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Kalama Specialty Chemicals

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Infiltration pond on the Kalama Specialty Chemicals site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: SCD094995503
Location: Beaufort, Beaufort County, SC
Lat/Long: 32.473400, -080.740100
Congressional District: 02
NPL Status: Proposed: 09/08/83; Final: 09/21/84
Affected Media: Ground water, Sediment, 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: Potential for Light Industrial or Residential
Site Manager: Candice Teichert (teichert.candice@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The Kalama Specialty Chemicals site includes an area where two chemical companies operated from 1973 until 1979. EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1984 because of contaminated ground water, sediment and soil resulting from facility operations. EPA, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), and Goodrich, the site’s potentially responsible party (PRP), have investigated site conditions and taken steps to clean up the site in order to protect people and the environment from contamination. By treating and sampling ground water and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA, SCDHEC and the site’s PRP continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 50-acre site is located on Highway 21, approximately four miles from Beaufort in Beaufort County, South Carolina. The site includes drainage ditches and concrete building slabs associated with the Kalama Specialty Chemicals, Inc. facility and a former mobile home park. Highway 21 and the Marine Corps Air Force Base Station Beaufort border the site to the east. The Seaboard Coast Line Railroad borders the site to the west. A drive-in movie theater and a residential area border the site to the north. A forested area and a cement plant borders the site to the south. Commercial and industrial businesses and agricultural land are also located near the site.

From 1973 to 1977, Vega Chemical produced a wide range of chemicals at the site. From 1977 until 1979, Kalama Specialty Chemicals, Inc. manufactured herbicides and plant-growth regulators at the site. Facility operations ended in 1979 after a reactor exploded, setting the facility on fire and spilling various organic chemicals. Following the explosion and fire, the company acquired the 34-acre area next to the original 16-acre facility property. The adjacent property included a former mobile home park, two treatment lagoons and several structures.

In 1984, EPA listed the site on the NPL. The site is not currently in use. The site can support industrial and residential uses.

View site location map.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water, sediment and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from facility operations at the site. Contaminants of concern include benzene, 1,2-dichloroethane, ethylbenzene, methylene chloride, xylene and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Contamination affected ground water on site and off site. However, EPA does not consider ground water contamination a threat because people do not use ground water for drinking water purposes.

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

Goodrich, the site’s PRP, leads site investigation and cleanup activities, with oversight provided by EPA and SCDHEC.

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1993, 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 1995, EPA dug up 604 cubic yards of contaminated soil and 80 cubic yards of contaminated sediment and removed them from the site.

In 1995, the site’s PRP began using an interim ground water pump-and-treat system. The PRP completed construction of the final pump-and-treat system in 1997 and began operating the system in 1998.

As of 2011, the pump-and-treat system has treated more than 170 million gallons of ground water and successfully removed over 172 pounds of benzene, 637 pounds of 1,2-dichloroethane, 499 pounds of ethylbenzene, 34 pounds of methylene chloride and over 774 pounds of total xylenes.

The site’s second Five-Year Review, completed in 2008, found that the cleanup remains protective of human health and the environment in the short term. The Five-Year Review recommended additional activities to make sure the cleanup approach remains protective in the long term.

Summaries of cleanup activities are also available in Five-Year Reviews online.

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Enforcement Activities

EPA and SCDHEC negotiated legal agreements with the site’s PRP to investigate and clean up the site. The PRP continues to fund site cleanup, monitoring and oversight activities.

The ROD and Five-Year Reviews online provide additional 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, interviews, fact sheets and public meetings.

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Future Work

The site’s PRP will conduct additional studies to determine any connection between contamination at the cement plant south of the site and the site’s contamination.

The pump-and-treat system continues to operate at the site.

The PRP conducts ground water sampling twice annually.

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2008 and plans to complete the next Five-Year Review in 2013.

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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

Beaufort County Library
311 Scott Street
Beaufort, SC 29902

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