EPA Orders Company To Perform $52 Million Cleanup

On Nov. 1, EPA issued an order to Beazer East Inc. requiring the company to implement and maintain a $52 million remedy at the Koppers Co. Inc. Superfund site in Newport, Del.

The remedy requires the company to consolidate and contain approximately 600,000 tons of creosote-contaminated soils and sediments at the site, which is more than 300 acres. The company also must collect and dispose of what is estimated to be more than 5,000 gallons of creosote non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL, an oil-like substance) through recovery trenches, as well as manage, and if needed, treat groundwater. In addition, the company is required to restore about 18 acres of affected wetlands and implement controls on future use of the property to ensure the long-term effectiveness of the remedy.

The order represents a significant milestone in the cleanup of this large Superfund site, bringing almost 20 years of investigation and negotiation to conclusion, officials said.

From 1929 until 1971, the site was used for wood preserving operations. Railroad ties and telephone poles were loaded into cylinders and pressure injected with either creosote or a mixture of fuel oil and pentachlorophenol (PCP). Creosote contains polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a group of compounds which include both probable and known human carcinogens, agency officials said. The wood treating operations contaminated soils, groundwater, wetland sediments, several onsite ponds and adjacent streams.

In 1971, Koppers Co. Inc., which operated the site from 1944 to 1971, removed the process equipment from the site and sold the property to DuPont. Beazer East Inc., the successor company to Koppers Co. Inc., acquired the property from DuPont in December 2004. The site is currently vacant.

Additional information on the site can be accessed at http://www.epa.gov/reg3hwmd/super/sites/DED980552244/index.htm.

This article originally appeared in the 11/01/2006 issue of Environmental Protection.

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