Koppers Co., Inc. (Charleston Plant)
Site Summary ProfileEPA ID: SCD980310239
Location: Charleston, Charleston County, SC
Lat/Long: 32.822080, -079.958330
Congressional District: 06
NPL Status: Proposed: 02/07/92; Final: 12/16/94
Affected Media: Ground water, Sediment, Soil, Surface water
Cleanup Status: Actual construction underway
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: Site now part of infill development that will include a mixture of uses
Site Manager: Craig Zeller (email@example.com)
The Koppers Co., Inc. (Charleston Plant) site is approximately 102 acres and is located in the neck area of northern Charleston. The site is situated on the west side of the peninsula formed by the Ashley and Cooper Rivers. The site contains various commercial operations and is surrounded on the north, south and east by a mixture of industrial, commercial and residential properties.
From 1940 to 1978, the Koppers Company operated a wood treatment facility on approximately 45 acres of the site generally bounded on the north by Milford Street, on the south by Braswell Street, on the east by the King Street Extension, and on the west by the Ashley River. Wood-treating operations consisted primarily of treating raw lumber and utility poles with creosote. The majority of wood treatment operations were conducted in the eastern portion of the site, now identified as the former treatment area. Koppers maintained numerous above ground storage tanks for the storage of wood preservatives. Following Koppers's operations, the former treatment area was used by several entities that leased the property, including Fed Serv, Pepper Industries, and Braswell Shipyards. The name of Koppers Company was eventually changed to Beazer East, Inc (Beazer).
The remaining 57 acres of site, located south and adjacent to the former Koppers property, were never owned by Koppers. These 57 acres were part of a larger tract of land (the entire area south of Braswell Street) owned by the Ashepoo Phosphate/Fertilizer Works. This property was used for phosphate and fertilizer production by a series of owners from the turn of the century until 1978. After obtaining a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Southern Dredging excavated a barge canal in 1984 that extended approximately 1,000 feet inward from the Ashley River. EPA incorporated these 57 acres into the site boundaries to determine the environmental impact that the previous dredging operations had on the Ashley River and neighboring tidal marsh.
In 2003, Ashley LLC purchased the parcels previously owned by Beazer. The site is now part of Magnolia, a 218-acre infill development that will include a mix of residential, retail, office/hotel space, and parks.EPA continues to work closely with Magnolia to ensure future development activities are integrated properly with the site cleanup approach. Institutional controls currently limit residential land use on parcels formerly owned by Beazer.
On-site soils are contaminated with polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, pentachlorophenol with trace amounts of dioxin, arsenic and lead. Creosote has been observed in the sediments and surface waters of drainage ditches leading from the site. Free creosote product has been discovered in the ground water at three locations underlying the site. Sediments in the Ashley River and neighboring tidal marshes contain contaminants harmful to the environment.
Site Cleanup Plan
Prior to finalizing a sitewide cleanup approach, EPA issued an Interim Action Record of Decision (ROD) in 1995 to lessen off-site migration of contaminants and to eliminate potential exposure to sediments/surface waters from several drainage ditches.
EPA issued the ROD describing the final cleanup approach for the site in 1998. Major components of the cleanup approach included:
- Excavation and off-site disposal of soil.
- Installation of a cap over contaminated soil.
- Reconstruction of drainage ditches.
- Continued recovery of ground water and creosote.
- Covering of Ashley River sediments via enhanced sedimentation.
- Restoration of disturbed tidal marshes.
Two Explanation of Significant Differences (ESDs) were later issued that modified the 1998 ROD.The first ESD, issued in 2001, changed the Ashley River cleanup component from enhanced sedimentation to placement of an engineered, underwater cap. The second ESD, issued in 2003, changed the Barge Canal cleanup component from placement of an engineered underwater cap to natural deposition and monitored natural recovery. The ground water/creosote cleanup component for the Northwest Corner was changed from active creosote recovery with extraction wells to immobilization using stabilization and solidification techniques.
In 1983, Pepper Industries began a cleanup operation on the creosote working tanks, but later declared bankruptcy and ceased all cleanup activities. Braswell Shipyards performed a cleanup operation of the Peppers Industries property in 1987, during which it removed all the above ground storage tanks and containers on the property and arranged for proper disposal of the wastes. Koppers financed half the expense of this cleanup operation.
In 1985, Fed Serv, Koppers, and a suite of other entities initiated emergency response actions at the former tank farm area. The removal activities generally involved proper disposal of material in the tanks, demolition of the tanks, and excavation/disposal of impacted soils.
Full scale operation of the extraction wells and related activities required in the 1995 Interim Action ROD began in 1997.
All cleanup components required by the 1998 final ROD were either completed or in place by September 2003, at an estimated cost of $20.4 million. These include the following:
- Excavation and off-site disposal of 22,000 tons of impacted soils.
- Installation of a 40-acre protective cap over surface soils.
- Reconstruction of 3,600 linear feet of surface water drainage ditches.
- Excavation and restoration of the North and South Tidal Marshes.
- Installation of a 3-acre cap over Ashley River sediments.
- Monitored natural recovery for Barge Canal sediments.
- Active recovery of ground water and creosote underlying the former treatment area and old impoundment area.
Full scale recovery of impacted ground water and creosote underlying the former treatment area and old impoundment areas of the site was initiated in October 2003.Performance reports indicate that greater than 15,000 gallons of creosote have been recovered from the shallow and intermediate water bearing zones underlying these two areas since full scale recovery was initiated. A comprehensive environmental monitoring program is being conducted to ensure the cleanup approach remains adequately protective of human health and the environment.
According to the second Five-Year Review (FYR), completed in 2008, the cleanup approach for the site is currently considered adequately protective of human health and the environment; and human health and ecological exposure pathways that could result in unacceptable risks are being controlled.
Site cleanup activities are being led primarily by potentially responsible parties with oversight by EPA.
In 1983, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued an Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) to Pepper Industries to clean up creosote working tanks at the site. However, the company later declared bankruptcy and ceased all cleanup activities.
Under an AOC issued by EPA in 1985, Fed Serv, Koppers, and a suite of other entities initiated emergency response actions at the former tank farm area.
In 1993, EPA issued an AOC for Beazer East to conduct the Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study for the site.
EPA issued a Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) requiring Beazer East to implement the Interim Action required by the 1995 Interim Action ROD.
In 1999, EPA issued a UAO requiring Beazer East to implement the final 1998 ROD.
EPA has conducted a range of community involvement activities at the Koppers Co., Inc. (Charleston Plant) 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 and information meetings on cleanup progress and activities.
The non-aqueous phase liquid and ground water systems continue to operate.
Inspection and monitoring for various cleanup components are ongoing.
The next FYR must be completed by 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.
Charleston County Public Library
68 Calhoun Street
Charleston, SC 29401
For documents not available on the website, please contact the Region 4 Freedom of Information Office.