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Florida Steel Corp.

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Florida Steel abandoned warehouse

Warehouse on Florida Steel property.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: FLD050432251
Location: Indiantown, Martin County, FL
Lat/Long: 27.041110, -80.506110
Congressional District: 23
NPL Status: Proposed: 12/30/82; Final: 09/08/83
Affected Media: Ground water, Sediment, Soil
Cleanup Status: Construction Complete. Physical cleanup activities have been completed, ground water treatment is ongoing
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Ground water Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: None
Site Manager: Bill Denman (denman.bill@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The Florida Steel Corp. site includes the area where Florida Steel Corporation, now known as Gerdau AmeriSteel, operated a steel mill from 1970 until 1982. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1983 because of contaminated ground water, sediment and soil resulting from facility operations. EPA, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Gerdau AmeriSteel, the site’s potentially responsible party (PRP), have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site. By treating and monitoring ground water, conducting required Five-Year Reviews and enforcing institutional controls, EPA, FDEP and the site’s PRP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

Site Location and Background

The 151-acre site is located in Martin County, Florida, southwest of State Road 710 (Warfield Boulevard), two miles northwest of Indiantown and less than 10 miles east of Lake Okeechobee. Prior to its development as a steel mill, the site property consisted mostly of brush land and swampy areas. Industrial facilities, including a 300-megawatt power plant, agricultural land and residential areas surround the site.

In 1969, Florida Steel Corporation (FSC, now Gerdau AmeriSteel) acquired the area to build a steel mill for recycling scrap steel into new steel products. The mill operated from November 1970 until February 1982, when FSC decided to cease production at the facility temporarily. Gerdau AmeriSteel has not used the mill since and has no plans to reopen it. In 1983, EPA listed the site on the NPL. Current site features include part of the former steel mill building, a landfill, a storage tank, a ground water treatment plant and a variety of ground water wells. A marshy area known as the Southwest Wetland is also located on site. The site is not currently in use. The site can support commercial and industrial uses.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations identified contamination in ground water, sediment and soil that could potentially harm people in the area.  Contaminants of concern in soil and sediments include leadzinc and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Prior disposal of emission control (EC) dust in two on-site disposal areas resulted in lead- and zinc-contaminated soil and sediments. EC dust is the residue collected in steel mill air pollution control equipment. Leaks of hydraulic fluid that contained PCBs resulted in PCB-contaminated soil and sediment.

Contaminants of concern in ground water include sodium and radium. Periodic discharges from an industrial water softener resulted in sodium contamination. The radium is naturally occurring.

The site’s PRP has completed soil and sediment cleanup activities.

Contaminated ground water is primarily contained within the site boundary. A small portion of contaminated ground water located off site. However, people are not using the ground water for drinking water.

The PRP is preparing to restart the site’s ground water treatment system. The PRP shut it down following a wildfire that destroyed part of the system.

An institutional control in the form of a restrictive covenant is currently in place to restrict residential, childcare, recreational and agricultural uses of the site.

The South Florida Water Management District listed the site and nearby surrounding area as a ground water delineation area, which means all wells placed in the area require the District’s approval. A Memorandum of Agreement between EPA and the district further restricts water use and well construction permits in the area.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

The site’s PRP leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and FDEP.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Site investigations and cleanup activities have focused on two areas, which EPA refers to as operable units, or OUs. These areas include OU-1: soil cleanup; and OU-2: Southwest Wetland and ground water remediation.

In 1992, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for OU-1. The plan included the following activities:

In 1994, EPA issued a cleanup plan (ROD) for OU-2. The plan for cleaning up contaminated ground water included the following activities:

The plan for cleaning up the upper portion of the Southwest Wetland included removing contaminated sediment and revegetating the dug-up wetland area. Dug-up wetland sediment containing lead at levels above 600 ppm was to be solidified and disposed of in the on-site landfill.

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including RODs and Five-Year Reviews.

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Cleanup Progress

In the mid-1980s, the site’s PRP removed aboveground EC dust piles.

In 1987 and 1988, the PRP incinerated PCB-contaminated soil.

The PRP began OU-1 soil cleanup activities in 1995 and completed them the following year. The PRP solidified 100,000 tons of contaminated soil and then disposed of it in the RCRA landfill constructed at the site.

The PRP began cleanup of the Southwest Wetland in 1995. The PRP dug up contaminated sediment from wetland areas with the highest levels of metals. The PRP solidified nearly 75 tons of dug-up sediment along with other contaminated soil and disposed of it in the on-site landfill. The PRP used the remaining dug-up sediment with low metal concentrations (between 160 and 600 ppm) as a soil amendment in upland areas on site. The PRP replanted the affected portion of the wetland with native wetland plants.

In 1996, the PRP installed the ground water treatment system at the site and began operating it. In 2009, the PRP shut the system down when a wildfire destroyed most of the spray heads and some of the electrical services, rendering the spray irrigation system non-functional. During this period, EPA, FDEP and the PRP evaluated whether remaining ground water treatment could be successfully treated using monitored natural attenuation. After determining this approach would not be successful, EPA and FDEP decided that it would be necessary to restart the ground water treatment system. The PRP is currently working to restart the system. The PRP conducts ground water monitoring twice each year.

The site’s third Five-Year Review, completed in 2011, found that the site’s cleanup approach continues to protect people and the environment from remaining site contamination. To be protective over the long term, the Five-Year Review recommended making modifications to the restrictive covenant and undertaking an additional evaluation of the ground water cleanup approach.

Summaries of cleanup activities are also available in Five-Year Reviews online.

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Enforcement Activities

EPA and FDEP negotiated legal agreements with the site’s PRP to investigate and clean up the site. The PRP continues to fund site cleanup, monitoring and oversight activities.

RODs and Five-Year Reviews online provide information on specific legal agreements for the site.

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Community Involvement

EPA 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 to solicit community input and to make sure the public remains informed about site activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach efforts have included site fact sheets, public notices, public presentations and public meetings.

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Future Work

The site’s PRP is currently working to restart the ground water treatment system.

Regular ground water monitoring is ongoing.

EPA completed the most recent Five-Year Review in 2011 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2016. 

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Additional Information

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
Indiantown Public Library
1502 S.W. Adams Ave.
Indiantown, FL 34956

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