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Monsanto Corp. (Augusta Plant)

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Ground water extraction system at the Monsanto Corp. (Augusta Plant) site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: GAD001700699
Location: Augusta, Richmond County, GA
Lat/Long: 33.389450,-081.993060
Congressional District: 10
NPL Status: Proposed: 09/08/83; Final: 09/21/84; Deleted: 03/09/98
Affected Media: Ground water
Cleanup Status: Deleted from the National Priorities List
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: In continued use – industrial land uses are located on site
Site Manager: Robenson Joseph (joseph.robenson@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The Monsanto Corp. (Augusta Plant) site is the location of an active chemical plant that has been operating since 1962. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984 because of contaminated ground water resulting from facility operations. EPA, the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (Georgia EPD) 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. EPA deferred the site to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) program under state oversight in 1998. By treating ground water and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA, Georgia EPD and the site’s PRPs continue to protect residents and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 75-acre site is located in an industrial park in Richmond County, Georgia, three miles southeast of Augusta. The area is primarily industrial. The nearest residential area is a half-mile northwest of the site. The site is fenced and secured.

The chemical plant began operations in 1962 and remains active today. Prayon, Inc. has owned and operated the plant since 1999. Before that, Monsanto Corporation (Monsanto) ran the site. Both companies are PRPs.

The plant manufactures phosphoric acid. This process generates several waste products, including arsenic trisulfide. Monsanto used two small on-site landfills to dispose of solid waste and sludges containing arsenic trisulfide.

Georgia EPD first identified the site in 1975. In 1979, Monsanto began monitoring ground water south of the site. The ground water monitoring program found arsenic levels in the upper-level aquifer above the federal drinking water standard. Monsanto removed waste material in the on-site landfills in 1983. In 1984, EPA listed the site on the NPL.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations identified contamination in ground water that could potentially harm people in the area. Ground water contamination resulted from facility operations at the site. Arsenic is the primary contaminant of concern.

Ground water contamination is mostly contained on site. Some contamination has spread off site. Ground water contamination does not threaten people living and working near the site. Residents and businesses in the area use the public water supply for drinking water. Contamination has not affected public water wells in the area. The production plant uses one ground water well for manufacturing processes only. The well draws uncontaminated water from deeper in the ground, below the contamination. Treatment of ground water is ongoing.

The site is fenced and secured.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

PRPs lead site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and Georgia EPD.

EPA deleted the site from the NPL and deferred the site to the RCRA program with oversight by Georgia EPD. EPA continues to review ground water monitoring data and perform Five-Year Reviews. 

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1991, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included the following activities:

In 2002, EPA changed the federal drinking water standard for arsenic from 50 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion. Site ground water must meet this standard for the cleanup to be completed.

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 1983, Monsanto excavated the on-site landfills and transported the material to a RCRA-permitted landfill. Soil from the bottom of the excavated area did not exceed the RCRA Extraction Procedure Toxicity Standard for arsenic. As a result, a landfill cover was not required for the excavated areas.

In 1995, Monsanto began operation of the site’s ground water extraction system. Monsanto extracted ground water from the upper-level aquifer and discharged it for treatment at a POTW. 

Since both EPA’s Superfund program and the State of Georgia under the RCRA program were adequately addressing the site, EPA deleted the site from the NPL in 1998. The cleanup approach is now included in Prayon Inc.'s Hazardous Waste Facility Permit issued under RCRA authority. Georgia EPD continues to oversee the pumping and discharge of ground water to the publicly owned treatment works and the ground water monitoring program at the site.

The site’s third Five-Year Review, completed in 2010, found that the cleanup approach would be protective of people and the environment when the ground water cleanup under RCRA is completed.

Site PRP Prayon, Inc. will run the site’s ground water treatment system until arsenic levels in site ground water reach the federal drinking water standard.

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 site PRPs to investigate and clean up the site. The PRPs 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 make sure the public remains informed about site activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach efforts have included public notices, interviews and information meetings.

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Future Work

Site PRP Prayon Inc. will continue pumping ground water and discharging it to the publicly owned treatment works until ground water meets cleanup level goals.

EPA completed the site’s last Five-Year Review in 2010 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2015.

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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

August-Richmond County Public Library
902 Green Street
Augusta, GA  30901

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