EPA finalizes 9 million dollar interim cleanup plan for CTS Superfund site

Photo by Margaret Williams
CTS site Southside Photo by Margaret Williams

Press release:

EPA Finalizes $9 Million Interim Cleanup Plan for Expanded Area at CTS of Asheville Inc. Superfund Site

ATLANTA – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has selected an interim cleanup plan to address contamination beneath the former plant at the CTS of Asheville Inc. Superfund Site. The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality concurred with EPA’s decision.

Historical use of solvents in the manufacturing of electronic components at the CTS Site contaminated the soil and groundwater with trichloroethene (TCE) and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). TCE has been linked to various illnesses in people, ranging from effects on the central nervous system, liver, kidneys and immune and endocrine systems to certain types of cancer. The extent and nature of potential health effects depend on many factors, including the contaminant levels and the length of exposure to the pollution.

The EPA held a public meeting on October 13, 2015, took public comment for 60 days, and considered public input before finalizing the plan. The majority of the comments received encouraged EPA to expand the one-acre treatment area originally proposed to include approximately two additional acres to the north. As a result, CTS submitted an evaluation of treatment options for this expanded area for EPA’s consideration.

Under the final cleanup plan, 3.1 acres will be treated to address non-aqueous phase liquid (NAPL) and TCE in the groundwater beneath the former CTS plant site, located at 235 Mills Gap Road. Approximately 208,250 cubic yards (CYs) of material in the saturated zone between the observed water table and top of competent bedrock will be cleaned up using a combination of electrical resistance heating (ERH) and in-situ chemical oxidation (ISCO).

ERH is a technology that heats the ground in order to vaporize contaminants. Contaminated vapor is then recovered using vents and treated above ground before being discharged to the air. ISCO involves the injection of chemicals into the ground. The chemicals oxidize and break down the contaminants into harmless by-products like carbon dioxide and water.

The major components of the selected interim remedy include:

* ERH to treat the mixed NAPL and TCE plume in an approximate 1.2-acre area. ERH will address about 47,250 CYs of saturated material contaminated by NAPL/TCE.

* ISCO to treat the TCE-only contamination in an area to the north of the area being treated by ERH. The volume of this 1.9-acre treatment area is approximately 161,000 CYs.

* Monitoring will be conducted while the remedy is implemented to ensure adequate protection of on-site workers and the surrounding community.

The technologies are expected to reduce TCE concentrations in the treated areas by 95 percent and performance data will be collected to demonstrate the effectiveness in meeting this objective. Groundwater will also be monitored to evaluate the anticipated decreasing concentration of TCE in the deeper bedrock aquifer over time.

The total estimated cost of the interim remedy is $9,035,000. The Superfund program operates on the principle that polluters should pay for cleanups. EPA expects to work with the potentially responsible parties to reach a legal agreement to implement the work specified in the records of decision (ROD).

EPA anticipates that design and implementation of the interim remedy will begin later in 2016. EPA will continue to keep the community updated throughout this process. The interim remedy will be followed by a final site-wide cleanup decision that is not expected for several years.

A final copy of the ROD and the documents that support this decision, including a detailed response to public comments, will be available for review at the Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood Street in Asheville.

More information about the CTS Site: epa.gov.

About Max Hunt
Max Hunt grew up in South (New) Jersey and graduated from Warren Wilson College in 2011. History nerd; art geek; connoisseur of swimming holes, hot peppers, and plaid clothing. Follow me @J_MaxHunt

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One thought on “EPA finalizes 9 million dollar interim cleanup plan for CTS Superfund site

  1. Grant Milin

    This EPA CTS plan needs independent analysis, just like the Chemtronics Superfund site needs more analysis. I’m hoping there’s a better outcome on the way for the Mills Gap Road folks.

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