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Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Saint Mary's Refining Company, Incorporated (Formerly: Quaker State) in Saint Marys, West Virginia

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In April 1997, EPA and Saint Mary's Refining Company (SMRC) entered into a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) 7003 Administrative Consent Order requiring SMRC to investigate and clean-up Site related contamination. Pennzoil – Quaker State Company (PQS), a previous owner of the Facility, conducted the on- and off-Site environmental investigations and clean-ups at the SMRC Facility. Fifteen Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) and five Areas of Concern (AOC) were identified at the Facility. SWMUs are areas of known or suspected contaminant releases.

Cleanup Status

Environmental investigations documented hydrocarbon contaminants in on-site soil and groundwater on- and off-site. Primary contaminants are benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene (BTEX), methyl-tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), naphthalene, total petroleum hydrocarbons and arsenic. Groundwater (GW) on and around the site is not used as a drinking water source.

Intensive Facility-wide soil and GW clean-up began in August 2006, with installation of clean-up technologies. In the former refinery area, PQS installed over 100 wells into the shallow groundwater aquifer for Soil Vapor Extraction and Bioventing (SVEB) treatment. Bioventing changed subsurface anaerobic conditions to aerobic to support naturally occurring microbes in breaking down hydrocarbons. Vapor extraction removed volatile hydrocarbons from the subsurface and an oxidizer reduced volatiles to carbon dioxide and water. In the deeper aquifer, PQS injected sulfate to support anaerobic bacteria in the breaking down hydrocarbons in the dissolved plume.

Two years later (September 2008), the SVEB treatment had removed about 98% of the contaminant source mass from subsurface soil in the former refinery area. GW contaminants were also significantly reduced. In the deeper aquifer, the bacteria population grew large enough to continue contaminant reduction without further sulfate injection. Natural processes will continue to reduce remaining hydrocarbons in GW, eventually attaining drinking water levels throughout the Facility.

On the bluff or cliff area of the former Refinery, contaminated soil from SWMUs 12 and 13 and AOC 3 was excavated and treated in the former Refining area (in the valley) using bioventing. The bluff excavations were backfilled with clean soil. The treated soil meets EPA’s acceptable risk level for industrial workers and soil remaining on the bluff meets West Virginia’s residential use levels.

The neighborhood well survey found that no private wells around the Facility were being used.

In November 2006, SMRC moved the vent pipe for the truck loading area, located off of Barkwill Street, to the center of the facility, and thereby reduced hydrocarbon vapor emissions and odors from the residential Barkwill Street area.

In 2007, EPA required sampling of stream sediments, Ohio River sediments and on-site polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) analysis. The final results from these investigations showed minimal Facility impact to these areas.

As discussed in the Environmental Indicator Forms located on EPA’s website (see Government Contacts), human health exposures are under control, and GW contamination is delineated and naturally attenuating. In 2011-2012, three downgradient locations along the Ohio River were found to have Refinery related contaminants. These sites were entered into West Virginia’s Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP) for cleanup. Soil and groundwater cleanup along the SMRC pipe line near the City’s Wastewater Treatment Plant is completed.

In September 2011, EPA issued a Statement of Basis which provided the basis for EPA’s proposed remedy decision for the Facility. During the 30-day public comment period, only SMRC submitted comments. The Final (remedy) Decision and Response to Comments (FDRTC) was signed by EPA on January 30, 2012. The Statement of Basis and FDRTC is available on this EPA’s website.

The final remedy includes on- and off-site GW monitoring, with wells (off-site wells are located between Route 2 and the Ohio River) sampled twice a year to measure hydrocarbon levels (benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, xylenes, methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), naphthalene) and arsenic, to document the natural attenuation of remaining hydrocarbons. Environmental covenants restrict land use in the former refinery area to non-residential uses and prohibits using groundwater as a source of drinking water for on- and off-site locations.

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Site Description

Interactive Map of Saint Mary's Refining Company, Incorporated, Saint Marys, West Virginia

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The SMRC Facility began petroleum refining in the early 1900's. The Facility produced lubricating oils, waxes, gasoline, jet fuel, and other petroleum products over the decades. The Facility had different owner/operators over the years and refining ceased in the early 1990's. The current use of the Facility is for bulk storage and transport of finished petroleum products (gasoline and diesel) and uses a portion of the 70-acre site. The Facility is divided into two areas: the main plant area with truck loading racks, and the bluff or cliff area (which is about 70 feet higher than the main area), where the petroleum is stored in large above ground storage tanks. The Facility is surrounded by commercial, industrial and residential properties. The Ohio River is north of the Facility. The Facility is fenced, with 24-hour security. Public meetings were held every October from 2006 to 2009. More information about the site is located at the Pleasants County Library, West Virginia and at the U.S. EPA office in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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Contaminants at this Facility

The primary contaminants are benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and xylene (BTEX), methyl-tertiary butyl ether (MTBE-an oxygenate), naphthalene, total petroleum hydrocarbons and arsenic. Ground water on and around the site is not used as a drinking water source.

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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 control are enforced through an environmental covenant with West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP), recorded on October 22, 2008. This covenant prohibits the following activities on the property: Groundwater extraction except for monitoring purposes; Residential land use. Excavation, drilling or penetration must be by certified contractors who have an approved Soil Management Plan (SMP) to WVDEP/EPA for the area. Engineering Controls for established for Groundwater monitoring.

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        Land Reuse Information at this Facility

        A small portion of the larger 70-acre property is currently used as a petroleum bulk storage and transporting operation. The remainder of the main plant is currently not used.

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        Site Responsibility at this Facility

        RCRA Corrective Action activities  are being conducted under the direction of the EPA Region 3 with assistance from WVDEP.

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