifer well.  The definition of the groundwater table used by Hercules would result in the groundwater table being at the surface after a rain event by virtue of the soil just being wet or moist.  The premise presented by Hercules for limiting the depth of excavations to 3-4 feet is not supported by data.  Furthermore, confirmation sampling would not take place under this CAP by virtue of the soil appearing moist, which is a subjective determination. 

18.)  Section 7.0 states Hercules desires that the area be available for the operational needs of the facility. Without the consideration of soil impacts on groundwater from SWMUs surrounding the SWMU #5 area, the EPD cannot consider removing the SWMU #5 area from future concern during the RCRA Corrective Action Process, as requested by Hercules.  At a minimum, a site-wide groundwater remediation plan is needed, and an explanation of how the SWMU #5 CAP achieves the objectives of groundwater and human health protection for current and future uses of the site.  The SWMU #5 area should not be reused until the RFI and groundwater remediation plans are completed, and site-wide remediation plans are completed.  The effectiveness of groundwater remediation could be adversely affected by activity in the area and cover areas needed for groundwater remediation locations.  Furthermore, the SWMU #5 area might be needed for remedial efforts addressing adjoining SWMUs.  Until Hercules demonstrates the ability to produce a viable and complete RFI and CAPS for the 39 identified SWMUS, no further construction should take place in any of the identified SWMUs. 

19.)  Section 7.1.7.1, Real-Time Air Monitoring, needs to take a different approach.  Dust suppression should be conducted during removal operations, and not just after monitoring equipment detects a problem.  A dust suppression plan should be a part of the CAP.  At a minimum, dust suppression should be initiated before limits are exceeded, as part of best management practices, and part of the operational plan for the remedial action. 

20.)  Sections 7.1.4 states "... backfilled with clean soil from a local borrow source or stump dirt from the plant industrial process."  Whereas Section 7.1.6  states, "All excavated units will be backfilled with clean soil, obtained from a local borrow source that is off the facility property," as the source of backfill soil." (emphasis added)  The CAP should be consistent in stating the source of backfill material.  If the stump dirt is stockpiled in an identified SWMU, all backfill should come from an off-site source. 

21.)  Section 7.1.7.3 states, "All samples submitted will be prepared using an in-house extraction method based on NIOSH Method 5039.  The in-house method is not described in the CAP.  Furthermore, the EPD has requested Hercules provide the "in-house extraction method" in the July 2003 and February 2004 Notice of Deficiency.  This is yet another example of Hercules noncompliance with previous requests for information to complete the CAP.   

All samples collected during the SWMU #5 remedial action should be analyzed by a laboratory that is certified to do such work by the EPD.   Toxaphene results should be reported as total toxaphene and analyzed by the current EPA approved Method 8081B.  The CAP should clearly state the method and version that will be used for analysis.


[1] Georgia Environmental Protection Division Guidance for Selecting Media Remediation Levels at RCRA Solid Waste Management Units, November 1996.

[2] Ground Water Pollution Susceptibility Map of Georgia, GGS Hydrologic Atlas 20. 1992.
 

[3] Hercules Intends to Sell Resins Division, Enters Discussions With Potential Buyer, Business Wire, February 22, 2000. 

[4] Georgia Environmental Protection Division Guidance for Selecting Media Remediation Levels at RCRA Solid Waste Management Units, November 1996.

 

 

 

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