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Case Summary: Settlement for Groundwater Contamination Cleanup at Harcros Chemicals Site, Iowa

On May 29, 2012, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) entered into a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) 7003 Administrative Order on Consent (AOC) with Harcros (current owner of the facility), Elementis Chemicals Inc., and TH Agriculture & Nutrition LLC (former owners/operators of the facility) for cleanup work at the Harcros Chemicals Inc. site in Davenport, Iowa. Groundwater contamination at levels above “unrestricted use” cleanup levels still exists in onsite and offsite groundwater. The cleanup work is expected to address over 1.2 million cubic yards of groundwater contamination.

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Information about the Company

Harcros Chemicals Inc. is a major distributor and producer of industrial chemicals. The company began business in 1917 as Thompson-Hayward Chemicals and in 1961 was purchased by North American Philips. In 1981, Harrisons and Crosfield plc purchased the bulk of the business from Philips, subsequently changing the name to Harcros Chemicals Inc. It has been privately held since a management buy-out in 2001.

Information about the Harcros Chemicals Inc. Site

The Harcros Chemicals Inc. site, is a two acre facility located in a heavy industrial and commercial area of southwestern Davenport, Iowa. The facility has served as a storage and distribution center for various types of agricultural, commercial, and industrial chemical products. Raw materials for these products were delivered to the facility by railway, tanker truck, or tractor trailer and were stored primarily in bulk storage tanks and drums. A RCRA Section 3013 Administrative Order on Consent was negotiated between EPA and Respondents in March 2001 for site investigation. Investigation of the Harcros facility was conducted in two phases to assess environmental impacts of historical operations. The following corrective action activities have been completed: removal and offsite disposal of stockpiled soil; excavation and treatment of contaminated on-site and off-site soils; injection of sodium permanganate to treat contaminants in groundwater; and indoor air sampling. The facility is continuing groundwater monitoring of onsite and offsite wells to monitor contamination.

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Pollutants and Environmental Effects

Constituents of concern for groundwater at the Harcros site are primarily volatile organic compounds, including tetrachloroethylene and its decomposition daughter products, other chlorinated volatile organic compounds, and several fuel constituents (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes). These constituents have been found in soil and groundwater at the Site and, under certain conditions of dose, duration, or extent of exposure, may constitute a threat to human health by ingestion and/or adsorption.

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Information about the Administrative Order on Consent

Groundwater beneath and adjacent to the Harcros facility is still impacted by contaminants. The primary constituents of concern requiring remediation are tetrachloroethene and its degradation products (trichloroethene, cis-1,2-dichloroethene, and vinyl chloride), toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes. An assessment of health risk determined that the above listed contaminants present in groundwater at the facility pose a threat to human health if the contaminated groundwater is used as a drinking water source.

On September 21, 2010, the EPA issued a Final Decision Document and Response to Comments (FDD) documenting the selection of the following groundwater corrective action remedies to be implemented at the facility:
a) In-situ Chemical Oxidation treatment for on-site groundwater;
b) monitored natural attenuation with a contingency for enhanced bioremediation for off-site groundwater; and
c) institutional controls.

The AOC requires Harcros to implement the final selected corrective measures to address contaminated groundwater.

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Contact Information

Barbara Peterson
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 7

Ruby Crysler
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region 7
Air and Waste Management Division

Region 7 address:
901 North Fifth Street
Kansas City, KS 66101

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