An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

Hazardous Waste Cleanup: Airco Welding Products Chester Wire Plant in Chester, West Virginia

On this page:

    Cleanup Status

    This facility is one of EPA Region III's high priority Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) corrective action sites. The former electrode manufacturing plant had two waste lagoons that were closed in 1990. The closure included excavation of the former lagoons, placement of clean fill, installation of a fence and a quarterly groundwater monitoring program. The groundwater flows from the lagoons towards the Ohio River. The groundwater monitoring determined that the groundwater had low concentrations of several Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) from waste that was disposed of in the lagoons. With the removal of the source material, the levels of the contaminants detected during the monitoring program decreased over time as the natural movement of the groundwater flushed the aquifer. A round of groundwater sampling was completed in 1997. Analytical results from the 1997 sampling event revealed low levels of 1,1,1- trichloroethane (up to 5ug/l) and tetrachloroethene (up to 6 ug/l) in a few of the monitoring wells. Site visits have been conducted by the West Virginia Division of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) and EPA during the past few years. In addition, an extensive file review was conducted of all previous investigative activities, including all groundwater monitoring reports. Based on the site inspections and file review, it was determined that additional groundwater sampling was needed to confirm groundwater quality at this facility. Additional groundwater samples were collected during the week of June 21,2004. EPA and WVDEP evaluated the data and requested that BOC address the low level groundwater contamination issue. BOC applied a Hydrogen Release Compound remedial treatment at the site and conducted several rounds of groundwater sampling. The last two rounds of sampling (May and August 07) revealed that all contaminants were below Maximum Contaminant Level (MCLs). Therefore, WVDEP and EPA have decided that Corrective Action at this facility is complete and no further action other than routine maintenance of the former lagoon cap will be required. A Public Notice summarizing EPA's decision for the site was placed in a local newspaper in June 2008, and a 45-day comment period closed without comments. On-site monitoring wells were abandoned in accordance with West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) regulations.

    Environmental concerns at the facility were limited to the two wastewater lagoons. After the lagoons were excavated and the sludge and contaminated soil were removed for off-site disposal, potential impacts to groundwater became the focus of environmental concern. Several rounds of groundwater samples were collected from 26 on-site monitoring wells during the 1980’s to assess groundwater quality. Analysis of groundwater samples from site monitoring wells revealed the presence of volatile organic compounds above benchmark concentrations. In 1991, a consent order (Order Number HW-271-91) was issued by the State of West Virginia to Airco requiring the quarterly monitoring of compliance wells at the site for a minimum of 2 years.

    Top of Page

    Site Description

    Interactive Map of Airco Welding Products Chester Wire Plant, Chester, West Virginia

    View larger map

    The former Airco Site is located in Newell, Hancock County, West Virginia. The site property is bounded on the west by the Ohio River, on the north by Mountaineer Park, which consists of a racetrack and casino/hotel complex, and on the south by Dry Run, a small stream that flows along the southern edge of the property to the Ohio River. South of Dry Run is a large gravel quarry. The eastern portion of the property contains an inactive manufacturing facility (the former Airco Welding plant). A portion of the former Airco Site was purchased by Mountaineer Park in the autumn of 2003. The western portion of the site is currently occupied by an active BOC industrial gas manufacturing plant.

    Airco (now a part of BOC Gases) formerly manufactured wire electrodes for automatic welding machines at the facility. Process wastewater was discharged to two lagoons located at the site. The wastewater discharged to the lagoons was designated as K062 (spent pickle liquor) and D002 (waste exhibiting the characteristic for corrosivity). The lagoons were closed in 1990 in accordance with State and Federal regulations. The closure included excavation of the lagoons, replacement with clean fill, fencing off the lagoon area and groundwater monitoring .

    The Airco Welding Site is bounded on the west by the Ohio River. The only residential population in the study area are a few scattered homes to the south and two trailer parks, one approximately ½ mile northeast of the facility, and one approximately one mile southeast of the facility.

    Top of Page

    Contaminants at this Facility

    The main contaminants in the groundwater are 1,1,1-Trichloroethane and Tetrachlorethene.

    Top of Page

    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 and Engineering Controls at the facility include:

    • Groundwater use is limited to non-potable purposes
    • Former Lagoon Areas are capped with a 30-mil polyvinyl chloride (PVC) geotextile liner, sandwiched between two layers of sand that is placed on top of the old lagoons
    • Maintenance of fences around the former lagoon areas and a quarterly groundwater monitoring program.

    Top of Page

    Land Reuse Information at this Facility

    The facility is in continued use.

    Top of Page

    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 West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

    Top of Page