Picayune Wood Treating
Site Summary ProfileEPA ID: MSD065490930
Location: Picayune, Pearl River County, MS
Lat/Long: 30.524440, -089.689720
Congressional District: 04
NPL Status: Proposed: 03/08/2004; Final: 07/22/2004
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil, Sediment
Cleanup Status: Physical cleanup activities are underway.
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Ground water Migration Under Control: Not currently
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Possible commercial/industrial development or open space (parks, recreation centers, and open fields)
Site Manager: Michael Taylor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Picayune Wood Treating Site is currently closed but once used creosote to coat and treat wood and lumber products. Since the problem was discovered in the 1980s, Regulatory officials have started various cleanup efforts that continue to this day. Since 1985, people within this community have been protected from exposure to the creosote contamination. There is an ongoing effort to track the direction of the contaminated groundwater to make sure that no one is drinking or using contaminated water. More details about the history of the Site and the current and future work can be found in the summary sections below.
The Picayune Wood Treating site is located 403 Davis Street in Picayune, Mississippi. The 31.5-acre site is mostly flat undeveloped land. The site is fenced, separating it from the surrounding property. The site is bounded on the east by a commercial and industrial area; on the south by an abandoned lumber yard, a public park, a daycare center, and residences; and on the west by Southside Elementary School and more residences. Although the facility is partially fenced, the property is used by children for recreational purposes. The area includes residences as well as commercial and industrial businesses. There are also, a public park, a day care center to the south and west of the site, and three elementary schools within 2000 feet of the site.
Timber and lumber-related operations began in the early 1900s; wood treating operations most likely began around 1946. The Crosby Products Company, pressure-treated yellow southern pine wood with preservative chemicals (creosote). In 1973, Wood Treating, Inc. (WTI) purchased the facility and continued to pressure-treat wood at the site until 1999 when operations ceased. WTI operations included a sawmill, veneer mill, a wooden box factory, and a Tung oil extraction facility. Only a few of the original structures remain on the site. All wood treating operations stopped in 1999.
The pressure- treating operation used creosote and various other chemicals to coat lumber products such as telephone poles at the site. From these past operations, it is known that groundwater beneath this old facility is contaminated. This is likely the result of the past wood pressure- treating operations and the various timber- and lumber-related operations conducted on the property since the early 1900s.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) and EPA regulated the WTI facility under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) from 1981 to 1999. The site was listed as final on the NPL in 2004.
EPA investigations found contamination in the soil and in the ground water that could potentially harm people living in the area. The primary source of contamination found at the Site included creosote and asbestos waste from the past wood treating operations.
Analytical results for on-site surface and subsurface soil samples have indicated the presence of inorganic and organic contaminants including arsenic, chromium, copper, lead, cyanide, benzene, methyl isobutyl ketone, toluene, ethyl benzene, total xylenes, styrene, several polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), and phenols. In addition, several dioxin and furan compounds were identified at elevated concentrations in surface soil, subsurface soil, and sediment samples collected from Picayune.
Most of the soil contamination was found in the former treatment process areas and old surface impoundments (treatment, storage, or disposal of liquid hazardous wastes in ponds), but truck traffic and storm water runoff likely resulted in the spread the contamination throughout the site and to Mill Creek, south of the site. Samples taken of the ground water show that there is some creosote and naphthalene contamination present. Because residents in the area obtain their water from municipal water supply wells, they are not at risk. No one is drinking contaminated water from the Picayune site
In 2006, ATSDR concluded that it is possible that children exposed to soil contamination in and around the site and children exposed to sediments in residential yards and creek-beds near the site may be at risk. Those risks included reproductive and developmental effects. Additional information can be found in the ATSDR Health Consultation (PDF) (12 pp, 90K, About PDF). In response, EPA installed a fence along the designated portion of Mill Creek.
Ground water contamination is a significant concern at Picayune Wood. Copper and lead are attributable inorganic constituents of concern detected at elevated levels in ground water samples collected from on-site monitoring wells.
Site-related organic compounds detected at elevated concentrations in samples collected from on-site monitoring wells include benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, total xylenes, styrene, isopropylbenzene, and numerous PAHs. An estimated 15,160 persons obtain water from wells within a 4-mile radius of Picayune. The nearest drinking water wells are operated by the City of Picayune and are located within 0.25 mile northeast of Picayune. Although these wells are close to the site, water collected by them is closely monitored, regulated and treated prior to distribution. People using this water are not at risk of receiving contaminants from the site.
Surface water contamination is also a major concern at Picayune. Inorganic contaminants detected at elevated concentrations in sediment samples collected at and downstream of Picayune include arsenic, chromium, copper, lead, and cyanide. Hazardous substances detected at elevated concentrations in sediment samples collected at and downstream of the facility include lead, cyanide, toluene, ethyl benzene, total xylenes, isopropyl benzene, numerous PAHs, and dioxin and furan compounds. Mill Creek was used for recreational purposes by children in the adjacent public park; however, it has been fenced and access is restricted. Mill Creek flows into the Pearl River, which is also used for recreational purposes including fishing and boating.
To address these risks, the cleanup plan below was developed.
Site investigation and cleanup activities are being led primarily by EPA.
Site Cleanup Plan
Picayune Wood encompasses approximately 29.1 acres. Source areas evaluated at Picayune include an unknown quantity of contaminated soil located throughout the facility, three backfilled surface impoundments on the western portion of the property, and a backfilled former cooling pond in the northern portion of the property. The three surface impoundments on the western portion of the facility property comprise a total area of about 27,000 square feet . The former cooling pond is approximately 5,000 square feet. The surface impoundments are not lined.
In 2007, EPA drafted and published the Record of Decision (ROD) which outlines the approach that would be taken to clean up the site and protect the public. EPA planned to excavate the contaminated soil throughout the site and surrounding areas and combine it into one pile, located within the old facility. The pile would be covered and measures put in place to ensure that no releases occur prior to disposal at a later date. EPA also planned to address contaminated ground water. The two sources of ground water contamination will be contained surrounded by barrier walls to keep them from spreading. The contaminated ground water located outside these contained areas will be treated. Ground water will be routinely sampled and monitored until it is safe to drink again.
In 1985 WTI discovered that the groundwater under the Picayune facility was contaminated and closed some areas of the property. The company installed ground water wells in 1991 to remove and treat the contaminated water. The wood pressure-treating system was dismantled shortly afterward and is no longer operable.
EPA cleaned up various parts of the site to address hazards between 1999 through 2001 as part of an emergency response action. In 2001, EPA installed a chain link fence along Mill Creek to prevent people from entering the area due to the contaminated soil and sediment. Warning signs were posted along the fencing to further warn area residents of the potential danger.
Between 2001 and 2007 additional steps were undertaken by EPA to further identify the risk from the site to citizens, determine what was contaminated and how much was contaminated. This was conducted to identify possible cleanup options.
During this testing, elevated levels of Dioxin was discovered in some residential areas EPA began cleaning up soil in those residential areas in 2007. This emergency cleanup was completed in May 2008. As a precaution, EPA temporarily relocated residents in the affected area during the remedial action in 2007-2008.
EPA has been investigating the liability of potentially responsible parties for the Picayune Wood Treating Superfund Site (the Site) in Picayune, Pearl River County, Mississippi for a number of years. In connection with EPA's site investigations EPA has sent Information Requests and notices letters to all identified Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) associated with the site. The PRPs at the site include a number of companies that are no longer operating or in business, two former owners of the companies, and a current owner of a 13 – acre portion of the site property. EPA is currently pursuing enforcement actions that include discussions with the former and current owners of the Site about repaying EPA for work done to cleanup their contamination.
Past efforts to hold the responsible parties accountable for this contamination include:
- The Mississippi Department of Natural Resources and MDEQ conducted a series of inspections between 1981 and 1998, during which several deficiencies and RCRA violations were noted.
- Based on these violations, in 1991, WTI installed six recovery wells as part of a ground water pump and treat system to comply with a RCRA post-closure permit issued to WTI in 1989.
- On May 20, 2000 - EPA sent a 104e information request letter to the Site's former owner and to his company seeking information.
- June 29, 2000 - General Notice Letters were sent to the former owner and his company informing them of their PRP status.
- October 3, 2000 - EPA perfected a lien on the site property.
- February 8, 2001 - EPA sent a second Information Request (IR) to former site owner/operator.
- July 31, 2001 - EPA recieved a good-faith settlement offer.
- September 5, 2001 - EPA sent another IR requesting additonal financial information.
- July 24, 2009 - A General Notice to the current owner.
- July 24, 2009 - A General Notice to the former operator.
EPA and MDEQ have conducted a broad range of community involvement activities to involve the community and get their input. Great efforts were made to ensure that the Picayune community remained informed about site activities throughout the site cleanup process. Outreach activities have included public notices and information meetings on cleanup progress and activities. Outreach activities have also included work with the local government. ATSDR has also engaged in outreach activities along with EPA and MDEQ to inform the community on contaminants of concern.
EPA worked collaboratively with MDEQ thought our involvement with the site. In 2004, a community involvement plan (CIP) for the site was completed following a series of community interviews. The plan outlined and identified community concerns about the site, as well as EPA's community engagement activities including citizen involvement. The CIP was designed to provide the public an opportunity to remain informed in site removal and remedial activities and resolve any potential conflicts resulting from the removal and/or removal process. The plan also describes proposed community involvement activities that would be conducted by the agency throughout the removal and remedial process.
In 2005, a community site tour was conducted along with an informational community meeting.
In 2006, a public meeting was held to inform the community of upcoming removal activities and explain the relocation process. As well, the public meeting informed the community of the ongoing remedial action plan being developed for the site.
From May 2007 through March of 2008, EPA worked with MDEQ to relocate residents during removal activities. As well, on November 8, 2007, EPA along with MDEQ conducted a public meeting which provided information to the community regarding continuing removal activities as well upcoming remedial activities. In order to better serve the community, the a community involvement specialist was onsite throughout the removal activities and was available on a daily basis with community members to address concerns and answer questions. Though actions such as this, EPA and the state MDEQ office have been able to effectively and consistently keep the residents of Picayune informed about issues related to clean-up the Picayune Wood Treating site. In 2007, the community involvement plan for the site was updated.
In November 2009, EPA Senior Leaders and key officials from the MDEQ toured the Picayune Wood Treating site. This was followed by an EPA-sponsored Community Listening Session held in Picayune at the South Side Elementary School.
In July 2010 EPA met with MDEQ and the City of Picayune to provide an update on Remedial Action plans. EPA and MDEQ addressed the City Council during their Junly 2010 meeting.
In early 2008, EPA began developing a final design to guide the implementation of the cleanup approach selected in the 2007 ROD for addressing the former wood treating site and ground water contaminants. The remedial design was completed in September 2009.
The site received remedial action funding in September 2010. EPA and the US Army Corps of Engineers will issue a contract to conduct the Remedial Action in the spring of 2011. The City of Picayune will relocate the high pressure gasline that currently flows across the Site.
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.
Margaret Reed Crosby Memorial Library
900 Goodyear Blvd
Picayune, MS 39466
For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.