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Blue Ridge Plating

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: NCD044447589
Location: Arden, Buncombe County, NC
Lat/Long: 35.462370, -082.528350
Congressional District: 11
NPL Status: Proposed: 04/27/05; Final: 09/14/05
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil, Subsurface Soil
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: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Continued industrial use – a metal plating facility is located on site
Site Manager: Jon Bornholm (bornholm.jon@epa.gov)

Current Site Status

The Blue Ridge Plating Company site includes the area where Blue Ridge Plating Company has operated a metal plating facility since 1974. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 2005 because of contaminated ground water and soil resulting from facility operations. EPA and the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) 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 currently threaten people living and working near the site. A water line connects residences and businesses to the public water supply. By monitoring ground water and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA and NCDENR continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The approximately 3-acre site is located in Arden, Buncombe County, North Carolina. The site includes the facility building where metal plating operations take place. Commercial and industrial businesses surround the site. Two residences and an apartment complex are located west of the site. Residences include low-income and minority residents.

From 1974 to 1985, operations included collection of metal plating wastes in drums located in the basement of the facility. Operations filtered out plating sludge, discharged the wastewater to a 70,000-gallon in-ground concrete pond located behind the facility and disposed of plating sludge off site. Between 1985 and 1990, operations discharged wastewater to the local public sewer system. In 1990, the local government suspended the facility’s access to the sewer system because wastewater did not meet pretreatment requirements. The company employs a closed loop waste recovery system, which is located in the facility basement.

Blue Ridge Plating’s metal plating ceased operations in December 2013 when the Buncombe County Fire Department declared the Blue Ridge Plating building to be unsafe to enter. Blue Ridge Plating is currently making the necessary arrangements to conduct a cleanup of the building and the chemicals inside the building. This wrong will be done under the supervision of both EPA and NCDENR.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from waste handling practices at the site. Contaminant of concern include inorganic compounds, heavy metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Contamination affected soil on the facility property and the property next to the facility.  Ground water contamination remains and a water line connects residences and businesses to the public water supply. 

EPA assessed whether residents or workers might be at risk from harmful ground water vapors in buildings. EPA found that vapor intrusion did not pose a threat to residents and workers.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

EPA leads site investigation and cleanup activities in cooperation with NCDENR. Between September 2002 and September 2004, EPA conducted the Remedial investigation/Feasibility Study using federal funds.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 2004, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included the following activities:

In 2008, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to correct a transcription error 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

EPA conducted soil cleanup activities from 2006 until 2007. EPA dug up and disposed of 8,737 cubic yards of contaminated soil at an off-site facility and regraded and revegetated the dug-up area.

In 2007, EPA installed four ground water monitoring wells and an additional five ground water monitoring wells in 2012 in an effort to identify the source and extent of trichloroethene in the groundwater.

Summaries of cleanup activities are also available online.

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Enforcement Activities

EPA and NCDENR have tried to negotiate legal agreements with the Blue Ridge Plating Company, the site’s PRP, to investigate and clean up the site. EPA continues to use federal funds for site activities in the meantime.

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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 and public meetings.

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Future Work

Annual ground water monitoring activities at the site are ongoing.

EPA completed the site’s first Five-Year Review (FYR) in September 2012. The conclusion of this report was, “The remedy at the Site currently protects human health and the environment in the short term because 1) the soil contamination was remediated through source removal and 2) currently, no human exposure pathways exist to contaminated groundwater as municipal water is supplied at and surrounding the Site. As this is the first FYR, monitored natural attenuation (MNA) data is currently being gathered and the appropriateness of MNA needs to be determined. However, in order for the remedy to be protective in the long-term, the following actions need to be taken to ensure long-term protectiveness: implement institutional controls, complete delineation of the VOC plume, and issue an ESD to 1) allow the collection of additional groundwater data to complete the evaluation of monitored natural attenuation and 2) revise performance standards for 1,1-dichloroethane and cyanide.”

A copy of the Five-Year Review Report can be viewed online at the following internet address:  http://cumulis.epa.gov/fiveyear/?fuseaction=home.showSearchForm

With the closure of operations, Blue Ridge Plating is arranging to cleanup the interior of building and remove all chemicals from the building. This effort should be completed by the end of 2014.


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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

Buncombe/Skyland Library
260 Overlook Road
Asheville, NC 28803-3317

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