EPA Proposes Garvey Elevator Site, Adams County, Hastings, Nebraska, To the National Priorities List
EPA is proposing to add the Garvey Elevator Site to the National Priorities List, or NPL. The NPL is a published list of hazardous waste sites that are eligible for clean-up action under the Superfund Program. The public is encouraged to comment on this proposed listing during the public comment period, which ends May 26, 2005.
EPA is requesting public comments on its plan to propose this site to the NPL. Comments can be made by mail or e-mail until close of business May 26, 2005. Comments should be directed to:
Docket Coordinator, Headquarters
Attention Docket ID No. SFUND-2005-0002
Please follow the online instructions for submitting comments.
The Garvey Elevator facility is at 2315 W. Highway 6 in southwest Hastings. Grain has been stored and processed there since 1959. Carbon tetrachloride, a common grain fumigant, was used at the facility until the mid-1980s. Past releases of carbon tetrachloride from the facility have contaminated ground water near the facility. That ground water is used as a source of drinking water.
Carbon tetrachloride has been found at high levels (29,943 micrograms per liter) in ground water at the facility and has previously been detected in Municipal Well 13 northeast of the facility. EPA’s drinking water standard for carbon tetrachloride is five micrograms per liter. (A microgram in a liter is the equivalent of one ounce divided into 30 Olympic-size swimming pools). Carbon tetrachloride has also been found in several private drinking water supply wells. EPA estimates that the plume of contaminated ground water extends east from the facility for several miles.
In 1995, Garvey applied to participate in the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Remedial Action Plan Monitoring Act Program to address the contamination. Garvey has collected ground water and soil samples since then to determine the extent of contamination. The company has also provided residents and businesses with alternate water supplies and connections to the municipal water supply and operated a soil vapor extraction and ground water recovery system to reduce the soil and ground water contamination.
The Department of Environmental Quality asked EPA to help with the investigation and cleanup activities at the site beginning in October 2002. The state agency asked that EPA’s Superfund program: (1) provide alternate water supplies for residences and businesses with contaminated drinking water wells; (2) evaluate the effectiveness of Garvey’s soil vapor extraction and ground water recovery systems; (3) further define the extent of the ground water plume; and 4) evaluate potential cleanup alternatives.
Congress established the Superfund program in 1980 in response to growing concern about human health and environmental risks posed by hazardous waste sites. Superfund is one mechanism that EPA uses to discover, investigate and clean up hazardous waste sites.
Cleanup can fall under one of two programs after a site is discovered, either removal or remedial. Removal actions address immediate threats to human health or the environment posed by contamination. Remedial actions address sites that require extensive and potentially long-term cleanup.
A site under the Superfund program can qualify for the National Priorities List. The list is primarily a guide for EPA to decide which sites need further investigation and cleanup. A site is scored on the Hazard Ranking System and added to the priorities list if its score justifies listing. The ranking system evaluates exposure pathways and the potential risk to human health and the environment. A site included on the priorities list qualifies for financing from Superfund’s Trust Fund. A site where a responsible party is not identified or cannot pay for a cleanup can only undergo remedial cleanup if it is listed.
The Garvey site is being proposed to the list because of the carbon tetrachloride and its affect on the drinking water supply. Additional private water supply well users might be affected if there is no further investigation and cleanup. Nebraska and Hastings both support listing this site.
CURRENT AND FUTURE ACTIONS
EPA is working with Garvey to address the contamination and provide a safe drinking water supply to nearby residents and businesses. Plans for future investigations and cleanup are being discussed. Specifically, a remedial investigation and a feasibility study will be performed to fully define the nature and extent of contamination, followed by an evaluation of alternatives to clean up the contamination. EPA will ultimately present this information to the community and ask for comments on EPA’s proposed actions before making decisions about the cleanup.
TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE GRANT
EPA encourages community participation during all phases of the Superfund process. The Agency values citizen input and wants to help affected communities understand the technical information related to this site. EPA's Technical Assistance Grant Program provides up to $50,000 under Superfund for a qualified citizens’ group to hire independent technical advisers. The technical advisers can help citizens interpret technical data, understand site hazards, and become more knowledgeable about the different technologies that are used to clean up sites.
MORE INFORMATION AVAILABLE
Questions about this fact sheet, the Garvey site or the public comment period can be addressed to:
Community Involvement Coordinator
U.S. EPA Region 7
901 N. 5th St.
Kansas City, KS 66101
Phone: (913) 551-7768
Toll Free: (800) 223-0425