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Case Summary: EPA Issues $9 Million Order for Removal Work at the Columbia Nitrogen Superfund Site in South Carolina

On December 11, 2013, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) to eight potentially responsible parties (PRPs) to perform cleanup work at the Columbia Nitrogen Site in Charleston, S.C. The non-time critical removal action UAO is estimated to cost $9 million.

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Information about the companies

Eight PRPs have been identified as owners and/or operators of a phosphate manufacturing plant at the site that commenced operations in 1906. The eight PRPs are:

  • Ashley II of Charleston, LLC.,
  • PCS Nitrogen, Inc.,
  • Ross Development Corporation,
  • J. Holcombe Enterprises, L.P.,
  • James H. Holcombe,
  • J. Henry Fair, Jr.,
  • Robin Hood Container Express, Inc., and
  • Robin H. Hood.

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Information about the Columbia Nitrogen Superfund Site

The Columbia Nitrogen Site is a 43-acre site located on the Ashley River in Charleston, S.C., surrounded by two other sites and industrial and commercial businesses. A phosphate fertilizer facility operated on the site from 1905 until 1972. In 1980, Columbia Nitrogen Corporation demolished all on-site structures. In 1985, Columbia Nitrogen Corporation sold the site to a company that leased it to container-storage companies. In 2003, Ashley II of Charleston purchased the site.

Site investigations found lead and arsenic contamination in ground water, surface water, sediment and soil that resulted from the former phosphate fertilizer manufacturing operations at the site. Contamination does not extend beyond the site boundary, and a water line connects residents and businesses near the site to the public water supply. More information on the Columbia Nitrogen Superfund Site.

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Summary of the Unilateral Administrative Order

The non-time critical removal UAO directs the parties to perform the following:

  • excavate and treat contaminated soil;
  • backfill excavated areas with clean material;
  • dispose of the treated soil off site at an EPA-approved landfill;
  • add a chemical to ground water to treat lead and arsenic;
  • excavate contaminated sediments from the wetlands area, treating the sediments if necessary and sending the treated sediments off site for disposal;
  • restore the wetlands area;
  • place institutional controls to prohibit use of ground water; and
  • monitor ground water.

The order also directs the settling parties to reimburse the EPA for all oversight costs.

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Contact information

For more information contact

Kim Jones
Assistant Regional Counsel
Region 4
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
61 Forsyth St.
Atlanta, GA 30303

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