Potter's Septic Tank Service Pits
Site Summary ProfileEPA ID: NCD981023260
Location: Sandy Creek, Brunswick County, NC
Lat/Long: 34.284600, -078.157800
Congressional District: 07
NPL Status: Proposed: 06/24/88; Final: 03/31/89
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil
Cleanup Status: Construction Complete – Physical cleanup activities have been completed.
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Potential for Commercial/light Industrial
Site Manager: Beverly Stepter (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Potter's Septic Tank Service Pits site located in Sandy Creek, Brunswick County, North Carolina is a 5 acres site. In 1976, the U.S. Coast Guard was notified of an oil spill in Rattlesnake Branch Creek. The Coast Guard and the North Carolina Department of Natural and Economic Resources traced the oil spill to one of the four disposal pits at the site. In 1983, the present owner informed the North Carolina Department of Human Resources that he had uncovered sludge in his front yard. The State found contaminants in his well and shut it down. The EPA found contaminants in the soil and groundwater on the site. Approximately 1,800 people obtain drinking water from private wells within 3 miles of the site. The groundwater is contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including benzene and xylene, phenols, and other petroleum compounds. The soil in contaminated with heavy metals, chloroform, phenols. VOCs and other petroleum compounds. People who use contaminated well water may be at risk. Direct contact with contaminated soil was a health threat, especially to children playing in the area, before the removal of contaminated soil and sludge.
Ground water and soil at the site were contaminated by past disposal practices. Ground water and soil are contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phenols, and other petroleum compounds. Soil contamination also includes heavy metals and chloroform.
Approximately 1,800 people obtain drinking water from private wells within three miles of the site. People who use contaminated well water may be at risk. Prior to removal of contaminated soil and sludge, direct contact with contaminated soil had been a health threat, especially to children playing in the area.
Site Cleanup Plan
The Record of Decision (ROD) for the site was issued in 1992. Major cleanup elements for the site included:
- Extraction of all site ground water currently exceeding cleanup standards and treatment with air stripping to remove VOCs and chemical treatment with precipitation, flocculation, and filtration to remove heavy metals. Discharge of treated ground water to Chinnis Branch.
- Excavation of contaminated soils and treatment with a low temperature thermal desorption unit. Off-gases from volatilization will be treated using thermal oxidation, condensation and concentration for further treatment, or activated carbon filtration.
- Cleaned soils may be used as backfill for excavations, but soils that remain contaminated with heavy metals will be stabilized and taken off site for disposal.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the North Carolina Department of Natural and Economic Resources removed 40,000 gallons of oil from the creek and the disposal pits, as well as 150 truckloads of oil sludge and oil-stained soil. Thick oil sludge that could not be removed was mixed with sand and buried on the site. In 1984, the EPA removed approximately 3 million pounds of contaminated soil from the site and transported it to a federally-approved hazardous waste facility.
The EPA completed an investigation into the nature and extent of contamination at the site in 1992. In the summer of 1992, the EPA issued a Record of Decision and selected a remedy which provides for cleanup of soil and groundwater at the site. The remedy includes: Extracting groundwater and on-site treatment using above-ground precipitation, flocculation, and filtration to remove metals; air stripping to remove VOCs with discharge of the treated water to Chinnis Branch; on-site contaminated soil treatment using a low temperature thermal desorption unit, testing to determine whether concentrations of heavy metals exceed cleanup standards and, if so, stabilizing the soil using off-site soil treatment. The EPA began cleanup actions in late 1994 and soils cleanup has been completed. EPA remediated approximately 32,000cu/yds of contaminated soils. Based upon other requirements of the ROD and RD, it was determined that the performance standards were met.
The soil remedial action removed a very large mass of the contaminant mass that was once present at the site. EPA obtained additional groundwater quality data from the Potter's site in June 2000. The data clearly showed inorganic and organic contaminants decreasing over time to concentration below the ROD-specified clean-up goals. Therefore EPA amended the original remedy selected in the 1992 ROD on September 27, 2000. The new selected remedy is Monitoring Natural Attenuation and Institutional Controls. The Site was categorized as "construction completed" on September 27, 2000. The Groundwater remedial action started in September 2001. Activities included all actions necessary to evaluate the extent of migration of a contaminated plume from the Potter's Pits site including : the collection of groundwater samples from drinking water; the installation and sampling of groundwater wells and the monitoring of groundwater contaminants. As of January 1, 2011, 8 quarters of groundwater sampling was completed. Black & Veatch will conduct another round of groundwater sampling the Fall of 2011.EPA tasked the State of North Carolina to conduct a five-year for the Potter’s Pits site. The purpose of the five-year review is to determine whether the remedy remains protective of human health and the environment. The Five-Year Review was signed on September 10, 2007. This was the second five year review for the site. The remedy continues to be protective of human health and the environment. However, the Five-Year Review recommended that institutional controls (ICs) should be placed on the site. EPA is working diligently to place ICs on the site and anticipate that restrictions will be placed on two property owners by the end of fiscal year 2012.
EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the Potter’s Septic Tank Service Pits 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 meetings on cleanup activities and updates.
This site is subject to Five-Year Reviews (FYR). The second FYR for the site was completed in 2007 and recommended that institutional controls be placed on the site. EPA is currently working to put institutional controls in place and anticipated that restrictions will be placed on two property owners by the end of 2009.
The third FYR for the site is anticipated to be completed in 2012.
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.
Leland Public Library
487 Village Road
Leland, NC 28451
For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.