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Fort Hartford Coal Co. Stone Quarry


Rough River retention basin at the Fort Hartford Coal Company Stone Quarry site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: KYD980844625
Location: Olaton, Ohio County, KY
Lat/Long: 37.538880, -086.702760
Congressional District: 01
NPL Status: Proposed: 06/24/88; Final: 08/30/90
Affected Media: Air, Ground water, Surface water
Cleanup Status: Construction complete - physical cleanup activities have been completed
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: Yes
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Not in reuse
Site Manager: Deborah Cox (cox.deborah@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Fort Hartford Coal Co. Stone Quarry site includes the area where Fort Hartford Coal Company operated a limestone mine and then a storage facility for salt cake fines from the late 1950s until 1991. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1990 because of contaminated air, ground water and surface water resulting from storage operations. EPA, the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP) and Commonwealth Aluminum Concast, Inc., the Site’s potentially responsible party (PRP), have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the Site. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the Site. A water line connects residences and businesses to the public water supply. By treating ground water, placing institutional controls on the site property and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA, KDEP and the site’s PRP continue to protect human health and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 850-acre site is located 1.25 miles northwest of Olaton in east-central Ohio County, Kentucky. Approximately 120 additional acres are a former mine area and are located underground. The Rough River borders the Site to the north, Underwood Road borders the Site to the south, a residence borders the Site to the east and agricultural land borders the Site to the west. There are approximately 56 residences within a 1-mile radius of the property. Logging operations have taken place on the site property and several logging roads remain on Site. Fencing surrounds the Site and restricts access to the mineshaft area.

From the late 1950s until about 1978, Fort Hartford Coal Company removed limestone from the mine. In 1981, Barmet Aluminum Corporation contracted with the Fort Hartford Coal Company to store salt cake fines (SCFs), a byproduct of Barmet Aluminum Corporation's aluminum recycling operation at another facility, in the Site’s underground mine area. From 1981 until 1991, Barmet Aluminum Corporation delivered 500 tons of SCFs per day to the site. In total, Barmet Aluminum Corporation placed approximately one-half million tons of SCFs on site. In 1990, EPA listed the Site on the NPL.

Site PRP Commonwealth Aluminum Concast, Inc. owns the Site. The Site is not currently in use.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in air, ground water and surface water resulting from storage operations of the SCFs that could potentially harm people in the area. SCFs react with rain or ground water and produce ammonia gas. Site contaminants of concern include ammonia and chloride.

Ground water contamination is confined to the site boundary.

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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 KDEP.

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Site Cleanup Plan

Initial cleanup actions were implemented in 1990. In 1995, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the Site to address remaining contamination. Major components of the cleanup plan include:

In 1999, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to provide additional information on the selected cleanup approach for the Site originally described in the 1995 ROD. Ambient air monitoring was conducted along the property boundary of the Site that determine the ammonia emissions leaving the property did not exceed the Kentucy state standard for ammonia in ambient air (Threshold Ambient Limit (TAL) of 428 mg/m3). Therefore, no remedial action (RA) for ammonia emssions (i.e., portal doors and contingent dispersion stacks) from the mine was required. The ESD also modified the performance standards for ground water established in the ROD.

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

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Cleanup Progress

In 1990, the site’s PRP began cleanup activities, including grading the site to promote drainage away from SCFs areas, repairing mine roof collapses, permanently closing 26 sinkholes, installing a pump-and-treat system for mineshaft runoff and obtaining a discharge permit from the State of Kentucky for controlled discharge of site drainage into the Rough River.

The PRP completed all physical components necessary to implement the cleanup approach described in the ROD by July  1998. The PRP is conducting long-term monitoring and maintenance activities according to the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Plan that was approved by EPA in 2000.

Five-Year Reviews (FYRs) were completed on the Site in 2002, 2007, and 2012. The  FYRs found that the cleanup approach was constructed and operated in accordance with the ROD, as modified by the ESD and remains protective of human health and the environment.  However, in order for the cleanup approach to be protective in the long-term, the 2012 FYR noted that the increasing trend of ammonia and chloride in monitoring wells requires further evaluation.
Site cleanup activities are being led primarily by PRPs with oversight by EPA.

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

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Enforcement Activities

In 1989, the PRP entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with EPA, requiring the PRP to perform expedited cleanup actions and a Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study for the site.

EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order to the PRP in 1995 to design the cleanup approach and implement the cleanup required in the 1995 ROD.

EPA 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.

The ROD, ESD, and Five-Year Reviews online provide additional 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 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

Operation and maintenance activities, including ground-water monitoring, are ongoing.

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in September 2012.  The next Five-Year Review is scheduled to be completed in September 2017.

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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

County Records Clerks Office
301 S. Main St.
Hartford, KY 42347

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