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Medley Farm Drum Dump

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Dual phase well operation system on the Medley Farm Drum Dump site.

Additional Resources
Site Summary Profile
EPA ID: SCD980558142
Location: Gaffney, Cherokee County, SC
Lat/Long: 34.980500, -081.668500
Congressional District: 05
NPL Status: Proposed: 06/10/86; Final: 03/31/89
Affected Media: Ground water, 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: Yes
Site Reuse/Redevelopment: None
Site Manager: Ralph Howard (howard.ralph@epa.gov)


Current Site Status

The Medley Farm Drum Dump site includes an area where parties stored drums of chemical wastes from 1973 to 1978. Releases of chemicals from the wastes placed on site contaminated ground water and soil. As a result, EPA placed the site on the National Priorities List (NPL) in 1989. EPA, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), and the site’s potentially responsible parties (the PRP Group) 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. By placing institutional controls on the site property to limit digging, ground water use and well installation, treating and monitoring ground water, and undertaking Five-Year Reviews, EPA, SCDHEC and the PRP Group continue to protect people and the environment from site contamination.

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Site Location and Background

The 62-acre site is located at 887 Burnt Gin Road (Highway 72) in a rural area five miles south of Gaffney in Cherokee County, South Carolina. The site includes an approximately 7-acre area where parties had placed drums and other containers of chemical wastes. Formerly used for farming, this area is now grass-covered. Homes, undeveloped land and agricultural areas surround the site. A residence belonging to the former owner borders the site to the west, between the site and Burnt Gin Road (Highway 72). The site’s broader surroundings include a mix of agricultural and rural residential land uses.

From 1973 to 1978, parties used part of the site to store drums of chemical wastes. In 1983, EPA and SCDHEC investigated the site and found more than 5,300 buried and leaking drums and 15-gallon containers of wastes. EPA and SCDHEC also identified six unlined lagoons containing 70,000 gallons of contaminated rainwater and 2,100 cubic yards of contaminated soil and waste. In 1989, EPA listed the site on the NPL. The site is not in use. A gate controls access to the site property.

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Threats and Contaminants

Site investigations found contamination in ground water and soil that could potentially harm people in the area. Contamination resulted from waste handling practices at the site. Contaminants of concern include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toluene, benzene, vinyl chloride, trichloroethylene (TCE), tetrachloroethylene (also known as PCE or PERC), chloroform, 1,1,2-trichloroethane and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

Between 1989 and 1991, a remedial investigation/feasibility study performed by the site’s PRP Group identified approximately 1 acre of contaminated soil at the site. The study determined that parties would need to treat the soil in order to protect ground water. The study also defined an approximately 10-acre area underlain by contaminated ground water. The PRPs have cleaned up soil contamination to prevent further ground water contamination. The PRPs also put institutional controls on the site property to restrict digging on site, the use of ground water on site and the installation of wells on site. A gate controls access to the site property.

Ground water contamination remains confined to an area within the site’s boundary. A water line connects the residence immediately next to the site to the public water supply.

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Investigation and Cleanup Responsibility / Oversight

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

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Site Cleanup Plan

In 1991, EPA issued a cleanup plan (a Record of Decision, or ROD) for the site. The plan included the following activities:

In 1993, EPA issued an Explanation of Significant Differences (ESD) to remove the requirement to treat air emissions generated by the SVE and ground water treatment systems.

In 2010, EPA issued a second ESD to require placement of institutional controls on the site property in the form of a restrictive covenant to restrict ground water use at the site.

In 2012, EPA issued an Amended ROD (AROD) for the Site to change the remedy being used for site groundwater cleanup. The AROD selected Enhanced Reductive Dechlorination (ERD), an insitu biodegradation treatment process, to complete the groundwater cleanup at the Site. (See “Cleanup Progress” below for more about ESD.) As a contingency remedy, the AROD selected Monitored Natural Attenuation (MNA) in the event that it is demonstrated that ERD cannot meet cleanup levels sooner than MNA would meet them, and that the ongoing natural attenuation processes will bring groundwater levels below the cleanup goals in an acceptable length of time. The amended cleanup plan includes the following activities: 

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

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Cleanup Progress

In 1983, EPA collected and disposed of approximately 2,100 cubic yards of contaminated soil and waste, 5,300 drums and other containers of hazardous wastes, and 70,000 gallons of contaminated water and sludge from the six unlined lagoons. EPA backfilled the lagoons with clean soil.

In 1995, the site’s PRP Group completed construction of the SVE system and the ground water treatment system. The PRPs operated both systems continuously until 2004.

In 2000 and 2001, the PRPs installed additional recovery wells to capture soil vapor and ground water for treatment.

In 2004, the PRPs completed soil cleanup activities and with EPA and State approval, ended operation of the SVE system. Concurrently, EPA also approved ceasing ground water treatment operations by the pump-and-treat system, which had over time reached a point of greatly decreased effectiveness. The PRP Group proposed to perform an interim groundwater measure, using enhanced reductive dechlorination as a cleanup methodology, to clean up the low-level contamination remaining in site groundwater. The measure employs enhanced reductive dechlorination (ERD), an insitu biodegradation treatment process. ERD is an active treatment for groundwater that begins with the injection of a nutrient (lactate) solution into the affected groundwater through site groundwater wells. The lactate solution has two effects: It provides a food source to fosters the growth and activity of microbes (bacteria for example) that are capable of consuming site groundwater contaminants (VOCs), and it causes chemical conditions to become more favorable for such growth and activity. The result is a breakdown of the contaminants and a decrease in their concentrations in groundwater. A rest period follows the injections, during which groundwater flow distributes the solutions in groundwater. This in turn is followed by a sampling event to determine the degree and areal extent of the treatment. EPA approved use of the contingency measure in late 2004.

Between 2004 and 2010, six groundwater treatments (nutrient injections) were administered in order to reduce levels of the contaminants in the groundwater, each followed by a monitoring period and sampling.  In early 2009, surface water sampling in Jones Creek found no site contaminants present, continuing the trend from earlier years in the cleanup action. EPA completed the site’s third Five Year Review in 2009, which included an extensive review of all site groundwater data from the 2004-2010 ERD treatments. The review found that in general, ERD had significantly reduced groundwater contaminant levels across the Site. Concerning the site cleanup remedy as a whole, the Five Year Review found that the cleanup remains protective of human health and the environment for the short term. To ensure the remedy remains protective over the long term, it recommended placing institutional controls on the site property, modifying the site cleanup plan for ground water contamination, conducting a vapor intrusion study, and updating site-related plans. These recommended actions were completed in between 2010 and 2012.   

In 2011, the PRPs submitted the “2010 Biennial Remedial Action Progress Report” to EPA and SCDHEC. The report proposed additional ERD treatment events and recommended improvements to the infrastructure and to certain methods being used. Because the groundwater contingency work had been underway longer than originally expected and with the groundwater cleanup levels still not met, during 2011 EPA and the PRP Group began actions to modify the site remedy. The first step, a Focused Feasibility Study which considered the ERD process used during 2004-2010 as well as other potential cleanup methods, was completed in late 2011. Modification of the remedy was completed with the issuance of the Amended ROD in August 2012. The amended site remedy incorporates many of the elements proposed in the “2010 Biennial” progress report.

During mid-2012 the PRP Group conducted a seventh ERD treatment event on the site, followed by groundwater sampling in November-December 2012. Results from the treatment were provided to EPA in the 2012 Biennial Remedial Action Progress Report (June 2013). The report is under review by EPA and SCDHEC.

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

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Enforcement Activities

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

The ROD, ESD 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, fact sheets, interviews and public meetings.

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Future Work

The site’s PRP Group plans to perform additional ground water injections in 2013-2014.

The PRPs will provide another biennial progress report in 2014.

EPA completed the last Five-Year Review in 2009 and plans to complete the next 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

Cherokee County Public Library
300 East Rutledge Street
Gaffney, SC 29340

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