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Helena Chemical Company


Helena site

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: FLD053502696
Location: Tampa, Hillsborough County, FL
Lat/Long: 27.963930, -082.374810
Congressional District: 11
NPL Status: Proposed: 02/07/92; Final: 10/14/92
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil
Cleanup Status: Pilot-scale cleanup activities are underway
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: No
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use – warehouses, offices and parking facilities are located on site
Site Manager: Galo Jackson (jackson.galo@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Helena Chemical Company (Tampa) site is the location of a pesticide manufacturing facility that operated from 1929 until 1981. Pesticide packaging and distribution activities have continued from 1929 until present, including during site cleanup activities. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1992 because of contaminated soil and ground water resulting from facility operations. EPA, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and the site’s potentially responsible parties (PRPs) 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 threaten people living and working near the site. Both residents and businesses use the public water system for drinking water. By cleaning up soils, identifying an effective ground water treatment approach and Five-Year Reviews, EPA, FDEP and the site’s PRPs continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 8-acre site is located in Orient Park, a commercial and industrial area in Tampa, Florida. The site’s immediate surroundings include 14th Avenue to the north, Orient Park Road to the east, an active railway line to the south, and 71st Street to the west. One residence is also located immediately north of the site. Helena Chemical Company also owns a 3-acre vacant lot immediately west of 71st Street and southwest of the site.

The site has been the location of agricultural product manufacturing, storage and distribution facilities since 1929. The original site owner, Flag Sulfur Company, formulated insecticides, herbicides and fungicides at the site from 1929 until 1967. Helena Chemical Company acquired the business in 1967 and continued manufacturing operations. In 1981, the company moved pesticide, herbicide and fungicide formulation operations to a facility in Georgia. The Tampa facility has continued to formulate and package insecticidal spray oil and liquid fertilizers since that time. The site is also the location of Helena Chemical Company's main distribution warehouse for sales locations in Florida.

There are two other Superfund sites located near the Helena Chemical Company site. The Alaric Area Ground Water Plume site is next to the site’s western boundary and the Stauffer Chemical Company (Tampa) site is located across Orient Park Road east of the site. EPA listed the Helena Chemical Company site on the NPL in 1992.

View site locati on 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 pesticide-related activities at the Site. Contaminants of concern include hexachlorocyclohexane (HCH) (also known as BHC, or benzene hexachloride), sulfate and lower concentrations of other volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

PRPs removed a large portion of the contaminated soil source and cleaned up shallow soil to levels that allow for commercial and industrial, not residential use. Some below-ground soil contamination remains in place; it is covered by clean fill and/or concrete/asphalt cover. Helena Chemical Company continues to operate a pesticide distribution warehouse on the Site, which is fenced and secured.

EPA is evaluating options to clean up the ground water HCH and xylene contamination through a series of pilot-scale studies. Ground water contaminants at the Site include VOCs, which could pose a risk to human health through vapor intrusion. All buildings located above the site’s VOC-contaminated ground water are ventilated, open-sided warehouse buildings, which prevent VOC accumulation.

All area businesses and the residence north of the Site use the public water system for drinking water. In addition, EPA and the Southwest Florida Water Management District have entered into an agreement. According to the agreement, the District regulates the permitting process and the construction of water wells within the area of the Site’s ground water contamination, as well as within the areas of ground water contamination at the two neighboring Superfund sites.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

Site PRPs lead site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and FDEP.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1996, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included the following activities:

In 2005, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences to make the ground water cleanup goal for xylene consistent with the federal and state primary drinking water standard. EPA anticipates changing the Site’s ground water cleanup method. The Agency is completing a series of studies to determine the most effective option.

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

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Cleanup Progress

In 2000, PRPs excavated and shipped about 7,700 tons of contaminated soil from a retention pond off site for treatment and disposal.

In 2004, PRPs removed, treated and disposed of about 1,800 tons of soil contaminated with sulfur and pesticides. PRPs then removed an additional 1,100 tons of soil contaminated with sulfur and pesticides in 2005. The cleaned up soil is now usable for commercial and industrial purposes. 

VOC-contaminated ground water at the nearby Alaric Area Ground Water Plume Superfund Site appears to be mixing with the western area of ground water contamination at the Helena Chemical Company Site.

In 2006-2007, PRPs sampled site ground water. With contamination remaining above cleanup level goals, EPA and FDEP did not change the approach to monitored natural attenuation.

In September 2008, the Site PRP proposed a series of pilot-scale studies to evaluate the potential biological breakdown of low-level pesticides remaining in site ground water. In addition, a source area of xylene remains on site, with a shallow area of xylene-contaminated ground water flowing to the southeast. Pilot studies were conducted to investigate the breakdown and biological degradation of xylene in this area. PRPs began these studies in September 2009 and completed them during the summer of 2012.   EPA and the FDEP reviewed the results of the pilot-scale study and concluded that, with sulfuric acid generation continuing in the vicinity of the former sulfur pit, biological degradation of the BHC is not possible.  As a result, the PRPs are currently developing plans for the scalable pilot-scale treatability study, designed to raise the pH of the areas impacted by former sulfur pit. The Site’s second Five-Year Review, completed in May 2011, found that cleanup actions to date protect human health and the environment. In the long term, there is a need for additional ground water cleanup.

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

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Enforcement Activities

EPA issued an order and negotiated a legal agreement with the Site PRP to investigate and clean up the Site. The PRPs continue 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 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 to solicit community input and to ensure that the public remains informed about site activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach efforts have included public notices, a fact sheet, interviews and public meetings.

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Future Work

PRPs anticipate that the sulfuric acid neutralization pilot-scale treatability studies will be started in late 2014.

EPA completed the Site’s last 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

University of South Florida
4202 East Fowler Avenue
Tampa, FL  33620

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