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Aqua-Tech Environmental, Inc. (Groce Labs)

Photos/Multimedia

Drums on the Aqua-Tech Environmental Inc. site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: SCD058754789
Location: Greer, Spartanburg County, SC
Lat/Long: 34.932800, -082.172500
Congressional District: 04
NPL Status: Proposed: 08/23/94; Final: 12/16/94
Affected Media: Ground water, Soil
Cleanup Status: Early Action Initiated/Completed and Construction Underway - Physical cleanup activities have started.
Human Exposure Under Control: Yes
Groundwater Migration Under Control: Yes
Sitewide Ready for Anticipated Use: No
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Potential for Commercial/Light Industrial
Site Manager: Yvonne Jones (jones.yvonneo@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The Aqua-Tech Environmental, Inc. (Groce Labs) site includes the area where the City of Greer operated a municipal landfill from 1940 until 1968 and where private companies operated a hazardous waste facility from 1974 until 1987. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1994 because of contaminated ground water, surface water and soil resulting from facility operations. EPA, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) and 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. Site contamination does not currently threaten people living and working near the site. People living nearby have access to the public water supply. By treating soil, monitoring ground water and enforcing institutional controls, EPA, SCDHEC and the site’s PRPs continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 61.5-acre site is located in rural Spartanburg County, South Carolina, five miles east of Greer and a mile east of Duncan. Site surroundings include commercial businesses to the north, rural homes to the east, Maple Creek and a heavily wooded area to the south, and a tree farm to the west.

From 1940 until 1968, the City of Greer used the site as a municipal solid waste landfill. Groce Laboratories purchased the site property from the City of Greer in 1974 and began operating a hazardous waste treatment, storage and reclamation facility over the former landfill. Aqua-Tech Environmental, Inc. (Aqua-Tech) purchased the operation in 1987 and continued to accept, store, and treat most hazardous wastes as well as a variety of other solid wastes.

On September 4, 1991, after several citizen complaints and environmental violations, SCDHEC ordered the closure of the facility due to the large volume of improperly stored hazardous waste and the imminent threat to public health. Following the facility’s closure, EPA and SCDHEC emergency response personnel discovered 7,000 drums and lab packs, 97 above-ground tanks, 1,200 gas cylinders, unexploded ordinance material, and small amounts of low-level radioactive material and biohazard material at the site. Many of the drums, tanks and cylinders were deteriorating, leaking and improperly stored.

PRPs completed the removal and stabilization of these materials in 1994. The same year, EPA listed the site on the NPL. Apart from site cleanup activities, the site is currently vacant.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water, surface water and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from waste handling practices at the site. Contaminants of concern include metals, volatile organic compounds and polychlorinatedbiphenyls. Cleanup actions and institutional controls have addressed threats resulting from contaminated ground water, surface water and soil. Remaining ground water contamination is located within the site boundary. Ground water treatments have helped greatly in reducing the levels of contaminants. All nearby homes have access to the public water supply.

Zoning for the site permits commercial and industrial uses. Since the site is located within the Greenville-Spartanburg “Airport Environs Area,” residential development, churches, day care facilities or other similar uses are not permitted. EPA might require an institutional control in the form of a restrictive covenant in the future to restrict well drilling and the construction of buildings over the former landfill.

The site is fenced and secured.

EPA considered children’s health issues as part of the site’s risk assessment.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

EPA and SCDHEC initially led short-term cleanup actions. The Aqua-Tech PRP Group (the PRP Group) conducted an extensive cleanup action from 1992 until 1994. The PRP Group is leading long-term site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and SCDHEC.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 2003, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included the following activities:

Summaries of site cleanup approaches are also available online in key site cleanup documents, including the ROD.

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Cleanup Progress

In 1991, SCDHEC conducted emergency response and stabilization activities. The PRP Group continued emergency response and stabilization activities, with oversight from EPA and SCDHEC, from 1992 until early 1994. Parties removed drums, cylinders, and solid and liquid wastes to reduce the potential for exposure to contaminated materials, while also investigating the site.

In May 2010, the PRP Group completed the installation of the landfill cap. The PRP Group is currently treating contaminated soil using a soil vapor extraction system.

In March 2011, the PRP Group completed full-scale ground water cleanup activities involving chemical injections. The PRP Group will continue to monitor ground water until it meets site cleanup goals.

Regular discussions among EPA, SCDHEC, local agencies and the PRP Group’s consultants have helped effectively coordinate the cleanup activities required in the site’s ROD.

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Enforcement Activities

From 1982 through 1991, Groce Laboratories and Aqua-Tech entered into six legal agreements with SCDHEC to address regulatory violations at the site.

EPA then negotiated legal agreements with the PRP Group to investigate and clean up the site. EPA finalized legal agreements in 1992, 1995 and 2006. The PRP Group continues to fund site-related cleanup, monitoring and oversight activities.

The ROD online provides information on specific legal agreements for the site.

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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, public availability sessions and public meetings on cleanup activities and updates.

EPA is planning to host a public meeting in 2012 to update the community on cleanup progress at the site.

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Future Work

The PRP Group will continue to oversee the landfill cap and operate the soil vapor extraction system.

The PRP Group will continue to monitor the site’s ground water.

EPA plans to complete the site’s first Five-Year Review in 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

Middle Tyger Branch Library
170 Groce Road
Lyman, SC  29365

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