National Southwire Aluminum Company
Site Summary ProfileEPA ID: KYD049062375
Location: Hawesville, Hancock County, KY
Lat/Long: 37.944990, -086.787770
Congressional District: 02
NPL Status: Proposed: 07/29/91; Final: 05/31/94
Affected Media: Ground water
Cleanup Status: Construction Complete - Physical cleanup activities have been completed.
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Potential for commercial/light industrial
Site Manager: Femi Akindele (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The National Southwire Aluminum Company (NSA) is located on the south bank of the Ohio River near Hawesville in Hancock County, Kentucky. The 1,100 acre facility is an aluminum ore refining operation which produces aluminum ingots for further processing by other Southwire facilities. The aluminum reduction process takes place in carbon-lined metal pots and, after numerous reductions, eventually produces unusable pot liners which are contaminated with cyanide resulting from the combination of the carbon in the pot liners and the nitrogen in air. Old pot liners had been disposed in one of several old disposal ponds several hundred yards from the main facility. Over time cyanide leached from the disposal pond into the shallow aquifer, which normally flows to the Ohio River.
In 1979, a plume (the North Plume) of cyanide, fluoride, and heavy metals was detected moving from the closed North Disposal Pond towards the Ohio River, and a second, smaller plume was detected on the opposite side of the main facility (the South Plume) also migrating towards the Ohio River.
In 1985, cyanide was detected in one of the facility production wells which produced facility process water and drinking water for several hundred NSA workers. Wells within four miles of the facility draw water from the shallow aquifer and the Ohio River, serving over 16,000 people. Other contaminants of concern in ground water include volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
Subsurface soil contaminated with PCBs was also detected near a cooling tower on the main facility, in soils at the refractory brick disposal area, and in several other isolated areas.
Site Cleanup Plan
An Interim Record of Decision (ROD) for the site was issued in 1993. Major cleanup elements for the site included:
- Extraction of contaminated alluvial aquifer ground water.
- Treatment of contaminated ground water.
- Discharge of treated ground water to the Ohio River in accordance with Kentucky Pollutant Discharge Elimination System requirements.
- Proper disposal of all sludge generated via the pump-and-treat action in accordance with Resource Conservation and Recovery Act requirements.
The ROD for the site was issued in 2000. Major cleanup elements for the site included:
- Continue to operate and maintain ground water extraction and treatment system.
- Monitor site-wide ground water and ground water treatment system discharge.
- Determine surface and subsurface concentrations of PCBs and other chemicals of concern, excavate areas of contamination, and remove to off-site secure landfill.
- Cover excavated areas with clean backfill and establish grass cover.
- Dispose of materials with lower levels of PCB contamination under the new Taylors Wash Landfill cap.
- Collection and treatment of leachate utilizing a new force main from the Landfill to the existing ground water treatment plant.
- Land use and ground water use deed restrictions and operational controls to limit physical contact.
In February 1992, under State supervision, NSA hauled 850 cubic yards (130 truckloads) of PCB-contaminated soils to an EPA-approved hazardous waste facility.
NSA designed and constructed a ground water treatment system to remove cyanide, fluoride and heavy metals from the aquifer. The system began operations in June 1995, and treated water is discharged into the Ohio River under Kentucky’s permit, the Kentucky Pollution Discharge Elimination System.
From 1996 to 1997, NSA conducted a removal action to address cyanide detected in the ground water beneath an old disposal pond at the site.
The remedial design for addressing all remaining affected areas of the site was completed in June 2006. Remedial Action construction activities began at the site in April 2007, and were completed by September 2008.
EPA issued an Administrative Order by Consent for a Remedial Investigation and Feasibility Study of the entire site in September 1992.
The intermediate remedial action was constructed and is being operated by NSA under a Consent Decree with EPA signed in April 1994.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky negotiated a State Agreed Order with NSA for implementation of the remedial design and remedial action (RD/RA). A Consent Decree was entered by the U.S. District Court on March 8, 2004 to initiate the RD/RA.
An EPA Administrative Order by Consent was completed in October 1995 for a non-time-critical removal at the Old South Slurry Pond.
EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the National Southwire Aluminum Company site to solicit community input and to ensure that the public remains informed about site activities throughout the site cleanup process. Outreach activities have included public notices, interviews, and public updates.
At this time, ground water treatment and monitoring continue at the site as well as Operations and Maintenance of the remedial actions completed in 2008.
The aquifer will continue to be pumped and treated until contaminants are consistently below the standards set by EPA and the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
Site Administrative Documents
For more information or to view any site-related documents, please visit the site information repository at the following location. As new documents are generated, they will be placed in the information repository for public information.
Hancock County Public Library
P.O. Box 249, Court Street
Hawesville, KY 42348-4039
For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.