After a highly publicized case in North Carolina concerning roadside dumping of PCB oil in 1978, a small community in Fayetteville, North Carolina grew concerned about the possibility of PCB contamination around their properties. Residents began to worry about the safety of their own community because another transformer company, the Carolina Transformer Company, practically sat in their own backyards. As it turned out, the community had every reason to be concerned.
Carolina Transformer Site
The Carolina Transformer Company (CTC) was an electrical transformer rebuilding and repair operation from 1967-1982. This transformer repair and rebuilding facility was a PCB storage and disposal site for owners of PCB transformers and/or accessories to these transformers. Handling of PCB oil as part of the facility operations was not appropriate and, as result, the area became contaminated. The nearest residence is located approximately 250 feet from the site and an estimated 3,000 people reside within a 3-mile radius of the Site.
EPA Leads Cleanup Efforts
The state, in an effort to protect the residents from any potential exposure, mandated that the CTC clean up their mess, but their efforts were in vain. EPA attempted to compel CTC to clean up the site, but like the state, was unsuccessful. EPA then issued a CERCLA Section 106 Administrative Order requiring the company to remove and properly dispose of the contaminated soil. Again, the company refused to cooperate. EPA, needing to take immediate action, used its emergency funds to begin cleaning up in site in August 1984.
To address immediate threats to the surrounding community, EPA drained the contaminated swampy areas, solidified PCB/oil sludge, excavated and removed more than 975 tons of contaminated soil, and fenced the site to keep people from coming into contact with the contamination.
EPA's cleanup plan includes removing all debris, transformers, above-ground and underground storage tanks, and drums from the facility; demolishing and disposing off-site all site structures (buildings and contaminated foundations); and excavating and treating more than 20,000 cubic yards of PCB-contaminated soil using a solvent extraction system from the CTC site and eight surrounding properties.
Long term cleanup actions began in November 1999. As of July 2002, all above and underground storage tanks, transformers, drums and debris had been removed and disposed of off-site. All buildings have been demolished and debris removed. Contaminated debris and ash found buried during soil excavation were also removed. A total of nearly 26,000 cubic yards of PCB contaminated soil has been excavated and treated to date.
It is estimated that an additional 7,000 cubic yards of PCB contaminated soil will need to be removed. Soil clean up activities are expected to be completed by April 2003, bringing the total to more than 30,000 cubic yards of soil treated, including the eight properties surrounding the CTC property. Excavated areas will be graded and covered with vegetation.
Since the cleanup began, EPA has made a concerted effort to keep residents in the surrounding community informed with regular correspondence or in-person visits. At the end of this effort, nearly five acres of CTC property will be available for unrestricted use and EPA is encouraging interested developers to contact EPA to discuss potential future development.