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Estech General Chemical Corp

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Estech site during cleanup (2010)
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Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: NCD051827905
Location: Navassa, Brunswick County, NC
Congressional District: 07
NPL Status: Non NPL
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil, Sediment
Cleanup Status: Removal Action Completed – ground water monitoring underway
Human Exposure Under Control: NA
Groundwater Migration Under Control: NA
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: NA
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: None
Site Manager: Ken Mallary (mallary.ken@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The Estech General Chemical Corp site includes an area where a phosphate fertilizer facility operated from 1884 to 1980. The site is not in use. Formerly operated by Virginia Carolina Chemical Company, the site is one of several former phosphate fertilizer facilities throughout the southeastern United States that EPA, Exxon Mobil Corporation (ExxonMobil) and state agencies are addressing through an innovative cleanup agreement. The agreement allows ExxonMobil to use a standard cleanup approach across these sites, using EPA-authorized Superfund removal actions.

Because of contamination associated with the former phosphate fertilizer facility, EPA authorized a removal action at the site. EPA, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR), and ExxonMobil, Estech Chemical and the site owners, 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. ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs have cleaned up contaminated soil and sediment and are monitoring the long-term treatment of ground water. Site contamination does not threaten people living and working near the site. By continuing to monitor ground water, EPA, NCDENR, ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 17-acre site is part of a larger 60-acre area on the Cape Fear River, six miles west of Wilmington, in Navassa, Brunswick County, North Carolina. Cape Fear River borders the site to the east. The Seaboard Coastline Railroad and a yacht manufacturing facility border the site to the south. An undeveloped property and Old Navassa Road border the site to the southwest. An undeveloped property borders the site to the northwest. Cartwheel Branch borders the site to the north. The Kerr-McGee Chemical Corp – Navassa site is located approximately one quarter-mile west of the site, along Navassa Road. Navassa is an Environmental Justice community and includes low-income and minority residents.

From the late 1800s to the early 1900s, Virginia Carolina Chemical Company (VCC) produced phosphate fertilizer at several sites throughout the southeastern United States, including the Estech General Chemical Corp site. Fertilizer manufacturing operations took place at the site from 1884 tol 1980, when the site was abandoned. Manufacturing at the site involved combining phosphate ores with sulfuric acid to produce phosphoric acid, the building block of nitrogen-phosphorus-potassium agricultural fertilizers. Operators produced sulfuric acid at the site and stored it in lead-insulated chambers.

EPA did not list the site on the National Priorities List (NPL), but considers it an NPL-caliber site, with the site’s PRPs addressing it through EPA-authorized Superfund removal action. While ExxonMobil never owned or operated facilities at the site, the company accepted responsibility for site cleanup by way of a corporate merger in 1999. Today, ExxonMobil is actively cleaning up a number of the VCC sites across the southeast. Currently, the site is not in use. Site owners have expressed interest in reusing the site. The site can support commercial and industrial land uses.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found lead and arsenic contamination, as well as low pH conditions, associated with former phosphate fertilizer manufacturing in ground water, soil and sediment.

ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs have addressed soil and sediment contamination. The site can support commercial and industrial land uses.

Ground water contamination remains at the site. EPA does not consider ground water contamination a threat because it does not affect private wells. ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs continue to monitor ground water.

ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs will place institutional controls on the property deed for the site primarily to to prohibit use of ground water and residential development on site.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs conducted the removal action and continue to monitor site ground water. EPA and NCDENR provide oversight.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 2004, EPA signed an Action Memorandum, which authorized the use of a non-time-critical removal action, a short-term cleanup, to address the contamination at the site and described EPA’s preferred plan for addressing it. Based upon additional information, EPA issued a second Action Memorandum to change the cleanup plan in 2010. The revised plan included the following activities:

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Cleanup Progress

From 2010 to 2011, ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs conducted removal action at the site. ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs dug up 100,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil and sediment, treated it on site and disposed of it at an off-site facility. ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs placed a chemical additive in backfilled material below the water table to treat contaminated ground water. ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs also restored wetlands and graded and reseeded the site.

EPA and NCDENR conducted an inspection of the completed removal action in 2011.

ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs will continue to monitor ground water to determine the effectiveness of the removal action. Parties expect lead and arsenic levels in ground water to decline within five to 10 years.

EPA OSC.net provides more information about the removal activities. Exit Disclaimer

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Enforcement Activities

In 2000, EPA, Exxon Mobil and the other site PRPs entered into a legal agreement, in which Exxon Mobil and the other site PRPs agreed to conduct an engineering evaluation/cost analysis to fully investigate site-related contamination and determine potential risks to public health and the environment caused by the release or threatened release of contamination from the site.

In 2004, EPA, Exxon Mobil and the other site PRPs negotiated a legal agreement to conduct the non-time-critical removal action at the site.

ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs funded site cleanup activities and continue to fund site monitoring and oversight.

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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. EPA cannot fulfill its mission without community engagement and public outreach as core components of the program’s activities.

EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the site to solicit community input and to make sure the public remains informed about site activities throughout the cleanup process. Outreach activities have included public notices, interviews, fact sheets and information meetings. ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs also created several job opportunities for local citizens during the non-time-critical removal action.

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Future Work

ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs will continue to monitor ground water.

ExxonMobil and the other site PRPs will place institutional controls on the site property deed primarily to prohibit use of ground water and residential development on site.

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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

New Hanover County Public Library
2012 Chestnut Street
Wilmington, NC 28401

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