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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Safety Kleen Corporation in Silver Spring, Maryland

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Cleanup Status

On May 30, 2014, EPA issued a Statement of Basis (SB) in which EPA proposed a remedy for the Facility.  EPA held a thirty (30)-day public comment period which began on May 30, 2014 and ended on June 29, 2014. The only comments EPA received during the public comment period were submitted by the Safety Kleen and the owner, BDC Spectrum LLC.

The Final Decision and Response to Comments (FDRTC) for the Facility was issued on November 21, 2014, which consisted of land use controls, vapor intrusion controls and groundwater monitoring as the remedy for the site.

A Consent Order and Agreement was issued on September 30, 2015 which required Safety-Kleen to implement the FDRTC.

The Vapor Intrusion Remediation System installation at the Facility was completed on February 25-27, 2016. The Vapor Intrusion Remediation System is an active depressurization system which creates a pressure differential across the concrete slab of the building to limit the potential for subsurface vapors from entering the building.

Cleanup History

The Safety Kleen Silver Spring Maryland Service Center began operation in 1982 and was closed and decommissioned in April 1996. The former service center consisted of approximately 10,300 square feet which was used as an accumulation point for spent solvents and other fluids generated by Safety Kleen customers. All wastes stored at the site were ultimately shipped to an off-site Safety Kleen recycle center or a contract reclaimer. Previously, two 12,000 gallon underground storage tanks (USTs) were used at the site: one tank was used to store spent parts washer solvents and the other tank stored product (mineral spirits based solvent). Two loading units were used to transfer waste parts washer solvent to the underground storage tanks. There were also two areas designated for container storage.

The USTs were removed in April 1996, when the entire site was decommissioned. During the removal activities, soil was excavated from the tank pit and confirmatory soil samples were taken from the walls and floor of the excavation and along the trench containing the pipes running from the return and fill station to the tanks. The results from these samples detected total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) as mineral spirits and a number of volatile organic compounds in the soil. Groundwater monitoring at this site has been on-going since July 1989 and have historically shown detections of TPH, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene, and some volatile organic compounds. Based on these findings, the former tank pit area, former return and fill station area, and the former piping trench were the focus of remedial efforts at the site.

Safety Kleen has operated a Soil Vapor Extraction (SVE) system at the site since August 1993. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) issued a Post Closure Permit for the area in February 2001, which includes remediation goals and requirements for the cleanup of the groundwater and soil. The contaminant concentrations in groundwater have shown an overall decreasing trend over the past several years, although there have been some fluctuations from the overall trend. The concentrations of a number of contaminants have already dropped, and remained, below the cleanup objective levels specified by the post-closure care permit. However, TPH concentrations, although significantly reduced, still remain above the permit-prescribed level.

The SVE system recovery rate had diminished to zero asymptotically. An attempt was made to recover additional contaminants by operating the system in a pulsing mode by turning it off for a period of time and then on again. However, no significant additional recoveries were attained and the system was shut down during 2011.

On February 5, 2003 EPA classified the site as meeting Migration of Contaminated Groundwater Under Control Indicator EI 750.  On May 22, 2002, EPA classified the site as meeting Human Health Environmental Indicator EI 725 (site currently protective of human health).  Based on available data, there are no imminent threats to human health and the environment.   

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    Site Description

    Interactive Map of Safety Kleen Corporation, Silver Spring, Maryland

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    The Safety Kleen Silver Spring former service center was located in an industrial park and the surrounding area is zoned for light industrial use. The facility was in operation from 1982 to 1996, when it was decommissioned. The site is located in Silver Spring, Maryland, Montgomery County, approximately 500 feet south of the intersection of Tech Road and U.S. Highway 29 (Columbia Pike). The former service center has been redeveloped and now houses a bank and other businesses in the former warehouse buildings.

    RCRA Corrective Action activities at this facility are being conducted under the direction of MDE. The investigation and cleanup are being implemented in accordance with the State Post Closure Permit, effective February 1, 2001.

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    Contaminants at this Facility

    The main contaminants in the groundwater and soil are total petroleum hydrocarbons, BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes) and a number of volatile organic compounds.

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    Institutional and Engineering Controls at this Facility

    Institutional /Engineering Control Summary
    Restrictions or Controls that Address: Yes No
    Groundwater Use
    Residential Use
    Vapor Intrusion
    Capped Area(s)
    Other Engineering Controls
    Other Restrictions

    Institutional Controls for the facility include:

    • Groundwater at the Facility shall not be used for any purpose other than the operation, maintenance, and monitoring activities required by MDE and/or EPA.
    • No new wells shall be installed on Facility property.
    • A vapor intrusion control system, the design of which shall be approved advance by EPA, shall be installed in each current and new structure constructed at the facility unless it is demonstrated to EPA that vapor intrusion does not pose a threat to human health and EPA provides prior written approval.
    • Current owner/ operator shall submit an annual written to EPA documenting; (1) an evaluation of the effectiveness of the remedy reducing contaminant concentrations and restoring groundwater to MCLs or background concentrations and (2) that the use restrictions are in place and effective.

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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 MDE.

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