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American Brass, Inc.

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2009 RA Activities

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: ALD981868466
Location: Headland, Henry County, AL
Lat/Long: 31.325000, -085.404160
Congressional District: 02
NPL Status: Proposed: 1/19/99; Final: 05/10/99
Affected Media: Fish tissue, Ground water, Sediment, Soil
Cleanup Status: Construction Complete - physical cleanup activities at the site are complete
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Not in reuse - potential for future agricultural, residential and commercial uses
Site Manager: Brian Farrier (farrier.brian@epa.gov )



Current Site Status

The American Brass Inc. (ABI) site includes the area where a former secondary brass smelter and foundry facility operated until 1992. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1999 because of contaminated soil and ground water resulting from facility operations. EPA and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) have investigated site conditions and taken measures to clean up the site. EPA has issued an approved cleanup plan (Record of Decision, or ROD) to address site contaminants (substances that may cause harm to people and the environment). These parties have taken these actions to ensure the safety of local residents and protect the environment from contamination.  Site contamination does not currently threaten local residents living and working near the site. Site contamination has not affected local residents’ drinking water wells. EPA and ADEM continue to make sure residents and the environment are protected from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 148-acre site is located on State Highway 134, in a rural agricultural area just north of Dothan in Henry County, Alabama. The site includes a 24-acre area where ABI’s facility operated between 1978 and 1992. ABI leased the site through the Industrial Development Board of Headland during this time. The main foundry building remains on site; however, as part of EPA’s 2009 cleanup action, most facility buildings were demolished and recycled. Two residences border the site to the east and a third residence borders the site to the southwest. EPA has tested private drinking water wells at these residences, along with other wells in the site vicinity. In 1999, EPA listed the site on the NPL. The site is currently vacant; R&B Investments owns the site.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations identified contamination in soil and ground water that could potentially harm people in the area. Soil and ground water contamination resulted from waste handling practices at the site. Contaminants of concern include metals and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Potential future risks to people and the environment exist at the site due to contamination documented in shallow ground water, on-site soils/sediments, Dunham Creek and Cedar Creek. Site investigations found the highest contaminant concentrations in areas closest to the former ABI facility. The primary metal detected in ground water monitoring wells was boron. Monitoring also detected nitrate and ammonia in the wells. Contamination has not affected residential drinking water wells adjacent to the eastern boundary of the site. Monitoring of these wells is ongoing.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

EPA, in cooperation with ADEM, leads site investigation and cleanup activities.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 2006, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The selected cleanup approach included demolishing all ABI buildings, pavements and structures; excavating (digging up) contaminated soils and sediments; sampling excavated areas to ensure cleanup goals are met; disposing of excavated materials appropriately at an off-site disposal facility; adding clean soil to excavated areas and planting vegetative cover over these areas; restoring wetlands impacted by contamination; allowing natural processes to reduce concentrations of contaminants in ground water to acceptable levels (i.e., through monitored natural attenuation, or MNA) using engineering controls, such as physical barriers, to control surface water runoff, dust and air quality and ensure that cleanup goals are met during and after the cleanup is implemented; and institutional controls, such as easements, as necessary to restrict future ground water use.

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including the ROD.

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Cleanup Progress

At the request of ADEM, EPA conducted an emergency removal action (a short-term cleanup) at the site in 1996. During this removal action, EPA took excavated lead-contaminated soils and heavy metal-laden furnace bricks as well as heavy metal-laden process waste materials (ball mill residue) found inside the buildings and consolidated the materials in a liner-covered waste pile in the southeast corner of the site. EPA completed a second removal action to remove the waste pile and dispose of the materials off site in 1999.

In 2007, EPA finalized the plan to implement the site cleanup approach outlined in the 2006 ROD. EPA completed most cleanup actions, including soil excavation, by 2009.

In 2009, EPA also issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to update cleanup standards for boron and iron; in addition, the ESD clarified the need for building decontamination (completed by EPA during removal action work in the late 1990s) and demolition of site buildings (the main foundry building has been left standing).

With completion of the soil/sediment portion of the cleanup, site soils can support unrestricted uses, including residential use.  Site-related impacts to Cedar Creek and Dunham Creek were also addressed by the cleanup. Unrestricted land use across the entire site will not be possible until ground water meets cleanup goals. EPA anticipates that ground water can meet cleanup goals within a 30-year timeframe, if not sooner. EPA also anticipates that development could proceed prior to the achievement of ground water cleanup goals.

EPA conducts biannual monitoring of ground water beneath the site. 

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Enforcement Activities

EPA first identified environmental compliance problems at the site in the mid-1980s; these problems continued until the closure of the facility in 1992. During this period, EPA and ADEM recorded numerous Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) violations. The site’s 2006 ROD provides a detailed chronology of these violations and the subsequent actions undertaken by EPA and ADEM.

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Community Involvement

EPA has worked with the community and its state partner to develop a long-term cleanup plan for the site, reflecting the Agency’s commitment to safe, healthy communities and environmental protection. Community engagement and public outreach are core components of EPA program activities.

EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the site to solicit community input and to ensure that the public remains informed about site activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach efforts have included a public meeting in May 2006 to present the proposed plan for site cleanup, a public availability session in November 2008 to kick off the implementation of the site’s cleanup plan, the April 2009 ESD circulated to the site mailing list, and multiple interviews with local news media during EPA’s remedial action work. 

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Future Work

Annual monitoring of ground water beneath the site is ongoing.  The site’s first Five-Year Review will be completed in August 2014.  A fire occurred in the main foundry building in May 2013.

As part of the site visit for the first Five-Year Review, it was observed that many of the roofing and siding panels at the main foundry building were damaged, including, but not limited to, those damaged in the 2013 fire.  These panels contain asbestos which can become friable when the panels are damaged, and were not addressed as part of the 2009 cleanup.  At ADEM’s request, EPA is currently conducting an assessment of the main foundry building and the risk posed by this asbestos. 

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Site Documents

EPA keeps additional site documents and information in a site information repository at the location below. EPA also posts site documents, when available, on EPA’s CERCLIS Site Profile page. For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.

Site Repository

Blanch R. Solomon Memorial Library
Town Square
Headland, AL 36345

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