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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Cooper Industries Incorporated in Earlysville, Virginia

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Since 1992, Cooper Industries (Cooper) has been operating a remediation system to treat contaminated groundwater at the facility in accordance with a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Corrective Action Consent Order. Previously, Cooper completed an investigation at the facility and selected an appropriate remedy. All sources of contaminants (including drain pits, underground concrete tanks, sludge pits and trenches, and the sanitary lagoon) were cleaned up under EPA or the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VDEQ) authority, as appropriate.

Cleanup Status

Groundwater contaminated with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) continues to be the focus of the remedial activities at the facility. Pursuant to the Consent Order, Cooper operates a pump and treat system to contain and cleanup contaminated groundwater. Groundwater that is recovered is treated through two activated carbon units in series to remove the VOCs, then discharged to a surface water stream, in accordance with a Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit. Cooper collects and analyzes groundwater samples on a semiannual basis to evaluate the effectiveness of the system over time.

After reevaluating the historical data, Cooper modified the groundwater remediation system in 1999 to add two recovery wells in the source area. Cooper also ceased operating three recovery wells located at the fringe of the plume. Groundwater recovery was discontinued at these wells because data indicated that pumping at these perimeter wells provided limited mass removal and was potentially promoting plume migration away from the source area.

Cooper's most recent Semi-Annual Groundwater Monitoring Report, submitted in February 2008, indicates that VOC contaminant levels have generally decreased or remained relatively constant during the six-month reporting period. Approximately 40 pounds of VOC contaminants were removed from ground water in the second half of 2007. This indicates that the pump and treat system continues to effectively cleanup the ground water and control the migration of contamination in the ground water.

The Pump and Treat system controls deep groundwater contamination onsite. This system has been enhanced with ART wells which ran for nine years.  The ART wells were idled in 2017 so the pump and treat system effectiveness can be evaluated.

As operated, the pump and treat system has caused the Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) levels in the wells to indicate downward trends upon examination of existing data.

The initial post ART well idling sample results are due in the Spring of 2018, and will help to inform the path forward for the remediation system.

Results of the 2017 Annual Groundwater Monitoring Report (AGMR) indicates that the recovery system is operating as designed in the Corrective Measures Implementation Plan.

As reported in the 2017 AGMR, Cooper is fulfilling the requirements of the Institutional Control Implementation and Assurance Plan, approved by EPA in 2014. The current financial assurance mechanism, dated of execution: January 12, 2017, complies with the requirements set forth in EPA’s Corrective Action Order on Consent.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Cooper Industries Incorporated, Earlysville, VA

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The Cooper facility is located about ten miles north of Charlottesville, Virginia along Route 660 in Earlysville, Virginia. The facility consists of about 225,000 square feet under roof and covers about 90 acres in a residential/industrial area. Electrical distribution equipment was manufactured at this facility since opening as Panorama Corporation in 1962. Other operations at the facility included Murray Manufacturing in 1967, Arrow Hart in 1970, and Crouse-Hinds in 1975. Cooper acquired the facility in 1981. Manufacturing processes included stamping, grinding, welding, painting, and plating of metal parts. In 1992, the manufacturing operations were sold to Siemens; however, Cooper retained ownership of the property and improvements. Siemens ceased manufacturing operations in 1997 and vacated the property. In 1999, Mr. Donnie Foster purchased the property and leases the buildings as commercial and industrial office/warehouse space.

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Contaminants at this Facility

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in groundwater are the contaminants of concern. These compounds primarily consist of tetrachloroethene (PCE), trichloroethene (TCE), and cis-1,2-dichloroethene (DCE).

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Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

While there are no formal Insitutional or Engineering Controls at the facility, under a VA DEQ consent order extracted groundwater is remediated through carbon filters and sampled monthly and EPA receives semi-annual monitor results. Also a contaminated groundwater plume is monitored at 41 well locations for VOCs.

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Land Reuse Information at this Facility

The site is being reused.

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Site Responsibility at this Facility

RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility are being conducted under the direction of the EPA Region 3 with assistance from the VA DEQ.

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