Kalama Specialty Chemicals
Site Summary ProfileEPA 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.
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Potential for Light Industrial or Residential
Site Manager: Candice Jackson (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The 50-acre Kalama Specialty Chemicals site, located in Beaufort, Beaufort County, South Carolina, was formerly used by two separately operated specialty chemical companies. From 1973 to 1977, the first firm, Vega Chemical produced a wide range of chemicals in small special order batches. From 1977 until 1979, Kalama Specialty Chemicals manufactured fosamine ammonium, an herbicide and plant-growth regulator, at the site. The facility was closed in 1979, after one of the reactors exploded setting the facility on fire and spilling various organic chemicals on the site.
After the explosion and fire, Kalama expanded operations from the original 16-acre property to include the adjacent 34-acre parcel consisting of a former trailer park, two treatment lagoons, and several structures.
Approximately 2500 residents live within one mile of the site. Operating properties abutting the site include a gas station, cement plant, and drive-in movie theater.
Ground water, sediments, and soils at the site were contaminated with base neutral acids, heavy metals, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Wastewater overflow from the treatment lagoons, the explosion, and the fire are the primary sources of contamination.
Site Cleanup Plan
The Record of Decision (ROD) for the site was issued in 1993. Major cleanup elements for the site included:
- Excavation of VOC and metal-contaminated soils and sediments and treatment by volatilization and solidification. If contamination cannot be adequately addressed with these treatments the contaminated soils will be removed from the site.
- Replacement of treated soils into the excavation area.
- Extraction of ground water and treatment to bring the levels of contaminants of concern below the maximum contaminant levels.
- Supplemental monitoring of ground water with additional monitoring wells, including new deep wells in the limestone aquifer.
In June 1995, EPA excavated 604 cubic yards of contaminated soil and 80 cubic yards of contaminated sediment and removed them from the site. This removal action eliminated the potential for off-site contaminant migration.
Beginning in August 1995, an interim action ground water pump and treat system was used to evaluate operational issues of ground water treatment. The final, full-scale ground water pump and treat system was completed in July 1997 and has been operating continuously since December 1998.
Over the years, modifications have been made to the ground water treatment system to make it more effective. Since the last major modification to the system in January of 2000, the ground water treatment system has treated more than 128 million gallons of ground water and successfully removed over 162 pounds of benzene, 606 pounds of 1,2-dichloroethane, 388 pounds of ethylbenzene, 34 pounds of methylene chloride, and over 774 pounds of total xylenes.
Ground water sampling had been conducted every four months, but was changed to a twice annual schedule in mid-2007. Sampling was most recently conducted in May 2009.
Site cleanup activities are being led primarily by potentially responsible parties (PRPs) with oversight by EPA.
In 1980, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued a Consent Order to PRPs requiring the characterization of soil and ground water quality at the site, and calling for a cleanup of all identified contaminated areas. This Consent Order was later amended to require PRPs to perform studies to determine the extent to which soil and ground water contamination had occurred and to design plans to clean up the contamination.
On January 13, 1988, EPA entered into an Administrative Order on Consent with PRPs to perform a remedial investigation and feasibility study as well as a baseline risk assessment at the site.
EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the Kalama Specialty Chemicals 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, fact sheets, and public meetings on cleanup activities and updates.
Additional studies are planned to determine whether contamination at the adjacent Coastal Concrete Plant Facility is attributable to the Kalama site. Sampling will also be conducted at several residences located near the treatment plant’s discharge pond to determine if vapor intrusion is present.
This site is subject to Five-Year Reviews (FYRs). The third FYR for the site is anticipated to be completed by July 2013.
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.
Beaufort County Library
311 Scott Street
Beaufort, SC 29902
For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.