Removal to begin of contaminated soil at Barber’s Orchard in Haywood County, EPA says

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its contractor, Environmental Restoration (ER), have begun moving equipment to Barber’s Orchard in Waynesville, NC to begin removal of contaminants at the site, according to an announcement today from the EPA. The actions come more than 10 years after the site was placed on the Superfund List.

The removal process includes the excavation and disposal off-site contaminated soil — approximately 127,374 cubic yards. This amount of soil is equivalent to removing the top 18 inches of soil on an area slightly less than three football fields.

Besides contaminant removal, the contractor will document current conditions of roads, clear appropriate portions of properties, construct erosion control structures where/when needed,

At the height of operations, approximately 100-120 trucks will be entering and leaving the staging area on a daily basis.  Hours of operation will be 10 to 11 hours per day, Monday through Friday and at least a half day on Saturday.  Water will be used to minimize dust emissions during soil excavation, transport and hauling, and air monitoring will be conducted during all excavations. The removal action is projected to be completed in September 2011.

Barber’s Orchard was a 438-acre productive apple orchard for many years. In 1988, after bankruptcy, the bank holding the loan on the orchard began selling tracts of land in various sizes. Of the 438 acres, approximately 100 acres have been developed into residential properties, 10 acres have been replanted with apple trees, 20 acres have been developed into church properties, approximately 30 acres have been developed as either commercial or light industrial property, and approximately 30 more acres may be developed into commercial or light industrial property, and the remaining acreage, approximately 248 acres, is anticipated to be developed into residential properties. 

The following chemicals were identified as chemicals of concern in the soil: arsenic, lead, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethane (DDD), dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), aldrin, dieldrin, endrin, and endrin ketone.  Lindane has been detected in the groundwater.  The selected soil remediation documented in the 2004 Record of Decision was soil excavation with off-site disposal of contaminated soil.

For more information the EPA advises persons to contact Angela Miller, (404) 562-8561, miller.angela@epa.gov or Jon Bornholm, (404) 562-8820, Bornholm.jon@epa.gov.

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About Jeff Fobes
As a long-time proponent of media for social change, my early activities included coordinating the creation of a small community FM radio station to serve a poor section of St. Louis, Mo. In the 1980s I served as the editor of the "futurist" newsletter of the U.S. Association for the Club of Rome, a professional/academic group with a global focus and a mandate to act locally. During that time, I was impressed by a journalism experiment in Mississippi, in which a newspaper reporter spent a year in a small town covering how global activities impacted local events (e.g., literacy programs in Asia drove up the price of pulpwood; soybean demand in China impacted local soybean prices). Taking a cue from the Mississippi journalism experiment, I offered to help the local Green Party in western North Carolina start its own newspaper, which published under the name Green Line. Eventually the local party turned Green Line over to me, giving Asheville-area readers an independent, locally focused news source that was driven by global concerns. Over the years the monthly grew, until it morphed into the weekly Mountain Xpress in 1994. I've been its publisher since the beginning. Mountain Xpress' mission is to promote grassroots democracy (of any political persuasion) by serving the area's most active, thoughtful readers. Consider Xpress as an experiment to see if such a media operation can promote a healthy, democratic and wise community. In addition to print, today's rapidly evolving Web technosphere offers a grand opportunity to see how an interactive global information network impacts a local community when the network includes a locally focused media outlet whose aim is promote thoughtful citizen activism.

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